So, I got a taste of event work this past week, when my brother asked me to make some centerpieces for an Open House they were putting on. I was happy to do it for them. They needed 9, on the small side, and they were fine with me choosing what to put in them. The ones they had been looking at from Costco had 15 stems per arrangement, so I told them I would do that.
I learned a few things that I don’t want to forget!
Centerpieces in progress.
- Buy matching containers!
I enjoy finding unique and interesting containers at the thrift store, but for event work, it is helpful to have several that match, or at least coordinate. I ended up using pint jars for this one, which was fine with them, but on my next thrift store run I need to peruse the glassware aisles in search of at least a dozen vessels that go well together. I will also search more for some to coordinate with what I have already. For example, I have 3 beautiful small crystal pitchers, which would have been fun to use, but there were only 3.
- Grow more fillers and foliage.
I have yet to successfully grow an abundance of these, despite my attempts the past 2 years. I will keep working on it! It would feel like such a luxury to be able to go out and cut as much as I needed or wanted. You generally need a lot more fillers than focal flowers, too, so maybe it would save me some money.
For this job I used water sprout suckers from the base of my fruit trees and from the ornamental plum out front as my leafy filler. It worked okay, but I had to cut a lot to get enough useable stems. Many of the leaves had bug holes or other undesirable problems.
I have to say, though, my Bells of Ireland patch really came through for me this time! I cut a whole bucket full of Bells and it hardly even made a dent in the patch. For the win! There was enough for 4 stems per arrangement, plus extras for my other 2 regular business subscription bouquets, and even one for myself. They were perfect for filling out amongst the leaves and adding another element of interest, while blending in to my color scheme.
- Use a flower recipe
I had this one on my “to-do” list, but didn’t ever sit down and write one out. It’s helpful to at least have an idea in mind for cutting or ordering the flowers, as well as for the designing. Less fiddling around with each one. The roses weren’t all the same color, nor were the buttons, so there was some variation within that, but they all looked like they belonged together.
Here’s what I ending up using:
4 stems leafy greens
4 stems Bells
4 stems bachelor’s buttons
1 stem blue allium
2 stems roses
2-3 stems pincushion flowers
- A cooler would be very helpful.
With larger orders, it would be nice to have more leeway with how far in advance I could make them and still have them last. I cut flowers Thursday morning, conditioned them all day, and arranged them that night for delivery Friday morning. It worked, but yeah. A cooler would make a big difference.
- Figure out a reliable way to transport finished arrangements.
This time I had a couple of small boxes on hand and plenty of packing paper, so I made it work, and got them all securely packed for the car. (We each drove about 40 minutes to meet halfway for the delivery.) I struggle with this one on a weekly basis, though, despite having crates in a couple of sizes. Need to work on this one some more so that it’s not a time drain or such a hassle every time! Also, figure out something to use when I don’t expect to get the containers back. The boxes were good for that, but I don’t always have boxes on hand.
All packed up and ready to deliver!
I’m glad I got to do this for my brother and sister-in-law. They are wonderful and I was happy to be able to do something for them. It was fun to see what I could come up with. I was extra glad I had enough flowers to cut from my own farm and yard that I didn’t have to purchase any to supplement. I felt good about that!
Always more to learn, but I know what direction I should be headed in—I think!
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