Many of our aspiring floral design students reach out to us with questions about the day to day workflow of a professional florist or floral designer. Whether you plan to own your own flower shop and serve more day to day customers, or if you want to work with more large scale clients to plan weddings or event florals (or even if you hope to do some of both), it’s important to do your research in determining if this career sounds like the right fit for you.
What Does a Florist Do?
If you plan to open your own flower shop or begin working in someone else’s, your day to day responsibilities will revolve around putting together floral arrangements, taking care of all the flowers in the store that haven’t yet been purchased or made into arrangements, or helping to brainstorm flower design concepts with walk-ins.
You’ll likely arrange lots of bouquets for walk-in customers, in which case you’ll have to chat with them about what they’re looking for and then create that bouquet on the go. You might also take phone calls and communicate orders for birthdays, weddings and special occasions.
What is the Difference Between a Florist and a Floral Designer?
Florists for the most part do retail only work, selling a variety of flowers to everyday customers on a daily basis. Many professionals consider a florist different from a floral designer for this reason- some believe selling everyday bouquets to clients is different than designing a centerpiece or floral installation for a large event, for example. That’s not to say that a florist couldn’t do both types of work- some certainly do. However, the day to day workflow of a special events floral designer is different from that of a florist in many ways.
What Does a Floral Designer Do?
If you decide to enroll in NYIAD’s online floral design course, your instructor will be Jacqueline Elfe. Jacqueline lives in New York City and is the founder of Stellar Style Events, Floral & Event Design. Established in 2007, Jacqueline’s business has served clients all around the NYC area and beyond for over 12 years, and her floral pieces have been published in: It's All About The Dress, New York Weddings, Ceci Style, Munaluchi Bride, and more.
We asked Jacqueline to give us a look inside the day of a large scale wedding or event she’s working- what is the setup process like, how she interacts with clients, etc.
“The day before the wedding or event, you can put together any low centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnières, corsages or bridal bouquets,” she shares. For most of the heavy duty design however, the day of the event is when things really get busy.
“You’ll start the day off by loading up any wedding ceremony and bridal party flowers,” she begins. “The first stop will be to then deliver any bridal party flowers to the bride and groom if they are getting dressed at a nearby hotel or home- very often the bridal party is not getting dressed at the venue site,” she continues. “Once you’ve dropped those off, it’s time to head to the venue site to begin production.”
Day of Wedding or Event Floral Production
“On-site production at the venue means preparing and organizing the flowers for the ceremony,” she continues. “This could mean styling anything from a gazebo to a chuppah to a wedding arbor- it all depends on what your clients have asked for. Setup of something like this can take anywhere between 2-3 hours depending on the intricacy of the design your clients have requested. You’ll know going into the event how much detail they’re looking for, and you should plan your time accordingly and always give yourself some breathing room- you never want to be rushing on a day like this.”
From the Ceremony to the Reception
“After the ceremony pieces are in place, it’s time to start putting together all the reception flowers,” she continues. “If the client has only requested low centerpieces, this is pretty easy, since you already would have prepped those the day before, and at this point just need to arrange them with anything supplementary like candles. But if your client wanted tall centerpieces, this is much more likely something you’ll also have to put together on site day of, given the difficulty of transporting something tall that may not fit in your van,” she continues.
“Large centerpieces can also take about 5-8 hours- really depending on how many reception tables you are covering.”
The End of the Day
Once the event is complete, the floral designer (or sometimes floral design team- many professionals bring help, if only just for the day) is responsible for clean up. You’ll dismantle anything physical, break down centerpieces, and load anything else you brought back into your van to head out. Most often, this is a late night process- so be prepared to be up after hours.
Want to Start a Career In Floral Design?
If either of the following floral design careers sound interesting to you, consider checking out NYIAD’s online floral design course to prepare. You’ll work with Jacqueline as you submit projects, ask questions and plan for your own career in the industry. And by the time you graduate, you will have gained experience and expertise in the industry ins and outs, all while developing a small beginner’s portfolio of your own. For more information on how our online floral design course works, call 1-800-583-1742.