by Teresa P. Lanker


The bride breaks a nail, the groom splits his pants, the bridesmaids are famished, or the ushers have headaches. Hopefully your flowers hold up better than the wedding party.

In the wide world of weddings, there are multiple mishaps and predictable problems that arise time and time again. As a professional wedding florist, your on-site roles may include not only floral designer but also seamstress, hairdresser, make-up artist, entertainer, repairman and, quite possibly, magician. In order to successfully serve in these roles and more, you need an ultimate wedding toolbox that will enable you to solve problems that come your way with calmness and finesse.

Start with a sizable tote with lots of pockets. Stylish diaper bags with chic exteriors and multipocketed interiors work well. Or opt for a reasonably sized tackle or tool box that opens widely to reveal multiple storage units. Another viable option is a small piece of rolling luggage. A variety of small kitchen storage containers and/or zip-top bags can help organize and contain the contents. Keep a written inventory of the contents, and be sure to restock your toolbox regularly. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

People Pleasers
1. Tissues for teary eyes and runny noses.

2. First-aid kit including the basics such as adhesive bandages (adult and kiddy styles), antibiotic ointments, tape and gauze, acetaminophen, and rubber gloves.

3. Bottled water to wet a whistle or swallow a pill.

4. Energy bars or simple snacks like nuts or pretzels to satisfy sudden hunger or other needs of anxious or ravenous participants (including you).

5. Breath mints, gum and single-use mini toothbrushes (like Colgate Wisp).

6. Disposable wipes and bottled hand sanitizer.

7. Sewing kit including needles, black and white thread, straight pins, safety pins, black and white buttons, and perhaps a hand-held sewing machine.

8. Hair-care products including hairspray, hair clips, combs and bobby pins.

9. Emery boards or nail file, clear nail polish and nail glue.

10. Travel-size iron or steamer for rumpled shirts and skirts.

11. Antistatic spray for stubborn fabrics.

12. Shoe strings (black and white), men’s dress socks (black and white) and women’s hose/knee-highs (nude) for forgetful or overzealous members of the wedding party.

13. Paper, pencils, crayons, coloring books, and, perhaps, a deck of cards and a few fast-food toys to help little ones patiently pass the time.

Flower Savers
14. Floral tools including a knife, bunch cutters and ribbon shears.

15. Tapes and glues including stem wrap (green, white and brown), waterproof tape, aisle-runner tape, hot glue and floral adhesive for repairs of all kinds.

16. Wire (No. 18, No. 22, and No. 26 will serve most needs) and chenille stems (white, green, brown and black) for set-ups and quick fixes.

17. Ribbon (No. 9 white) and rubber bands, along with chenille stems and wire, for multiple pew bow attachment options when pew clips won’t work.

18. Corsage pins (pearl-headed) and boutonniere pins (black and white) as well as wristlets and magnetic corsage holders for adapting shoulder corsages to other wearing options.

19. Rolls of bullion wire (in silver, if you can fit only one roll) for a faster and more versatile bow in last-minute body flowers whipped up using blossoms from ceremony decorations.

20. Pliers, a wrench and a screwdriver for adjusting candelabra and other odd jobs.

21. Plastic or canvas drape to safeguard carpets beneath candelabra.

22. Matches or a lighter and, perhaps, a candle snuffer.

23. Water for replenishing arrangements. A pitcher, watering can or milk jug is useful, but cumbersome. Alternatively, a bike bottle with a pop top makes a convenient and smaller water holder that can be refilled quickly in even the smallest restroom sinks.

24. Towels, bar mops (hand rags) or paper towels for drying hand-tied bouquet stems and sopping up spills.

25. Mini vacuum to keep floral debris in check.

Personal Assistants
26. A name tag identifying you as a wedding florist and/or coordinator. This credential will give you the clout needed to get your job done without questioning. It also communicates to others that you are there to serve in a professional capacity.

27. Cell phone for necessary communications with the flower shop and for emergency needs that arise. A list of phone numbers of everyone involved in the wedding, including the caterer, cake baker, officiant, etc., also is good to have on hand to aid in solving problems.

28. Wedding order form or flower distribution list to make sure all flowers are in their proper places or are worn/carried by the appropriate people.

29. Business cards for distribution to inquiring guests who might be interested in your services in the future.

30. A smile! Weddings should be happy occasions, so wear a smile and earn a reputation as a friendly, organized and professional problem solver who can ensure a smooth day of nuptials.

Teresa P. Lanker is assistant professor and chair for the Horticultural Technologies Division and technology coordinator of Floral Design and Marketing at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. Contact her at

Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc..
PO Box 4368
Topeka, KS   66604

Phone: 800-367-4708
Local: 785-266-0888
Fax: 785-266-0333

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