September 2012 Newsletter

Florist Best Prac­tices for Wed­ding Flower Set Up

by Kit Wertz

Reception Flowers

Wed­ding Flower Set Up Checklist

As we men­tioned last month, late sum­mer and early fall are busy sea­sons for wed­dings in Los Ange­les and we thought it would be good to go over the best prac­tices for set­ting up for a wedding.

Read on for more details on a typ­i­cal wed­ding like the one we did last month at the Palos Verdes Golf Club (all pic­tures here are from one wed­ding day setup).

You can also down­load Flower Duet’s Wed­ding Flower Set Up Check­list to help you remem­ber what to do before the big day while you are still in the plan­ning stages with the wed­ding cou­ple and for what to do on the big day itself.


Be in Con­tact with Wed­ding Coordinators

Wedding Card Setup

These days it’s pretty nor­mal for a cou­ple to have its own wed­ding coor­di­na­tor and for there to be a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor on site at the wed­ding venues. It’s a really good idea to meet with all the coor­di­na­tors or be in touch via phone and email. Make sure you have everyone’s mobile phone num­ber pro­grammed into your own phone so you can text dur­ing the big day. Also, make sure every­one has your mobile phone num­ber, too.

Visit the Wed­ding Venues

Flower Arch Detail

Some of the wed­ding venues we set up for wed­ding flow­ers are huge lux­ury resorts like the St. Regis in Monarch Beach or Ter­ranea in Ran­cho Palos Verdes. Often, it can be very hard to fig­ure out where to park to first drop off per­sonal flow­ers (bou­quets, bou­ton­nières, cor­sages) for pic­tures. Then, you need to set up the arch and pew décor in another part of the prop­erty only to finally get to the recep­tion ball­room that might be in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent place.

So, it’s best to do a lit­tle recon­noi­ter­ing before the event. Find out where to park from the onsite coor­di­na­tor and even arrange to meet with him or her before­hand so you know where you need to go.

Tip the Bell­men and Valets at Hotels


Both my hus­band and I worked as Valet Park­ing Atten­dants at var­i­ous times after col­lege, so we know what it’s like to make a liv­ing from tips. It pays to tip the valet and bell­men at resorts and hotels. Bell­men will more than likely help you carry the flow­ers to the hotel room and maybe even give you a bot­tle of ice water to send you on your way (That’s hap­pened to me!). Valets will help you by let­ting you park your car in the cir­cle so you can bypass the park­ing fee, so go ahead and give him some of that fee you save as a tip.

And, you may be back at that same hotel next week for your next wed­ding and those same peo­ple will be work­ing. They’ll remem­ber if you tipped or not, so be nice to “the help” and they will help you. I would sug­gest $2-$5 per per­son help­ing you out depend­ing on how many flow­ers you need to deliver.

Get to the Wed­ding – A Florist Checklist


  • Bring Cash for Tips, Park­ing and Snacks. Some­times you need to wait around to move arch dec­o­ra­tions or take down the arch, so make sure you have some cash to buy a Coca Cola at the hotel bar.
  • Give your­self plenty of time to pack up the car or van with the flower designs. This will always take longer than you think.
  • Leave your design stu­dio or shop ear­lier than you think you need to. You don’t want traf­fic to be an issue.
  • Bring lad­ders, trol­leys and any­thing else you might need to set up the arch or take flow­ers to their final des­ti­na­tion at the venue.
  • Keep flow­ers like hand-tied bou­quets inside vases of water for deliv­ery. The extra cost is worth your flow­ers look­ing fresh through­out the day.
  • Make a plan to drop off cen­ter­pieces inside the venue so they are not cook­ing inside your car or van for too long. Even if the tables and linens are not set up yet, at least you can “stage” your flow­ers in the area where they will go.
  • Wait to set up arch décor if it’s a hot day, until the last minute. Bring help so you can set up the flow­ers quickly.
  • Put down aisle petals at the last minute or give the coor­di­na­tor a big bag of them to drop on the aisle if it’s a windy day.


