As we mentioned last month, late summer and early fall are busy seasons for weddings in Los Angeles and we thought it would be good to go over the best practices for setting up for a wedding.
Read on for more details on a typical wedding like the one we did last month at the Palos Verdes Golf Club (all pictures here are from one wedding day setup).
You can also download Flower Duet's Wedding Flower Set Up Checklist to help you remember what to do before the big day while you are still in the planning stages with the wedding couple and for what to do on the big day itself.
Be in Contact with Wedding Coordinators
These days it’s pretty normal for a couple to have its own wedding coordinator and for there to be a wedding coordinator on site at the wedding venues. It’s a really good idea to meet with all the coordinators or be in touch via phone and email. Make sure you have everyone’s mobile phone number programmed into your own phone so you can text during the big day. Also, make sure everyone has your mobile phone number, too.
Visit the Wedding Venues
Some of the wedding venues we set up for wedding flowers are huge luxury resorts like the St. Regis in Monarch Beach or Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes. Often, it can be very hard to figure out where to park to first drop off personal flowers (bouquets, boutonnières, corsages) for pictures. Then, you need to set up the arch and pew décor in another part of the property only to finally get to the reception ballroom that might be in a completely different place.
So, it’s best to do a little reconnoitering before the event. Find out where to park from the onsite coordinator and even arrange to meet with him or her beforehand so you know where you need to go.
Tip the Bellmen and Valets at Hotels
Both my husband and I worked as Valet Parking Attendants at various times after college, so we know what it’s like to make a living from tips. It pays to tip the valet and bellmen at resorts and hotels. Bellmen will more than likely help you carry the flowers to the hotel room and maybe even give you a bottle of ice water to send you on your way (That's happened to me!). Valets will help you by letting you park your car in the circle so you can bypass the parking fee, so go ahead and give him some of that fee you save as a tip.
And, you may be back at that same hotel next week for your next wedding and those same people will be working. They'll remember if you tipped or not, so be nice to "the help" and they will help you. I would suggest $2-$5 per person helping you out depending on how many flowers you need to deliver.
Get to the Wedding – A Florist Checklist
Bring Cash for Tips, Parking and Snacks. Sometimes you need to wait around to move arch decorations or take down the arch, so make sure you have some cash to buy a Coca Cola at the hotel bar.
Give yourself plenty of time to pack up the car or van with the flower designs. This will always take longer than you think.
Leave your design studio or shop earlier than you think you need to. You don’t want traffic to be an issue.
Bring ladders, trolleys and anything else you might need to set up the arch or take flowers to their final destination at the venue.
Keep flowers like hand-tied bouquets inside vases of water for delivery. The extra cost is worth your flowers looking fresh throughout the day.
Make a plan to drop off centerpieces inside the venue so they are not cooking inside your car or van for too long. Even if the tables and linens are not set up yet, at least you can “stage” your flowers in the area where they will go.
Wait to set up arch décor if it’s a hot day, until the last minute. Bring help so you can set up the flowers quickly.
Put down aisle petals at the last minute or give the coordinator a big bag of them to drop on the aisle if it’s a windy day.
Document Your Day
Bring your camera and take photos of everything along the way. As long as you arrived at the venue early to set up, you should have plenty of time to take photos of your work. Don’t forget to network with the wedding photographer to get some of the great shots of the bride with her bouquet for your portfolio, too.
Exchange Business Cards
Make sure you have business cards on hand and ready to pass out to the video guy, DJ, photographers, wedding coordinators and anyone else who admires your work. When you receive business cards from others, make sure you take a moment to look at it first and then ask them something about their card … so they know you care about them, too.
Portrait of a Wedding at The Palos Verdes Golf Club, Palos Verdes Estates, CA
All the photos in this story were from wedding we did in Palos Verdes in August. Here is how the day developed so you can see what to expect when you have a wedding to set up.
