Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IMG_1736

There is a lot to say about our weekend in Vermont. I am very tired right now, and I hope that I can say the right things.

stowe_1

It was the largest most intense wedding we've ever done. The bride and her mother really really love flowers. That is the best kind of client really, and the only kind I'll work with anymore. More on that someday.

This wedding had lots of moving parts. In the end, all of those parts fell into sync and that is thanks to so many people who I really have to tell you about and thank here.

stowe_2

Nicolette and I worked together on this wedding -- I could have never pulled this off without her talent and support. She is like having another me on staff, only better. And significantly less caffeinated.

IMG_9111

The wedding was on the grounds of the Von Trapp Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. People always ask; how do you get the flowers there and so I'll tell you...

IMG_9101

...carts drawn with bulls.

Kidding. We got significant material from Walt at Mountain Flower Farm. Limelight hydrangea and zinnias. We got insanely beautiful rehearsal dinner dahlias, artimesia, baptisia pods and bittersweet from a grower in New Hampshire named Emily. (Thanks to Morgan from Valley Flower Company for connecting us.)

We ordered garden roses from Fallon at Garden Valley. The fedex shipment was held up in Memphis. I yelled a lot and then just called back to Asheley (who was stationed in NYC) and had her give FedEx hell. She brought it... "Basically if those roses don't move right now you'll be shipping us a dead body..." She told the fedex manager over the phone. "And nobody brings a dead body to a wedding." They arrived via a privately contracted carrier 6 hours later, still mostly fresh.

We got flowers flown in from Brannan Street Wholesale in SanFransisco. Anne there is my best friend lately. She said to me; gee we have these beautiful hellebores that look great with all your stuff we're getting together, do you want them? This is the stuff bedtime stories are made of...

Dahlias from Edi in Providence. Dahlias that were the size of my head. Dahlias so impressive that when they arrived (more on that in a minute) I ran one 20 minutes down the road to the rest of my crew to show it off. These dahlias are what we call next level. I bow to you Edi.

IMG_9127

IMG_9121

Edi's dahlias were out of my reach so I called upon my legal advisor-cum-floral-designer and good friend Donna, who happens to be ... a pilot. Did you ever consider how heavy a bucket of dahlias is? Perhaps you've never had to consider the weight distribution in a puddle jumper bound for Stowe. I mean...

stowe_5

And we worked with Brian, Denyse, Gus, Evan and Sandy at Gardeners Supply in Burlington on a massive plant order; limelight hydrangea, quickfire hydrangea, heuchera, painted ferns, macho ferns, bluestar ferns and coleus. I can not say enough about how helpful they were through the process, and their plants were beyond my expectations. (Guess where those plants are being repurposed?)

fern_aisle

IMG_9150

Lastly we foraged like there was no tomorrow. Apples, Queen Anne's lace, wild clematis, grasses, small trees.

foraging_vermont

We had a local freelancer who after working a day with us said "My parent's farm is covered in small wild apples." The next day she arrived with a Subaru full of apple branches, wild grapes and clematis. Come on!

We worked on the event with the talented Beth Helmstetter of Los Angeles. Her team is a real class act and all the pretty details complimented our work so nicely.

The Bellmen and staff at the Von Trapp Lodge were incredibly helpful and patient, they let us practically trash their ballroom and then brought us Danishes when it was over. They put a doggie bed in our room.

stowe_4

Then I have to thank my staff; Donna and Tim who I mentioned, Leah thank you for being on call last minute and I hope you can work with us again next weekend, Maureen - I hope you took flowers home to your mother (who apparently insisted that she cut me the grapes), Amelia and Michael from Montreal who were visiting VT and worked the hardest most hectic part on Saturday. Courtney and Katherine my expert drivers and floral goddesses. Asheley our point person and YES woman who was stationed back at headquarters. Deanna of course who is possibly tougher and stronger than me but we're not going to test it. And lastly Eric, our in-house engineer who actually plans out and builds all the structural things that I just assume will appear when I need them.

IMG_9140

...I can't forget Nea - our mascot - who keeps it light and rather hilarious no matter how stressful things get. She's learned how to order a pizza, and so we're going to keep bringing her along with us.

IMG_9176

In our communications Edi made a reference to all the hands that touch the flowers - all of the behind the scenes moments of excitement, admiration, wonderment, stress...the secret of our work: we love it.

photo

49 comments:

liz said...

oh child. what bedtime dreams ARE made of.

and then Nicolette's smile at the end.

amygoround said...

Reading this post was the most cathartic, invigorating and uplifting moment of my very hectic week. This September is going to be my busiest flower month EVER (in the short history of my 2 1/2 year old business), and I'm going nuts trying to keep everything on track. I took your advice from an earlier post and hired extra people as soon as I waffled about it. I'm working with four wholesalers and my favorite two local farmers. I regularly fill buckets with The Queen and various tall grasses from the vacant lot on my corner. My bed is covered with huge fallen sycamore branches that I found in a remote corner of Fairmount park this morning while walking my dog, Mr. Milkshake, who I chided for not helping me carry them back to the truck. I felt like I was losing my mind and then I read your post. You are brilliant! Thank you again for sharing... I hope you know what a joy and a help it is to your fellow florists!

flwrjane said...

