I want to tell you about a great experience I had last Wednesday.. Jessica is President of the Upstate New York Teleflora Unit; members are florists ranging from Buffalo to Binghamton and Watertown to Jamestown. One of her duties in this office is, with her board, to present two evening design seminars. The schedule consists of a light meal and then a presentation by a Teleflora Education Specialist.
The themes vary, this time it was all about weddings and the presenter was Tom Simmons, a speaker and a florist from Palm Springs, California. Tom is no ordinary florist, he specializes in large weddings and events. He got to the meeting after visiting home, having been in Denver for a meeting, and prior to that he had done a wedding in North Carolina. In a couple of weeks he will be doing a wedding in Hawaii. I think he presented a program that was one of the best I’ve attended in a very long time! And best of all, the program was presented at one my favorite venues in upstate New York – Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua.
To prepare for his presentation Tom worked at a flower shop in Geneva, for two full days, along with members of the Unit board, preparing the spectacular arrangements that he would be talking about. When Jessica got home after the first day, she assured me that there would be no ordinary arrangements. And the emphasis would be on table arrangements and ceremony arrangements. There would be only a few bouquets.
The speaker spent the first half hour, showing a few pieces, but mostly he talked about trends and colors and color combinations, he gave tips on care and handling and how to deal with the bride, and her mom. And then he talked about that new computer phenomenon called Pinterest. This is a wonderful computer site where florists and designers and brides, and I guess, everyone can post pictures of their own weddings, the weddings that florists and photographers have done. The advantage –lots of great ideas. The down side? There are no captions. Brides come in to a shop with great ideas and are disappointed when the flowers they have fallen in love with just are not available for their wedding day.
His first bouquet was beautiful. In a pedestal bowl, about 8 inches across he built a solid mound of open yellow roses. And then, from the center a dozen Iris on 18 inch stems. The effect was beautiful. One table idea that I particularly liked was a glass vase, about 10 inches across and about 6 inches tall. In the bowl he placed 5 dainty hand held bouquets. The arrangement would decorate the table and after the wedding, each couple could take one of the bouquets to grace their own home.
Then he talked about the care and handling of product when it arrives at the shop and the steps florists should take on the arrival of the flowers so that they would last not only during the ceremony, but for days more. Though brides and maid’s bouquets do take a beating from the hugging and kissing that goes on, no amount of care and handling can prevent to crushing damage.
I never realized the types of Scotch and Duct tape that are available. In several cases Simmons enhanced ordinary glass vases with these products. Enhanced is not the right word, he made them beautiful.
We all know that succulents “are in.” Not only did he use different varieties to create a brides, as well as a maid’s bouquet, he took ordinary terra cotta plant saucers and made exquisite table centerpieces, using succulents and colored sand and gravel and then highlighted the arrangements with short stemmed orange Gerberas.
And then there was a silver bowl, about 10 inches across and four matching small vases. He filled each of the small vases with foliage and silver lace ribbon and one beautiful hydrangea bloom. Then he decorated the larger vase with 4 of those hydrangeas and coming from that base, 6 magnificent miniature Calla lilies. It was an evening well spent.
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