September 2014 Newsletter

Floral Design Trends - Volume 54

A Degree in MacGyverology Required for Florists?

Summer is wedding season worldwide and we’ve been busy creating an abundance of flowers for many weddings this past month. We thought we would share a few photos from the range of our contracted events. Some floral jobs were very specific requests and some requests were made for us to create from our own styles.

If there are any that you love and what to know how we did it, feel free to contact us for the scoop as we are always happy to share tips and tricks of our trade.  For example, when we suspended numerous paper lanterns for an indoor wedding reception, our effort took a combination of a very tall intern, an “S” hook as well as a stunt woman, a roll of tape and a binder clip. Did we mention that a degree in MacGyverology is essential in this business? Event details follow from our August adventures in flower arranging. Enjoy!

Flower Duet Creates Floral Designs for California Wedding Day Magazine’s First Best of Bride Awards

Flower Duet Design for California Wedding Day Best Of 2014 Awards

Gold-plated luxury for the first Best of Bride Awards from California Wedding Day magazine by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.

Awards and Dinner Celebration held for 650+ Wedding Professionals at The Ebell of Los Angeles on August 20, 2014

We were so pleased to be asked to participate as a co-sponsor and floral designer for the first Best of Bride Awards from California Wedding Day magazine. We created flower designs using rich burgundy, purple and green floral elements in gold vases and containers to highlight a sophisticated party and lounge space with a Vintage French Circus theme at the historical Ebell of Los Angeles. The evening began with cocktails in the garden, followed by awards for wedding vendors based in Southern California. Many of the vendors we work with in our Wedding & Event Heroes group based at Terranea Resort were nominated. We were so excited when Terranea Resort won for best outdoor wedding venue in Los Angeles. Our good friend Caren Lazarus of Design Visage won for best makeup and hair in Orange County. Special kudos go out to VoxDJs for being nominated!

After the awards, over 650 attendees were treated to a wonderful dinner in creative party spaces that included a New Orleans Jazz club, enchanted garden and forbidden romance room complete with a large pepper tree! See more on’s Facebook page.

If you want to learn more about the magazine and its awards, go to the California Wedding Day site or pick up a copy of the magazine on newsstands now. Flower Duet is honored to be part of a lovely publication and enjoyed participating and co-sponsoring this first awards celebration for the best of the best in the wedding industry in our region. Many thanks to our fellow co-Sponsors of the party/lounge space. Everyone’s work was phenomenal.


Flower Duet’s cocktail designs for the lounge room at The Ebell – California Wedding Day Best of Bride 2014 French Circus theme with lots of gold and rich burgundy reds. Flower Duet designs. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Centerpiece for Hampton Bar by Rrivreworks rentals. Florals by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Flower Duet - California Wedding Day 2014 Ebell

Footed centerpiece in gold container with red roses, burgundy scabiosa, purple lisianthus, hypericum berries, red hanging amaranthus and red celosia. Flowers by Flower Duet, photo by Kit Wertz.


French circus flowers by Flower Duet.

Silhouettes of our interpretation of the French circus theme for California Wedding Day’s Best of Bride event at The Ebell of Los Angeles on August 20, 2014. Photo by Kit Wertz

Gold plated cirucus animals and flowers

Kit’s version of a gold-plated 3-ring circus we created for the vintage French circus theme in the lounge of The Ebell for #CWDBestof2014. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz

Gold cocktail vases with purple and red flowers

Flower Duet’s cocktail designs for the event. Photo by Kit Wertz

Purple and Red bridal bouquet

One of the bouquet designs we created for the event with purple hydrangea, hypericum berries, Freedom Roses, Black Magic roses, burgundy scabiosa and Green Magical eryngium. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz

Centerpiece for French Circus theme - golds, green, burgundy flowers

Main design we created for the center of the room using red roses, amaranthus, purple hydrangea, two types of cymbidium orchids and green hypericum berries. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz

Three-Ring Circuses Are a Good Thing

When most people think of a three-ring circus, an image of “things a bit out of control” may come to mind, which is perhaps not what you want for a wedding. However, if you think about it….a three-ring circus is a wonderfully choreographed combination of events that are working so beautifully together, providing an amazing visual and memorable experience. This is thanks to an organized bride who has hired a professional wedding planner.

As the floral designers and often the delivery and set up people too, we find ourselves setting up both the ceremony and the reception and if there is not a wedding planner on site, we are tasked with some of those duties, too. Since we have provided flowers for many of the venues in the area, we know where the power source is for the inside and outside and where the cocktail hour begins and where the bride is getting ready. Our best advice to all floral designers: “Please encourage your brides to hire a professional event or wedding planner.” Many planners offer a range of packages that will work with your clients.

See a few more images of the #CWDBestof2014 event on Facebook of the California Wedding Day French Circus Theme.

Birdcage Flowers Birthday Party

Flower birdcage pink.

