Rings and RosesJan 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard
Ashley Bowen had a dream when she was growing up in Wellsboro in a house her mother—a master gardener—filled with color and joy. “I saw myself someday having a store and being surrounded by flowers.” Last year Ashley and her husband, Cody, started Savvy Rose Floral Design, named after their three-year-old daughter, Savannah Rose.
Cody and his father built Ashley a “she shed” in the backyard. Though it’s not exactly a store, it feels like the realization of her dream. She has a business and a place to create the magic her mother showed flowers can bring. And it’s safe from three-year-old hands. But mothering a toddler while starting her own business isn’t enough to keep Ashley busy after she quit corporate life. Teaching jobs were scarce when she got her degree, so she went into human resources. After more than five years, she left to pursue her creative side. While taking online courses about all things floral, Ashley substitute taught. Then a second grade teacher position opened up in Wellsboro. Now she’s fulfilled her dream of teaching full-time, too. Having summers off, she explains, makes this a perfect mix. When Ashley began Savvy Rose, she wasn’t sure whether to aim for a broad appeal or narrow her niche to what she really loves—eclectic mixes of styles. She decided on the latter, and her focus has paid off. “This is really hot in cities, but there aren’t many places in our region doing what I do,” she says. “I was getting calls from hours away, north and south.”
Savvy Rose Floral Designs (begun in 2020), serves the Twin Tiers, as does their sister company Wanderlove & Co. A 2021 project of Cody and Ashley together, Wanderlove specializes in renting unique decorative pieces with a similarly boho elegance for any event. Photo areas can be staged and, while there is a discount for clients who are using their floral services, the rentals are a separate business. In their first year they did twenty weddings, a lot more than they expected. Though most were 75 to 150 people, Savvy Rose specializes in micro-weddings (twenty to fifty people) and smaller events like bridal and baby showers, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
Their Bohemian vibe is trending these days. She designs the feel of their weddings to highlight the personalities of each couple. A fresh-from-the-garden look might be mixed with some more formal romantic elements. Some clients have decided to go full-on Bohemian. She wants to “capture the spirit of your love story.”
The key to her approach is layering pattern, texture, and color in creative and unexpected ways that are personal and relaxed. Ashley calls it “romantically wild style that brings an earthy and vintage elegance to your event.” She works closely with clients, planners, and other vendors to ensure that the flowers look like a natural element of the setting. The look should be timeless and effortless, she says. Dried flower arrangements—what she calls everlastings—have been a popular choice for some couples, and she often combines dried and fresh flowers in her arrangements. Painting flowers—dried or fresh—is another way she gets the color combinations her clients are looking for. Ashley explains, “[What] I excel in is choosing the right flowers and colors to get the vibe clients are looking for.” She can create a bridal arbor on the wedding site, letting the space and environment guide her choices. Of course, the palette of colors and flowers have been chosen already, but Ashley works best when given some creative license.
“Pinterest can be a girl’s best friend and worst enemy,” Ashley laughs. You can’t get set on having the exact thing you see because those flowers might not be in season where you are. “If you don’t let your designer be creative, then you’re just replicating.” And Ashley wants to create a space that’s unique to her clients.
“Brides usually come to me with ideas, a favorite flower or two, or a color palette.” It’s Ashley’s job to choose the right flowers to achieve the desired look and feel. One of the favorite color palettes she’s worked with is terra cotta, black, and a creamy beige. Muted palettes where no one color dominates are popular now. One of the weddings Ashley did was for a couple with whom she’d gone to school. Callie Brown and Steven Bair tied the knot at Colton Point in a low-key ceremony at an overlook above Pine Creek. The floral arrangements bridged the rustic setting and the couple’s formal attire to create an air of earthy romance, enhanced by patterned rugs layered over the stone.
Ashley was also able to do the wedding for her best friend, Kelci Carson Reed. Ashley says, “Seeing her hold the bouquet I made and getting married at the family barn where we grew up playing was an amazing feeling. Even if it rained.”
Summer Laub, who married Zachary Waltz in August at Raystown Lake, says, “Ashley was so sweet and easy to work with. I changed my design a few weeks before the wedding and she was so accommodating! The flowers on our arch were stunning and the perfect backdrop. Everything she used also dried beautifully, so we were able to use them around the house.” Making these everlasting memories is Ashley’s gift, and she’s glad she finally took the leap into creating the business, even if supply issues make it a challenging time. “I’ve gotten the chance to find out what I’m really good at,” she says. “Some people never find that out.”
You can find out more at www.savvyrosefloraldesign.com. If interested, clients should fill out the simple online form—just click on “Schedule Consultation!” You can see more photos on Facebook or Instagram.