You know I'm all about saving money and DIYing things. However, if there is one wedding project I would highly (read: strongly, very strongly) recommend NOT doing yourself, it's the flowers!
Folks, don't do it. Don't even try it. Unless you're already a florist, can clone yourself, or have a time-turner Hermione Granger style, there isn't enough time in your life to do your own wedding flowers. Once you read everything that goes into a day on the job with Stephanie, owner of The Blue Daisy Floral Designs (also one of my first featured vendors!), you'll agree!
Not only is it a HUGE endeavor time-wise, but it also takes a TON of skill and flower know-how. You can't really just go to Trader Joe's, pick up a bunch of bouquets, and make some pretty centerpieces. Well…I mean you could…theoretically. I did this for my own bridal shower. But then you'll end up with centerpieces that look like the ones I had at my bridal shower…and no one wants that.
Anyways, there is so much that goes into a florist prepping for and executing an order for a wedding day that I hope you're sitting down to read this one. Otherwise, you might fall over from exhaustion by just reading how much hard work Stephanie puts in to make one bride happy.
The florist’s job begins way before the day of the wedding. For this particular journey, we’ll go back to last October when I received a phone call to meet with bride Marissa and her mom to discuss her August 1, 2015 wedding. We met at The Blue Daisy studio and went over all of the details and options discussing Marissa’s vision for the day. After our consultation, a proposal was drafted and sent off for approval. We made a change or two via email and then I did a happy dance when Marissa said she’d like to book! We were in communication over the next several months regarding changes, updates, and counts.
Three weeks out from the wedding, I comb through the final order and calculate what flowers and supplies will be needed and I order them from my vendors. They'll arrive the week of the wedding.
Speaking of which…let's start on Tuesday, July 28.
- Arrive at the studio early to process flowers with Patti, my shop assistant for the day.
- Then, off to Oakland to pick up the containers that were rented by the previous weekend’s bride.
- Back to the studio to clean and put them away so we have room to design for this week.
- Pulled all of the containers and supplies I need for the week.
- Wait for the flower delivery that has the locally grown sage for the wedding. Catch up on emails while I wait.
- Head home for dinner and a dog walk with my husband, Patrick.
Wednesday July 29
- Leave the house at 7:30 a.m. to head to the Strip District for the candelabras and supplies. Everything juuuuust fits into Patrick’s SUV, which I borrowed for the day.
- Race back to the studio to unpack the car and then I’m off again to a local flower grower to pick up the dahlias for the wedding.
- Back to the studio after picking up our dog, Thor (He likes to come to work.).
- Patti and I start designing. We finish up around 4 p.m. and I stay at the studio until about 5:30 p.m. sorting and prepping for the next day.
Thursday, July 30
- Another early start at the studio to receive the remaining flowers that didn’t make the first shipment on Tuesday. This time Janet is assisting in the studio. The new flowers are processed and put into the cooler.
- We work on the tall centerpieces.
- Angie of La Candella Weddings (BB: Hey, I featured her too!) comes in the afternoon to photograph us working (It’s always fun to have photographers in the studio!).
- Work until about 4 p.m. then I stay at the studio to organize and prep for Friday.
- Meet the hubs at Noodles & Co. for dinner because, frankly, I don't feel like cooking.
Friday, July 31
- Personal flowers day! All of the boutonnieres and corsages need to be made. At the beginning of the day, we also make four large church arrangements, then it’s wiring, gluing and taping for the rest of the afternoon.
- I also got to make a dog collar wreath for Marissa’s pup, Ellie! This is essentially the same mechanics as a flower crown and takes about two hours total. By the end of the afternoon, our fingers are covered in glue and numb but all of the designing is done!
- We pack together as much as we can for easy load up and count, count, and recount everything! We worked efficiently this week (and only had one event) so we are done by 5 p.m. which is pretty rare. Woo hoo, I get to sleep tonight!
- Tacos for dinner and I fall asleep on the couch while watching a Mad Men episode with Patrick (Shhh – don’t tell me what happens! We’re only on season 5!).
Saturday, August 1 – Wedding Day!
7 a.m. – Wake up! Coffee and breakfast with the hubs and the dog.
8 a.m. – Shower and get dressed for the day. Grimace at the thought of wearing jeans on a hot day but prefer not to wear shorts to set ups.
9 a.m. – Patrick and I arrive at the studio to wrap the ribbons on the bride’s bouquet, count everything again, and start packing florals in crates and boxes for transport. I send Patrick on a hardware store mission for some emergency glue.
10 a.m. – Amanda and Janet arrive to help load. Play “floral Tetris” and strategically pack all of the candelabras into Janet’s Jeep. They juuuusst fit. Next play Tetris with the flowers and rest of the goods in the 9’ cargo van. Everything fits, whew!
11 a.m. – We’re off! Janet and Amanda head to the West Overton Barn, about an hour away, to begin assembling the candelabras. Patrick and I are off to Greensburg to deliver the personal flowers to the bride’s grandmother’s home where they are getting ready.
