Wedding Week for a Florist

So the flowers have been planned and ordered for weeks, and now it’s finally time to bring everything to fruition. Wedding week can be a little chaotic, but it always follows a similar flow.

7-5 Days Before

The earliest days of preparation are spent confirming assistants/freelancers, deliveries and pickup times for flowers and rentals, and checking in with the Wedding Planner, Bride, and Venue as needed.

5-4 Days Before:

I usually try to clean all buckets and vases from previous events as soon as that event is over, but sometimes I missed a few buckets or I’ve gotten some new vases that need to be cleaned with soap and water, and I make sure to get this done before the flowers have arrived. After that’s done, I organize all hard goods (rentals, décor, equipment, etc.) that will be coming to the venue with me.

3 Days Before:

Since I don’t own a cooler, I like to receive all of my flowers and greenery 2-3 days before the event to give them time to rehydrate before I design with them. Once they arrive, I clean and condition them and set them up in water buckets to hydrate.

2-1 Days Before

I typically spend the two days leading up to the event building all of the designs that I can pre-build, saving the most delicate, such as boutonnieres and corsages, for last.

Night Before

The night before the event is spent reconfirming all timelines, driving routes, and the order list to make sure I haven’t forgotten to make anything, and I try to pack up the van as much as possible to make the next day less stressful.

Day-Of

Wedding Day can be a long day, sometimes spent in the middle of nowhere, so I always make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks before I go back through my packing list, check and double check the Order list, and then head to the venue to set up! If it’s a wedding where I need to break things down afterwards, I’ll return near the end to do so and then bring everything back to the shop to unload before calling it a day.

A Few Days After

To wrap up the event, I send thank-you emails to the client and Wedding Planner a few days later (to give everyone a chance to decompress). I truly appreciate every client and vendor I work with that make my job a dream job!

Happy Floristing everyone!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Wedding & Event Packing List: Florist Edition

Who else has stress dreams about forgetting to bring something important to an event?? Just me? Well in order to give myself some organization (and peace of mind), I keep a handy dandy list of most of the things I could need at an event as a Florist. Whether you’re a brand-new Florist or a seasoned professional, you already have some sort of list (mentally or not) of what you bring to events, and everyone’s list is a little different. One of my favorite things to do is talk to other Florists about what some of their “must bring” items are, especially since this usually leads to horror stories of when they forgot to bring something. It happens to all of us, but hopefully this Wedding & Event Florist Packing List will help you remember something and prevent a horror story of your own:

  • Pocketed tool apron
  • Floral clippers
  • Large shears
  • Wire cutters
  • Cable cutters
  • Everyday scissors
  • Ribbon scissors
  • Floral Glue
  • Floral wire
  • Waterproof tape
  • Clear tape
  • Stem tape
  • Zip ties (different lengths)
  • Fishing line
  • Chop sticks (good for added support or impromptu stems)
  • Rubber bands
  • Floral food packets
  • Ribbon (a few different colors)
  • Water tubes
  • Tape measure
  • Trash bags
  • Gloves
  • Boutonniere pins
  • Safety pins
  • Corsage wristlet
  • Step ladder
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Crowning Glory (flower spray)
  • Lighters
  • Batteries
  • Pens
  • Portable phone charger
  • Sealable jugs of water (to top off vases)
  • Index cards
  • Business Cards
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle (usually more than 1)

Before leaving for the wedding/event I always:

  • Double check my directions
  • Double check my order list and timeline
  • Make sure the gas tank is full

I hope this list helps and that you go into your next wedding or event feeling more prepared! From one Florist to another, Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Photo Editing for Beginners

Being the non-professional photographer that I am, my photos ALWAYS need to be edited. I’ve learned a few tricks on how to edit a photo to get it to look the way I want, even if my original shot wasn’t exactly great. First thing’s first, what tools do you use to edit?? I edit everything straight through my phone (unless I need to photoshop something big, then that’s on my pc) and I primarily use Adobe Lightroom. However, I have the free version of Lightroom, so I also use Snapseed to blur backgrounds when necessary, and sometimes I will also edit the photo straight in iPhone Photos’ editing features since I’m able to adjust the “brilliance” more easily.

