My freshman year of college, I worked part time at a local flower shop in order to escape a horrible living situation in my dorm. I spent as much time as I possibly could in the shop, whether I was working or not. It was a safe haven for me, and in the process I learned some very basic things about flower arranging and flowers in general. One of the first decisions I made for our wedding was that I was doing the flowers.
I hoarded jars for over a year and created a plan for picking up the flowers on Thursday before our wedding, and arranging them on Friday. Again inspired by Zach and Clay's wedding, I planned to visit McCallum Sauber at the Washington Flower Center for some wholesale deals, but I also had a back up plan should the whole "purchasing flowers wholesale sans business tax ID" thing didn't work. We woke up impossibly early and drove downtown with a few buckets and a lot of nervous energy. When we walked into McCallum Sauber, it was bustling and full of people actually part of the floral industry, making deals and grabbing things left and right around us. I stood there uninspired by their selection and completely overwhelmed at the idea that I would need to make my purchase there.
After about five minutes of pacing around the warehouse, we left and decided to go with our Plan B, a wholesale-to-the-public arm of Conklyn's in Alexandria. When we walked into the warehouse, around 6:00am, it was eerily quiet but the cooler was open. I shouted HELLO!? and an energetic man bounded down the stairs, told us everything about Conklyn's, gave us a quick tour of the cooler, and let us shop at our own pace. While their selection didn't have a expansive array of interesting and rare flowers, they had absolutely every staple one would need to create interesting floral arrangements. The quality was impeccable, the cooler pristine. We settled on a combination of seasonal blooms and flowers that suited our color palette (which I will go into in a separate post, because it was a PROCESS).
We picked up orange waxflower (which usually only comes in a rosy pink shade), purple statice, delphinium, celosia, dahlias, larkspur, baby's breath, goldenrod, ranunculus, Italian ruscus. Lots of filler flowers helped push our budget further, but we chose fillers that were unique and of beautiful quality. With help from Katherine and Em's Aunt Lynn, we sat focused in the laundry room on Friday morning and put together a wide variety of arrangements, from the giant arrangements we put in barrel jars to the impossibly small arrangements that went into miniature jelly jars my boss hoarded for me at ALA. The arrangements were not perfect, but they were interesting, cute and made entirely with love...JUST what I wanted. I laid out all of the jars into groups that determined their final destination - coffee tables, bistro tables, countertops, etc. I finished off the arrangements with little banners on sticks that I made at the last minute; I used exclamations of joy, specifically OMG which is also representative of the initials in both of our last names. I also made some faux craspedia out of orange and yellow felt balls and floral wire.
I made the executive decision very early on to not worry about boutonnieres, corsages or bouquets. They didn't fit the mood of the event, and I didn't want to worry about them in any way...and in the end, I didn't miss them at all, either. Walking around before the wedding, I was filled with such joy at the way they all turned out.
VENDOR: Conklyn's Wholesale to the Public / 4406 Wheeler Ave. / Alexandria, VA 22304 / (703) 370-1092