Thursday, September 3, 2009

Turning into a surprise wedding florist

Many times with wedding day-of coordination, Fiona and I come across many different scenarios that are unexpected. It's always important to be able to think on our feet and come up with quick solutions because it is our job to make sure that the wedding day goes smoothly, and keep any issues that arise invisible to all guests.

For a wedding back in June, I had the surprise of being an impromptu wedding florist. I had arrived with Fiona to setup for the reception, and found the cake all ready to go on a cake table on the dance floor. But, the cake that was supposed to be decorated with flowers, was completely plain, and the florist had left hours earlier. After speaking to the florist on the phone, she said that since the staff at the hotel wanted to keep the cake refrigerated for as long as possible, she left a bucket of flowers in the kitchen and gave the chef directions to decorate the cake. A few minutes later, we found the bucket of flowers, but also learned that the chef does not consider that as part of his job. There I was, with a bucket of different colored roses, determined to make that cake look gorgeous.

The only issue was, I had never decorated a wedding cake before. I had a copy of the original cake sketch showing where the flowers were supposed to go, and from there, I started carefully cutting and placing roses on the corners of the cake, and on the top. Pretty soon, the cake looked just like the sketch, and I had decorated my first wedding cake!

Later on in the evening, guests were called out to the dance floor to participate in the anniversary dance. Sometimes, instead of doing a traditional bouquet toss, the bride might choose to give away her toss bouquet to the winner of the anniversary dance. Other times, the anniversary dance is just done to honor those who have been married the longest.

For this particular wedding, there was no toss bouquet to give out, and the anniversary dance was just meant to honor the bride's grandparents, who have been married for 60 years. It was already known by the bride and groom ahead of time that the bride's grandparents would be the last couple standing. When it came time to make the announcement, the DJ had said "in lieu of a bouquet toss, the bride will be giving out a bouquet to the winner of the anniversary dance". He had assumed that there was a bouquet to give, but there was no bouquet. I happened to be right next to the bride, and she said "there's no bouquet to give!". I told her not to worry, and that I would figure something out.

I quickly told the DJ that there was no bouquet, and after an "oh no", he said that hopefully at the end of the dance, guests can just say "hooray" and they might forget about the bouquet comment. So, I was thinking that I have only a couple of minutes to do something, and it hit me. There were some leftover flowers in the bucket from the cake flowers! I told Fiona that I was going to try to put together a bouquet, and I ran to the other room where I stored the bucket of flowers. Meanwhile, the DJ is announcing "will all couples married less than 5 years please leave the dance floor".

I reached the door where all of my supplies were, along with the bucket of flowers, but found that the staff had locked the door for security purposes. I asked the nearest staff member to open the door, but of course he didn't have a key. But, he said that there was an alternate entrance through the main ballroom. I quickly ran back to the main ballroom and finally found a way into the side room, while hearing the DJ announce "couples married less than 30 years". I thought that for sure I would run out of time.

Using scissors, tape, and some ribbon that I brought in my emergency kit, I cut six of the best long stemmed roses from the bucket to an even length, tied tape around the base, wrapped ribbon around the tape, and knotted the ends of the ribbon to hold it all together. This bouquet was literally made in 1 minute, and as I was finishing the ribbon knot, I could hear the DJ through the wall: "55 years? 56 years? 57 years?". I knew it was already down to the bride's grandparents, and it was just a matter of a few seconds before the DJ said 60 years.

I ran into the ballroom with the bouquet in my hand, just as the DJ announced an amazing 60 years of marriage, and everyone stood up to cheer. I reached the dance floor and scanned the area for the bride, but could not see her through the crowd. I spotted Fiona from a distance and gave her a "where is the bride??" hand signal among the crowd's cheers, and she immediately pointed me in the right direction. I put the bouquet in the bride's hands and whispered "give this to your grandmother" right before she congratulated her grandparents, and she was able to present her grandmother with a beautiful bouquet.

photos by J. Fiereck Photography

That was probably one of the best moments in my DOC career. It was an unexpected situation, that turned out to be really great. At the end of the night, the bride asked where the bouquet came from, and was shocked when I told her that I made it on the spot.

After decorating a cake, and putting together a one minute bouquet, there was a third chance for my inner florist to come out. There were still a few leftover roses in the bucket, and Fiona and I still had the key to the honeymoon suite because we dropped off gifts there earlier in the night. There's nothing more romantic than a bed of rose petals, right? So we went up to their suite, and Fiona plucked off rose petals from the remaining roses as I arranged them in a romantic heart shape on the bed.

The wedding was a blast, and I had a lot of fun being creative with flowers. I always love doing an "extra little something" whenever I can, and I think that all DOCs should try and go above and beyond wherever possible.



EugeneandAmy said...

you are the absolutest right person for the job emilie - no one else could have been more detailed with so much heart, grace, style and efficiency - all under the radar!

Philip Estenson said...

Wow, everyone looks so happy!

Finance Foodie said...

The cake looks awesome!...can't even tell it was done by a first timer :)

Joanne M.W. said...

wow! this completely amazed me! this is such the right profession for you!

LC said...

Weddings wouldn't be the same without you two coordinators!

Leah Haydock said...

Amazing thought and effort obviously goes into your DOC work! Fantastic.

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