Five Days Fraught With Flowers

September 15, 2011 | My Jottings

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day — like writing a poem or saying a prayer.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Arranging thousands of flowers for a huge wedding for five days straight and into the wee hours of the mornings can give an utter sense of lunacy to a quiet life — like taut nerves close to snapping and the eyes rolling back in the head.

Julie B.

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Sara is a floral designer in a local downtown flower shop, and she loves her job. Once or twice she has been asked by friends if she could do their wedding flowers on her own, and she has agreed. She has done these weddings as favors, and because she isn’t set up like a flower shop (and doesn’t want to be), the logistics became a little challenging. The outcomes have always been beautiful, though, with happy brides and families.

Last week was the third wedding Sara has done by herself, and it was an enterprise of mammoth proportions because of the size of the flower order. Trish, the lovely bride, ordered twenty-one large table arrangements, yards of lush bay leaf garlands hung everywhere, a huge memorial arrangement for one of the deceased parents, along with the multiple corsages, bouquets and boutonnieres.

A truck from Minneapolis arrived at our house early in the morning, twice last week. Our garage became Sara’s floral workshop. Our kitchen became the storage area for completed arrangements. The refrigerator in our guest room became the place where corsages and smaller pieces where gingerly stored.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them if you like. Sara was ready for the first shipment with bins full of water in the front yard — thankfully it was a beautiful day. It took her most of the day to clean and prepare the flowers. Some flowers had to be stripped of leaves, some had to be placed in very cold water. Some had to have bleach added to the water, some had to have damp paper towels draped delicately over their blooms. Some flowers had to have their stems cut and boiling water poured at the cuts, others had to be softly sung to and caressed every three to four hours. It was a daunting job.

Michael helped her unpack boxes of flowers from this first delivery. Right about this point I started worrying about how these flowers were going to stay fresh from Tuesday morning until the Saturday evening wedding, with hot weather forecasted, and no huge florist’s cooler on the premises. Moms are good for that kind of thing and I was more than happy to do it for Sara. I didn’t want her worrying one little bit.

Flowers, flowers, everywhere.

Amaryllis hanging out in the corner of their blue bin.

Doesn’t she look calm and cheerful, considering that the next almost five days are going to test her endurance like nothing she’s ever experienced? Keep in mind that aside from doing this wedding, Sara works at her day job, and is also going to college, taking some kind of class about atoms and cytoplasm and something weird called the periodic table of elements. 🙂


Soon some of the bins had to be moved inside to the laundry room because the temperature outside started to climb.

I think this picture was taken on Thursday — of several table arrangements sitting on one of our kitchen counters, along with other flowers being stored in bowls and pitchers, waiting their turns for glory and infamy. We pulled the shades down and cranked up the air conditioning to keep things as cool as possible.

What, you don’t keep several rectangular table arrangements on your kitchen counters?

They’re all close together so it’s hard to see, but I believe there are six completed floral arrangements sitting here.

On Friday night God sent an angel in human form named Corie to help Sara with whatever still needed doing. What a blessing her unannounced appearance was!

I believe the photo below was taken early Saturday morning. Sara had stayed up until 2:30 a.m. to get the rest of the table arrangements done. I liked storing them on our stove, because that meant I didn’t have to cook! Yeah! Out to dinner ’cause there are flowers on the stove! Next time you don’t feel like cooking you might try this tactic too.

Below, Sara is working on the bride’s gorgeous bouquet — a bouquet she carried in the crook of her arm, to the side, rather than in her hand.

More table arrangements…

I knew I would find a good use for this treadmill I bought! Look at how perfectly those table arrangements fit! I wonder if my two feet would fit on this. I should give it a try sometime.

I was too tired to go to the wedding after watching Sara exhaust herself for five days doing flowers, so I don’t have any wedding photos. I was told it was exquisitely beautiful though, and that the flowers helped make it so. If anyone sends me a photo or two from the wedding, I’ll post it here later.

Sara was so thankful that the bride and groom and their families were happy with her creative work, and after we transported all the arrangements and bouquets to the church on Saturday morning (three vehicles full), her relief and happiness were a joy to see.

Now my kitchen counters, stove, laundry room and fridge are flower-free, so I guess that means I have to go cook something. Does anyone have any good recipes?



  1. Ember says:

    Here in England we have a tidy little meal called baked-beans-on-toast that we find suitable for such moments . . .
    That was one mammoth undertaking! Well done Sara and well done you! I hope we do get to see some wedding pics at some point – those flowers look spectacular!

