Ep. 023 – Bohemian Black Hills Wedding Florist, Kayly Pikula


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Weddings include so many details, including florals. Kayly Pikula takes her work seriously, but always remembers to have fun. As a wedding florist in the Black Hills, she specializes in bohemian, modern, and classic designs. It isn’t just about the bouquet you walk down with either. Kayly has worked on large installation pieces as well.

Meet the Wedding Florist

Kayly Pikula isn’t really sure how or when floral came into her life, but she has no doubt that her career and passion is what God has led her to do.

Fun facts

  • Favorite flower: ranunculus
  • She and her husband are proud pet parents to three large breed dogs.
  • Favorite coffee: white mocha breve

Before her first hired wedding, Kayly had never designed any florals for weddings. “I totally winged it through the entire process,” she admits. Because everything went so smoothly, Kayly knew that wedding florals were meant for her.

Follow her on:

photo by Kelsey Spratt Photography


INTRO: You’re listening to The Pulse, an artist podcast based out of Rapid City, South Dakota. Let’s chat about all things weddings!

I’m your host Sarah Grassel. Mother, wife, and entrepreneur.

I am a full-time destination and travel wedding photographer/videographer with a passion for telling stories through photo, video, and writing.

I’m also a published writer in several South Dakota magazines including Black Hills Lifestyle, Unveiled, Siouxland Woman, Motor Market, Black Hills Woman, and a few others. (Read more about me).

Thank you for joining me and for tuning into the show. Be sure to like and subscribe, and leave a comment on the episode to share your voice!

photo by Kelsey Spratt Photography

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.

John Lennon

Host: Today’s guest is Kayly Pikula with Kayly Shae Floral & Design Company. She is just rebranding under that name. Previously, what was it?

Kayly: It was just Kayly Shae Floral Design Company.

Host: Gotchya! Now we added the “&” in there. Well thank you so much for coming on the show with me today. I am really excited to get to know a little more about you and what you do in the wedding industry, so let’s kind of dive right in. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kayly: So my name is Kayly Pikula. I am from Wyoming, and I went to school in Spearfish. Then, my husband and I decided to plant our roots there because the Hills are like such a beautiful place. I feel like you can’t leave the Hills after you move there.

Host: They are, yeah.

Kayly: Then, I kind of just fell into the wedding industry. I’ve been a florist for nine years; it was my first job in high school – that’s what I started doing.

Host: Gotchya.

Kayly: I didn’t really like the traditional birthday bouquets, funerals, and all of that stuff. My very first wedding was my very first time designing a wedding and it just grew from there.

Host: Oh wow. What made you fall in love with floral design?

Kayly: I think it’s just so broad. You can do so much with it, and you don’t have to be in one category. Everyone has different ideas that are so unique and so fun.

Host: Right. It helps to have Pinterest, in my opinion. There are so many different colors… I don’t really know much about florals; I am more of a leave it to the professionals kind of gal. But, I just love the smell of flowers; my favorite flower is probably a sunflower.

Kayly: Oh yep, that’s a lot of people’s favorite.

Host: That was in my wedding bouquet.

Kayly: Yep!

Host: They got drawn on my converse shoes for my wedding.

Kayly: That’s perfect; that’s cute!

Host: How would you define your style as a florist?

Kayly: I think it’s hard to define my style because I am down to do whatever. I feel like with Pinterest, Pinterest is a great tool to use, but I also think people can get kind of stuck in a “Pinterest bubble” where everyone starts doing the same stuff.

Host: I never really thought about that!

Kayly: Yeah! Like, I get a lot of the same inspo pictures. I try to push my couples outside of their comfort zones and see “What is YOU?” What embodies you and what would you want in your wedding? Instead of doing something you see a picture of, let’s do something that’s more you.

Host: Right.

Kayly: So, I don’t think I have one style. I like the boho style which is trendy right now.

Host: I was going to say, I think, from what I’ve seen on your Instagram, I’d definitely say more boho. But, I wouldn’t want to describe somebody as something they wouldn’t define themselves as.

Kayly: Yeah, I definitely do a lot of boho, but I like that I can offer different styles too and not be in just one category.

Host: Right, can you define what that boho style is?

Kayly: Yeah! It’s a lot of the dried, wild, pampas grass – super trendy stuff right now.

