Thursday, November 12, 2015

American vs European wrapped bouquets

The American fresh flower wrapped bouquet consists of an assortment of flowers, laid down on tissue, paper, cellophane or other decorative wrap material.  The flowers are laid so that they are displayed out the top of the wrap, the stems are left long for the recipient to cut to desired length later.  Also called "presentation style" bouquets, they are often given at awards ceremonies or other special occasions, but are still suitable for "just because" occasions.  This style of bouquet works best for the recipient who likes to style their own flowers in one or multiple vases. 

European Hand-Tied bouquets are the norm overseas but are typically not requested as often in the US.  Visually shorter than their American styled cousin, we have used the same amount of flowers, designed in our hand, tied off at the binding point, stems cut short.  These bouquets are "Ready -To- Party" and upon receipt, a quick re-snip of stems can be literally dropped into the recipient's vase and provide an instant professionally designed arrangement. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Customizing Wedding Flowers

A toss bouquet I designed for a wedding this March.  The bride was a former ballerina/ ballet fan so the toss bouquet was to interpret the ballet.  Black satin handle and puffy pink tulle with white dendros glued in made a very lightweight bouquet.

For the same wedding, I added in the bride's nursing pin to personalize the groom's boutonniere.

An heirloom brooch, earring or other keepsake can be either integrated into the bouquet or added to the handle. 

Besides jewelry, just about any object can be incorporated into flowers for your wedding.  The main factors to consider : scale of the item to the size of the flowers/flower arrangement, the weight of the object (if applicable), and  the delicacy of the item (antique brooch, heirloom of substantial value, etc) and how effectively it will be incorporated into the arrangement.   I personally have incorporated many objects into bouquets and boutonnieres, each item was personal to the bride, groom or both.  Remember the item needs to reflect something of you or the groom, an interest or hobby can even be represented by a simple fly fishing lure.  Talk to your wedding florist about what custom touches you can bring to the flowers to make your wedding day a little more unique and personal.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hidden Labor in Weddings, Part 1

Hidden- why?  Because it is labor that occurs but that is not witnessed by the client.  Processing and prepping flowers for a wedding or any event, requires a LOT of time and labor.  For instance, I received flowers for a wedding.  I processed them (meaning unpack, cut stems, dip in hydration dip, place in preservative water, move buckets to front of shop.)  For one wedding this took two and 1/2 hours.  Mainly because I had to process 100 stems of gerberas.  For more on how those little fickle flowers are processed, see our blog post: Gerbera Blog Post

At the end of the first day, most of the flowers are placed in the cooler and organized by what will be used first.  Some flowers stay out to open up; like lilies and alstroemeria.  In order to get them to open quickly they require being recut and changing the water at least twice a day if not more depending on what open stage they are at.


The next day I pull out the buckets of flowers I need to further process /prep.  Roses need dethorned. Lilies need pollen sacs and lower foliage removed.  Lilies and alstroemeria recut and seperate the open from the closed, open goes into preservative, closed stays out all day until it's "ready to party" as my supplier and I have termed it.

Everything I outlined above is normal for every shop for every wedding.  But I can't charge a "processing" fee based on how many times I will be handling the same flowers can I?  So therefore we have a specific retail markup on our flowers(which covers our cost + shipping) plus design & labor costs that combine to give you the final wedding bouquet price.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wedding Delivery Logistics

I recently delivered and set up a wedding in Front Royal, Va.  Here's the breakdown of the time spent from start to finish to help give a better understanding of how long it actually takes:

:45 minutes to load bouquets, personal flowers, 24 small centerpieces, toolbox, and a bucket of flowers securely into van.

:30 minutes one way to the event location (light traffic)

1:15 minutes unloading and placing centerpieces, unloading and delivering personal flowers, etc.

:30 minutes return trip back to the flower shop

:10 minutes unpacking and putting away all tools, buckets, boxes, etc.

That's 3 hours and 10 minutes for one wedding delivery where the ceremony and reception were at the same venue.

If you haven't already checked out our previous blog post concerning delivery and set up at events, you really should:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Viola! We've renamed ourselves!...

So I have renamed the blog "Petaled".  Hopefully it is more direct, clear and to the point on what this blog is about.  It's about flowers.  It's about weddings and special events.  It's about cool and exciting things happening around the world. And it's about the flower shop.  My family's flower shop in little downtown Winchester, VA.  My family is not the Snellings family.  The Snellings family is long established and well respected and started Flowers by Snellings in 1952.  The Harrison's (us) bought the business and building in 2003.  Of course we kept the name.  It would be silly to change the name after so many years.
Social Media is a different animal altogether.  And while the blog is intertwined with the shop, it is more than just a blog about the shop.   So moving forward I give you "Petaled".  And yes, that is a proper english word and derived from "petal".   (I double checked wikipedia and webster's to be sure)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wedding Estimating- The Inside Scoop

I just finished a wedding estimate up this morning (yay!) and thought I would share what exactly happens on the florist end for wedding estimates.

