Interview with “Featured Vendor” Kaleb Norman of Kaleb Norman James Design

November 3, 2014

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What inspired you to create Kaleb Norman James Design? 

I’ve always been creative. When most kids couldn’t wait for baseball practice, I couldn’t wait for it to get over so I could get back to designing or building something. By the time I was finished with high school, I knew I wanted to do something in the design world and signed up for a bunch of architectural design courses. Quickly I realized it wasn’t nearly hands on enough for me and the times I had been most happy creatively was when I was working with flowers and helping friends with their weddings. So I started doing some research and found an incredible school in Manhattan and within a week was signed up and on my way to NY. After about 5 minutes of my first class, I was hooked and no doubt remained that this is exactly what I wanted to do.

What do you love most about your job?

Weddings have this way of being larger than life and over the top. It’s fast paced and chock full of momentum, so every day is different and there’s no monotony. Each client is entirely unique from the next, but the one thing I’ve found in common is that they come to me because they’re passionate about creating a beautiful wedding. So when their passion encounters my own, it’s amazing seeing what we can accomplish together. The process of working with someone so closely for anywhere from 6 months to over a year allows me to build a really special bond with my clients. We got through a lot together, form choosing venues, dealing with family issues that affect the wedding, to the small things, like choosing which shade of white we want the flowers to be. By the time the wedding comes we’ve generally become great friends. There are two moments that I love most on the day of the wedding- just before the first look, I always take a moment to connect with my bride, see how she’s doing and then show her the bridal bouquet for the first time. Getting to see the look on her face and the way her eyes light up is the best…the second is when I get to reveal the reception space to the bride & groom before it’s filled with their guests. We’ve spent months dreaming this up together and when I get to open the doors and show them a perfectly appointed space, created entirely for them, it makes all the late nights and hours of prep work, absolutely worth it!

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Where do you find inspiration?

I have a serious case of Wanderlust. If I’m home for more than two months at a time, I get antsy and have to go somewhere new. Travel for me is the biggest source of inspiration. I love experiencing a culture different than my own. From the street fashion, to the architecture, to the food, it’s all so beautiful to take in. I try to place close attention to the details that surround me, so when I travel I love find boutique hotels and shops. These smaller places never skimp on the details, so I’m inundated by fresh takes on design and style. I love finding the way locals interpret the styling of these places and try hard to pay close attention while in town.

What do you see as the prevailing event design and décor trends for 2015?

So far, I’ve noticed that metallics aren’t going anywhere! Adding in that touch of gold, bronze or silver seems to be the accent everyone going for. Whether it’s changing it up with gold flatware or adding a metallic, sequin linen, I’m constantly being asked to incorporate metallic touches for my weddings. Also, I’m getting lots of requests for “bringing the outdoors, in.” People seem to be loving the idea of really lush, greenery heavy concepts, with flower walls, suspended branches dripping with florals or creating centerpieces that feel more like trees than just flowers, everyone seems to be on the cascading floral/lots of greens concepts.

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Photo by Gabriel Van Wyhe