Mark Held and his staff ad Mark's
Garden in Sherman Oaks, Calif., handled all the decorative
details for this elegant wedding reception in Pasadena, Calif.
including its faux base, the captivating cake, adorned with a
ring of hundreds of roses, stood more than 6 feet tall.
Photo courtesy of Mar's Garden.
Five event florists share their strategies and experiences with weddings
and special events.
by Kelsey E. Smith
The fast-paced events industry is a competitive one in which every
detail must be perfect and every function—from an intimate wedding to a
star-studded awards ceremony—is an opportunity to capture the attention
of potential clients. We spoke with five event florists across the
country to gain some perspective into how they run their businesses and
what advice they have for florists who want to get into full-service
meet the event florists
FR: How many events, and what types of events, do
you typically handle in a year? What is the average bill?
Mark Held: We handle about
200 large events (about 75 percent are weddings) plus a large
number of smaller parties including luncheons, showers and
cocktail parties. We have done the Oscars Governors’ Ball for 16
years as well as a variety of events all over the country. Our
events range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of
Lynn Jawitz: Last year was
about 60 events. Sixty percent were weddings, 20 percent charity
fundraisers and 20 percent corporate events. The bills average
less than $10,000. Floral décor is usually 80 percent to 90
percent of the order.
Steve Schmidt: We do about
75 projects a year. About 50 percent are corporate events, 15
percent are fundraisers and galas, 15 percent are weddings, 10
percent are social events and 10 percent are custom design
projects. Corporate events range from $25,000 up, averaging
$50,000 to $75,000. Weddings and social events are usually
high-end, over $25,000. Galas are usually a partial donation and
range from $500 to $30,000. Floral [ranges from about] 20
percent to 30 percent of the budget.
Kathy Whalen: We handle
fewer than most businesses—perhaps one a month or one every six
weeks. Business is spread pretty evenly between corporate,
weddings and parties, with limited charity/fundraisers. The
average bill is $500,000 to $750,000. [Floral décor averages]
around 20 percent.
FR: Where do you source
fresh product for events?
Mark Held: I use a couple
great suppliers at the LA Flower Market, mainly Mayesh
Wholesale. They supply me with flowers from all over the world,
but I do not buy directly from growers.
Lynn Jawitz: I buy only from
local floral and nursery wholesalers, where I can choose the
product. [Occasionally] I order flowers from Holland, but I know
they’re taking a direct flight to NYC, and I can be confident
that they will be fresh.
J. Keith White: A trusted wholesaler
that has a history with your company is the best to assist you with
shipping and supplying the quantities required. Local wholesalers can
work for last-minute items needed when [you are] out of town.
Mark Held, along with
Richard David, owns Mark’s Garden (www.marksgarden.com),
a Sherman Oaks, Calif., business that is part retail flower shop
and part creative design studio. The duo and their full-time
staff of approximately 40 regularly travel to distant locations
to create event décor, and the business has received several
honors including being recognized by London’s Financial Times as
one of the top florists in the world.
Lynn Jawitz is the owner and head designer of
and Event Design (www.florisanllc.com),
a New York City business specializing in weddings, parties and
Steve Schmidt is a co-owner of
Design Circle ... Event
along with John Hosek, AIFD, CAFA, MCF. Based in Madison, Wis.,
the business handles mostly corporate events and offers full
event design and production services.
Kathy Whalen, AIFD, is a visual event stylist, floral designer
and owner of Nature’s Daughter, a full-service wedding and event
business in Naples, Fla. She is a five-time winner of the
prestigious Gala Awards from Special Events Magazine.
J. Keith White, AIFD, is a partner and design director of
A AND K Productions, Inc., a full-service floral and event
planning business in Houston, Texas.
Steve Schmidt and John
Hosek, AIFD, CAFA, MCF, owners of Design Circle ... Event
Architecture, traveled to London in November 2008 to assist
British floral designer Wendy Andrade, AIFD, NDSF FSF, with the
arrangements for a re-enactment of the Great Banquet in the
historical Smithfields Market.
featuring flowers and fruit, were created by Messrs. Schmidt and
Hosek and Ms. Andrade, along with approximately 20 students and
a few industry friends. The arrangements were modeled after
those at the November 1868 banquet that commemorated the
The finished “banquet
hall,” which was set up in the middle of a covered road that
runs through the market, included more than 160 floral
Hosek and Wendy Andrade inspect the first batch of centerpieces
before they are transported to the banquet tables.
Photos courtesy of Design Circle ... Event Architecture
... For the rest of the story, look to the
September 2009 issue of Florists' Review.
Contact Kelsey E. Smith at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 367-4708.
to purchase the current issue of Florists' Review.