Heat wave + Flowers = Anxiety

Picture this: It’s August in California and it’s 100 degrees.  You’re transporting flowers to a big hotel, and the loading area is in a boiler room of all places. You pray that your flowers survive the moist, sticky heat as you wait for the teeny tiny elevator to arrive so you can bring your flowers to the reception… two centerpieces at a time.  This happened to a colleague of mine who is an amazing photographer and graphic designer, but who also dabbles in the floral arts occasionally.  This experience left her traumatized.

I’ve been there, too! A few weeks ago, my assistants set up an outdoor wedding in 103 degree weather.  The bride’s favorite flowers are orchids (yay! sturdy!) and dahlias (uh-ohhh).  My sharp assistants followed my instructions carefully and added the dahlias to the arrangements at the last minute.  Except the ceremony started an hour late, and by then the blazing sunshine had taken its toll!  Of course, my girls brought extra flowers along and fixed the arrangements just in time.  Everything looked beyond gorgeous, but you can imagine the stress levels!

Any couple getting married in the summer months in California is ultimately taking a risk, not only with flowers, but with melting cakes, running makeup, flattened curls.   I got married in August,  so I totally understand!  But I owe it to my clients (and my own sanity) to take the following precautions to minimize the effects of heat on delicate flowers. I can’t do miracles, but I do all that I can do to make sure that even if I look like a sweaty mess by the end of the day, my flowers still look  fabulous.

1.  Choose Wisely: I create my floral recipes and place my orders about 2 weeks before the wedding.   When I do that, I check the weather forecasts.  If it looks like it’s going to be sunny and/or hot, I try to choose sturdier flowers for outdoor arrangements.  If a bride LOVES delicate flowers like dahlias, tulips, or gardenias, I’ll try to reserve those flowers for indoor arrangements or handheld bouquets that can stay in vases indoors until the last possible second.


bromeliads, orchids, and china berries- virtually sunproof. Photo by The Image is Found.

2.  Buy Fresh: This is where excellent flower suppliers come in.  Think of what wedding flowers have to go through before they end up on the table- they travel from all over the world to the U.S., then to the flower mart, then to the flower shop, then they are handled and designed, then transported to the site.  Only the freshest of blooms can withstand that much manhandling.

bridal bouquet  - Copy

Photo by Sae Lee Photography.

3.  Use a Reliable Cooler: Ours is bigger than all three bedrooms in my house put together, and has never ever failed us.

4.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: We change the water often and keep the flowers well-misted with finishing spray.

5.  Load quickly: We start the air conditioning in the cargo van first, then load the vases and nonperishables, then lastly the flowers.  And we keep the air blasting the whole trip!

6.  If possible, stall!: Not always possible, but we try to keep the florals indoors or in shade until the last minute.

Veronica_Paul-1196copyAs the shade rolled across the villa, we placed the centerpieces accordingly.  Notice there are no centerpieces on the sunny side!

Photo by Jerry Yoon.

7.  Bring Extras: We bring extra blooms to take the place of flower casualties.  Always a smart idea!

I'll never forget this wedding- it was 106 degrees in Sierra Madre that day!  Luckily, the flowers were troopers and held up pretty well.

I'll never forget this wedding- it was 106 degrees in Sierra Madre that day! Luckily, the flowers were troopers and held up pretty well. Photo by Jerry Yoon.

Here’s what I’m dying to know: Any floral designers have to deal with extremely COLD weather?  That’s something I’ve never experienced.  Also, what do other vendors, like bakers and makeup artists, do in heat waves to keep their product looking fabulous?


5 Responses to “Heat wave + Flowers = Anxiety”

  1. Rachel (heart of light) Says:

    Kris, you are such a pro! I don’t think I could handle that kind of stress.

  2. My sister is married :) « The Treasured Petal Blog Says:

    […] The Treasured Petal Blog Just another WordPress.com weblog « Heat wave + Flowers = Anxiety […]

  3. katie Says:

    cincinnati winters can be devistatingly cold. This past January it got to -8 F… the flowers for this all white wedding actually FROZE, indoors and in the water they were in and turned completely brown and mushy overnight. Had to get up at 4:00 am and bought every white flower I could get my hands on to recreate all the bouquets and centerpieces!! Even my suppliers were pitching in with getting the designs done in time for the wedding that afternoon. It truly was the realization of one of my worst nightmares, however, everything did come together in the end and we all walked away very satisfied knowing we were able to overcome 🙂

    • thetreasuredpetal Says:

      Wow, I’ll take heat-damaged to frozen flowers any day! I’m so glad everything worked out! Sounds horribly stressful though. You must have nerves of steel!
      Thanks for sharing Katie!

  4. Shower Screen · Says:

    my mom would always frequently visit flower shops because she loves fresh flowers on our house -:`

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