Walking into the room glistening in gold, floors polished, the linens pressed and pristine, I was simply amazed -- astounded is more like it -- at the sheer volume of lush roses, drooping orchids, and Casablanca lilies pouring out of every corner. This must have cost a fortune.
I had been called in on an emergency, as a floral paramedic urged to save the day an hour before the ceremony was to begin. You see, moments before, as my team and I were setting up other parts of the wedding, vases began to break as if a ghost were upset at the sight of these off-kilter arrangements being put out on unstable grass on a particularly windy day.
There was no ghost of course, but the glass vases of these tall arrangements, stuffed so densely with flowers and branches, simply couldn't bear the uneven weight distribution. It was something out of a movie: Bam! One of the arrangements toppled over, crashing against the backdrop of the clear blue ocean, a slow-motion fall, crushing the dreams and hard work of the bride's relative who had arranged these expensive flowers that would eventually go to waste. Then another, bam! crashed, and another...
When I saw this, I saw dollar signs burning in flames. Working with perishables is a risk. Working on arrangements for someone's wedding with no experience is damn right foolish! So here I was, in the five-star hotel room, with a frantic wedding planner swearing that she was going to change her policy, and a relative in absolute panic, making a call to the bride while they were getting ready to let her know the flowers weren't going to happen.
My eyes were wide open, and for the first time I realized just how important my job is when it comes to any type of event, whether it be a wedding, party, or bar-mitzvah. People underestimate the mechanics of creating an arrangement, and so when the orchids were stuffed at the base, and it was one-sided, there was no way it was going to work. My team was there to take care of the personals and other details, while the relative had created unbalanced arrangements the day before the ceremony. We later found out that during the reception -- yes, the reception -- a huge topiary-style arrangement broke, with water and glass flying onto the guests.
Back in the hotel room, I took an assessment of what we had to work with. The relative wanted to put the arrangements in trash cans surround by towels to keep them stable. I'm sorry, I feel really bad that this happened, but you cannot do that, I told her gently. The fact was, there was simply no time to redo anything. We created some rose petals out of the roses, and accented the arbor with the orchids. Some of the family members ended up using fishing wire to tie the arrangements to the back row of chairs, which did end up looking really pretty.
The bride of course loved the bouquets, and was absolutely glowing in the photos. She and the groom were clearly over-the-moon in love, so not even floral mishaps could've dampened her day (which is how it should be, right?).
In the end, if you want to go the D-I-Y route, know your limits. Constructing large, complicated arrangements is not only time-consuming, but also extremely stressful, and too risky for a major event. For the amount of money spent on the flowers, plus the hotel room and time to arrange, they could've hired a professional for not much more than they already spent. The same goes with bouquets -- unless you really want a just-picked-from-the-garden look, it's worth it to hire a pro. You really can't put a price on peace of mind.