Part 2! Flower Processing and Arranging, we will cover everything from the time we order the flowers to the time we show up on your wedding day. For this part, we will follow along with a wedding we did this past May. This mid-May wedding was filled with beautiful peonies, garden roses, and antique hydrangeas.
30 Days Prior to the Wedding:
Today’s the day! You sent in your final payment, you've confirmed centerpieces and any other small
last-minute changes that may have needed to be done. It's crunch time for me! I start confirming my “recipes”, counting all my stems and turning those numbers into bunches. A sample recipe would look something like this:
Once I have all my stems counted I add a 10% extra buffer for breakage or blooms that don’t open up so nice. I gather all my stem counts, convert them to bunches and place my pre-order with my
wholesaler. I am one of the few lucky florists that have such a wonderful wholesaler so close by.
If your bouquet requires a more specialty flower that is only available in-season, I typically source
them from either my personal garden or from a local flower farm. Some of my favorite flowers to
source locally are tulips, peonies, lilacs, and sweet peas.
4-2 Days Prior to the Wedding:
It’s the week of your wedding and you’re probably taking your first day off from work in preparation for the big day! This is when our true hard work starts! Depending on the type of flower, the season and your wedding date we typically pick up our flower order between 4-2 days before your wedding. This allows the flowers to open and hydrate in preparation for the wedding day.
Upon pickup, the flowers will be wrapped tightly in bunches of 5, 10, 12 or 25 and often the greenery will be in boxes. Once we load up, we head home and the madness begins. We have to open each package, strip each stem of excess greenery, remove the thorns from each rose, give each stem a fresh cut and place them in freshwater with flower food. Some flowers like hydrangea require an extra step when they must be cut, dripped in Alum (yes, the pickling spice) and then put into freshwater with flower food. We also like to take extra care with our hydrangeas and mist them once or twice per day. Hydrangeas are thirsty flowers and can drink from both their stems and petals. Some other flowers/foliages that can have extra steps are dahlias, anthurium, dusty miller and more. They are given a fresh cut and set in almost boiling water. The extremely hot water helps the flower drink and keeps them hydrated longer. Caution, not all flowers are accepting of this trick so make sure to do your research before you try to process all flowers this way.
Processing the flowers usually takes us between 3-5 hours per wedding and once we are done
processing we have all those lovely leaves and stem tips to clean up. Flowers are then placed in 1
of 3 locations depending on their particular needs. We either place them out in room temperature
air, cooled air in our cool room or directly in the cooler if they are extra delicate.
1-2 Days Prior to the Wedding:
Now, this is when all the fun starts! We get to start arranging and playing with the flowers to create the bouquets, centerpieces and other arrangements. We always start with the bridal bouquet. We
handpick the biggest, the fluffiest, the most luxurious blooms for the bridal bouquet. After all, it is her special day. We separate each bouquet’s recipe in their vase and then we play. Typically, we start each bouquet with a bed of greenery. The greenery is there to help support the more fragile
flowers and create a grid to hold the other stems in place. A bouquet can be done without any
greenery of all of course. For those, we typically do the “French-Twist” or “European style” hand-tied bouquet. The French Twist may sound tricky but it is one of the easier and more time-efficient
methods. Plus we love the beautiful spiral the stems create when you are finished. A true test of the
French Twist is to see if the bouquet stands on its own. If properly spiraled and cut, the bouquet
should be able to balance on the stems and stand on level ground on its own. Once we have the
bouquet all set we do a preliminary wrap in bind wire or bouquet tape to hold the stems in place. We give them all a fresh cut and place the bouquet back into freshwater.
Similar to the bouquets, we collect each ingredient for the centerpiece recipe and place them in
their holders. We then decide on our mechanics. Are we going to need floral foam, chicken wire, a
floral frog or really anything at all? Our favorite mechanics to use are chicken wire and the floral fog. They are both made from metal and completely reusable. We find that to be a more environmentally friendly approach than floral foam. Once assembled the centerpieces are placed back into the cool room and there they wait till the wedding day.
The Evening Before the Wedding:
It’s now crunch time for us and now is when we start some of the finishing touches. We wrap the
bouquets with their ribbon, we shine the vases and create our plan of attack for the next day. We
now try and devise a plan for travel. How will all of these fit in the car? Will we need a second car
or a truck, maybe a truck and a trailer? Yes, one of our December weddings will require us to have
a full truck and trailer as we will need to cut six fresh balsam fir Christmas trees for the wedding.
We will prep the boutonnieres and wrap them with their twine or ribbon and prep the flowers for the corsages. We typically like to make the flowers that will be out of water on the day of the wedding last, so they are incredibly fresh and last throughout the evening. We’re typically up till 11 pm or midnight the day before and then back up at 5 am the morning of the wedding. We’re perfectionists ourselves so we want to make sure we have enough time to make sure everything is absolutely perfect come wedding day.
Check out our last installment of the #BehindtheScenes blog coming soon. We will explore the
wedding day and share our secrets on how we pull it all off as husband and wife team.