It’s Spotlight Day where we introduce you to Lee Forrest of Lee Forrest Design and the stories behind their company.
How long would you say you’ve been doing what you do today?
I started my original home-based business in 2000, although I have been designing professionally since 1990. I eventually incorporated my current business in 2005 in a brick and mortar storefront and have literally blossomed in the industry since then.
How did your work evolve to get you to where you are today?
I drop acid at night when I go to bed (joking, of course!)–and I just dream up crazy new design concepts in my sleep (this part is true). I have also been fortunate to work with some other amazing design companies in Indianapolis and Orlando–and have honed my crazy edgy, modern aesthetic through my experience working with other top designers in both cities. I also love working in a romantic traditional style, but our niche is more edgy, modern and unique, and that is what sets us apart from all the other floral design companies in town.
Tell us about your most memorable event so far and why it was.
There have been so many memorable events over the years–I can’t pick just one. A Day of the Dead inspired wedding was a lot of fun to design, and an over the top black-tie birthday party for a special long-time client that featured a private concert by world-famous opera star Renee Fleming, and our own anniversary party called the Glitter Ball, which we hosted for roughly 750 guests from the wedding industry that was loosely themed around Studio 54 and the 1970s disco era. We had Cirque du Soleil type acrobats suspended from the ceiling, incredible live musical performances throughout the evening–and a world-class DJ Les Kopasz of Soundwave Entertainment that kept the energy thumping all evening in between the live shows. Guests came in costume–lots of bell-bottoms and Afro wigs–and of course lots and lots of glitter and sparkle. Actually, I may be a bit biased since it was our own party, but the Glitter Ball would probably have to rank as one of my favorite events ever!
What motivates you to do this every day?
I love creating beauty and I love working with people and making the visions come to life–and seeing the happy tears and smiles when they experience they see their flowers for the first time. Real tears are the best compliment a bride can give me (as long as they are happy tears!) You can’t fake this kind of real emotion.
What fun-fact would people be surprised to learn about you?
I grew up on a farm in the middle of rural Kentucky with horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. Most people would never know my background, given my unique and modern design aesthetic. The Kentucky drawl only comes out a bit after I have a cocktail or two–although my big white beard and leather suspenders might give it away also. LOL, I also love to snow ski and travel. Travelling is also a great way to be inspired by new design influences.
What is the most unique service/product you offer?
We design amazing flowers with YOUR vision in mind. We love working with clients that challenge us with designing something different that you don’t see at every wedding.
What three words would you use to describe your company?
Edgy, Modern, Beauty
Why do you think your business is successful?
We are easy to work with and we listen to our clients and their vision for their special day, rather than selling our clients a vision that they don’t want.
Tell us some venues you enjoy working at and why.
We love Casa Feliz–love the intimate and historic vibe of the venue.
We also love Four Seasons Orlando and the Alfond Inn–they are both incredibly gorgeous hotels to work with that lend themselves to so many design styles–both modern and traditional.
Maitland Art Center is another favorite–artsy, quaint and historic outdoor venue with Aztec, Mayan, African, Christian, and Celtic art influences–there is nothing else quite like it anywhere.
And another favorite is Bella Collina–is in a class all by itself–it seriously feels like you are in a hilltop palazzo overlooking breathtaking views of the rolling Tuscan countryside, and with Lake Sienna and Lake Apopka in the distance.
Also Paradise Cove–a tropical beach setting with a large open-air cabana with lots of lighting already built into the landscape–it becomes magical at night and is the closest thing to having a wedding on the ocean.
And The Howey Mansion–an absolutely gorgeous historic mansion less than an hour away in Howey-in-the-Hills.
Here is what some previous couples had to say…
“Working with Lee and Jaimz was a dream! I can’t thank both of them enough for the most GORGEOUS arrangements! Wow – I am still blown away to date at how gorgeous each one was. The attention to detail and turning my vision to life is indescribable – wow! We are so thankful for the team making our day beyond special. Everyone raved about how amazing the arrangements were.” – Stephanie, Hard Rock Hotel
“Lee was very prompt from the start and made us feel comfortable and at ease upon our first meeting. I have little to no knowledge about flowers yet he automatically captured our vision. He was very informative and innovative in catering to our nontraditional, all-inclusive wedding. He listened to our desires while refraining from pushing additional add ons we weren’t comfortable with. He was patient and flexible when we decided to add some additional flowers. His team arrived early and hand-delivered the bridal parties flowers, then went straight to work on our gazebo. Everything was magnificent and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I consistently received compliments on our followers throughout the evening. I would highly recommend for your next event!” – Tiffany, Heathrow Country Club
“Lee Forrest Design is the go-to place for your special event flowers. They did my wedding last year and I was absolutely blown away. I have a hard time imagining things I can’t see, so when I was telling them what I wanted, I was concerned about how it was going to turn out. They were very patient with me as I kept jumping around with what I wanted. They are very fairly priced, especially with everything I got.
I never thought flowers were that big of a deal, but we went to 4 other weddings that same year, and not one of them held a candle to my flowers. People still tell me how much my flowers rocked. I can’t state enough how fantastic this florist is. Book them!” – Meghan, Sheraton Maitland