Noon – Patrick and I arrive to deliver the personal flowers (This is my favorite part!!). I get to see Marissa’s face light up as she sees her bouquet for the first time. I get all butterfly-y myself because this is why I do what I do. Marissa “tries on” her bouquet and I instruct her and the maids how to hold their flowers as they go down the aisle (Thumbs at your belly button ladies – not too high!). We try on Ellie’s dog flower collar and photographer Alison Mish snaps a few shots of the groom’s boutonniere. The bride’s mom and grandma insist that we take some cookies. After attempting to refuse, I gave in saying that I couldn’t deprive my poor husband, who was waiting in the van cranking the air conditioning. And they were delicious – thank you!!! We head to the church.
12:45 p.m. – Arrive at the church. Quietly tie 28 bunches of baby’s breath on the pews and set up the altar arrangements. Discuss with the priest where to place the back of church flowers since the space isn’t quite big enough and settle on moving a small table to accommodate them. Set up the boutonnieres and corsages in the back of the church for the family when they arrive. Take all of the boxes and the tool box quietly back to the van and walk the church to make sure no remnants were left behind and everything is perfect for Marissa’s walk down the aisle. Call Janet to see how everything is going at the Barn. Give her instructions to proceed and take a McDonald's/lunch order via text.
1:30 p.m. – Head towards the McDonald’s drive through. We don’t always have time for lunch but given the heat of the day and the amount of work remaining and the fact that we were passing a McDonald’s and fries sounded really yummy, we decided it would be a good idea.
2 p.m. – Arrive at the West Overton Barn and unload flowers from the van into the barn, where it was slightly cooler. Quickly scarf down lunch. The remaining six of my ten McNuggets will have to wait until later.
2:15 p.m. – Begin working quickly with Patrick, Janet, and Amanda to place arrangements, including the candelabra toppers, 12’ greenery garlands and buds, and 28 mercury glass vases filled with flowers. Followed by adding 140 tea light candles all around the space.
3:15 p.m. – All four of us walk each table, looking closely to make sure that menu cards, favors, and silverware are still in perfect place. We adjust chairs to be aligned correctly, check to make sure that no candles are in danger of burning flowers or anything else, and scour for loose petals and debris. Basically we make sure each table is perfect 🙂
3:45 p.m. – I send the girls back to the shop since all that remains is placing the cocktail hour flowers (cocktail hour is outside at 5 p.m. and it’s too warm and sunny to place them yet) and put flowers on the cake (which hasn't arrived yet). As we wait, we keep checking tables, adjusting as necessary. I eat a few remaining french fries and nuggets.
4:15 p.m. – Still no cake and I am worried guests might arrive early to cocktail hour, so we take the flowers to the garden and set them out.
4:30 p.m. – We should have left to go back to the church by now but still no cake! I follow up with the caterers again and find out that it is on its way.
4:45 p.m. – Finally the cake arrives! Patrick and I work quickly to put toothpicks into the flower buds and decorate it as per the sketch from our final consultation. Place the topper and we’re off to the church to clean up!
5:20 p.m. – We’re too late to clean up as 5:30 mass is about the start, so we decide to attend mass (then we don’t have to get up early tomorrow!) and clean up after. After church, the priest and church ladies tell us how much they enjoyed the flowers as we take them out to the van and place the ones that are to be left on their designated pedestals. Very satisfying 🙂
7 p.m. – Patrick and I are staying at my parent’s house in Irwin, which is closer to the venue, so we head back for some homemade meat loaf (My mom’s is the best!) and a short nap.
10:45 p.m. – Alarm goes off! Patrick and I jump in the van and head back to the barn to clean up after the reception, which is to end at midnight.
11:30 p.m. – Looks like the reception ended a bit early so we are able to start cleaning up right away. Chat with the mother of the bride and the bride and they tell me they absolutely loved everything. Cue heart melt! At midnight after a long day/week, it feels really good to hear that the bride’s vision came to life. Happy bride, happy florist!
12:40 a.m. – The van is packed up, we head back to my parent’s house to shower, and we pass out around 1:30 a.m.!
On Sunday, after spending time with family, we drive back to the studio and unload everything from the van. I spend Monday catching up on emails and phone calls that I missed on Friday and Saturday. I'm feeling a bit under the weather so most of this happened from bed. Tuesday means returning the rented candelabras and cleaning and putting everything away from the weekend! We don’t have a wedding this coming weekend so no flowers this Tuesday, but normally a new shipment of pretties would have arrived by now and we’d be hard at work on the next one!
Every wedding week and weekend looks a bit different in the life of a florist. Sometimes we have multiple events and sometimes just a larger one. Sometimes we are hoping between venues in Oakland and sometimes we are staying over night at Seven Springs to clean up the next morning. Some journeys begin two years out from the wedding when we meet with a bride, and other times it’s a quick four month trip (or less!) to the aisle. No matter what the path looks like, it’s always fun and full of new challenges and happy, smiling couples!
Now, please enjoy some beautiful photos of Marissa and Nate's wedding day, courtesy of Alison Mish Photography!
Wow, Stephanie, you're a machine! Talk about non-stop! But you should be proud of all your hard work because the blooms turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing what a day in your life looks like. Now go take a break already…