Forever Flowers

The striped petal offers handcrafted paper blooms with staying power | Photographs by Erin Schmidt

AFTER RUNNING a flower shop with multiple locations in Colorado for 10 years and creating floral designs for up to six weddings every weekend, a case of burnout nudged florist Elizabeth Carter to look for a change. She decided to move back to her hometown in Michigan to find some much needed work-life balance.

Carter considered switching careers, maybe selling real estate, but something kept pulling her back to working with flowers. At the same time, she was looking for something different. Inspired by paper florists she found on Instagram, Carter started teaching herself to make flowers out of crepe paper, consulting YouTube videos and online tutorials. She used her extensive background working with fresh flowers to hone the look and feel of her handcrafted blooms, and in 2017, The Striped Petal was born.

Through The Striped Petal, Carter offers everything from single stems of paper peonies, orchids, dahlias, and more to full-service wedding floral design combining paper flowers and fresh blooms. Each paper flower takes between 15 minutes to an hour to create, and the price for a handful of stems starts around $100. Her goal with the paper flowers is to “make them look as realistic as possible while still maintaining cost effectiveness,” Carter says. “I want it to be accessible to the average bride.”

True succulents are known for their long lifespans. The Striped Petal’s potted paper cactus plants last forever.

Carter’s designs offer couples all the beauty of fresh flowers with the added benefit that they won’t fade or wilt after the wedding day. “Paper can become an element from your wedding that you save and it becomes art in your home,” she says. “I love working with people to make their visions come true.”

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