Doc­u­ment Your Day

Flower Duet on Location

Bring your cam­era and take pho­tos of every­thing along the way. As long as you arrived at the venue early to set up, you should have plenty of time to take pho­tos of your work. Don’t for­get to net­work with the wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher to get some of the great shots of the bride with her bou­quet for your port­fo­lio, too.

Exchange Busi­ness Cards

Pretty Bride and Groom
Make sure you have busi­ness cards on hand and ready to pass out to the video guy, DJ, pho­tog­ra­phers, wed­ding coor­di­na­tors and any­one else who admires your work. When you receive busi­ness cards from oth­ers, make sure you take a moment to look at it first and then ask them some­thing about their card … so they know you care about them, too.

Por­trait of a Wed­ding at The Palos Verdes Golf Club, Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Cake Table
All the pho­tos in this story were from wed­ding we did in Palos Verdes in August. Here is how the day devel­oped so you can see what to expect when you have a wed­ding to set up.

The Palos Verdes Golf Club is close to our flo­ral design stu­dio, so we were able to keep things cool until the last minute, and load care­fully. We arrived on site to find the pre­vi­ous wed­ding was still wind­ing down, so the tables were still miss­ing linens and the bridal room was still occu­pied. But with 90 degree heat it was impor­tant to be able to unload as soon as possible.

We met the wed­ding coor­di­na­tor who was hired to assist our bride for the day. Ida Gard­ner Events is a won­der­ful oper­a­tion with whom we had worked in the past, mak­ing our set up even eas­ier. Ida and her assis­tant helped clear space for us to bring in all the flo­rals, until the venue was ready. With a venue like the PV Golf Club, they are pro­fes­sion­als and work quickly and effi­ciently, in no time at all the linens were swapped, tables moved and the bridal room read­ied. The cen­ter­pieces went on the tables as soon as the linens were down, the cake table was dec­o­rated, the bar tables adorned. The bride had not arrived so we wanted to have those placed in the room so she would see them as she walked in. We make a habit of deliv­er­ing the bridal bou­quets in water, to ensure their fresh­ness, as well as to keep their shape.
Card Setup Complete
Ida wanted one of the arrange­ments taller, for the dis­play she was cre­at­ing for the place cards, so we did that, as we always bring extra flow­ers for these sorts of things.
Aisle Decor
We waited until the last minute to hang the flo­ral sprays so that they did not sit too long in the heat. Bring at least two lad­ders or step stools if you can or check with the venue to see if they have them on the site. Two peo­ple are bet­ter than one to hang these.
Casey Petals
While I was doing some tweak­ing, Kit had her cam­era snap­ping away. Don’t for­get to bring your cam­era and take more images that you think you will need. You may be able to get images from the Pho­tog­ra­pher, but always bet­ter to have your own.

The last step is always the petals for the aisle. By this time you have tweaked, added and used all the extra flow­ers that you brought, so now you can petal all the roses for the lovely walk down the aisle.

As we wrapped up the fin­ish­ing touches the video crew and the pho­tog­ra­phers made their way over to us at the start of the aisle. We all looked at the pretty scene and swapped busi­ness cards and promised to all like each other on Face­book.
Guest Sign In
If you have time, do one last go around to check all your pieces. Make sure there is enough water in the vases, no flower heads have snapped off or fallen out. Check in with the Wed­ding Coor­di­na­tor as she always has her eyes on the details and will let you know if some­thing is miss­ing or will tell you it is just so pretty!


Flo­ral Design on Television

by Kit and Casey

Last month we talked about movies that fea­ture a florist as the main char­ac­ter. This month, with the start of the fall TV shows, we thought it would be fun to fea­ture some of our favorite shows that have great flo­ral designs each week. Some of these are sum­mer shows and some don’t start until Jan­u­ary and some you’ll just have to get on DVD but you can enjoy the flow­ers and the shows!