White birdcages led the theme for this lovely one-year-old birthday party. Each dining table had a large birdcage on it with a birdie on top and pink and lavender roses inside. Accents included ivy, larkspur and wax flower.

Our colleague Stacey Stewart of Sweet Pea Parties asked us to create flowers for a birthday party at the SLS Beverly Hills. It was a first birthday for a lovely little girl and we loved the birdcage and teapot theme using pink and white flowers, accented with bright green foliage and trailing variegated ivy.

A one-year-old celebrating a birthday in style is something for the whole family to enjoy.  For anyone who has been fortunate to raise a child or two, we know it is quite a journey and undertaking when you bring home a tiny newborn baby and then make it through that wonderful first year.  Mothers and fathers should be celebrated for their patience, juggling abilities and constant attention to their bundle of joy. So, we say, “Celebrate your great accomplishment with your friends and have a great party.”  If you are in the Los Angeles area….be sure to call Stacey for a top-notch experience with Sweet Pea Parties.


Theme colors were pink and white with bright green accents. Here is a teapot we created for the bar area. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


The mother of the birthday girl wanted a place to take photos at the event so we created this arch of florals and ivy for a photo spot. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Even the kids at the party had centerpieces! Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Teapots for standup cocktail tables outside on the patio at the SLS Beverly Hills hotel. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


The wonderful dessert table created by Stacey of Sweet Pea Parties. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Butterflies were spotted throughout the garden patio! Photo by Kit Wertz.

 Paper Lantern Wedding Reception

We created wedding flowers for a wedding ceremony and a reception held at the Bluewater Grill on the water in Redondo Beach and the bride also requested white paper lanterns for the reception space. Want to know how we hung each lantern? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer you!



You Said What to the Bride?

By Kit Wertz

Wedding Wine Bottle CenterpieceWedding Etiquette Column in New York Times

As florists, we are often tapped by wedding couples on proper etiquette for weddings. Since we’ve created flowers for hundreds of weddings and have often served as de facto “day of” wedding planners, we can answer most questions regarding the rituals surrounding a wedding.

While perusing the Sunday New York Times, I ran across an advertisement for a wonderful column that would be quite helpful to brides, grooms and wedding guests. The Well Mannered Wedding column covers a range a topics from: How to decide whether to send a gift to a wedding you are not planning to attend, and how a bridal shower gift differs from a wedding present.

I think this column would also be useful  for brides or grooms to send article links via email to relatives who may have too many opinions on the “right way” to plan a wedding.

Answers are offered by etiquette expert Peggy Post, the author of  “Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition,” and a director of the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vt.

Anyone can submit questions to or by mail to The New York Times, Society News Desk, Fourth Floor, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018. Include daytime and evening telephone numbers so that Ms. Post and Times editors may follow up.

Wine Bottle Vase Wedding Reception

By Casey Coleman Schwartz

Recycled Wine Bottle VasesWe featured recycled wine bottles as vases in July’s newsletter and are excited to share some images of the final floral designs.  The bride and groom were very involved, as the groom, as we mentioned perfected the way to cut the glass so we could fill them with overflowing greenery and pops of flowers.

The bride had worked summers in college at a local flower shop and so she new what she liked. This was a great bonus when it came down to how  she wanted us to design in the wine bottle vases. Our bride wanted lots of greenery to be the base of each design and then wished for just one color of flower for each table.

Each table would have three bottles of  the same color full of seeded eucalyptus, salal, dusty miller and mini green hydrangea to frame the pops of purple and hot pink flowers. The combination of full greenery, one color and various height containers made for a delightful visual impact on the tables. I was with the wedding coordinator recently, three-weeks after the event and she was still commenting on how pretty it all turned out.

Many of our brides and grooms request recycled wine bottles for wedding reception vase centerpieces. Here are some photos from our former-florist bride’s wine bottle-inspired reception.


All of the bridesmaids had hot pink bouquets accented by Brunia berries. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Pink and white rose arch at The Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz


Various heights of wine bottles and flower combinations are ready to be transported to the event. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Here is the finished look for the wine bottle vases on a dinner table. Three vases of different heights in the same color theme. Each vase has different flowers in the vases and the table numbers were created with recycled wine corks! Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.

Flower Duet Special Appearance at South Coast Botanic Garden 53rd Annual Foundation Dinner

In August, Casey and Kit were asked to appear as special guests at the 53rd Annual South Coast Botanic Garden Foundation Meeting and Dinner. A record 181 people attended the rose garden dinner and we helped many of them create their own boutonnieres and floral fascinators. We also created the rose-themed centerpieces for the dinner. The mission of the garden is: To serve the community by providing a unique horticultural and wildlife habitat experience, and to represent a model of excellence for land reclamation and sustainability.  We were so pleased to be part of a wonderful cause and to meet the talented co-demonstrators at the event including landscape architect, Deborah Richie-Bray, who has created the new design for the Rose Garden as well as Chopped winner, Chef Brandon Walker.

