We are entering the heart of wedding season–one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely love the creative process of weaving our farm-fresh, seasonal blooms into lush, ultra-romantic bridal bouquets, altar arches, and centerpieces. Having the ability to roam our garden and flower fields to choose the very best of what is in bloom to incorporate into someone’s wedding celebration is so rewarding…it’s an honor, really.
I manage to stay cool, calm and collected throughout the process—from the early planning meetings with the brides and throughout the long days of designing. But my nerves can start to crack right about the time I’m ready to deliver all the flowers. I want every flower to arrive perfectly and my imagination can start to wild with “what if” worries about tripping up the stairs with a centerpiece, smooshing a boutonniere, etc. While none of these things have ever happened, I always come prepared with the emergency bag just in case.
Whether you are a DIY bride, a new farmer-florist or even a seasoned floral designer, never leave for a wedding flower delivery or major installation without the floral emergency kit. My kit includes essential items ready to respond to any floral emergency. Call it a supply bag; call it a tool kit; call it a ditty bag; call it whatever you want to call it. Just, whatever you do: DO. NOT. FORGET. IT.
The kit is sort of like the floral designer’s equivalent of the old on-call doctor bag. If you ever need to do some serious reconstructive surgery on your floral arrangement, you don’t want to be left empty handed. Trust me on that. Here are some of the essential items in my floral emergency kit.
Clippers. Sort of a no-brainer, but you never want to be without one–or two or three–pairs of clippers. I usually have a pair of my favorite flower snips in the bag and another pair of heavier duty pruners too. You never know when you may need to do some “civic pruning”
Farmer-Florist tool belt. Pictured above, this custom designed, handmade tool belt has changed my life. Seriously, second only to our tractor, this tool has dramatically improved the way I work and function. In addition to holding both flower snips and heavy duty pruners, there is also a spot for a cell phone, two pens and a ring for a hand towel.
Paper towels. Brides love flowers. Flowers love water. But brides do not love water…especially on their gowns. Always good to have paper towels handy for the occasional sloshed water from a vase.
Tape. I have all kinds of tape: Green floral tape. Waterproof Oasis tape. Clear floral tape. Double sided tape. Duct tape. I’m a little obsessed with tape. Tape is a wonderful thing and always seems to come in handy when it comes to wedding florals.
Pins. I like to have lots of extra pearl headed pins in varying sizes and colors on hand. Nervous hands can easily bend pins while trying to affix boutonnieres onto a jittery groom, so it is always good to have some backups on hand. Same goes for ribbon and wires. I usually have a stash of all these mechanical supplies in the bag just in case.
Zip ties and pipes cleaners. Like tape, I carry every color and size imaginable. Both work great for attaching garland and flower bundles to chairs, banisters and arbors. Don’t leave home without them.
Hammer, nails and thumb tacks. While most venues don’t allow pounding holes in their walls, it’s good to be prepared for anything. You never know what kind of project your delivery guy (ahem, husband) will get roped into by the bride’s family at the last minute. It’s best to come ready to hustle.
Shower curtain, drop cloth or tarp. If you’re setting up an arbor or decorating an aisle, you’re bound to make a mess in the process. Throw down some type of catch all and clean up only takes a matter of minutes.
Printed directions to the venue. I love my phone, but I don’t like to tempt fate. It’s a murphy’s law kind of thing. We’ve all been there: GPS is great when it is accurate, and a nightmare when it is not. Knowing exactly where I need to be and how to get there helps to keep me calm during that white knuckle drive with a van load of tippy altar arrangements.
The “extras bucket.” No matter how many hours I dedicate to designing the florals, it never fails that once I get to the venue and start placing the arrangements, I want to fiddle with them and tuck “just one more” dahlia or “just a couple stems of sweet peas” into a design. The “extras bucket” is like my security blanket to ensure everything looks 100% before we leave.
A flask. (just kidding). While I’m usually ready to chill out after completing a big floral installation, my go to drink on big install days is always green juice.
What’s in YOUR emergency kit? Do you have a special name or type of bag you keep your tools of the trade in? Share your tips in the comments below.