A Sybilized Conversation

sybil wreathSybil Sylvester has been credited with single-handedly changing floral design in Birmingham, Alabama. Integrating European traditions, contemporary techniques, and Southern charm, Sybil’s passion and unique talent for all things floral have made her one of the most influential floral designers in the South. She’s had a hand in many of flower‘s favorite projects, but we flower girls adore Sybil as much for her sweet spirit as we do her inspiration and guidance. This post is dedicated to providing a closer glimpse of the woman behind some of Birmingham’s most sought-after floral designs.

With all the weddings and events you design, how do you keep calm and cool under all that pressure?

Well, that’s a good question. You know, I think it’s experience, but keeping a calm exterior is kind of my strong point. Now, I’m not necessarily calm on the inside even though that sometimes seems to be the case on the outside. But, I try to work far enough ahead so that when the time comes for installation day, or the day of the event, we have our ducks in a row and we’re ready to deal with any snafus that may come our way. It’s really just planning ahead. That’s the best way to deal with the pressure.

sybil launchWhen you actually have time to yourself, how do you like to spend it?

I love to be in my garden, I love to cook, and of course I love to spend time with my grandchildren and my sweet husband. [My husband and I] both love to read. Yesterday was the first free day I’ve had since… I want to say August 1st. And that’s basically how I spent my day: I did a little gardening, a little cooking, a little reading… unfortunately, I didn’t get to see my grandchildren. Also, yesterday I did straighten my office. It had just reached that point.

Do you have anything you’re extra particular about? Any pet peeves or anything you find you focus extra time on during events?

The details are very, very important to me. I am a big detail person. I feel like it’s so, so important and it’s what really finishes the job. Whether it be making sure there are no ragged edges on ribbons, or making sure to cover every speck of Oasis so it’s not seen, it’s very important to me that we go back and make sure we’ve accomplished everything we’ve said we would accomplish. In terms of pet peeves: I hate when I receive flowers that aren’t the colors I expected. It messes up the entire color scheme, which can alter the look of an entire event. So that is when I hit the market and hand-select flowers that match what I’d envisioned for the event and the installation. Because it can make the difference.

DSybil Fall Weddingoes working with flowers ever get tedious for you?

My gut answer, just being honest, is yes. Because it’s physical, hard work, but also because I feel like I’m getting older and it’s harder for me to do. Sometimes I just ask myself, ‘are you still lugging these flowers around?’ Still, I went to the market today and brought home some beautiful flowers. And you know, some of my best friends are sitting in buckets on my patio right now… and I love it. It is so rewarding. And that’s when I have to say, no, it’s all worth it.

Photos from top to bottom:

– A very creamy, dreamy wreath for a bridal luncheon.
– Hot pink and green for flower’s Birmingham launch party in 2007
– Rich colors and natural details for a fall wedding on the farm


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