You Get What You Get…

You Get What You Get, and You Don’t Throw a Fit!



Cape Lookout’s stylized shoot


Funny how those words from one’s childhood continue to ring true-even today in my flower world, designing a bridal bouquet! I’m sure you have similar experiences in your life, too, where adapting to the moment is what you have to do. I remember in my teaching career it was called “monitor and adjust” and oh boy, did I have to do a lot of monitoring and adjusting in a classroom of 7th and 8th graders!

When Laurie discussed the bridal bouquet she was visualizing for her photo shoot, she wanted something vintage looking, neutral tones, and a totally different shape than we usually see today. She wanted a more horizontal bouquet with flowing greens and white anenomes with black centers. I remember that was her one preference. Anenomes. Anenomes add beautiful texture to a bouquet with their extremely delicate, tissue paper petals with a dark center and they aren’t often used probably because they are so delicate. Along with the draping greens, I knew I wanted to add some privit berries, a silvery, velvety, dusty miller and a mossy branch or two, along with the Star Magnolia branches and a ruffly garden rose.



My Star Magnolia tree, which was the inspiration for this bouquet.


The next step for me was to compose the flower order for my floral wholesaler trying to be as specific as possible so that the flowers I receive are as close to what I need as possible. It requires being very careful about flower type, stem count needed, stem length and even being very clear on subtleties of colors and shades, and knowing what each of my wholesalers considers blush or light pink. Fortunately, after sixteen years of doing this, they know when I say “blush” I mean extremely light pink. Anyway, usually when I have a wedding order or a special occasion order, the order is placed at least four to six weeks in advance of the event. By the time my order is ready to be filled, many things may have happened. Primarily: Nature! Rain or heat or cold may have affected the crop, or there could be shipping errors where flowers were cooked or frozen on the truck causing damaged flowers. As the florist, it’s my job when receiving the flowers to decide if I can make the best of a situation (is there still time to get replacement flowers shipped before the event?) or do I need to figure out how to make the best of the situation (not throw a fit!)? Is it possible to achieve the look and feel of the arrangement my customer desires? How can I make the best of this situation?

This was the challenge with the bridal bouquet for this photo shoot. I had planned on creating an armature (structure that holds the flowers horizontally) thinking the anenomes and other flowers and greens would easily be able to be laced through the armature visible 10-12 inches below the structure thereby long enough for me to place the bouquet in a vase of water to keep them fresh and vibrant (my original plan, Plan A). It all seemed so easy in my head until….. I saw the stem length of the anenomes. They were 6-8 inches at best (I hadn’t requested long stems—MY MISTAKE), so there was no way they were going to be able to be laced through the armature and have any length left over, plus I wanted some of them to be placed up higher and spread out throughout the design, not all close together in center middle. These short stems weren’t going to work for my Plan A.


Now what? I had to figure this out with what I had, because it needed to be designed and ready to go the next day. A wave of panic went through me, but then I vaguely remembered purchasing a European Bouquet holder several years back so I went and searched in our cave of treasures thinking it might work for this challenge. It was a bouquet holder with a flat six inch square piece of oasis that could be hydrated and would allow the stems to have a water source. I inserted the stems of the flowers and greens into the oasis of the holder after I had secured it to the armature, and continued until the flowers and berries were balanced, and then added more greens to cover any oasis visible. Finally, I covered the holder with moss and attached the ribbons to the handle where the bride would hold the bouquet. Even though my first plan didn’t work out, I was pleased with Plan B and how easily it all came together.



And in the scheme of things, really, it wasn’t anything to throw a fit over!!!!