The behind the scenes prep for a wedding or event
As I reflect and look back at all the work that goes into making someone’s vision a reality, there’s a sense of accomplishment and relief when it’s over. There are months of making plans with a bride, inevitable changes, tweaking, and finally being prepared to throw all of that out the window the day of. If you can’t adapt and overcome, then you’ll get bogged down by thoughts of failure. Just because you plan to the point of obsession, you have to be prepared for something unforseen....the unaccounted for variable.
The week leading up to the big day, I double check and make sure that my wholesale floral supplier has the order that I sent, and that we’re good to go. A lot of times, this is when an unforseen comes into play. One of my amazing local suppliers, who grows her own florals, and who I planned to mostly buy this one particular flower (sunflowers) from, had a frost that came through and wipe out her entire crop of sunflowers. I try and buy local every chance I get, so getting this news meant I had to order from a bigger supplier that ships in flowers from all over the world. It meant I had to pay triple of what I was planning on, and that the sunflowers I needed would probably be flown in from Ecuador, then go into customs in Florida, then shipped to Charlotte, and finally driven to my doorstep in Shelby. Given that long process, I want to get those flowers and treat them with care as soon as I get them. That means cutting the stems at a certain angle, getting them in water with floral food (I use Floralife), and keeping them as cool as possible. Another variable that I didn’t foresee in late October was the second summer we’d be having! I have a small cooler that I use for now, but I ended up putting most if not all the florals in an air conditioned room to keep them cool. I was banking on the weather being cooler so I could place some of the flowers in an outdoor closet in our carport, but that was a no go. Again, adapt and over-come. So I put things in our fridge once they were designed. Things like boutonnieres, bouquets and centerpieces get the cooler or the fridge.
The day of the wedding, it’s still unseasonably warm. We load up both of our air-conditioned vehicles with all the arrangements and buckets of loose flowers. We have buckets of loose flowers and greenery so I can do the install of arbors and such hours before the count down to the ceremony. While driving, it’s always daunting, because you pray that everyone has their senses about them and can drive like a completely normal person and not slam on their breaks for no apparent reason. I also pray like mad that a deer or turkey doesn’t cross my path, and ruin not only my car, the flowers, but also their little lives! Last week, I was driving to a pottery show with my car loaded with breakable pottery and candles, and a turkey flew right out in front of me...bless him. He never knew what hit him. Sad face!!!! My husband, being a hunter, has an app on his phone that tells him when animal movement will be at it’s peak, and he’ll text me to be careful when driving to warn me if the activity seems to be high. Luckily, the drive to the event barn was without a wild life encounter or a stupid driver encounter. Always a win win.
When we arrived at the gorgeous location, I wanted to get right to work with my install. There’s always this balance for me of wanting to get the job done, and not wanting my flowers to wilt in the 80 degree weather. I show my husband how I want the floral foam cages hung on the arbors, and he’s willing and happy to oblige. I love how his mind works, and is able to make my whimsical desires work and he puts them in motion. He’s my mechanics man...if I need something rigged up on top of a mountain top, he’ll make it happen...it must be that Green Beret training or something. I had never been to this location before, but had only seen it in pictures. I had a plan for the arbors when I got there, but when seeing the arbor in person, I knew my vision wouldn’t work. I had to adapt. The same thing happened with the other arbor...I was picturing something else in my mind, but when I got there, that wasn’t going to work either. I had to adapt.
The bride and I discussed this beautiful idea of hanging mason jars filled with flowers and hanging them from the rafters in the event barn. It was a gorgeous and romantic idea, but when we got there and told the event owner our illustrious plans, we were told that it would be a hazard. No problem, because we can adapt. We decided to put some jars in windows, but hang some from a sturdy and large curtain-type rod above one of the entrance ways. It turned out to be just as romantic, and we still managed to hang a few jars just like the bride wanted. I even had enough flowers to do some last minute and unaccounted for centerpieces that just set the display off so nicely.
All in all, everything worked out. It was a beautiful day, despite being hot. It was forecasted to rain, but it didn’t, so that was another win!
I also was able to try a new technique for the bridal bouquet, and it was perfect. Without going into too many boring details, I’ll suffice it to say, I rigged up my own chicken wire holder, managed to cover up all the mechanics and hide the wire; I didn’t have to spend so much time wiring and taping like you normally do with a traditional cascading bridal bouquet. In fact, I didn’t have to wire and tape the flowers at all! The new technique saved time, and was more effective. The cascade of flowers looked natural, and the bouquet was still easy to hold. So yet another win.