Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Although there are a lot of moments where we florists get to 'play with flowers' and it actually does feel like sunshine & rainbows, there are equally and even more moments where it can be really challenging. I'd like to shine a light on these aspects of the industry, to show future florists and also give a shoutout to current florists who want to be heard but aren't quite saying it.
The reality behind the sunshine & rainbows:
1. "Let's get physical, physical"
Even though we may flounce around like fairies with feather-dusters, being a florist is physical work! It means constantly lifting, moving, carrying and swapping really heavy buckets full to the brim of our precious gifts - the fleurs (and of coarse water).
It's also being on your feet, on hard floors for hours on end. Some days up to 15hrs+.
It means getting dirty - real dirty. Whether it be our hands (which are always dirty) or trudging through a muddy ceremony space, i can promise, you won't come home in the same condition you left.
On this point, i think it's important (and maybe easy for people to understand) that floristry is a trade. I know that for any gentlemen reading this, you'll be saying 'pffffft' to me through the screen and snubbing the idea. We have a craft, we get dirty, we use tools, there is a result/product/outcome to produce. We are equal. So see it that way.
2. "Honey, i'm home!" (at a weird time)
The working hours of a florist can vary dramatically depending on which category you fall under (e.g wedding/events, retail, daily deliveries, manager, junior etc).
However, for a large number of people it usually means a market run during the week (if not several times). In my case, living outside of Sydney, it means a 3am wakeup to jump on the road to pickup my babies. Therefore i get home around 8am or 9am and my working day can be over by midday.
In the case of a wedding or event, some venues require bump-out (pack down after an event) that same night. Midnight, we're heading into the reception we created and left 6hours ago to pack everything up so that the venue can be set for breakfast the following morning.
For a retail worker it can mean a more 'normal' 8-4pm working day. It all depends.
3. Wedding prep starts way before the big day
For a Saturday wedding, a full package means majority of florists start their preparation on the Wednesday. That's 3 days of prep before 1 full day of installation.
Here's a super brief run-down:
Wednesday - 1st market run, process all flowers
Thursday - reception pieces e.g. table centrepieces etc.
Friday - (possible 2nd market run), all personal flowers e.g. bouquets, buttonholes etc.
Saturday - final edit, on-site installation e.g. ceremony arch, ceiling installation, vase placement etc.
4. Let the juices flow
Florists are usually creative as all heck. That's why they're in this industry. The best work a florist does is when they have the freedom to do their best work. In other words, a wish list is a great place to start, but if you want the best out of your florist/you as the florist want to be the best at what YOU do, steer towards the florist creating a completely new design for each wedding. This keeps the inspiration and creative juices flowing, and allows for a much more cohesive design that conveys confidence (and of coarse something beautiful). It's a great way to showcase the skills of the florist and boosts their confidence for future projects; as well as create the best outcome for the client.
5. "I don't know how to fix your dying cabbage, sorry Susan"
Ahhhhh Susan. There are so many Susans' in my world. Yes, i LOVE plants; and yes, i play with flora & foliage all the time. However, i am not a gardener per se. Alot of people automatically think they go hand in hand. If i'm honest, i actually could learn a whole lot more about gardening, but for now, i am florist; and i can't fix your dying cabbage Susan. Sorry.