Wedding Arches & Floral Decoration
Know the Terms, Techniques and Tips
By Kit Wertz
Favorite photo from one of our weddings at the Chart House in Redondo Beach — on the beach! This arch was decorated with a garland made of Salal and accented with fresh Dendrobium orchids. Lovely couple! Lovely day! Photos by: Lin & Jirsa Photography Wedding Planning by: No Worries Weddings Venue: Chart House
We have had a very busy wedding season this year and thought we’d share some of our recent floral designs for arches, arbors, gazebos, pergolas and Sofrehs (Persian Wedding Spreads).
Many wedding couples have been requesting all types of garlands and varieties of floral accents. Here are some tips and tricks on types of floral accents we use to attach to all types of structures.
Netted Oasis Garland
Know your Floral Terms
It’s important to know the right term for the type of accent for an arch or pergola.
Garlands: Usually made of bunches of greenery that are strung together on heavy duty twine. These types of garlands lack a water source, so it’s important to keep the garland as fresh as possible before an event. Keep it cool and misted before it needs to be attached to the ceremony structure. Sometimes garlands are made of flowers. When that is the case, it’s best to use Oasis Floral Foam Netted Garland to keep flowers fresh. This netted foam works for all types of flowing arrangements for staircases, fireplaces and table top designs.
A floral spray can be large or small. This large spray was attached to the left side of a birch pole arch on the beach. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
Floral Sprays: Floral sprays can be large or small. Sometimes the flowers can simply be gathered and placed onto the structure, but most often, they need to last a long time, so it’s safer to add flowers to a wet Oasis floral cage or raquette. If you are more eco–conscious, you can soak sphagnum moss and enclose it in a cage of chicken wire. Use chopsticks to poke holes into the moss to make it easier to add stems. NOTE: Using this moss method can be drippy, so you may still need to use wreath wrap around the chicken wire cage to keep the moisture inside. Wreath wrap is plastic and can be recycled.
Flower Accents: We attach single blooms and stems of flowers in a variety of ways. Delicate flowers like roses, hydrangea and orchids will need a water source while on the garland. We use different sizes of water pik vials to attach them to the garland using floral adhesive or wire.
It Takes a Team
Flower Duet’s design team: From left, Julie Kennedy, Judi Corfino, Adrienne Sorg and of course — Casey. Kit is not pictured but is also part of the team! Photo by Kit Wertz
Many of our recent arches were designed by our team of designers which includes our intern — turned assistant, Adrienne Sorg and two former design students Judi Corfino and Julie Kennedy. Adrienne joined us as an intern last fall and is a pleasure to work with and shows natural talent with her designs. Judi and Julie are our design students with fine art backgrounds, who started to come to our classes in 2013. Julie’s company, Califame, created our new team T‑shirts which the ladies are modeling in our photo above. We could not have the success and joy of our business without our wonderful team.
This design was made of three “floral sprays” united by other flowers and a base of three garlands. Casey, Judi and Julie made these pieces and attached them to the pergola for a festive wedding at the Bel Air Bay Club. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
Details from our pergola flowers for a wedding at the Bel Air Bay Club. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
Flower Duet created this lush design for a wedding at Los Verdes Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes. Photo by Kit Wertz
For a recent wedding at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, Casey and our team decorated this Pergola. The structure and fabric draping were designed by Level Weddings.
This structure on the wedding lawn at the Hotel Portofino in Redondo Beach offers an ocean view. We used two garlands and lots of blooms to decorate it. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Flower Duet’s team decorated this gazebo at Trump National Golf Club with two salal garlands and tons of roses and orchids for a perfect blue-sky day wedding. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Our team of designers attached this asymmetrical Hydrangea spray to the large gazebo on the Upper Meadow of the South Coast Botanic Garden. We used two garlands as a foundation. Photo by Adrienne Sorg.
This wedding Sofreh set up at the Los Verdes Golf Course was accented by Flower Duet with two large floral sprays as tie backs on the front of the structure. We also designed two tall designs that went inside the structure with the traditional Persian Wedding Spread as well as the decorative petal treatment for the aisle. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Flower Duet created this arch using our own birch poles for a mock-wedding bridal show, Ooh.La.Love, at the South Coast Botanic Garden on May 7th, 2015. Photo by ©Jeannie Mutrais Photography.
