vendor reviews: floral designers
When you visit Belmont Flowers, you gain new friends, flower ideas & a fresh bouquet to prove it
Reviewing Vildana Glisic, Floral Designer & Owner, Belmont Flowers
Florist, Vildana Glisic, is an amazing woman whose life story is often told in words, colours, and flowers. Without even trying, she draws you in with her ability to adopt brides as if they were her own daughters. She shares her story as you share yours, simultaneously arranging flowers (of only the best quality and freshness) as you talk, putting together various design options and colour palettes to fit the dream wedding you just finished describing.
At Belmont Flowers, no wedding is considered to be a 'small wedding' and Vildana is very dedicated to making sure that each bride loves her flowers as much as she loves her new husband. It's not uncommon for Vildana to hug and share tears with a bride on her wedding day because as far as she is concerned, "For every bride, her wedding day is the only day that matters... And that’s the way I treat every one of my brides' weddings." This personal touch doesn't go unnoticed as Belmont Flowers constantly gets referrals from past clients for flowers for every occasion. The Ring sat down with Vildana to find out how it was that one person could make such a splash in our K-W wedding community...
Many people don't know where they want their future to take them until well after high school. For Vildana, a lifetime with flowers has been a dream since childhood. Growing up in Bosnia/Yugoslavia, Vildana went to University to become a journalist. This was due in large part to her parent's belief in the importance of a University education, and due in a smaller part to the fact that journalism still fed into her inner artist. While working towards her degree, Vildana managed to stay in touch with floral design by working in a flower shop to help put herself through school. After graduating, Vildana married her soul mate and worked as a journalist for local newspapers until the war came. When word spread that Canada was accepting refugees, Vildana and husband, Ned found themselves on a plane headed for a new life.
"I will never forget the first sight of Canada that I saw on the trip home from the airport. The roads we drove down were all lined with many many trees. Their leaves had turned to bright oranges and reds because it was fall. That was my first impression of Canada. It was that day, September 14th, 1994, I fell in love with Canada... " She knew right away that she wasn't just visiting. This was her home now.
Vildana never returned to journalism. She worked in local flower shops while raising her daughter, and five years ago purchased Belmont Flowers. If you ask her, she'll tell you that she has everything she's ever wanted: a daughter and husband she loves - and she has her flower shop. Ned and Vildana's daughter even help in the shop at times.
Now, six years later it's easy to see that Vildana still loves the floral business. She has expanded her wedding calendar, currently taking on approximately fifty weddings each year. "I love receiving thank you cards from my brides. It lets me know that they appreciate the job I've done for them... More importantly, it lets me know that they loved their flowers!" Even grooms and mom's often call or write Vildana just to express their own thanks and praise. And Vildana is constantly getting referrals from brides for their friends, siblings and wedding party members - not just for weddings, but for births, birthdays, anniversaries and even funerals.
Vildana also goes bigger and continually gives back to the community that supports her. Last Spring she made the floral arrangements for the Wilfrid Laurier Graduation stage. And she also gave away free wedding flowers to a lucky Guelph bride in February 2008 to celebrate her birthday and fifth anniversary of her business. "She was thrilled," Vildana tells us.
In-person and face-to-face...
When you walk into Belmont Flowers, you don't see endless shelves of giftware and accessories, but what you do see, is a lot of flowers. The entire right side of her store is her flower room. This allows her to show her clients what their options are, in person and in colour. "There are so many flower shops... Even on this street, I have three within two blocks of my shop. I put all of my focus into my flowers." That said, Belmont is also home to a variety of different baskets, pots, and vases for which to display your arrangement.
Vildana admits that she isn't much for email. "I love to speak with people on the phone and meet them in person. The personal interaction, people's response to the design I'm putting together or showing them, eye contact and making a relationship with each person - that's what I love most about this business." Tying into this is the fact that Vildana believes in the importance of first impressions. "I think that first impressions are everything. You can't work with a florist that you don't get along with. You have to completely trust in them, and I think that by doing so many in-person meetings, I'm able to show brides that I care about their wedding as much as they do." Which she clearly does. She told us that flowers are very personal for her. "I want you to love your flowers as much as your husband... and be thrilled with the final product."
Vildana showed us that this attitude is more than just words while we were interviewing her. As we were chatting, a man came in to purchase flowers for his wife on his way home, and Vildana put together a beautiful bouquet. Even though the process only took her all of three or four minutes, she made fast friends with the man in a natural and easy manner, making light-hearted jokes about the reason for him giving the flowers.
Top quality flowers...
Vildana orders 75% of her flowers from a long-time supplier in Holland. "Holland, for me, is the top in the world for flowers. I still get any type of flower I need, but it will be the best... I've been using this supplier for over seven years now. I've established a trusting relationship with him. I always expect top quality and he knows that."
Though Vildana notes that roses are always very popular for their array of colours, hardiness and versatility, she says that orchids are the flower of choice right now. Orchids from Belmont come directly from Vildana's supplier in Thailand to ensure quality and freshness and are also available in an assortment of colours.
Your wedding @ Belmont...