Host: We’re kind of laughing because I have a little dried bouquet off to the side of me that I got from an Inspired Design workshop this summer. That’s definitely, definitely in. I love pampas grass; I feel like it might be Midwest thing, too. Do you think that’s maybe true?

Kayly: I think right now it is. It’s definitely something that is trending throughout. I follow California florists, which are way ahead of the trends, way more than we are in the Midwest, but it’s still popular there, too.

Host: Still popular…

Kayly: Actually, it grows wild there. Pampas grass is actually a weed in California.

Host: Oh, really!?

Kayly: But, it’s super pretty and everyone loves it.

Host: Yeah! What’s your favorite part about working in the wedding industry other than the creative freedom?

Kayly: I love just being a part of such a happy, memorable day in someone’s life. I also love the friendships that come out of meeting people because I work with them for so long. Usually it’s over the course of a year; I love being able to get to really know my couples and create friendships. My favorite moment on a wedding day is when I first get there. I go see the bride and show her, her bouquet and it’s the most special moment. It’s great.

Host: Have you ever had anybody cry?

Kayly: I have! My last four brides this year have cried. I’m like, now I’m crying, and they’re usually in the middle of their makeup…

Host: That’s so cute, though.

Kayly: Yeah, I love that.

Host: I was so nervous when I got my bouquet. Because I don’t know anything about flowers, I was like: I know I want it to be a professional, and I didn’t really know anybody in the Black Hills area at the time… My husband had a coworker who gave us a referral card for somebody, and I’m like okay! It saves us some money, they’re a professional, let’s do it. Then, I told them what I wanted, but I also didn’t really have a clear vision. In my head it all made sense, but when I was trying to explain it I was like “uhhh, sunflowers and roses… and I don’t know what else.” They were like, “we got you!”

As it got closer, I was like okay. Can I get a picture? Can you put something together for me, a mockup?

Kayly: Yep.

Host: They put something together for me and it was the most hideous bouquet I’ve ever seen.

Kayly: Oh, no!

Host: I was really glad that I reached out to them before hand, and then I was freaking out. When the wedding day came, they showed up and they were beautiful!

Kayly: That’s good.

Host: I was so relieved and impressed. I don’t know, it definitely helped add a vibe to the day, that’s for sure.

Kayly: Yeah.

Host: That kind of brings me to one of my later questions, I think I mentioned to you… maybe I didn’t! This might be putting you on the spot.

Kayly: That’s alright!

Host: What’s the difference, can you really tell when somebody does their own bouquet – DIY with fake flowers versus a professional with real live flowers?

Kayly: Yep, I think. I mean, I am one of the professionals, so I might be kind of biased. But yes, I do think you can tell. I’ve been doing flowers for like nine years. It’s something that takes some practice and takes time to figure out how things are done. My sister always tells me I’m like a big perfectionist, and the things that I notice are things that people don’t notice.

Host: Right.

Kayly: That’s what I pride myself on – doing them exactly how I want them done.

Host: And making sure all the little details…

Kayly: Right. Not missing a little detail. Even when people DIY their flowers, that’s another thing that they have to worry about on their wedding day. I like to be able to take that worry away from them and make their day a little bit like more enjoyable.

Host: Yeah, absolutely.

Kayly: They don’t have to worry about flowers, they can just like hang out and have fun on their wedding day.

Examples of Wedding Floral Work by Kayly Shae Floral & Design Company

Host: Yeah. Do you as a professional ever have to use fake flowers? Or what are they called – silk flowers?

Kayly: That is actually one of the things that I’m like a real big: I don’t do. So I don’t work with fake flowers at all. I just do fresh. I think there’s just something so special about having like, a real live fresh flower. Not even on your wedding day. But just like in–

Host: In general, yeah.

Kayly: In your life, yeah. I don’t know.

Host: **LOUDER for my husband in the back!

Kayly: I know. I’m a florist. I don’t get flowers.

Host: Oh, really!?

Kayly: Not like because my husband doesn’t but because I just always have flowers somewhere else. So really no need but yeah, I don’t know. I think there’s just something so special about like, appreciating like the beauty and like, I don’t know, like —

Host: It’s funny, yeah.

Kayly: The delicacy of fresh flowers.