Gos­sip Girl on The CW

Both the Van Der Wood­sen and Wal­dorf apart­ments always fea­ture amaz­ing flo­ral designs. Check out the Gos­sip Girl Flo­ral Designer. Watch free Gos­sip Girl Videos on The CW website.


30 Rock on CBS

Jack’s office always has the best telev­sion flo­ral design we’ve seen.

Royal Pains on USA Network

Since this show takes place in The Hamp­tons, prac­ti­cally every scene has amaz­ing flowers!

White Col­lar on USA Network

Love this upscale show about a hand­some art thief who works for the FBI. He is as easy to look at as the flow­ers that some­times grace the show. White Col­lar Flo­ral Arrangements

Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime

What’s not to like about the main char­ac­ter on this show. She over­comes adver­sity on every episode and is so sweet doing it. The law offices are very nice and so is the flo­ral decoration.

Gilmore Girls on DVD

Check out the cen­ter­piece flo­ral designs for Fri­day night din­ners at the Gilmores’ home in every episode. Lovely. Gilmore Girls Flower Designs


Video: Flower Duet Weddings

Check out the lat­est video in our YouTube channel

We con­tinue to add more videos to our YouTube chan­nel. This month we’ve added a video that fea­tures lots of wed­ding flow­ers from a vari­ety of wed­dings so you can see the depth of Flower Duet’s work.

We like to say we can do any­thing and that we can make your vision come true. To learn more about our wed­ding pack­ages, visit

Sub­scribe to our YouTube chan­nel: fash­ion­ingflow­ers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show!

Book Review: Every­day Flowers

Every­day Flow­ers: Flow­ers to Beau­tify and Dec­o­rate the Home by Paula Pryke

Paula Pryke does it again with a fan­tas­tic flower design book. This time, she goes into detail on what to grow in your own gar­den for flo­ral designs. True to her impec­ca­ble style, this book also fea­tures some won­der­ful and classy flo­ral designs. This book is a great addi­tion to any flo­ral designer’s library.


Flo­ral Design Tool: Bou­ton­nière Pins

Bout Pins

A pin with a lit­tle pearl bead might seem like such a small item to fea­ture as a “flo­ral tool” but these ver­sa­tile pins are won­der­ful on many ways.


Dec­o­rate and Secure Hand-Tied Bou­quet Ribbons

In addi­tion to using them to pin bou­ton­nières (bouts) on dads, grooms, grooms­men and ring bear­ers, these pins can be adapted to help secure rib­bon to hand-tied bou­quets and offer a fash­ion­able accent to the stems of a bouquet.


Use to Accent Flowers

Green Mum Ball
Also used to accent flow­ers them­selves as shown above on this poman­der of green Ker­mit mums.


NEW! Pixie Bou­quet Pins

Stephanotis Pearls
Used to cre­ate a nice look to the end of stephan­otis reser­voirs. This looks much nicer than just the cot­ton tips of the reservoirs.

We used to cut reg­u­lar bou­ton­nière pins in order to fit them into the short part of a stephan­otis stem reser­voir, but now you can pur­chase short ver­sions of pins to use for flower accent­ing. These are called “Pearl Tiny Pixie Bou­quet Pins” and you can pur­chase them through
Pixie Bout Pins

Here is a link to Pixie Bou­quet Pins

You can get them in a vari­ety of col­ors includ­ing pink!
Pixie Pink Bout Pins

Fancy Pins

There are other “fancy” pins you can use to bejewel your flow­ers. These are called “Light Blue Rhine­stone Dia­mante Cor­sage Pins” and can be used in a vari­ety of ways includ­ing adding a “blue” theme to your flo­ral designs if you can­not get blue flow­ers.
Fancy Pins

Here is a link to the fancy blue rhine­stone pins Blue Dia­mond Pins

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