For an evening wedding at The Redondo Beach Historic Library, Flower Duet attached two large sprays to the lattice pergola. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Casey set up Flower Duet’s birch pole arch at a private home for an intimate wedding. The peach rose accented floral sprays are mimicked by the flowers and greenery at the base of the arch. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
Our assistant Judi helped Kit attache these two floral sprays to a structure at Calamigos Equestrian in Griffith Park. Photo by Kit Wertz
Mentoring High School Students with Floral Design Lessons
by Casey Coleman Schwartz
A local High School science teacher, who teaches a horticulture class for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), contacted Flower Duet and wondered how floral design techniques could be incorporated into his lesson plan. I gave him my usual response, when approached with an idea, ”Let’s figure it out.” He wrote a plan for a grant to fund the project, which was approved. After learning how to become a vendor for the LAUSD, we were on our way.
This spring, I taught floral design to a classroom full of 17-and 18-year-old high school students, boys and girls, none of whom had ever done floral design before.
Before this high school class, I had taught floral design to Girl Scout Troops, a large collection of 7‑to 12-year-olds at The Huntington Library and hundreds of 20-to 90-year-olds in various venues around the country. However, I had not taught at a high school before, nor had I been in a high school since my sister Kit’s graduation. Having two sons in elementary school, their classmates are my usual circle of young people and I was not quite sure what to expect.
Flower Duet taught a spring semester of floral design to a LAUSD Horticulture High School class. Students pose with their last lesson. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
They were delightfully receptive and were very helpful while setting up. Some helped distribute flowers to classmates who loved all the colors and were excited to get started.
We only had four sessions on the calendar for this semester, so I wanted to be sure to pack in a lot of floral knowledge during each hour I had with them. We covered three styles of centerpieces, with two only needing a vase (any water tight container) and flowers and mini rubber bands. We did the “Gather, Drop and Fill,” and the “Bundle and Place” techniques which are both available to view on our YouTube channel.
We used floral foam for a fun, easy arrangement. They were amazed at how the stems stayed in place and looked great. Lastly, if a prom or special occasion were in their future, we made corsages and boutonnières. Once one learns the wiring technique the combinations are endless.
The students were especially creative in choosing their own color combinations and were supportive of each other’s designs which turned out great. We were all delighted with the results. Mr. Steuwer joined his students, numbering as many as 18, in taking the lessons, too. It was a pleasure for me to return each week to my new friends who stated they now look at flowers differently. All of our students have said the same. This particular class was the highlight of each week for the past month and a half. I was eager to see the students and share a fun life skill with these wonderful teens. I wish them well as they move on to their next adventure in life and if any take the class next year.….I will be there.
Giving Flowers Has Its Yummy Rewards
By Kit Wertz
Our lovely neighbor cooks us traditional dishes from her native Nicaragua. Our latest exchange: I gave her a bouquet of roses and hydrangea and she offered us rice and beans with homemade Pico de gallo and Tostones (friend plantains). It was delicious. Photo by Kit Wertz
Giving a few flower arrangements to our neighbor has been a wonderful way to establish an informal barter arrangement. Our neighbor is a grandmother, originally from Nicaragua and the aromas emitting from her kitchen were intoxicating. One day, I mentioned to her how wonderful her cooking smelled while we were in our driveways and a few moments later, with a knock on my door, she offered me eight freshly made and delicious empañadas.
Here is the most recent floral design I gave to my neighbor. In return, she made us fresh fried plantains, rice, black beans with homemade Pico De Gallo salsa. Photo by Kit Wertz.
As a thank you, I gave her a flower arrangement I made for her from flowers we had at our studio. She was so pleased. Since then, she’s brought me her own rice and beans, pico de gallo, barbeque chicken (melts in your mouth), homemade tostones (fried plantains), rosquillas, and a huge sweet milk cake. She’s also made a plethora of homemade cinnamon buns which have the softest dough I’ve ever tasted.
In return, I’ve brought her flower designs with proteas, hydrangea, roses, succulents and floral wreaths. She does not speak much English, and I don’t speak a lot of Spanish, but you know when you’ve touched someone’s heart (or stomach) through any language barrier.
Giving flowers is a great way to to bridge any language or culture gap. We have a wonderful relationship and I know it will only get stronger and yummier!
Wedding Floral Design Series Continues This Month
By Flower Duet
Here is last month’s Peony workshop arrangement we did at our studio. This month’s wedding series features a bridal bouquet. We’ll feature the hand-tied style technique. Photo by Kit Wertz.
We’ll continue our Wednesday night Wedding Floral Design Series this month. Over the next three consecutive months, you can learn how to create bouquets, centerpieces and personal flowers like corsages, boutonnieres and hair flowers. Each class is in the evening and caters to the DIY bride, mother-of the-bride or groom, or wedding planners who want to learn more about flowers for their clients. This is a also a great way to come to a floral class if you are busy on Saturdays and can’t make a weekend workshop.
