I have had the pleasure of working with Sara and Jason Kite on several occasions for weddings, events, and styled shoots and they are such a dynamic duo! Sara is so creative and always thinks outside the box. Sara and Jason are also serious supporters of their local community. Their networking skills and ability to support and encourage other professionals in the wedding community is one thing that sets the apart from other small businesses. I have learned so much from working with them and am lucky to also call them both friends. Please visit their website, Facebook page, and Instagram to learn more about their amazing business and everything they offer to their community. Also, read their interview below mixed in with some of their amazing floral arrangements!
The Faded Poppy: Vendor Interview
Tell me a little bit about yourselves
We, Jason & Sara Kite, are the creative husband & wife team behind TFP. After meeting during one of Jason’s visits from the UK and spending a few months of 8+ hour phone calls we found ourselves planning a wedding oceans apart. Sara has always loved flowers, planting, cutting and arranging them, she grew up with a grandmother who taught her everything necessary to be a great hostess. Jason, coming from England which is the epitome of extravagant gardens and flora, has a natural eye for creative arrangements.
Tell me a little bit about The Faded Poppy
The Faded Poppy is an event planning & floral design business that specializes in weddings. Based in Waynesboro we are on the doorstep of a great number of exceedingly beautiful outdoor wedding venues including wineries, breweries & historical presidential sites. The “Poppy” portion of our name stems from “poppit” which is an old English term of endearment and is what Jason’s parents called him when he was a child and what Jason continues to call Sara. Associating this with our business saw this converted to “poppy”.
How did you get started in floral design and event planning?
As the wife of a prominent minister, Sara’s grandmother would frequently decorate her home to entertain large gatherings of friends & family. Sara would assist her from a young age and that passion continues into The Faded Poppy.
How long have you been in business?
Sara started planning & designing small events for family & friends around 7 years ago and created flowers for her first paying client 5 years ago. This was very exciting for us because they were getting married at Ash Lawn–Highland which, as the estate of James Monroe, is very important to Virginia and the entire country. 2 years ago The Faded Poppy was officially formed and last July we moved into our own dedicated premises in Waynesboro.
What gets you most excited about what you do?
Floral design trends are cyclical meaning that a large number of our clients approach us with similar color palette & design requirements. For us we love the challenge of purposefully creating something unique for each client so we get to experience their elation upon seeing the unexpected on their wedding day. We have never failed to disappoint and our business statement is to continuously & consistently exceed all expectations.
What’s a typical day like for you (can answer as a wedding day or a working day or both)?
Work day: Long. We start our day off with a finite list of tasks to accomplish. Half way down the list things are under control and the end is in sight. Then responses to emails start coming in as well as a couple of new enquiries. It’s hard work but good fun. We never want anybody to wait too long for a response; we are very proud of the commitment we have to our clients, responding promptly and in the detail & clarity they deserve. Jason will send the first emails at 6:30am and Sara the last, typically, around 2am!
Wedding day: This is hard work in a completely different way. Where correspondence is mentally taxing this is both mental & physical. It requires a lot of running, answering questions, putting out fires, a few tears, lots of pretties, a couple of hugs, many thank yous, from & to us, and, at the end of it all, a grand exit.
What is your favorite part about floral design and event planning?
Floral design: an art piece is being formed: a small basis culminating in something huge & beautiful that brings joy to the recipient and gratification to us.
Event planning: besides attending a wedding each weekend and visiting our plethora of beautiful venues, it’s the clients we get to work with and seeing their joy when they commit to each other for the rest of their lives.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your field that would help others just getting started?
Don’t underestimate the power of networking, making friends and having a support system. Above all else pound the pavements and put your name in front of everybody that will listen.
What is your current favorite wedding trend?
The abundance of greenery and textures being used.
What is a trend you would like to see less of?
Conformity or feeling obliged to follow the rules of traditional weddings. We get enthused by those couples we meet that have ideas & desires away from the norm.
What tips or advice can you give a couple that is planning their wedding?
Do not underestimate the benefit of hiring professional wedding vendors, no matter how tempting the idea of performing this yourself or accepting the offer of free work from a friend or guest may be.
At the end of the day it’s your wedding and, with lots of opinions coming in from all directions, decisions should be made by you and your spouse.
How do you think couples can most effectively use a wedding planner?
A wedding planner has the knowledge to assess their client’s requirements and recommend those professionals that are going to work best with them and produce the best results. Clients should tap into this and let the seasoned professional do all the hard work. On your wedding day, be a guest and enjoy it rather than wear yourself out by attempting to coordinate it.
Could you share some examples of when couples have been very glad they brought a wedding planner on board?
The overall consensus from reading reviews from our clients is that hiring a wedding planning & day-of coordinator was the best decision they made because it reduced their stress immeasurably and allowed them to enjoy their day.
We coordinated a wedding this past summer where, moments before we arrived, an out of town bridesmaid discovered her dress was sized incorrectly. Fortunately, armed with a good network of fine wedding professionals, I was able to call a local wedding dress maker (White Dress by Greta Kay) and within 20 minutes the bridesmaid was measured and her dress in the process of being altered. She was returned to the venue without a trace of modification to the dress and the ceremony took place on time.
What are the main characteristics of a good wedding planner?
Patience, preparedness, organization, tough skin, selflessness, creativity, quick thinker, professionalism, dedication, motivation & likability
Please share a favorite memory or story from a wedding you have done this year.
We coordinated the wedding of a couple that had been friends throughout school but, following graduation, went their separate ways. He became a Navy Seal and was deployed to Iraq. While in the front line he and one other were ambushed and he took what should have been a fatal shot to the abdomen. As soon as they were able to they crawled out of their hiding and made it to the medical center back on base. Certain he wasn’t going to make it he had the hospital phone his friend back home who, at the advice of her father, flew out to Iraq to visit him as soon as she could. With this, their long term friendship took a different direction resulting in marriage.
What are things your past clients have said about you after their wedding day? These can be reviews online, emails, thank you cards, or in person comments.
Thank you card:
“Words cannot express how deeply thankful we are that you were able to help us coordinate our wedding day so perfectly. We feel so honored that you were there to help us celebrate one of the biggest days of our lives together. It was fete that our paths crossed this year in such a beautiful way. We wish you and your flowering business all the luck in the world!
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
With lots of love & gratitude,
Megan & Erin.”
What business accomplishments are you most proud of?
A growing familiarity of our business by other professional wedding vendors in the area. It’s always a pleasure to have people exclaim “I’ve heard of you!” or “we love The Faded Poppy’s work” when we introduce ourselves to them for the first time.
How can readers find out more about your business?
They can visit our website (www.thefadedpoppy.com) where we have information on the different planning & day-of coordination services we offer as well as many examples of the floral arrangements we’ve created as well as our Instagram (www.instagram.com/thefadedpoppy) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/thefadedpoppy) pages.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’ve launched a discussion forum (www.thefadedpoppy.com/forum) designed principally for couples marrying in Central Virginia providing them a way to pose wedding-related questions for vendors, venues and married couples to share their knowledge and offer impartial advice. By being specifically for our area it aims to provide posters with more relevant information. As a new service we’re just now building awareness but hope this to bloom soon.
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
We already have a long list of fabulous couples that have asked us to plan & coordinate and create the floral arrangements for their wedding next year so we’re looking forward to that, and we’ll be working at some amazing venues for the first time so look forward to forging relationships with them.