Host: Yeah. Absolutely! I thought I was going to save myself money by doing it myself and getting fake flowers. I didn’t think that my husband would care at all… So this is for you, brides that are listening! Talk to your talk to your fiancé beforehand, because you never know what they’re gonna care about. My husband, Isaac, was like, “No, you have to have real flowers.” And I was like, “Wait, really? Like you care about real flowers versus fake flowers.” And he was so adamant about it. So I was like, okay. The little things that I never thought would have made a difference to the guys sometimes they do!

Kayly: Yeah. That’s really unique and really cool because normally I don’t meet the groom until like the day of the wedding and they’re like, “Who are you?”

Host: No, Isaac went with me to all of the, well I guess it was just the one meeting with the company we went with. We just walked in, and were like, “Hey, we’re thinking about using you for our wedding.” And they’re like, “Well, come on back.” And they sat us down. We talked about it. And then he was very involved with everything.

Kayly: That’s awesome.

Host: What about your husband? Did he–

Kayly: He didn’t care too much about the flowers, but probably cuz he’s just like, “Whatever you do will be fine.”

Host: Yeah, did you do your own floral?

Kayly: I did, yeah.

Host: Oh my goodness!

Kayly: Yeah, I am kind of crazy. It was a lot, but it’s what I love to do. I feel like I couldn’t not do it, you know?

Host: Right. Well, it’s your passion, so you wanted to include a little bit of that. Yeah, that makes sense. What was your wedding bouquet?

Kayly: Oh, to be honest, my wedding bouquet wasn’t like the flowers that I wanted because, COVID.

Host: Oh, yeah.

Kayly: The growers were not growing things because they weren’t selling because people weren’t getting married and like, it was just a lot. I actually… my floral rep, his name is Jose – he’s like the coolest – I was just like, “Jose, just here’s my color scheme like, send me whatever and we’ll just do whatever.”

I had some topicals in there and some roses and it turned out really pretty.

Host: That’s cool.

Kayly: Yeah, it’s funny. You can trust your rep and just be like, whatever!

Host: Right.

Kayly: It’s my wedding, it will go how it goes!

Host: And you said you did like a vow renewal kind of type thing this year, too.

Kayly: Mmhmm, yep.

Host: Did you do your own bouquet this year?

Kayly: Yep, I did, so I’ve had two bouquets. That’s kind of cool. And they were very different. One was like more like, garden style, like greenery and super pretty. And then the other one was like, a little more boho.

Host: Was that the one from this year?

Kayly: Yep. Yeah.

Host: Do you still have both of them?

Kayly: I do. I haven’t done anything real cool with them yet, but–

Host: You got some time.

Kayly: Yeah

Host: What are some do’s and don’ts in your craft as a florist when it comes to weddings?

Kayly: Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like florals are really fun. Because I don’t think there’s really that many rules to it. Like if you want to, spray your flower metallic green – go for it. Of if you want to, like flower a dumpster…

Host: Oh my gosh.

Kayly: Like florals are really cool, if you want to hang them from the ceiling… That’s like what I love about being a florist is like, there’s so many options to what you can do.

Host: Yeah, we talked a lot about bouquets, but I sometimes forget there’s other things that you can do, especially at weddings. There’s the, the arch arrangements you can make… Why don’t you tell me about some of the different creations you’ve been able to put together?

Kayly: Yeah, I’ve done… I have such cool brides. I’ve gotten to do really cool things. Usually, the arbor piece for a ceremony is great – a great place to like kind of experiment and really show the couples’ personalities. We usually do really cool big florals on those. I’ve also done a couple of hanging arrangements that like hang in the entryway and like some big pillars and all sorts of stuff.

Host: Have you ever worked at Black Hills Receptions and rentals?

Kayly: I have, yeah.

Host: They have that thing that hangs with all of the lights on it. Have you ever created an arrangement on that?

Kayly: I haven’t on that one.

Host: You have not?

Kayly: No, but I’ve done one at The Barn.

Host: Okay, The Barn at Aspen Acres? Lots of shout outs to all the different vendors.

Kayly: Yeah!

Host: I’ll put those in the description just in case you’re interested in learning more about those guys. But back to flowers and what you do as a florist, what are like three reasons why couples should hire a professional florist. I mean, we kind of talked about the one big takeaway that you just don’t have to stress about it. Like you’re passing it off to somebody who knows you and somebody that you’re going to trust and they kind of just put it all together.

