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Oct25

Vendors We Adore: Neil Leeson of Neil Leeson Decor Floral and Be Seated Specialty Furniture Rental

Neil Leeson of Neil Leeson Decor Floral and Be Seated Couture Seating.

This week, Something New Entertainment Disc Jockeys and Lighting Design is pleased to welcome one of our very favorite area floral designers, Neil Leeson of Neil Leeson Decor Floral and Be Seated Chair Rental.

You might remember Neil’s stunningly simple, clean, and colorful designs from Jami and D.J.’s wedding back in 2010 (for a full pictorial of that event, please click here), but one of the things we like most about Neil as a designer is his versatility, and you can really see the full breadth of his imaginative reach in today’s article.  We’ll hopefully be showcasing some more of his work in the very near future, too, because we just did yet another event with him this past weekend!  More soon!

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Florals by Neil Leeson Decor Floral Photo by David Abel

Florals by Neil Leeson Decor Floral Photo by David Abel

Florals by Neil Leeson Decor Floral Photo by David Abel

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As you’ll see in the images, below, Neil’s unique, elegant, and versatile vision covers a wide variety of design styles.  I’ve never seen the same thing twice out of Neil’s studio — he always seems to be exploring something new!

Something New Entertainment’s DJ Anna-Jeannine “AJ9” Herman: What first interested you in floral design?
Neil Leeson Decor Floral’s Neil Leeson: I kind of fell into it. My background is in Fine Art, as well as Visual Merchandising, and I was required to do hundreds of silk arrangements for the stores I worked for in the past, which taught me how to do traditional and seasonal arrangements. Once I quit my job and went out on my own to do theme parties, I inevitably needed to learn how to do fresh flowers when I started doing weddings, and that’s when my background in sculpture and design kicked in. I found that it was a lot of fun to turn floral design on its ear a bit and play around with flowers as sculpture. Because I had never worked in a flower shop before owning one, I wasn’t bound to the usual “rules” and developed my own style of floral design.

DJ AJ9: How long have you been designing florals for weddings?
NL: This coming February will be 15 years. Hard to believe!

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A beautiful example of tablescape design by Neil Leeson Decor Floral.

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DJ AJ9: What are some of your favorite new trends (or tried-and-true classic themes) in floral design?
NL: One of my favorites is the tablescape. It allows for endless possibilities in design, because you can combine all different types of candles, flowers, vases, objects, etc. to create a really unique, custom centerpiece that you won’t see at every wedding. They can be round, square, or a hundred feet long; no matter what size, they are always interesting and impressive!

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Florals and Decor by Neil Leeson Decor Floral.

Florals and Decor by Neil Leeson Decor Floral.

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DJ AJ9: How would you describe your floral design style?
NL: It ranges from very classic and controlled to very edgy and funky to completely over-the-top, but always with a finished, sophisticated look and good editing. I love to play with new and interesting color combinations as well as unusual shapes. My cue always comes from the bride; ultimately the wedding needs to reflect her personality through my creations, and I enjoy all types of design, as long as it’s good design.
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Some of the wide variety of custom seating available through Be Seated.

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DJ AJ9: What do you enjoy most about being a floral designer?
NL: I love the whole process of meeting a bride for the first time, and getting to know who she is and what she’s all about, then brainstorming ideas and watching her face light up, then turning those ideas into an actual, three-dimensional design that she and her guests will always remember. It’s a huge responsibility to make everything completely perfect for her big day, and it’s a responsibility my staff and I don’t take lightly.

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Florals and Decor by Neil Leeson Decor Floral.

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DJ AJ9: What is the most important consideration couples should make when hiring a floral designer for their wedding?
NL: There are actually a few.

I think that it’s very important that the designer is able to really “see” the couple’s vision, and be able to suggest ideas that follow that vision while expanding upon it and making it even better.

It’s important that your personalities click, as the couple will be spending several months to a year or more working with their designer, who should also be flexible enough to make changes as needed up until a few weeks before the wedding date; it’s one of the most “personal” vendor relationships they will experience in this process.

Also, it’s important that you are able to see photos of examples of the designer’s work, not just pictures in a magazine or flower book. You need to be able to get a sense of the designer’s abilities and talents.

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DJ AJ9: How can a couple get the biggest impact with their floral decor?
NL: What isn’t there is just as important as what is there; by that, I mean that if you create one or a few strong focal points that are placed correctly, you don’t always need to hose the place down with flowers on every single surface. When you do this correctly, each piece has its own visual space and remains important to the overall design. When I design, I go for the initial wow factor when they walk in, followed by the guests noticing all the cool details and fine points once they are sitting in the room and are able to really look around and absorb it all.

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Florals and Decor by Neil Leeson Decor Floral. Photo by Genevieve Nisly Photography.

 

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DJ AJ9: What was the most interesting or challenging custom design you’ve ever worked on?
NL: After 15 years of doing this, it’s very hard to pinpoint any one thing that’s the “most” or “favorite”, as I have many of each, but I’d have to say that one of the most challenging was an event for Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys. We were only given about 4 hours to transform a 30,000 sq. ft. tent from a bare tent to a cool, sleek party space. I was in charge of coordinating 13 vendors, a staff of 93 employees, and 21 trucks full of decor to drape the entire perimeter of the tent in white fabric, build lighted furniture trucked in from NYC, unpack and place leather furniture and bars from Chicago, light the inside and outside of the tent with dramatic blue lighting, place tables, linens, flowers, candles, and other decor, erect a beaded crystal wall to divide the tent into two spaces, install a custom-painted dance floor, create a Green Room for the Pointer Sisters, and build a 10’ tall memorabilia wall, all before the first guests walked in. With the amazing crew of people we had to do it all, we pulled it off on time, but after I was done I felt like I had just run a marathon!

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About Neil Leeson:
Neil Leeson has been designing weddings and events for the past 15 years. With a background in fine art, his creations are always unique and inventive, ranging from classic with a twist to sleek and modern to wild and over-the-top. Neil believes it is imperative to reflect the couple’s personality within any design. He has been featured in many local as well as national publications, as well as on television, and continues to pursue moving his design company into the national spotlight.

Neil Leeson Decor Floral

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Neil Leeson Décor Floral is a full-scale wedding and event design studio that combines florals, lighting, linens, furniture, and accessories to create exciting environments that thrill the eye. Daily floral delivery and holiday decorating are also available. Based in Downtown Akron and servicing primarily Northeast Ohio, Neil and his staff have been flown to such destinations as Naples, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Puerto Rico to design one-of-a-kind weddings, and their client list includes top names in the NBA and NFL.

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Be Seated

Be Seated is a specialty event and wedding rental company serving all of Northeast Ohio. In our inventory are modern, South Beach-style leather sectionals, club chairs, retro vinyl loveseats, end tables, coffee tables, modern bars, and chiavari chairs, all of which are perfect to create a sleek lounge area at your next event.

1 Comment

  1. Arfus

    Wow! How imaginative! I have never seen anything so beautiful & interesting. The flower arrangements are spectacular. And, the tablescaping is fabulous!

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