Salt Harbor Designs ~ Wilmington, NC

When it comes to designing a wedding, there are number of components that are essential for a truly spectacular event. Based in Wilmington, NC, design company Salt Harbor Designs has been planning amazing events for years. Salt Harbor Designs is known for their unique style, which has been described as modern, rustic, contemporary, vintage, clean, natural, organic and Southern. Their versatility makes it difficult to narrow down their design style in just one or two descriptive words. From paper goods to flowers, this in-house design team will style your event from start to finish, creating a cohesive wedding design. Read on to learn more about Salt Harbor Designs and their unique inspiration.

Salt Harbor Designs is based in Wilmington, NC. To contact Salt Harbor Designs, visit their website by clicking here or call 910.534.0081.

Weddings Unveiled: Tell us a little bit about Salt Harbor Designs.

Salt Harbor Designs: Salt Harbor is a full event design company that approaches wedding planning from a design perspective, starting first with the couple's style and story and building the event around those things. We do all our design work in-house, including floral and paper design, so the same designer who is working on the flowers is also overseeing the menu cards and guest book design. The result is a very cohesive design that feels organic to the couple.

WU: How did you become an event designer? When and how did you begin Salt Harbor Designs?

SHD: I began working part time at a florist when I was in high school. I continued to work with florists in college and grad school as I pursued various creative avenues (interior design, set design, graphic design, writing, and art). I eventually earned a degree in creative writing, but had taken many courses in all of the other artistic areas. When I planned my own wedding, I realized that all of my experience had prepared me for a career I had never even considered. Event design has been and continues to be the perfect occupation for me, one that combines everything I love -- paper, flowers, theater, fabric, story and concept, and color.

WU: Tell us how you work with engaged couples, whether as a team or individually.

SHD: We meet with couples to get an idea of their style and story. After that, we propose a design plan based on the clients' tastes, personalities, and stories. We build the event around those things by creating layouts, deciding colors, choosing rentals, coordinating paper, flowers, and specialty items. On their big day, we make sure all of those pieces are perfect and placed precisely.

WU: Describe your wedding style.

SHD: Our style changes constantly and bends to fit the style of the client. Overall, our work usually contains something unexpected and many times has a natural element to it. We are always experimenting with different materials and styles. I would say our style is sometimes eclectic, sometimes vintage, sometimes contemporary, but is almost always different.

WU: What inspires you?

SHD: I have always been inspired by the natural world and that definitely finds its way into our work. I also love old things (old furniture, books, materials, papers) and keep them around me all the time for inspiration. I get really excited by common threads, which is the design piece that I am always searching for. When I can find the common thread in couples, in concepts, or in design, I get so inspired! I live for the piece that ties it all together and there always is one -- my job is to find it!

WU: How do you keep your ideas fresh?

SHD: Each couple presents a new challenge. They have a style and story different from any other couple, so it is easy to keep ideas fresh in an environment where the material is all new. Sure, flower choices and linen types cannot change constantly, but the concept and overall design with each new couple. Every single day brings something new!

WU: What was your favorite wedding and why?

SHD: I have so many, it is hard to decide. My favorites are definitely the ones where the client is focused on more than just a pretty event. My writing background makes me obsess over concept and story, so I love that weddings that tell a story! Not only are we as event designers more fulfilled by these events, but so are the clients and the guests.

WU: What makes Salt Harbor Designs different from other wedding and event designers?

SHD: A few things -- one is our obsession with story. We love to create pretty weddings, but more than that, we love to tell a story with our events. When every single detail is a part of a central concept and story, the overall event becomes even more meaningful. The other thing that makes us different is that we handle all of the design pieces within our company. We don't hire a florist and a graphic designer. It is all done here, which means every single detail down to the bride's bouquet, the escort cards, the ribbon on the napkin and boutonniere flower has been chosen and coordinated by the same person.

WU: What would be your ideal wedding assignment or dream wedding to design?

SHD: I can honestly say I have designed my dream wedding a number of times. Usually, it is a wedding with a small-medium head count in a really unique location. The couple wants the day to be intimate and meaningful and they realize that the key to achieving that is in the details. The couple gives me great material and lots of personal details and then trusts me to pull these things together in a beautiful and significant way. I have been so lucky to have clients every season that fit this description, making my job a dream job.

WU: Tell us three things you can't live without.

SHD: My family, books, trees.

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

SHD: A mentor in college once told me that if you turn 30 and you cannot even remember what it is you wanted to be doing with your life, you need to re-evaluate. When I see people around me who dread going to work each day, I think that advice is so right!

WU: What is the best advice you can give to an engaged couple?

SHD: Weddings can become huge, elaborate affairs where the head count is out of control and cost is more than the average house. Decide what you want the day to be about and stick to that. Trim your head count to people who really matter to you and pick details not based on what people will be impressed by, but by what is meaningful and significant.

Images courtesy of Millie Holloman Photography.


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