Kayly: Yeah.

Host: But, what are a couple of other reasons?

Kayly: Exactly. I think a couple other reasons are, like I said, it takes time to learn what flowers are in season and what are going to be like the best quality and the best looking at the time of your wedding. Then, like the care for flowers, because they are alive, they’re fresh, they’re delicate. Caring for them and having them look like the best in your wedding day is something that I think is super important that a professional will know because it takes it takes time to learn that thing and like figuring it out.

Host: Like you said, you’ve been doing it for nine years, right?

Kayly: Yep.

Host: Almost ten?

Kayly: Yeah.

Host: You kind of mentioned the seasons thing, so can you explain how trends maybe changed throughout the season or time of year?

Kayly: Yeah, um, I think florals kind of go off of like, the kind of flowers that are that are “in season.” Spring is like Peony season. People love peonies. You get the lush kind of garden style bouquets and stuff like that. Then fall you see, like fall color palettes and stuff like that. It kind of changes throughout the seasons a little bit, but in the summer, I feel like it’s kind of a free for all like anyone does whatever the heck they want.

Host: Right.

Kayly: Because everything pretty much is in season in summer.

Host: Are sunflowers in season?

Kayly: They’re more of a fall flower; that goes with the fall color scheme.

Host: Yeah… like I said, I am definitely a sunflower person. If you had to choose one flower, what is your favorite flower and why?

Kayly: I really love ranunculus.

Host: I don’t even know what that is.

Kayly: It’s like just really intricate. It has so many petals. They’re all like, woven together in this really pretty little shape. But I wouldn’t say that I have like, one–

Host: No?

Kayly: –like one favorite flower. I think it changes pretty often.

Host: Really?

Kayly: Every time I do a wedding, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I love this flower. This is my new favorite.”

Host: Yeah, right!

Kayly: Ranunculus are always like at the top of my list.

Host: I guess that’s a similar for photography. If someone asked me what my favorite photo was–

Kayly: Yeah.

Host: –that’d be impossible to choose.

Kayly: Exactly!

Host: So I will have to consider that the next time I asked somebody. And I never thought about that before. But I also want to ask you a couple questions. So for those of you who are just listening to this for the first time, my previous seasons of the podcast was all focused around different mediums of art. So musicians, studio artists, digital artists, photographers, etc. And I always ask them two questions, and I still want to continue through this next season as well. So we’ll start with the big question of how do you define what art is Kayly?

Kayly: That’s a hard question.

Host: It is a hard question!

Kayly: I had to think about this one; thank you for sharing it with me beforehand.

Host: Right.

Kayly: Oh gosh. I think art is just whatever kind of sets you on fire creatively. I don’t think art is like one particular thing. I don’t know. For a long time, I was like… Oh I don’t feel like I’m an artist as a florist, but it really is a kind of art. And I think it’s just like, whatever brings you like happiness and lets you express yourself creatively.

Host: Yeah.

Kayly: That’s what I think art is.

Host: I love that: THAT SETS YOU ON FIRE… because you have such a fiery passion, like that phrase, you know?

Kayly: Yeah!

Host: That’s what comes to mind when you mentioned that. And yeah, I just love that. And what advice do you have for other artists, they don’t have to be florists, but like artists in general? What would you tell them? If you had to tell them one thing? Yeah, going out.

Kayly: I would say don’t hesitate to make what you love a job. Because if you love what you’re doing, as an artist, then doing it and making money on it is never gonna feel like you’re working. Like, there’s so many times that I’m like, at a wedding and I just look around and I think like: This is so crazy. Like, this is my life. This is like, this is my job. This is what I get to do every single day. And it’s so fun.

Host: Yeah!

Kayly: So like, take your art and like make it your like your whole life.

Host: I love that. I would caution though, that even though my passion is photography and telling stories, I love the in the moment, but not necessarily the behind the scenes management stuff… all the taxes.

Kayly: I mean there are definitely parts of my job that I don’t love…

Host: That definitely feel like work…

Kayly: And those are jobs that I will hire out to people that do love it.

Host: Oh yes, delegation! That’s another tip: learn when to delegate.

Kayly: Exactly, yeah. Learn when not do things.