Okay so you have the right tools, next you need to decide how you want your final product to look! I don’t like when my photos look over-edited to where they seem unreal, but I also prefer sharp lines, vibrant colors and decent contrast. The point of my editing is to accentuate my pieces and make the viewers see how great they are in real life- the last thing I want is to misrepresent how something will look when you buy it! That being said, sometimes it’s fun to have artistic photos that are edited to look (in my opinion) super cool, even if they definitely don’t look like that in real life.

When I get to the actual editing, I use Lightroom first and I go down the line of tabs: start with lighting, next adjust color, then increase texture, clarity, and sharpness. If I had to choose one editing feature that’s my favorite, I’d have to say it’s playing with contrast (this helps the image pop and not feel as flat). After getting my lighting and colors fixed up in Lightroom I consider the focus within my photo. If too much of the image is in focus and I want to narrow that down, I’ll open it up in Snapseed and use their Blur tool as my last step.

So you’re editing your photo and something just doesn’t feel right about it, it happens to all of us! Take a step back, do something else and come back to it, you may find you love it as it is (and were overthinking things per usual) or that you now realize what’s missing! In the end, it’s about how you want the photo to appear to the viewer, and that just takes practice.

Happy Floristing and Happy Editing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Improving Photography Skills

Let me start by saying: I am not a professional Photographer, and I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing most of the time with Photography. It’s a skill that I’m still working on and learning, but I can at least say I have improved and learned a few things since first starting product photography.

Product photography is a key ingredient in the necessary evil that is marketing; I wish I could just tell a few people I make beautiful arrangements and then word of mouth would do the rest of the work, leaving me to never have to post anything ever again, but unfortunately that’s not the way this works. Taking the right picture (and marketing it the right way) is sometimes more work than my actual job: being a Florist, so it’s important to do it well (or at least not suck at it).

During my trial-and-error-style of photography studies I learned about the necessity of a few important things: setting intent, background, angles, lighting, and editing. Think of “setting your intent” as the planning phase: decide what you want the image to show and focus on. This may be showing the use of a bouquet by having a bride holding it, or it may be highlighting the artwork on a wineglass by showing off the brushstrokes. If you don’t know what you want your image to portray, you won’t know how to set it up!

Background, angles, and lighting are all somewhat self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make them easy to get the hang of. When figuring out where to stage your photo, a large part of that is deciding what is going to be behind your focal point (*cough cough* background *cough cough*). Backgrounds can enhance your image as well as take away from your focal point. I typically choose a background that’s mostly one color and has some texture (e.g. a paneled wall, an interesting-grained wood table, a lush plant, etc.). Once you’ve decided on your background, you’ll need to figure out your angles and lighting. I tend to take a BUNCH of pictures, moving the objects as well as the camera, to figure out what looks best. Ever notice how you sometimes look different in different pictures of yourself? The same goes for objects! Play around with the angles, play around with the lighting, figure out what works best for what you’re trying to create.

Editing your photo digitally is a WHOLE different ballgame that I’ll talk about in another blog post soon, but for now, go take some pictures!

Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

How to Pick Your Flowers

Think of building a floral arrangement like you’re cooking dinner: you have food in the fridge, you can throw it all into a bowl and maybe it will turn out alright, or you can look at a recipe to see what ingredients work together. After you figure out what foods to use, then you can go back to the “throwing it into a bowl” plan, or you can follow the instructions to make sure it turns out the best it can. Flowers work the SAME WAY (gasp!).

You can walk into any grocery store and grab a bunch of those petally, leafy things and call it a day; or you can pick out certain flowers that go well together and follow a plan to put them together. First thing’s first: how do you pick what flowers to use??

Floral Arrangements, whether you’re building a centerpiece, bouquet, or even something more complex, all have three basic properties:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Texture

Let’s break it down…

Color

               Colors should complement each other! For a basis think some light, some dark, and some middle toned. You can choose complementary colors (colors that are near each other on the color wheel) or contrasting colors (colors that are across from each other on the wheel). One tip when choosing contrasting colors, try to have colors that tie each other together. For example, having pink and blue flowers and incorporating some purple as well.

Size

               Size works the same way as color: think one big, one medium, and some small. When you have all the same size nothing sticks out and the individual flowers don’t get the attention they deserve.

