Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Luxembourg Royal Wedding flowers

Royals don't marry often, and when they do, it is hard to find great pictures of the flowers!  I have scoured the web looking for the best pics from several sources so here they are:
This is a pic of the happy couple at the reception prior to the civil ceremony.  The bouquet is pretty but I would've have liked to seen something more interesting.  Especially because the white flowers are overshadowing the pinks and other pastels.  Mixing white flowers with any other color is always tricky because white is the brightest color, your eyes are drawn to it automatically leaving the rest of the bouquet...well, lacking. 
This is a stunner of a bouquet.  Beautiful, simple...and expensive! White phalenopsis orchids are still on the exotic side of the orchid spectrum.  The cascade style compliments the dress perfectly and is designed more narrow and doesn't overpower the dress or the bride. 
Ceremony flowers for the Cathedral in oranges, peaches, ivories and whites.  Pretty traditional on the style but it IS a royal wedding so it's to be expected.   Mostly roses, lilies, alstroemeria and a few other flowers. 
Ugliest flower girl dresses EVER.  The color is pretty, and there are various ways to rock the aqua/mango colorscheme, but this is NOT it.  Maybe they're traditional garb, but the rest of the wedding party looks pretty modern.  I'm assuming, because I don't know, that the attendants don't carry flower bouquets because they have to carry the royal length train.  Love the dress color and style on them.  The flower baskets....heavy and boring.   A fully soaked block of oasis floral foam weighs at least a pound, add in flowers, basket, greenery....that's a lot of weight to carry around.  I'm hoping these are handtied bouquets just situated in those baskets without the aid of foam for the little girls' sakes. 
That's the way to fill a big ceremony room!  Holy cow that's alot of baby's breath and greenery!  I can only imagine how many hours the designers went without sleep to get this all done.  Literally. 
Here's a side view to get a better perception on just HOW much work and flowers were involved to make this cathedral gorgeous.

The car is even decorated....and I'm not sure but that looks like green hydrangea and white hydrangea blooms.
Look above this couple's head!~!! WOW.
I really have no words...that's a TON of roses in the background.  Would love to see the "Before & After" pics of this room if they exist.
I almost missed the centerpieces in this picture...mainly because they're smooshed between the mirror and table.  Granted there are a ton of flowers in the room already, but personally, I feel the centerpieces are a little lack-luster. 
There was a small pic of the civil ceremony bouquet, but it wasn't very clear so I didn't post it.  If I find a better pic I'll add it in later!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gas, Economy, and Retail Prices

Gas prices 10 years ago were approximately $1.60/ gallon!  Just like every other industry costs have gone up.  The floral industry is no different.  Carnations are around $1.10 to $1.45 depending on supply and color.  10 years ago....much less.  Rising fuel costs and transportation costs effect everything.  Here's the background on what it takes to get flowers from fields to your door.
 Flowers start their journey from fields in South America, Europe, Canada, and California.   They have to be planted, watered, fertilized, possibly outside, possibly in greenhouses depending on the type of flower and climate.  Then paid workers must harvest flowers and pack them for shipment.  Don't forget the grower's water, electric, packaging, employee taxes, benefits and other assorted costs.  Then flowers are shipped either by plane or truck or both depending on their destination.  Fuel costs are tacked on plus handling fees.  Then wholesalers must receive and redistribute the flowers.  This involves more lighting, cooling, employee costs.  Distribution to retail flower shops accumulates more fuel costs.  From the retail end, we receive the flowers in boxes, must re cut them and put them in the proper chemically treated water.  (Chemicals $ + Water $ + employee hours + cooler electricity $ = Final Retail Price)  This is just for single stem flowers you would purchase out of the cooler and take with you wrapped up to arrange yourself.   If you want those same flowers arranged?  Labor fees for the designer to arrange them + container price.  Delivery?  Delivery driver salary, gas, mileage, annual maintenance on vehicle, tires, etc.  It all adds up and no one is getting a free pass.  I'm outlining all of this because I think that sometimes it is easy to overlook or be unaware of every step it takes to get those beautiful blooms from Origination to Destination. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 13th Wedding weekend

 I really fell in love with the flowers and colors with this past weekends' wedding.  This is the bridal bouquet of the purple kale, the beautiful orchids, gorgeous 'Milva' roses accented with red/orange hypericum was definitely one of my favorites.  These are a few pictures I took with my phone, so the colors are not done the justice they should have, looking forward to getting the photographer's pics to share soon.
 Cake layers accented by flowers of the wedding.

 The GORGEOUS George Washington Hotel Ballroom Mantle... I love decorating this mantle and have done so for many weddings, events and shows.  Every time is different from the last.  This bride in particular gave me the freedom to decorate it with enough product to showcase the mantle and mirror effectively. 