Step 1: The initial consultation.  This can be face-to-face, over the phone, or through a series of emails with pictures and links attached.  Or it is a combination of all of the above.  (30min -60 min)

Step 2: The break-down.  No, not the mental kind ( ha ha).  This is where I look over all my notes, my emails and try to mentally build the bouquets and arrangements and estimate the number of stems (approximately), containers, accents like ribbons, brooches, marbles stones, etc.  needed.    Some sketching /or Microsoft Paint programs are involved because I'm a visual person and need to actually draw it out.  (30min -60min)

Step 3: Research.   This will include multiple emails/phone calls back and forth with my suppliers, visits to websites of suppliers, to get the costs and availability for all fresh flowers and supplies for the specific time frame of the event.  This produces even more emails and phone calls when the event is 6-9 months away and different growing cycles and seasons effect product shipping and availability.  Also if I have to special order event vases to rent out to the bride, where and when they would be shipped, quantities needed, etc.  (time invested varies greatly, small weddings 30-60 min, larger weddings with rental items, 2 hrs total )

For example; Peonies.

Short seasons, either during winter or mid spring, early June, even locally grown are still really pricey.  $15-$20 per stem.  (so yes, if you have tons of peony plants in your yard, by all means, DIY your centerpieces)

Creating Proposal: I type pretty darn fast (thank you Typing 101 in high school! Algebra, not so much)  So this doesn't take long to actually type everything, provided I don't get interrupted with the daily business of the shop. ...which happens frequently because there is always someone celebrating life in all its stages from birth to death.  

Emailing Proposal:  Attaching estimate(s), attaching links, pictures of previous weddings, contracts, etc.  5min-15 min.  

Have you added up the time invested yet?  It's quite a little bit just for the average wedding.  Multiply by 2-4 weddings/events per weekend, multiplied by at minimum the wedding season "months" (May-October).  And this is all at no charge to you, the bride.  All we ask (the floral industry) is that if you must miss your scheduled wedding appointment, please call.  Nothing is more irksome than scheduling 4 appointments for a busy Saturday and no one shows or calls to say they're not coming.  Saturday appointments are a PREMIUM.  Especially in spring with all the other floral holidays and proms going on.  

 And if you decide to use another florist's services- it's okay to let us know you chose another florist.  Really, we won't be mad or scream.  It significantly helps to know when we send out 6 proposals for the same wedding date to 6 different brides, who's booking and who's not for scheduling purposes.   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Flower Girls- What you REALLY need to know about flowers for little girls.

Having children of my own has greatly improved how I sell flowers for flower girls. Why?  Because not all little girls like you messing with their head.  Case in point,  My little girl, age 6, is just now allowing me to braid her hair and put it in pony tails.  (and that's only because she's in L-o-V-e with Elsa and Anna and all things "Frozen")  Before then, she would rip out bands, headbands, ribbons, barrettes, etc. much to my frustration.  It didn't matter that mommy thought she was so adorable with her hair up.  
That being said, it made me realize that to sell a product for a flower girl just because I could, didn't mean I should.  And just because you see it in a magazine, does not mean it will be practical for your wedding.

So if the child is yours, you already know their personality and what they will and will not tolerate.
If the child is not yours, know the child's age and find out how they normally wear their hair.  Up? Down?  Do they like to play dress up?  Are they a total "tom boy" and flowers are just not a realistic option?

Here are some options for Flower Girls : flowers to carry, flowers in their hair, and petals to drop.

Let's talk about hair flowers:
I try to think about comfort as much as style.  Most of my hair accessories are simple, clean and lightweight.  Sure, a whole halo of roses looks pretty, but it's heavy.  And heavy means fidgety, and fidgety means it's getting ripped off the head sometime soon and Nobody's happy.  If you don't favor halos, then pieces that can be clipped in are a great accesorry for any age: 
Next up, flower balls, flower spheres, pomanders, etc. These are great as long as you keep the weight in mind.  Even the smaller balls are heavy when made with fresh flowers. For small children, I highly recommend silk pomanders or choosing the smallest diameter ball possible.  (*remember, some children may see the pomander ball as a missile to be launched)  

As you can see, even a 4" diameter sphere takes a substantial amount of flowers to create the "ball"

Finally there are several other options in the flowers-to-carry.  A simple single stem of hydrangea with a ribbon gives you a larger flower but is also very lightweight.  
Petals: A satin basket with petals is also an option.  Just be sure to check with your venue on the rules about flower petals (real vs fake) and who's responsible for cleaning up the petals afterward.  
There are also lots of other neat ideas for flower girls, even halos to carry: 

As long as you remember that little girls like to touch and smell EVERYTHING.   Whatever you decide it needs to be durable, lightweight and ultimately comfortable for these little ones to keep everyone happy on your wedding day.   

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rose Meanings

Red Rose: Love

Yellow Rose: Friendship.

Pink Rose: Affection, Grace, Admiration

Lavender Rose: Enchantment

Orange Rose: Passion, Enthusiasm

White: Purity, Innocence

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015: A Brand New Year, and a New Color- Marsala

A new year, a new Pantone Color for the year- Marsala! I picked this image because it shows accent colors of berry reds and blues to compliment:
A few wedding ideas to follow this color scheme:
Red roses, red dianthus, light blue delphinium, pink heather, 'garnet glow' mini callas, hypericum berries. 

A boutonniere of red hypericum berries, pink heather and salal leaf with ribbon accent;

A flower girl halo below of heather, boxwood and hyacinth blooms secured with silver bouillon wire.  Texture with minimal weight is more comfortable for little girls (and increases the chances they will wear it for the entire ceremony!)

and an even deeper contrast with bright and dark blues, plum purple and shades of reds and burgundy.