My last blog post only covered the three hours I spent helping my florist friend Alison Franchi of Le Petit Gardenia strip flowers, but I asked her to give an idea of what it took on her end to create those amazing centerpieces!
You caught me at the perfect time on this question and to be honest I am so happy you wanted to inquire about what goes into the day and life of a floral design firm.
First, I would like to say this job is 100% a LABOR of love. The time invested in design, making the client happy, and keeping perishable flowers alive is extremely time consuming. The difference between our companies and other is that each event, design, wedding is unique and one of a kind. Therefore, we spend countless hours thinking of a design, purchasing product, experimenting, and then once the client is happy with a sample, executing it.
Here is the labor aka not so glamorous part: We head to the market around 4:00 – 5:00 AM to get out fresh pick to begin the flower process. Then we start the process of hydrating and giving the flowers nutrients to stay alive and strong for an event. Then we move on to stripping flowers. We can spend two to three solid days cleaning flowers. Ohh, the roses are brutal as they come with hundreds of prickly thorns that easily end up in our delicate fingers and palms before the design process! The purpose of cleaning the flowers is to make it easier on us designers and quicker for getting the arrangements done. After the flowers are clean we go in and re clean the buckets because when flowers sit in a dirty bucket bacteria grows and affects the life span if the flower. When I sell an event, I sell quality as well as beauty. I always want the best flowers as my clients are giving these as gifts and they should be enjoyed as long as possible. The wedding I did last Saturday took us months of planning and countless hours to create.
When you are working with flowers, the production can only be done one to two days in advance. This particular wedding took six people cleaning flowers for a total of 18 hours, three designers working on ten centerpieces for a total of 11 hours, and five people on set up (starting our day at 6am). At this particular wedding, once we got to the venue my crew spent three hours pulling the hydrangea out of the arrangements and re hydrating them because they were sucking all of the water out of the oasis and the flowers were wilting! We had to take each hydrangea out, cut the stem, put it in water for a while, then put it back into the centerpiece.Whew!
It’s a science to know how each flower reacts in certain environments and we have to produce a top notch product. After set up, the crew takes a break until the event/wedding ends and goes back in usually at midnight or later to strike. One to three vans and four to eight people are needed to break down as at his time of night everyone is exhausted and the venue staff want to go home. It’s a crazy, tiresome process but to watch the faces of the guest as they entire a room transformed by beauty for the night is worth all the sweat and pain of the floral labor of love. We have never had a unsatisfied client!