Monday, August 16, 2010

Pink San Francisco City Hall {The Set Up}

Here's the beginning post of this particularly large wedding: {the Bouquets}

Now onto the crazy set up. First of all, let me tell you I obsessed over every last little detail and flower for 30 days straight. I had been in touch with the lovely bride for months of course, but we changed the style and look of the wedding 3 times. I'm talking a complete haul over. We ended up with a mixture of the three. At point there was an after lounge involved, but in the end, it was nixed.

The last 30 days was crazy. I had to go to the fire department in SF to clear the votives, which didn't pass, I had to re-shop (for the best price) the tallest votives I could find which were UG-LAY ,so I had to use vases which tripled the cost right off the bat. I switched orchids vendors because two weekends before this event, the 15 orchids bunches we ordered came in under our standard of excellence for a white wedding that I will post once the photographer sends me pics, and I find my memory card. So we had to add $9 per bunch to our already huge order and then the tall vases we ordered were sold out a week before I picked them up (yes, 5000 vases in the inventory was depleted) and the other company I went with charged $6 more per vase...YIKES!! But, that is to be expected in this business. Just imagine, $1200 worth of vases.

When it all comes down to it, it has to make dollars and sense or what you love to do, you will not be able to if you are not watching your bottom line.

But here was the plan for the day:
The Task: To set up the ceremony area with 10 arrangements, set up the arrangements on the escort card and antipasto tables, along with 18 cocktail tables all between 2:00 pm and 4:45pm.
THEN the couple would get married between 5:00 to 6:00pm during which we would be hiding in the back room getting the centerpiece and dessert buffet pieces ready.
Finally at 6pm we would have the guests move up to the cocktail area and then have 1 HOUR to wait for the caterers to move the the theater style chair set up, roll in the tables, and then have us place 18 centerpieces down. Sounds easy? Not so much. Each centerpiece had a trio of vases filled with water in different sizes that need to be placed at each table filled with water, and then the candles dropped in and lit.....

So after we cleared the security check, unloaded the trucks, parked the cars(Thanks for the passes Pam!), dragged everything upstairs in what felt like 30 trips we finally started on the ceremony area at about 2:30pm.

Here is a picture of us setting up shop in the North Light Court of San Francisco City Hall.

These are all the cylinder vases waiting to be filled up with water.
Our shortest vase was 7" and the tallest was 47".

These all had to be taken to the first landing of the stairs of City Hall and let me tell you, these vases were HEAVY! Well...I wouldn't know because I didn't pick them up, but judging by the sweat running down Daniel and Durojaiyes faces as they lifted these vases, I figured they were as heavy as they looked. hehehe!

The tall floral arrangements were only made about 70 percent of the way. Once we got to City Hall we had to fill them in with the Phalaenopsis orchids and the rest of the roses.

Here we are in full action getting those done while the rest of the crew was on water and cocktail arrangement detail.
I told everyone wear black. Think: WAITER. lol,
BIG Thanks to
Allison, Daniel, Durojaiye, Debbie, Monica, Michelle, Mary,Melissa, and Tania for all your help!

These arrangements stood almost 4.5 feet tall!
Michelle and I worked

Here is Michelle working on the orchid placements.
That girl can work an orchid like it's no one business!!!!
Michelle and Julian were married 2 weeks before and it was her lovely all white orchid wedding I worked. ; ) She was a beautiful bride and her wedding was GORGEOUS! I can't wait to share her pics.

So then just as we are finishing up at around 4:30 pm the Fire Marshall come in for an inspection. DUMDUMDUUUUMMMM....he told us we could not leave all the vases up there on the stairs.
WHAAAAATTTTT?!?!!?! Are you kidding me? Do you know how heavy these are? This is the look we want, whaaa....? Naturally I didn't say that I jut started laughing when they told me...

Jessica, the wedding planner,( in the blue) finally convinced him to let us keep it up there for the ceremony and that they would be moved after wards. She's so good at what she does! I laughed at this pic because she has her head cocked to the side like she's trying to convince him that he's nuts, there will be no earthquake, we will be FINE....but he said no. So after the ceremony they were moved. Oh and that also had to get done in the 1 hour allotted time. grrrreat.

Here is the finished ceremony site! McCalls turned the lights on and it was and pink splashed everywhere.
While the guests were arriving and the couple got married, we were busy in the back room getting the centerpiece ready to go. Here are the tables {sans centerpiece} that McCalls set up. Fuschia linen, fuchsia napkins with a gold napkin holder and gold rimmed plates.

We set up the pave centerpiece cubes down without the trio of glass vases and floating candles so that they would be partially set up and easier to assemble once we hit the hour of truth.

The second centerpeice was a 6 vase cluster of vases: 3 with phalaenopsis orchids draped over one side of the vase, the other 3 with floating candles to give us light.

Then they told us the dessert table no longer accommodated our design and that we had to par it down to two vases. wwwooonderful.
The arrangements would be visible from 3 sides instead of just a front view, so we quickly had to turn this pink hydrangea floral arrangement into an arrangement to match the ceremony 15 minutes.

Here is Michelle filling in from the bottom and I am filling in from the top.

Even with our ups and downs of the day, lack of rest and food, we were running on time. Stay tuned for the next post of pics which include the actual reception and end product. : )

Side Note:

I worked 7am - 11pm Wednesday, Thursday, and 7am - 1am Friday and 7am 2:30am the day of....I was beat. I also had forgotten to order my water proof stickers for the bottom of my vases and I called out for help on Facebook and a few friends came through with great ideas, but Jennifer from Green Quince offered to make them for me last minute! SCORE! She has the CUTEST Etsy shop ever and her invitations are so beautiful that I had to take her up on her offer. I was so grateful for her help. Look as my cute stickers : )

Vendors and Links:

Green Quince

Dreams on a Dime

McCalls Catering and Events


Flower Design Jane said...

Such beautiful work, I always enjoying reading your blog, I wish people really knew how hard we work!

Bree said...

Thanks Jane coming from you and your beautiful blog(s) that means a lot. :)

Yes, they really don't know it's hours of research, cleaning, shining, measuring, calculating, sketching, buying, driving, arranging and set up. Not to mention the stress of wondering if they will like it, praying that nothing major happens, then trying to track down pictures. :)
You definitely have to love what you do! And I do : )

Sprout said...

Bottom line - did you make money?! It's good to love what you do, and to do it as well as you do, but love doesn't pay the bills!

Don't you hate when your well laid plan has to change at the last minute? They have no idea that even with all the planning, there's quite a bit of punting going on!

Bree said...

Amen sister. I might have written that post wrong, but my point was if you aren't making money, you won't be doing what you love for very long because it costs $ to put on events( of any size) and yes, love don't pay the bills! : )

Oh goodness, if they were CC'd on everything that went wrong before and up until the event, they would freak!!!

erin.mclarty said...

As a fellow florist, I think your work is a-ma-zing! :) It's great you put in all the time you spent, and all your details about the craziness of set ups. Maybe I'll try that sometime. ^_^ Love the phalos, which company did you switch to? It's hard to get nice ones in Texas from my local wholesalers.. :)

Bree said...

Thanks Erin!
I use Blossom Valley Floral Inc.. Mark helps me out and he is *awesome*. The Phalos were perfect :)

Janet said...

Gorgeous! All of those last minute changes can be so stressful, but you and your team pulled it off beautifully!