The Palos Verdes Golf Club is close to our floral design studio, so we were able to keep things cool until the last minute, and load carefully. We arrived on site to find the previous wedding was still winding down, so the tables were still missing linens and the bridal room was still occupied. But with 90 degree heat it was important to be able to unload as soon as possible.
We met the wedding coordinator who was hired to assist our bride for the day. Ida Gardner Events is a wonderful operation with whom we had worked in the past, making our set up even easier. Ida and her assistant helped clear space for us to bring in all the florals, until the venue was ready. With a venue like the PV Golf Club, they are professionals and work quickly and efficiently, in no time at all the linens were swapped, tables moved and the bridal room readied. The centerpieces went on the tables as soon as the linens were down, the cake table was decorated, the bar tables adorned. The bride had not arrived so we wanted to have those placed in the room so she would see them as she walked in. We make a habit of delivering the bridal bouquets in water, to ensure their freshness, as well as to keep their shape.
Ida wanted one of the arrangements taller, for the display she was creating for the place cards, so we did that, as we always bring extra flowers for these sorts of things.
We waited until the last minute to hang the floral sprays so that they did not sit too long in the heat. Bring at least two ladders or step stools if you can or check with the venue to see if they have them on the site. Two people are better than one to hang these.
While I was doing some tweaking, Kit had her camera snapping away. Don't forget to bring your camera and take more images that you think you will need. You may be able to get images from the Photographer, but always better to have your own.
The last step is always the petals for the aisle. By this time you have tweaked, added and used all the extra flowers that you brought, so now you can petal all the roses for the lovely walk down the aisle.
As we wrapped up the finishing touches the video crew and the photographers made their way over to us at the start of the aisle. We all looked at the pretty scene and swapped business cards and promised to all like each other on Facebook.
If you have time, do one last go around to check all your pieces. Make sure there is enough water in the vases, no flower heads have snapped off or fallen out. Check in with the Wedding Coordinator as she always has her eyes on the details and will let you know if something is missing or will tell you it is just so pretty!
Last month we talked about movies that feature a florist as the main character. This month, with the start of the fall TV shows, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our favorite shows that have great floral designs each week. Some of these are summer shows and some don’t start until January and some you’ll just have to get on DVD but you can enjoy the flowers and the shows!
We continue to add more videos to our YouTube channel. This month we've added a video that features lots of wedding flowers from a variety of weddings so you can see the depth of Flower Duet's work.
We like to say we can do anything and that we can make your vision come true. To learn more about our wedding packages, visit flowerduet.com/weddings.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you'll know when we've uploaded a new show!
Huntington Library California Dahlia Floral Design
September 8, 2012
ADULT CLASS - 10 a.m. to Noon
Work with beautiful and scrumptous premium Dahlia flowers that are in prime season right now and learn how to make them last a long time in a floral design. Students will take home tips and techniques on current floral trends in addition to their own design.
KIDS' CLASS - 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Students will learn about local flower farmers and create whimsical design featuring summery California grown flowers.
South Bay Design Studio
September 22, 2012
10 a.m. to Noon
Succulents and Celosia
Create a low and long arrangement in floral foam for a great outdoor party design to help you manage the heat of late summer and delight the senses with wonderful color and fun textures.
Wedding Flower Package
Flower Duet offers a generous wedding package that includes your own personalized Web page, a trip to the LA Flower Mart and
a mockup design of your centerpiece or bouquet! Check out the details on our
Wedding Flowers page. If you are coming to the Los Angeles area for your wedding, we are your Los Angeles wedding destination florist! We create a virtual web site just for your wedding flowers so you know exactly what to expect on your big day!
We are pleased to announce our new online store. We've collected all of our offerings into one convenient place for you to sign up for workshops and purchase floral tools and How-To instructions. We still accept all major credit cards through the secure PayPal payment method. You do not need a PayPal account to purchase with us. Please visit shop.flowerduet.com.