Co sponsors included:


Casey sets up for our floral demonstrations. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Casey creates a floral fascinator for a guest! Each guest had the option to make his or her own personal flower pieces or have us make one instead. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Roses in the rose garden at South Coast Botanic Garden. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


We created centerpieces featuring roses for each dining table at the South Coast Botanic Garden 53rd Annual Foundation Meeting and Dinner. Designs by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


We used three types of roses in each design which included standard roses, sweetheart roses and spray roses. We filled in with New Zealand Pittosporum and Hypericum berries. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Roses, hypericum berries and New Zealand Pittosporum were the stars of this centerpiece. Flower design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.

Beach-Themed Wedding at Terranea


This bride and groom at Terranea were married on the wedding lawn that overlooks Catalina Island. We created this rose-packed floral spray for the pergola. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.


Guest Sign-in Table. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.



The couple wanted us to use coral colored roses with bright green accents on these low and tall centerpieces for the reception area in the Catalina Ballroom. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.



Tall centerpieces made up of hydrangea, roses, hypericum berries and variegated greenery stood on 24-inch vases that included manzanita branches, sand, sea stars and sea shells. Design by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.

Book Review: Windowsill Art: Creating One-of-a-Kind Natural Arrangements to Celebrate the Seasons by Nancy Ross Hugo

window sill art book

We are intrigued by this book which will be available to purchase today – September 1, 2014. While we cannot look at the book yet, it promised to have some inspiring ideas for the home flower arranger. One key tip we offer to all our students: Don’t put your flowers in a sunny windowsill, or it will shorten the life of the flowers. Flowers like constant temperature in an arrangement, so be aware that flowers in a window will be exposed to vast temperature changes. Even with that caveat, we still think this book is worth a look.

From Amazon:

Almost everyone does it: puts a little something on the windowsill to watch it ripen, root, or just sit there looking pretty. But the windowsill can serve as a stage for more intentional arrangements – a personal, free-wheeling kind of art…a catalyst for creativity. Author Nancy Ross Hugo demonstrates how to use the windowsill as a platform for small, simple displays that celebrate the seasons and reflect the personal style of their creators. Her fresh approach uses bottles, jars and other small vases to showcase arrangements of locally collected leaves, seedpods, flowers, fruits and twigs. In Windowsill Art the reader will learn how to find and display materials, why some containers work better than others, how to combine materials – and simple techniques to enhance creative possibilities. Beautiful full-color photographs throughout.

Available September 1st, 2014.

Purchase on

Flower Tool: How To Remove Thorns from Garden Roses Quickly (and Not Hurting a Finger in the Process)

By Casey Coleman Schwartz

Rose Thorns

Garden roses can have lots of thorns that make the stems difficult and tricky to clean.

In recent years the garden roses which have become available to floral designers are vibrant, scented and full of teeny tiny thorns. We love them, but oh my, what a job to clean them! It takes a lot of work  to the point of being able to handle them, not to mention handing them over to a bride before she walks down the aisle.

Sandpaper Block

Sandpaper blocks can be purchased from your local hardware store.

My intern, Keegan and I were faced with a bunch of Keira the other day, and he turned to me and said, “How on earth do I get all these off?” I agreed that these stems were some of the most prickly I had encountered. The tool I reached for is not found in the floral supply store, but in your neighborhood hardware store. As many of you know we use all sorts of tools for this business from unlikely places.

I grabbed a sandpaper sponge. Small and gentle enough to work those thorns right off the stem without stressing it. Large enough to hold onto, without getting a thorn in your finger.

  1. Judi Corfino

    Hi ladies! Wow were you busy this summer! Everything is so beautiful! You nailed the 3 ringed circus with those low gold plates and bold colors! Gorgeous!
    Loved the 1 year old birthday party…over the top and so much fun.
    As always you give us lots of great ideas and lots to be inspired about.

    White lanterns looked beautiful too….you could probably sell the video on how you hung them!
    Thanks for all the great tips! Can’t believe it is September! Hope to see you sometime this fall.
    xoxo Judi

  2. Ginette Nadeau-Ricketts

    I absolutely love your work! Do you travel and teach in the area of Orlando? Do you have any books on “how to?” I have taken my floral design course 7 years ago, but was unable to work and want to get back I to it. Let me know what you think! Please and thank you!

    • We travel withing Southern California mainly, but if we are ever in Orlando, we’ll be sure to let you know through our newsletter! Starting your own flower business might be an option to trying to work in a florist. Or, you can be an intern for a floral design firm. We take on interns in our business and hire our students. Perhaps you can find out if your former teachers need some help. The more hands-on experience you get, the more marketable you’ll be to a florist. Other ideas to get experience: Volunteer to do the flowers at a local church for Sunday services, help friends with their parties and celebrations by offering to create the flowers (have them pay for materials and you do the labor for free). Take photos of all your work! My sister and I started our business while we had full-time jobs. You can, too! Good luck!!!! – Kit

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