Learn more on our Wedding Workhops page or click a link below to sign up:
June 24, 2015 — Wednesday Wedding Series — Bouquets
July 22, 2015 — Wednesday Wedding Series — Centerpieces
August 26, 2015 — Wednesday Wedding Series — Personal Flowers
Please Spell “Bouquetière”
By Casey Coleman Schwartz
Josef Wenzel Süss (Austrian artist, 1857 – 1937) A woman selling flowers. This woman may have been referred to as a Bouquetière in the early 1900s.
One of the final words in the 2015 Spelling Bee with the dual winners over Memorial Weekend in Washington, D.C. was this word: Bouquetière.
When I saw this word listed in the Los Angeles Times as one of the final words on the National Spelling Bee List, I thought it meant a combination of a bouquet and boutonnière, and thought that would be quite awkward to wear.
Alas, it means a garnish of vegetables as the first definition.
The origin of the word actually does have a relationship to flowers. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word’s origin is French,
“(à la) bouquetière, literally, in the manner of a flower seller; French bouquetière woman who sells flowers, feminine of bouquetier flower seller, from bouquet bouquet + -ier ‑eer. First Known Use: 1906.”
Learn to Create a Succulent Floral Garland
By Flower Duet
This month, we’ll return to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens for two floral design classes featuring living succulent plants. We’ll show the adult students how to create a garland suitable for an indoor or outdoor table that will feature various succulents, greenery and flowers. We’ll discuss different methods for designing with succulents and fresh flowers as well as how to re-plant the succulents after the blooms have faded.
For the kids class, we’ll create treasure chests filled with mini succulents and floral blooms. Kids will decorate their treasure chests and fill them with floral and succulent jewels.
Adult Design Class (Age 13+): 10 a.m. to Noon
Kids Design Class (Ages 7–12 with an adult): 1 to 2:30 p.m.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108
Sign up through The Huntington’s Brown Ticket Sales website.
Brown Paper Tickets Reservations:
By Kit Wertz
I was excited to check this book, The Flower Farmer’s Year, out of the library to see what it would take to be a flower farmer and sell bouquets of flowers that I’ve grown myself instead of procuring through the wonderful vendors we have close to our studio. This book is written by a Georgie Newbery, a woman who started her own flower farm with her husband in Somerset, England.
They created Common Farm Flowers and sell bouquets throughout the UK for 12 months of the year. She takes you through step-by-step how to create a farm, the types of flowers that grow well (in her geographic area) and how to harvest and sell flowers.
She also offers a realistic view of the amount of work (a lot) it takes to be a flower farmer and the amount of monetary return (not a lot) you would receive for your efforts.
It’s beautifully photographed, well-written, and honest. It offers wonderful insights on how to care for some troublesome flowers (like Dahlias) after they’ve been cut and an alternate philosophy to treating flowers after they’ve been cut.
Unless you are in the UK with a patch of land, The Flower Farmer’s Year is not a book that you’ll use as a guide to grow your own flowers, but I still think it’s worth a read for any budding floral designer. It has wonderful information on hundreds of flowers that are very popular in today’s bouquets and centerpieces around the world and it helps you appreciate the wonderful flower farmers of the world who bring us such beautiful products for our enjoyment and pleasure.
Flower Tool: Funnels for Vases with Small Openings
By Casey Coleman Schwartz
Casey’s older son Will holds two vases with small openings at The Portofino Hotel, one of the venues we service weekly with fresh flowers. Photo by Casey Schwartz
Funnels are a genius tool.
They are used for various reasons in all sorts of trades, but for us they are the perfect tool to fill that tiny little opening of a vase, bottle or container for that cluster of vases which is currently trending at weddings and events.
Vases like recycled wine bottles pose a challenge for filling with water. Funnels to the rescue!
Plastic funnels work best for vase-filling. No rust and no chipping vases!
Created sometime before 1927 by an Italian Entomologist, Antonie Berlese who created it originally to be used to filter bugs. We are so grateful for this simple tool. I was advised just this past weekend at the last minute (2 days before qualifies) that I was to fill vases that the bride was providing, with various flowers to fit the theme on site. I knew nothing about the vases, besides the wedding planner’s advice that they have very small openings. I grabbed my funnels and stashed them in my “floral kit” that we bring with us, (the contents are ever changing), to every floral installation job.
I arrived at the venue, procured the vases from the planner and my job was super smooth with the funnel system of filling all the cobalt blue vases purchased on Craig’s List just days before the wedding.
Funnels can be found for sale anywhere from the grocery store to the hardware store to Amazon.com.