Ask Nancy: In Need of Technical Support

08 October 2012

Hi there Nancy... my name is Valerie* and I am a floral designer in a small town in the Midwest.
I absolutely love your style! You have been a wonderful source of inspiration to me over the years and I have enjoyed not only following your work but I greatly appreciate your work ethic.
Here in our town we don't typically get the big budget weddings although we have been fortunate to have a very good clientele. We have a wedding coming up in about three weeks that design wise is challenging our expertise. The Bride would like large floral centerpieces that float on top of tall glass vases.  I have the glass vases, but my plight is that I have been unable to find a suitable container to hold the foam securely on the top for that size of an arrangement. I was wondering if you would be willing to share a source for where I might find something like that. Any help would be so appreciated:)

Thank you so much for your time,
Stumped in the Midwest


Dear Stumped....

All of us, whether we've done one wedding or 1000 weddings, get stumped.  Before I answer your question, I have to address another issue which is doing a design that you are unfamiliar with.

Part of what we sell is a dream.  And when we sell a "dream" design that isn't our own or something we have never done before, it offers a challenge and an opportunity to learn.  However, a wedding isn't a great time to experience with techniques that are unfamiliar or mechanics which one cannot seem to figure out. 

After all, this is a Project Runway or Top Chef challenge, this is client who is putting their trust in you. Mechanics and techniques are the foundation and strength of every floral designer.  It truly separates the less technical from the more experienced.  So a wedding is not a good time to wing your centerpiece foundation. 

If I could just advise to all ----

If you sell a design that was inspired by another designer, one that you have never done test the technique way in advance.  Subject yourself to trial runs if you have to. (Seriously ---  I once did 3 samples of a 6 feet centerpiece so that I could master the design and the mechanics prior to the event. ) That way you know what it entails.  Go one step further --- do a sample for yourself and put it in your delivery vehicle and drive it around so that you know how it will survive during the transport.  Don't go into a design that is complex without testing it. 

If you don't do this soon enough, you will end up scrambling or worse, delivering something that isn't your clients' dream concept.

Having said this, when you do a floating large arrangement, you have to build the centerpiece is a separate container.  Assuming you are doing a large, dome arrangement like the one pictured below, you will need a disposable container whether it's a green mache or a plastic lomey dish.  That's how we do it.  I prefer the lomey dish in white.  And of course, chicken wire aka floral netting is my friend!!!  Don't forget that chicken wire will help secure the soaked oasis foam for these complex and large arrangements.

There are many resources that sell these items.  You can do an internet search but I highly recommend

Floral Supply Syndicate - nationwide stores
Mt Eden Floral Supply - San Jose and SF locations
B & J Florist Supply Co - based in NY area
Fall River Florist Supplies - based in NY area
Mosketals - no online email, located across from LA floral market
Shibata Floral Supplies - located in SF floral market
Fantastico - located on 6th street next to SF floral market
Kennicott Brothers - based mainly in Chicago
Michael's - nation wide, limited and retail

Given that I am based on the West coast, I tend to know more about what is available in my area so I apologize if this does not help.  

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1 comment:

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