While studying Biochemistry, Shean began designing with flowers as a creative outlet. After designing a few weddings for friends, the artistry captivated his heart, and he felt inspired to turn his hobby into his career.
We’ve been long drawn to Shean’s ability to tune into his surroundings and create a feeling of understated elegance. His attention to detail and passion for telling his clients stories in unique ways shows through in every detail of his work.
You may have come across Shean’s designs in various publications such as Veranda Magazine, Architectural Digest, BRIDES, Martha Stewart Wedding, and The Knot, to name a few.
Today, we feel so lucky to introduce Shean as our latest guest in our Make Life Beautiful Series and share our conversation about his path to cultivating creativity.
Shean via @sheanstrong
My very first job was working in my uncle’s tile shop when I was 15. I think that’s where I first fell in love with textures and patterns. I was hired to help with the in-shop upkeep, organizing and displaying the tiles that came in, but when things got busy I was able to assist on job sites where I was laying tile, grouting, and getting exposed to beautiful design while working with my hands.
One of our favorite floral moments from @sheanstrong
Like so many stories before mine, I fell into flowers as a hobby. I didn’t set out with the intention to be an event designer or even see myself in the creative industry, professionally. My earlier years consisted of assisting with friends’ weddings, events, and unknowingly, gave me the foundation to understand event flow, timelines, and how to create aesthetically pleasing celebrations for my loved ones. I was late to the idea that I could turn this into a career- I wanted to study medicine and keep the creative side as a hobby.
I was hired by two dear friends to design their wedding and at their wedding – I booked two more. I felt inspired in working with those couples and it encouraged me to pursue a career with a more heart-forward approach. That spark of inspiration hasn’t left yet; creating a design for a couple and capturing what is so unique, yet timeless, about their love is why I continue to design weddings.
The perfect summer blooms by @sheanstrong
Behind the scenes via @sheanstrong
I would tell my young self how important the people you surround yourself with will become, bring people into your life who want to see you succeed and encourage you to do better. Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on in your success and be there to lift you up when things feel a bit out of reach.
Oh, and P.S. Don’t buy into the illusion of “industry secrets”, there is more success to be found in sharing what you know.
My clients are my inspiration- I love getting to talk with my couples to find out the subtle nuances that make them— them.
I look for little details that are significant to them. I try to sneak in a pattern, a scent, a flower, or a color that is meaningful to them into their event- it’s a surprise and a moment of recognition about what is so special about their love. That moment is rewarding, knowing I designed something detailed around them.
In the chaos and deadlines of event planning, it is important to remember that while this might be your 5th wedding of the year, this is your couples one and only and it is up to you to CREATE their special day.
A beautiful moment via @sheanstrong
A chaotic, organized, ugly, yet beautiful and rhythmic dance between my thoughts and my body. The music of design is constantly changing tempos and timing and rhythms- It’s madness and method and a flat or sharp note, a rest, or a syncopation….
There is always a moment of orchestration that happens where I hear the note I’ve been looking for. When the ambient noise begins to conflate itself into part of the design-I know i’m on the right track.
Shean in his element @sheanstrong
A stunning moment via @sheanstrong
I’m not a designer for everyone. I’m a designer for my clients and they like what I can bring to the table— typically its beautiful linens, flowers, flatware and candlelight.
As soon as I started designing for myself – my clients were attracted to me. There is a freedom in knowing who you are as a designer and that’s a hard challenge to learn and trust- but once you do- you’re going to love yourself more, your work will reflect that, and you’ll be happy with all the effort you put into the designs.
After every wedding I think- Wow. We did it.
I have an amazing group of freelancers that work alongside me and although it’s my interpretation and design- my team contributes so much to bring my clients dream to life. If I ever get to a place where I didn’t have a wow moment after each wedding, event or editorial- that’s my que to move on something else. We build structures, and change the tone of a space, and design in unique and remote places and I am forever in awe of how transforming this work is.
My upcoming floral design workshop coming this Fall. I love teaching and working alongside people who love flowers. Seeing things “click” for attendees has been so rewarding – whether it’s color theory, floral design, or creating large scale installations- it’s exciting for me to share what I love.
I’ve connected with really good people through social media over the years, so getting to meet someone I’ve messaged with for years at one of my courses is incredible and bizarre. It’s a really great way to bridge the gap between the noise of social media and meet someone face-to-face.
I have a heart for the educational process and being able to teach my mistakes to others is gratifying for me, and hopefully, they can learn from those mistakes in order to have longevity in their career. Getting to talk with Studio McGee is a highlight, when all is said and done, my motivation continues to be connecting with people; whether through words or flowers.
Sunflower blooms via @sheanstrong
A beautiful dried look from @sheanstrong
To learn more about Shean and his work, visit his website at sheanstrong.com, and keep up with him on Instagram at @sheanstrong.
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