While there are other designers at Belmont Flowers, Vildana does all of the wedding flowers herself - from bouquets and boutonnières to flowers to top off the wedding cake. She most often schedules consultations on Thursdays and Fridays so that when you come in, the cooler is at its fullest with gorgeous samples of what you can have in your bouquet. You won’t just be looking at pictures, Vildana takes a hands-on approach while working with her brides. While the two of you talk, Vildana will be arranging samples of your bouquets. This gives you the chance to see what the different flowers and colour combinations would look like - instantly, and in-person. The personal touches are important to Vildana, "I need to meet the couple in order to do the best possible job on their flowers. I need to see the groom to determine which flowers should go in his boutonnière. I need to find flowers that suit his size and his personality. I need to talk with the bride about what flowers may have special meaning for her. By the time we are done talking, I want to feel like they are part of my family."
Belmont Flowers does centrepieces, bouquets, boutonnières, corsages, arrangements for the altar and tables, for your cake décor, and more, for no more than two weddings per weekend. She works with different colours, integrating greens/leaves (which she still refers to as flowers) together with her own personal touch on each piece that can't be described.
Lately, Vildana says she's noticed a trend towards big arrangements for the church that can be moved to the hall for added décor. Sometimes these arrangements are so large that Vildana creates them on-site, which could make them difficult to transport so they would be perfect for an all-in-one ceremony/reception location.
Creating a bond
Vildana sees her own daughter in each bride that comes into her shop. Tears came to her eyes when she explained. "I put myself in the shoes of their parents. I think of how wonderful it will be to see my own daughter marry... How important that day will be for her. I make each bouquet with that in mind." This not only inspires great care in every detail of your flowers, it also helps build a relationship between you and your floral designer. "I always call my bride to come and check their flowers the night before so that I know for sure they are going to love them. If anything needs to change, it's done way ahead of time." The last thing Vildana says to each bride is, "I'm giving you my blessing." Accompanied by a hug, many cry!
"I am truly so proud of my brides. I can't wait to get their photos and see what they looked like in their gown and and their groom in the tux...," Vildana told us. "Most of my brides know I'm like this and they'll stop in after the wedding to show me their photos."
In fact, Vildana admits that the flowers rarely end when the wedding day does. "More and more newlyweds come back for other occasions that call for flowers, such as anniversaries, the birth of a new baby..." This lifetime relationship created by floral design is another reason Vildana finds her job so rewarding.
Breaking it down
Vildana works with each bride and groom to put together a collection of wedding floral designs that will fit into their budget and their wedding day décor. As a guideline, bride's bouquets range from $75 to $150, maid's bouquets from $25 to $50, corsages from $15 to $20 and boutonnières average at $10.
Vildana's tips for a successful wedding day...
• As a guideline, flowers should never be lower in height than your wine glasses or no one will see them. They should always be same height or higher.
• Some flowers (like hydrangea) aren't able to withstand long wedding days. "It's my job to tell them what could happen if they use them."
• Vildana is happy to work from a magazine or photo brought in by the bride and groom, as long as the sample is realistic. "Since black doesn't occur in nature, black roses aren't possible. Some magazines show flowers that have been edited on the computer...," she says. "But I can help the couple to design something that is as close to what they're envisioning as possible."
• She is also happy to work with your wedding vendors, such as your cake maker. "For example, Too Nice to Slice has used some of my flower designs for couples that have hired both of us."
• "Hire a wedding planner! I can't stress it enough. I have worked with some wonderful ones, like Ultimate Affairs in Kitchener. They take care of you, help you work with your vendors, watch the details and your budget... It's so important."
• Vildana recommends booking your date with her at least 6 to 12 months ahead of time.
• At Belmont Flowers, there is never more than a non-refundable $100 deposit no matter how much the wedding is. "If they put a deposit down, they are booked for that day," Vildana told us.
• Your balance is due the day before the wedding when you come in to approve your flowers.
• Last year, Vildana did two destination weddings in Vancouver and Chicago. She treats the opportunity as a vacation for her and Ned. She purchases flowers retail on-site (and doesn't mark up the cost) and does the design and assembly there, proving that virtually anything is possible.
"Thank you so much for the beautiful job you did on the flowers for our wedding. They looked fantastic! We also really appreciate all your hard work making sure that everything was just right. You put so much care into your work and it really shows! Thank you!!!"
- Karina & Tom
"Thank you so much for doing such a beautiful job on the flowers. They looked amazing! Steve and I are so happy that we chose you to do them for us, we knew you would do an excellent job! Thanks for your hard work, you helped make the day perfect."
- Steve & Jennifer
"We want to thank you so very much for the care and hard work that you put into the flowers for our wedding in April. Especially for the genuine desire that you had for making the flowers for my mom's memorial very special. something to truly honour her. Your work is absolutely lovely, we got so many positive comments. My maid of honour/bridesmaids loved what you chose for their bouquets and as for me, I hardly wanted to let go of my bouquet at the end of the day, it was so pretty!! Thank you again - we will be back to Belmont Flowers!!" - Jen & Lou
Contact Belmont Flowers...
To visit the Belmont Flowers shop in person, you can find them in Belmont Village at 722 Belmont Avenue West in Kitchener. Feel free to stop by or to make an appointment, you can call Vildana Glisic and her staff at 519-570-1490. You can also reach them by email at email@example.com, but Vildana always prefers to speak with her brides on the phone and especially in person, to provide that personal touch. Check them out online at www.belmontflowers.ca.
- The Staff at TheWeddingRing.ca