Well this is just spectacular and if I didn't know how much stress and hard work was connected with it, I'd say it looks fun,

But I know better.

Anne From Brannan Street is our angel also and I love that she's getting some well deserved airtime.

Hope you get some downtime.

xo Jane

Clare Day Flowers said...

I love this. Makes my past weekend (we spent 4 hours foraging alone) look like a walk in the park. Gorgeous work. Lovely to see Nicolette's smiling face.

fleur_delicious said...

holy cow; I'm overwhelmed just looking at and reading this - all the stage-management that goes into a wedding of this size. The photos are gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Any chance there are more out there to salivate over? =)

Mlle Paradis said...

Fabulous post and group effort! Now for some rest?

Lotte and Bloom said...

this is my favourite post of yours. also i love the sound of asheley.

Miz.November said...

Wow. Wow is all I can say. Amazing. The work that goes into something. It's hard to really translate. You and your crew do stupendous work.

17 beats. said...

holy shit, what a lucky bride. and of course, brava -- what beauty you created.

WineGuy said...

Ohhhhhhhhh, Sarah, and Eric, and Nicolette, what a wonderful story: the photos, the prose! I miss you here in Paris.

David

edi gardner said...

Sarah did everyone whisper at the wedding? I wonder if they do that so they won't brake the magic. Your work and your thoughts are charming every time!

Li said...

Holy crap. I want to know more!

Bow Street Flowers said...

Shyte, girl! I'm in awe. What a true and good soul you are to share this with us. Generous. You are generous. Thank you.

Valley Flower Company said...

I am so so glad Emily was able to help you out! Everything is gorgeous...if I wasn't busy with our own weddings I would have happily volunteered my services...but man you guys sure did a bang up job dealing with the standard VT delivery issues and lots and lots of foraging I've come to love. High-five!

Jen said...

Amazing. Inspiring. I read this earlier, and had to come back and read it again.

Lisa said...

Even knowing how hard you guys work, seeing the results always blows me away. I hate this word, but it's magical. What a lucky bride.

Camille said...

Every picture made me think OH, that's a lot of work. And then another: OHHHH, that's a lot of work! The million zillion hanging things, the long trough of hydrangea, the running ragged for miles to forage....I know how hard it all is. And props to all the growers who get us the right kind of awesome product. I wonder if your clients can ever really understand how hard you work....

marta said...

Hi Sarah,I wish I had access to all those resources... I am leaving tomorrow for a big wedding up in the north and have to carry everything with me in my mini van, I like to think I'm a very efficient "tetris" player with my buckets and materials but there's a limit to what I can do!
Love the arrangements!!! You do amazing work. All the best, Marta.

Kris Livovich said...

Love, love, love every single thing about this post. What makes flower people so cool is that they just have to be crazy to do it. The foraging, the crazy hours, the panics and near-panics, are all worth it for the mind blowing beauty.

If you ever come to Indiana, let us know!

Anonymous said...

Do all florists steal plants, and then prettify it by calling it foraging?

Laurie (Fleurie) said...

Congratulations on a job well done, it is beyond beautiful

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear, round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

ivy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ivy said...

I love that you never use clear round cylinder vases. Urns, juleps etc. Sources?? thanks!

ivy said...

Sorry for a billion comments. It kept erroring out and then apparently went ahead and posted them all. AWESOME. GO ME! xoxo

beth said...

Wow, amazing, beautiful.

kat weatherill said...

Stunning! Thanks for sharing the flowers are beautiful

Shayna said...

looks/sounds like amazing. amazing amazing. also... just out of curiousity.... is there an update on the australia trip/classes?

Shayna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Gilmore said...

I completely agree, loving what you do is the key to making all the craziness work.

Per usual, your images are breathtaking.

Heiress Emma said...

SARAH. This is absolutely your most inspiring, exciting, eye-opening, and engaging post yet. I am so grateful that you shared all that nitty-gritty and how-to; I greedily read this post like a child reading after lights-out under the covers with a torch. Thankyou. And I too would like to know if Australia is still on the cards?

catb said...

I love your pictures, my husband recently filed for divorce and I turn to your blog to comfort my soul. it makes me happy to see all the lovely flower pictures of your post.

I do have a question or two…How do you get that smoky effect in your pictures? It has an antient or antique look to it. What camera are you using? The pictures that I am inquiring about are Nicolette holding a bunch of Queen Anne lace &...carts drawn with bulls.
I would like to take pictures of my daughter wearing a big gown and pretend we are living in ancient time. Thank you for your time.
Catalina
Gardencatgirl
portland, OR

E said...

Geez. Insane. In a good way.

Send Flowers to Patna@Country Flora said...

Flowers is one of the best portal.