We florists are a pretty tough breed; working in unheated, stone-cold workrooms, collecting flower orders in the wee hours of the morning when the world is dark, lugging buckets and vases in and out of vans, dangling off ladders to create hanging floral displays. There are, however, a few things that put the fear of God into us, things that grip us with terror and cause us sleepless nights......
1. Heatwaves. Sure, if you're in the teeniest bikini on the remotest island with a coconut bevvie and ocean lapping at your tippy-toes, a heatwave is kind of your BFF. If you're a florist, it's public enemy number one! If you are panting like an Old English Sheepdog in an Aussie summer, then flowers are only gonna feel like liquid ice cream sundaes.
HEATWAVE + FLOWERS = MEGADEATH
2. Fridge temp gauges. Terrifying little gadgets that can mean the difference between life and death; floral death that is. Forget Stephen King, the stories I have heard about whole cool rooms of flowers being frozen solid due to temperature gauge malfunctions are far more horrific than anything he's ever written. One of these said events occurred on a Valentine's Day which escalates this phenomena to epic proportions.
TEMP GUAGE MALFUNCTIONS + FLOWERS = GLACIERS
3. Brides who are florists. This is a frightening beast, she may know exactly what she wants without an iota of compromise OR be a "leave it up to you" realist who still has a list of dislikes as long as the Titanic movie. Actually, brides who are florists ARE titanic!
FLORIST BRIDES + FLOWERS = TITANIC
It would be remiss of me not to add some vital extra clauses to Number 3:
3. a) Bride who is a florist AND somebody you know
3. b) Bride who is a florist AND somebody you know because you work together
3. c) Bride who is a florist AND somebody you know because you work together AND she is inviting you to the wedding as a guest (this scenario is the penultimate of the "fear list" and is deserving of ending a friendship over).
So this time last year, number 3. c) came knocking, yup, my long term employee and senior florist Steph decided it was time to get hitched (well actually she decided some time ago, but had to wait for the whole fairytale proposal) and wanted nobody but little ol' me to do the flowers......oh, and be a guest at the wedding, oh and give her the week off before and after the wedding for the whole wedding shenanigans. Needless to say, I said "yes".
Steph and her beau are like yin and yang, she's a teeny weeny, size 6, creative micromanager and he's a big machinery obsessed, spontaneous, gentle giant. Finding common ground with their wedding plan was not that difficult, Steph and I came up with all the ideas and Aaron got to work on building them. They both agreed there would be no pomp and ceremony, just simply get married and have a party; no speeches, first dances or garters. The two of them then spent every weekend for 8 months sourcing timber and industrial materials to make ALL the reception furniture and even converted an old horse float into a pop up bar to serve drinks from (genius idea that is now available to hire through their business, The Pony)
They chose historical Barwon Grange in Geelong for both the ceremony and reception, employing the handy skills of Cara from Chic by Cara to coordinate the whole event and manage all the vendors on the day (which included moi). The pop-up marquee was filled with all the Aaron-made furniture and walls were covered in branches from a huge prune I had done in my own garden, logs came from a friend's tree-lopping business and the ceiling became a canvas for three gigantic hanging floral installations.
The floral brief from Steph was just that - brief! She game me a color palette and left the rest up to me. Oh, and she wanted a big bouquet.......in the absence of a bridal party (which incidentally, is THE BEST way to save stress and money on weddings) I let her have the biggest possible bouquet for her size 6 frame and used all my seasonal faves like poppies, azaleas, dogwood, ranuculus, David Austins, tree peonies, sweetpeas, jasmine, peppercorn, andromeda, hypericum berries, flannel flower and sedum.
The two lovebirds exchanged vows under the boughs of a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig that was a gazillion years old, but not before a scramble home mid-bride arrival to get the wedding rings that Aaron had left at home (this was the Hollywood movie moment). We draped the huge boughs with a 10mt foliage garland to frame the space and had flowers cascading out of the trunk like a spring floral waterfall, the sun was shining and it was pretty bloody perfect (insert birds chirping and angels singing). Jess from Weddings by Jess made sure all the right words were shared in all the right places and before we knew it, the deal was done!
While all the snaps were being done by our other floral friend Molly, I raced around to the marquee to light the candles, put flowers on the cake, fluff with the displays and tuck into my first of many champers whilst lounging on rugs with blankets and cushions, my first moment to forget I was the florist and enjoy watching one of my longest serving employees be the bride she had always dreamed of. Sigh......
So at this point the rest becomes a happy blur of dancing, sing-a-longs and feasting on yummy food. The fear of being a florist for a florist was allayed, the frightening thought of not meeting the expectations of someone you have to face on Monday morning subsided and the terror of somebody I know becoming a bridezilla never transpired.
I sort of can't wait for the next staff member to get married......but still have nightmares about temperature guages and heatwaves......
Flowers are everything, always x