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Ember….xx

  3. Ginny says:

    Eye witness news!! These arrangements superexceeded the wedding Litttel Bubbbah did in Bayfield, and I was blown away at the Bayfield wedding! Trish’s flowers were totally uptown and classy! I am so proud of Sara for her integrity and utilizing her gift to bless a lovely Godly woman. I think Corie’s arrival was a faith builder for Sara, too! God is faithful…and He loves coming through at the 11th hour! : )
    BUT… one more person needs to be recognized in this! What a darling mommy you are, Jewel, to support Sara through this, especially giving up the treadmill for a time! My mother would still be having a fit if I had done that!!!

    My fav hot sandwich…
    Seasoned chicken thigh/breast baked or grilled, then cut in small chunks
    Chopped onion, green olives, (or pickles) celery
    Grated cheese
    Mayo (make mixture moist)
    Mixed together and put large mound on an English muffin
    Convection bake until cheese melts and mixture starts to brown on top

    Serve with Wolfgang Puck’s tomato soup
    Add a 1/2 can of milk and some instant rice

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words and the recipe, Ginny! Are you ready for the Twister? 😀

  5. Jessica says:

    Well Julie, I have no recipes for you. *sigh*

    But I thoroughly enjoyed this post as it carried me along memory lane. My dad is a retired teacher who taught retail floral at a technical college in the Cities for 30 years. He also had (and still has) a wedding flower business of his own that he operates out of his house. He has a built in cooler in his basement for such occasions.

    When I was living at home I used to work with/for him doing these weddings on the weekends. I didn’t do any design work but I did a lot of set up, pinning on of flowers, instructing on how to carry flowers, running, carrying, smiling etc. I guess I did assemble reception table flowers, do the cake flowers sometimes etc. but mostly I was there for set up and leg work.

    Eventually I graduated to where he would take two weddings in one weekend, do all the designing and then Saturday morning we’d load up and part ways, him to one and I to the other. I remember being really honored that he trusted me (just a kid, really) to set up an entire wedding that his name was on. And I loved it. He paid me, but I would have done it for free. And I still wish that I could get down there and help with weddings.

    And one other perk to this little part time job was a lot of one on one time with my dad. We were busy and we worked hard but we were together. And there was always some “hurry up and wait” when we’d find ourselves hanging out on a church pew chatting or something similar. And when we were done setting up the reception, we’d almost always stop for something to drink or eat at the hotel restaurant or somewhere else. The whole day was fun. I’m sure he was exhausted but he always made it fun.

    And when it came time for my wedding, you can only imagine. But being the father of the bride, he wanted to focus on “dad duties” so he designed my ENORMOUS bouquet and a couple other smaller things and then assembled a “reception team” and a “ceremony team” to do the rest. He helped them plan it out (I told him I wanted all white flowers and he could figure out the rest) and then they did most of the designing. And of course it was perfect.

    Sounds like Sara did a fabulous job and you were her fabulous assistant!!!! Nice work!!!!!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Jessica…I had no idea! How fascinating! I would love to see photos of your wedding someday. You have so many great memories from those years…how blessed you are.

  7. Carey says:

    WOW…and I do mean WOW!

    This is some of the most beautiful floral work that I’ve ever seen! This is beyond good…it is exceptional and a true gifting from God. Looking through the photos, I found myself walking down memory lane, but unlike Sara, I was always a wreck when it came to doing someone’s wedding. So glad to see that not only has she been gifted, but it appears that the peace of God was upon her as well! Well done, sweet girl!

  8. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Carey – I’ll show Sara your comments! Ahem….she was calm for the first three days, but by the time the last two nights came around, she was pretty wiped out and teary. It was really a two-three person job, but we kept praying and God definitely helped her! Missing you….

  9. Ganeida says:

    My Aunt was a florist [among other things] & well I remember the hours she spent with wire & twine tying up beautiful bouquets for nervous brides! Lovely occupation! Well done.:D

  10. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Ganeida! I will pass that on to Sara. Glad your Internet is back so we can enjoy your blog!

  11. Trisha Mann says:


    We are waiting for more pictures too! My wedding was beautiful to the eyes and beautiful to the heart! I believe Sara’s artistry was extra beautiful because she allows God to use her hands and her heart! She gave so much time to make my day special to me…she is and has always been a blessing in my life! I was proud of her, and I am just her friend….you must be beaming!! More pics to come!

  12. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Trisha! I’m anxious to see the photos and would love to post one or two if you’d allow me to! God bless you and Tim!

  13. Pat says:

    I laughed so hard when I read your quote. That was a highlight of my day! The flowers were absolutely stunning.

  14. Just Julie says:

    See you soon Pat! ;P

  15. Larry says:

    Sister, I know it was all in your house and will all your blessings, but your daughter needs a hug and a nice loving flower arangement given to her too. Talk about her being a blessing, wow! It is the things we do for others that best pleases Him.

  16. Just Julie says:

    I gave her lots of hugs while she was working on the wedding but now I think I’ll go give her another one! 🙂 LY Lar….

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