 The table linens were fun and and the color is a very pretty orange (again, the difference between a phone pic and a photographer's camera is vast)
 A close up of one of the centerpieces.  Orange and purple are great fall colors!
The bride's lanterns surrounded by groupings of flowers connected by bear grass.  This is one way to get the circular feel of a flower wreath without the heaviness of an actual "wreath" or "halo" of greenery.  It was simple, clean and lightweight. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blue Thistle

This thistle is a beautiful blue color and is perfect for added texture and color in any bouquet.  Read the excerpt below for additional information:
Eryngium is a genus in the family Apiaceae of about 230 species of annuals and perennials with hairless and usually spiny leaves, and dome-shaped umbels of flowers resembling those of thistles. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the centre of diversity in South America. Some species are native to rocky and coastal areas, but the majority are grassland plants. Common names include Sea-holly and Eryngo, the former typically being applied to coastal species, and the latter to grassland species.
The flowers are clustered in tight umbels, with a whorl of spiny basal bracts.
Eryngium maritimum is a perennial plant native to Europe and often found on sea shores. It produces a basal rosette, from which grow flowering spikes with stiffly spiny foliage and stems. These can reach around 50 cm in height. It is often grown in gardens for its metallic bluish flowers and upper foliage. The basal foliage is a very conspicuous pale grey or silvery green, from which the stiff, lightly branching flowering stems rise up.
Related species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and these may also be called "sea holly", though the majority are not associated with littoral (sea-shore) habitats. Among the best known of these is Eryngium bourgatii (illustrated), a perennial with stunning green, prickly foliage marbled with silver. The flowers, which appear in summer, are cobalt blue, and appear very attractive to bees. The plant is 30 to 60 cm in height. Other commonly grown ornamental species include Eryngium alpinum, E. variifolium, E. tripartitum, E. bromeliifolium, and the biennial E. giganteum. (information courtesy of
Erynigum thistle in a recent bridal bouquet last month.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Not-so-common Centerpiece

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  I love all the colors that nature inspires, and all the beautiful products available to me this time of year.  This is a centerpiece I did a few years ago, but I think the use of colors and the groupings of materials really make this centerpiece a statement.  Far from the traditional long and low centerpiece, this isn't so over the top abstract either. The top view:
Votive candles worked in between groupings for light and interest, pinecones for texture, chrysanthemums sheltered by the rest of the focal flowers....still one of my favorites!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lavender Fall Bridal bouquet

Love this week's bridal bouquet.  Purples, lavenders and hints of whites.  October is one of the busiest month's for weddings, and we are definitely busy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Infidelity, Anonymity orders in a flower shop

    Infidelity orders...This occurs many times in the course of the year in a retail flower shop.  More often than what people realize.  That scene from "Valentine's Day" where the the husband buys flowers for his wife and his mistress...commonplace business transactions for florists, jewelers, etc.  
It's unfortunate but it boils down to being just a business transaction in the floral industry.  If the Florist takes any action to notify the "wronged party", they face possible lawsuits.  It's an ugly side of business but it's a part of the business day regardless if we (the florist's) like it or not.
The humorous side?  When someone forgets that their current wife is the joint account holder on the debit/credit card they used to purchase flowers for another women.  (or vice versa)
    Anonymous senders pose much the same headaches if not more so.  Why?  Because Murphy's Law declares anytime someone receives flowers from an unknown source, their mind automatically draws a blank.  Or they assume the worst- they have a stalker. Even if they should know it's simply their husband or boyfriend sending the flowers, 9 out of 10 times the recipient will call asking who the sender is.  When the sender doesn't want to be known, we cannot disclose that information.  No amount of begging or pleading will alter this.  Again, liability reasons.  If you have a legitimate stalker issue- call the police.  If a policeman shows up at my shop, then and ONLY then, will I release the sender's info.  I don't enjoy enforcing this policy, and have had numerous people yell at me over the phone because of it.  I don't enjoy being yelled at either, especially when I've done nothing wrong. 
   If you receive flowers either anonymously or from someone you don't wish to receive flowers from, don't hand them back to the delivery person.  We are simply the messenger service, we've been hired to make and deliver flowers..that's it.  You wouldn't throw a letter back in the mailman's face just because it's from someone you don't like would you?  Our suggestion, if you really don't want the flowers, give them to someone else to enjoy.  A neighbor, your child's teacher, drop them off at a nursing home or hospital.  The flowers should be enjoyed by someone, even if it's not the intended recipient.
   The main reason I posted about this subject?  No matter who I've come into contact with, no one ever believes situations like "Valentine's Day" really happen in real life.  They do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dressmakers and Colors

One of the biggest aggreivations of coordinating colors with clients is the millions of names dressmakers come up with for colors.  So many women were coming in saying "cornflower" blue dress....which I think of as this:
This is a deep almost navy/cobalt colored flower. It sometimes available in a lighter shade.  Imagine my confusion when I showed the bride ribbon samples in this color for her bouquets and she told me I had the wrong color.  This is cornflower according to a well known bridal company:
hmm...yes it IS a shade of blue but in person the dress is even, we floral designers just smile and silently curse the wedding dress industry for the constant miscommunication they cause.  Don't even get me started on "Victorian Lilac".....there are probably 10 different shades of lilac...
The best solution I've come up with and encourage brides/clients to do this...go to the local Home Depot/Lowe's, etc and go to the paint section.  Play with all the strips of paint samples.  This is the best way to group different colors together.  Ignore the names on the samples.  Bring the samples in along with actual fabric swatch of dress.  This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and the same color scheme- no matter what it's called.

THE STARS PROJECT - Schaffer Designs 2012

This is the video of the Celebration of the Constitution, courtesy of Schaffer Designs.  We provided 3 stars for the project for the state of Virginia.  Take a moment and watch a floral installation in progress!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Fall is one of my favorite seasons, it brings beautiful flowers, fall leaves (and football!)  This is one of the bouquets I designed for a past fall wedding.  I really liked how all the different shades of orange roses complimented each other.  The attendants carried similar bouquets to this bridal bouquet and it looked great with their mocha color dresses (aka brown).