Everyday Flowers: Flowers to Beautify and Decorate the Home by Paula Pryke
Paula Pryke does it again with a fantastic flower design book. This time, she goes into detail on what to grow in your own garden for floral designs. True to her impeccable style, this book also features some wonderful and classy floral designs. This book is a great addition to any floral designer’s library.
A pin with a little pearl bead might seem like such a small item to feature as a “floral tool” but these versatile pins are wonderful on many ways.
Decorate and Secure Hand-Tied Bouquet Ribbons
In addition to using them to pin boutonnières (bouts) on dads, grooms, groomsmen and ring bearers, these pins can be adapted to help secure ribbon to hand-tied bouquets and offer a fashionable accent to the stems of a bouquet.
Use to Accent Flowers
Also used to accent flowers themselves as shown above on this pomander of green Kermit mums.
NEW! Pixie Bouquet Pins
Used to create a nice look to the end of stephanotis reservoirs. This looks much nicer than just the cotton tips of the reservoirs.
We used to cut regular boutonnière pins in order to fit them into the short part of a stephanotis stem reservoir, but now you can purchase short versions of pins to use for flower accenting. These are called "Pearl Tiny Pixie Bouquet Pins" and you can purchase them through save-on-crafts.com.
You can get them in a variety of colors including pink!
There are other “fancy” pins you can use to bejewel your flowers. These are called "Light Blue Rhinestone Diamante Corsage Pins" and can be used in a variety of ways including adding a "blue" theme to your floral designs if you cannot get blue flowers.
Our favorite floral cutters we have been using since 1999 have gone green! Not just our Flower Duet color green, but recycled plastic eco-friendly green. Mother Earth should be proud. We first featured these cutters in our newsletter back in May 2010, but the new "green" cutters are worth another look.
Each 7.5" cutter features:
Oversized stainless steel blades
Handles made from 70% recycled content
Wire cutting notch
One blade is serrated for grip & cut performance
Locking mechanism for safety and storage
Cuts wire, plastic, wooden branches and more
$15.00 (plus shipping) usually ships within 1-2 days
Living Art Pop Box
Make Your Own Living Art
In April, we talked about our new product, "Pop Boxes" and we are excited to make them available for purchase now from our online store. In this month's newsletter, we show you how to create one of these living art beauties step-by-step.
Our exclusive Pop Boxes are hand-made in the U.S.A. by our crafty father whom we all call "Pop." So, the boxes are named after him as well as the fact that you just "pop" in the soil, "pop" in your plants and then "pop" it up on the wall after the plants have taken root!
Living Art Pop Box Specifications:
Outside Box Dimensions: 8-inches wide square by 2.5-inches depth.
Box Opening Dimensions: 6-inches wide square.
Wood frame is made from Cedar. Cedar is durable in weather, will turn naturally gray.
Wire mesh grid features 1/2 inch openings to allow for different size stems to fit.
Wire mesh is galvanized to protect against rusting (although some rust may appear in time).
Backing is waterproof.
Back includes built-in hanger hole for easy hanging.
Can hold up to 60 small succulent cuttings or 12 medium to large cuttings.
$30.00 (plus shipping) usually ships within 1-2 days
Flower Arranging DVD - Hand Tied Bouquet
What this flower arranging how-to DVD includes:
First, the sister team of Flower Duet, Casey and Kit, takes you on location to their favorite wholesale flower vendor and shows you how to choose only the freshest flowers - just like they do for all their clients in person!
Then, it's back to the design studio where we show you how professional florists prepare flowers to optimize their vase life.
In addition to tips on color and flower choice, we teach you the easiest and most adaptable way to create a hand-tied European wrap bouquet using three different sets of flowers.
All Flower Novelty "How-to" booklets include a complete supply list with instructions on how to use the floral supply, how to make eyes, ears, noses, mouths, whiskers and bows. Patterns are also included for ears for flower puppies and flower bunnies. All "how-to" booklets include step-by-step instructions with photos illustrating each step.