Host: Right. But I also want to kind of mention, with this new rebrand that you’re doing… you mentioned that you’re going to be offering some décor rental. Do you want to talk about that at all?

Kayly: Yeah, I’d love to. I’m rebranding. I was Kayly Shae Floral Design Company, and now I am Kayly Shae Floral AND Design Company. And what that means – I’m launching a “Evermore Collection.” It’s just like modern, curated decorations and décor that you can rent for your wedding. I’ve been spending a lot of time like collecting all those things, making sure it’s something that fits within my brand and isn’t just like something that I have just because I know it would be like at a wedding. So yeah, it’s all pieces that I like really love. And I’ve taken like a lot of time putting together for you. And actually, I’m I’m working with Artistry by Erin. She was on one of your previous podcasts, and she’s helping with my rebrand and doing all the product photography. I love that I can use someone else’s art in my business and it’s so cool to see how passionate she is about studio stuff. It’s so fun.

Host: Yeah, absolutely. I’m super excited for that. When is that going to go into effect.

Kayly: It will be in the middle of December.

Host: Oh my gosh, that’s really soon. Which by the time this comes out in January, it’ll already have happened.

Kayly: Yep.

Host: So, yeah. And then the other thing I wanted to mention is that Kayly’s part of, is it Vibe collab?

Kayly: Vibe Collaborative.

Host: Collaborative, okay! (Which is another episode I hope to have in the future.) But why don’t you just give us a brief rundown on what that is as well while we’re at it.

Kayly: Yeah. So I think our unspoken tagline is “Bringing a whole new VIBE to the Hills.” We plan to take it somewhere else someday, too, but I am working with Kelsey Spratt and Wynter Childers with Created by Wyn, and we’re just setting up like, styled shoots (kind of). We do like lifestyle shoots and whole styled elopements. It’s just to get like creative content, and just have fun, meet other wedding vendors or like creatives….

Host: Yeah! Do you see you guys maybe going into action for weddings themselves? You know, maybe not necessarily just for a content day or something, but if a bride and groom were like “OH! I love Kelsey Spratt Photography, and I love your video or your floral and I love Wynter’s design…” would you come together and offer that for couples?

Kayly: Yes, of course. We’ve all talked about, like, how cool! We’ve already worked together on like, a couple of weddings. And it’s just cool when your vendors also like mesh really well, and know how to work together really well. So we, for sure would do weddings together.

Host: It’s definitely important to keep that in mind. For brides and couples, like, do your vendors know each other? Do they know how they flow? You know, that’s one of the things as a photographer and videographer, especially that I try and tell people, like, at least give us a heads up notice we can go out and grab coffee. So even as a florist, like who are some of your top vendors that you will need like to work with and communicate through the wedding process.

Kayly: I think having a planner is like, super helpful. Also knowing your venue as for a florist, like I love doing like the wild things. So knowing like if I can hang things like from the ceiling is like perfect. With the planner and just having someone else to help you like figure out what exactly you want for your wedding… because it’s a lot it’s a lot to plan for like one day, having someone that’s like experienced…

Host: and you’ve done it twice! (planned a wedding, see earlier conversation.)

Kayly: My first one was small, it wasn’t that hard. But yeah, just having someone to help you along the way is also like really great. And if they vibe really well with your vendors, then everything just goes so smoothly.

Host: Yeah, I love that… Well, is there any other thing that you want to like maybe wrap up with? Shout out to website, social, or anything else we didn’t talk about that as a florist you think is important to include her?

Kayly: Um, I don’t know. I’ll definitely shout out my stuff. On Instagram, I’m @ksfloraldesign. And then my website is kaylyshaefloraldesign.com You’ll have to go check it out. Because by the time this goes live, my new website will be up and you’ll able to see what Erin did – she’s done some amazing stuff.

Host: That’s super exciting. Thank you again Kayly for coming on.

Kayly: Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

***this is not an exact transcript.*** Recorded 11/30/2021 | Released 01/15/2022

OUTRO: Every artist lives in their work.

Pulse is defined as an arterial palpation or a strong regular beating or throbbing. In this podcast, discover artists in the Black Hills who uncover new techniques and live passionately for their work to bring brides and couples something beautiful for their special day.

This podcast started as a connection with artists in The Hills and now focuses on wedding related artists and vendors. From florists to stylists, bakers, and more. Thanks for tuning in!

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