When Flower Tragedy Strikes

Friday morning, the day before a large wedding at The Fairmont in San Francisco, I walked into our design room ready to finish up the arranging the flowers. I felt pretty good about our progress on the event and I was really thrilled with the way the designs and flowers had come together.

As my designer Terri and I pulled buckets of flowers to be arranged from the cooler we chatted about family, life and the day’s work ahead of us. Right as I noticed one of the buckets of greenery was looking a little droopy, Terri said “Shannon, there are ice cubes in the buckets of flowers.” Dread and fear dropped into my stomach as I realized the worst had happened. One of our coolers was broken and had frozen ½ the finished designs and buckets of flowers for the next day’s wedding.

behind the scenes, floral life
Such sad frozen flowers
Behind the scenes, flower life
Ice, ice baby
Frozen flowers, behind the scenes
Frozen hydrangeas

The cooler’s temperature gauge read 14 degrees Fahrenheit as we pulled the flowers out and assessed the damage. Vases held ice and all the flowers were destroyed. As I headed out to the flower market, Terri was already making a list of what was needed to remake all the ruined arrangements. As I drove I started calling local floral designer friends asking for help. By the time I arrived at the flower market I had secured three additional floral designers to come help out. I rushed into Flora Fresh and explained my situation to Teresa- she had people pulling flowers, miraculously they had everything I needed in stock, and I was back on the road within 15 minutes.In the end it was all fixed and the couple had no idea there was ever a problem. Which is always the goal!

This arrangement was over 6 feet tall!

There are several lessons to be learned from this story.

Bride and Grooms:

*Problems happen and issues arise. Make sure you hire someone who has the experience, back-up and professionalism to handle anything thrown their way.

*Appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes on the behalf of your event. The wedding professionals I know care deeply about doing everything they can to make your day amazing and stress free.

Amazing arch flowers. I love the bright colors!

Wedding Florists:

*It is so important to make friends! When the chips are down and you need help you will need those friends.

*Be there when someone needs your help. I always joke that I am like the Godfather:

Of course, that is a joke. I love helping whenever I can. I have helped flower friends when there was a death in the family, a son was in a car accident, when they were sick and hospitalized and many other times. I am there for my flower friends and they are there for me. That is gold and such a good feeling.

This was one of the re-made centerpieces

*Community over competition. We all need help sometimes. Having a community means you have the chance to vent to someone who really understands your struggles, knowing you can ask a mechanic or business question, or having someone to turn to when tragedy strikes.

So what happened to the cooler to make it freeze? Turns out relay in the temperature gauge went out. We have installed a redundant system and now have an alert that will call us on our phones if the temperature in the cooler is too cold or too hot.

Thanks to: Terri, Madeline and Christen who worked extra hard to fix the damage, the team at Flora Fresh for getting out of there lightening quick with the flowers I needed, Kori with Dawn Creek Farm for bringing over more plum branches and foxglove, Dawn with Natural Flair and Karen with Verbena for coming to the design rescue, Erin with Scarlett & Grace for offering the use of her cooler, Katie with Ambience Floral & Gifts who offered more design help.

You are my people!