Texture

               Adding some texture elements means maybe using some greens or flowers with atypical petal structure. If they’re all the same shape it tends to blend together and it’s hard to tell where one flower ends and another begins.

Now you’re ready to pick out your flowers! Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

How to Care for Cut Flowers

How in the h*ll do you keep cut flowers alive?? Well, I had to learn due to the fact that pretty non-dead-looking flowers is low-key important when you’re a Florist, and now I’m going to share this knowledge with you! There are some general tips that help with all cut plants and then there are some specific flowers that enjoy being more of a pain and require a little extra love, but I’ve broken it down as simply as I can below.

  1. Prep the flowers
    • Unpack the flowers from their wrapping as soon as you get them home, but you’ll need to do a little prep work before you put them in water!
    • REMEMBER, nothing keeps flowers fresher for longer than a clean environment, so be sure to use clean clippers, a clean vase, and clean water!
    • Cut at least 1-2 inches off the ends of the stems, making sure to cut at a 45° angle to help them soak up water better. Take off any leaves/foliage that would be sitting in water once you place the flowers in their vase/container.
    • Water temperatures also have an effect on the bloom life, and while room temperature water is typically the safest, warm water can help open the stems to better soak up water. Be careful not to shock the flowers however, for example putting fresh-from-the-cooler flowers in hot water.
    • Just like people need food, so do flowers! Be sure to mix flower food into the vase/container water.
  2. Find them a good home
    • Flowers tend to last longer in cooler temperatures. The ideal temperatures for storing cut flowers is 33°-35° and 50°-55° for tropical flowers such as bird of paradise, tropical orchids, and anthurium. This is best when keeping flowers for a long time before designing with them. However, if you’re designing immediately and putting the flowers out for display, steer clear of extreme temperatures while still leaning towards a cooler environment.
    • If you’re like me and don’t have a cooler, keep the flowers in a cooler part of your house/apartment and pick them up 1-2 days before designing with them so they have time to soak and liven up but not so much time that they wilt.
    • Sunlight speeds up the bloom life, so to keep the flowers looking fresh for as long as possible you’ll want to keep them out of direct sunlight, however placing some flowers in sunlight will help them open up. If you are storing your flowers for a few days before designing, keep them in a dark room to last longer.
  3. Freshen them up
    • Bacteria is the arch nemesis of cut flowers, and the best way to combat it is to trim the ends of your flowers and to replace the water every couple of days!

I hope this information helps you with your cut flowers whether you’re designing for yourself or for a business. Good luck and happy floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Starting a Business

(And my Bare Minimums Business Lists)

When I decided to start a business, I planned the only way I know how to plan: I made lists! I knew that a lot goes into getting a business up and running, so the only possible way I was going to keep track of it all was if I organized it in a way where I could continuously add and reprioritize tasks. I started by grouping my lists into my major categories: Materials List, Business Outline, Things To Do, and Random Notes. My Random Notes list is kind of like the “junk drawer” of lists; it’s meant to be where you put information you come across or think of but want to come back to later to research or implement.

After starting the framework of my lists and filling them with everything I could think of, it was time to fill them with what other people could think of! (*cough cough* research time *cough cough*) I kid you not, my research consisted of typing “How do I become a Florist?” into Google and clicking the first thing that showed up. BUT that is how I found my Florist Fairy Godmother, Alison Ellis of Real Florist Business and Floral Artistry. She showed me that I really could do it and laid out what I needed to get started. If you’re interested in checking out her page, you can click here. After getting over that hurdle (also known as fear) I was finally able to take the next step. Sometimes, all you need is for someone to show you that the hardest part is all in your head.

If you’re starting your own project or business, here is the framework for my Bare Minimums Business Lists!

Good Luck!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Processing Flowers

You’ve picked out your flowers and you’re about ready to start designing! However, there’s one step you should do first that will make your design process easier and help your flowers look their best: Flower Processing! For those of you who are hearing this term for the first time, it basically means cleaning and trimming your stems.

Watch my video demonstration below on processing your ingredients to use in arrangements!

As a short recap of the video, the main goals of Processing are:

  • Stripping off any leaves that would sit in water and cause excess bacteria growth
  • Taking off any dead or unwanted branches, flowers, etc.
  • Trimming your stems so they can start soaking up water
  • Leaving them in clean water to hydrate 1-2 nights

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman