As event planners, we use flowers at an event to create a full sensory experience for our guests. Whether it’s for a splash of colour, to add to a theme, provide a fresh scent, or simply for the opportunity to include some beauty from nature. No matter what the main reason is, flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and have long-term positive effects on our mood. Can you relate?
What makes flowers an instant mood lifter? Studies show that chemicals in our brain such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released when we’re around flowers. These happy brain chemicals trigger feelings of bonding, excitement and genuine happiness. Coincidentally, these are all reactions that event planners want to elicit from their guests at any event, so bring on the blooms!
As the pandemic continues, we thought this was a perfect time to sit down for a virtual interview, with one of our favourite flower studios in Cambridge, ON - Le Jardin. Given that flowers lift our spirits, we hope you enjoy thinking about them and seeing the beautiful creations by Le Jardin, as you learn more about flowers and events.
Thank you for taking the time for this virtual interview, Mary! We are looking forward to getting to know more about your company, Le Jardin, and how to work successfully with a florist.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We’re two women-preneurs who’ve been friends for more than a decade and share a passion for flowers and all the beauty and joy they represent. We specialize in wedding and special events floral design and love creating and hosting a variety of classes and workshops.
2. When did you realize you had a passion for floral design?
Pretty much when we first met in 2008 while we were completing our Co-op terms at our first corporate job. We used to frequent and admire a cute flower shop in downtown Guelph and said that one day we’ll have our own. We spent the next several years pursuing careers, starting our families, while continuing to experiment with blooms and design for family and friends. We also completed formal training whenever we could.
3. What is your favourite flower right now?
So hard to choose! Each season provides a special bloom that we look forward to. But if we really have to pick, we love the spring peonies and summer dahlias. All year round favourites that never disappoint and ranunculus and lisianthus. Pretty much anything with soft, ruffly, high-petal count are lovely to design with.
4. When you reflect on past events, what are you most proud of?
How much we’ve learned, grown, and developed our own style in design which is more natural and organic. We’re especially proud of the relationships we formed along the way, the happy couples we’ve designed for, while keeping our team very small but mighty.
5. What is the most important piece of information you need to know about an event, in order to make it successful?
There is usually a lot more than meets the eye when planning florals for an event. Because we’re working with a perishable item, it’s important to know the setup whether indoor or outdoor to make sure the blooms are designed in a way that will last the whole event. It’s also important to know the venue and what they would allow in terms of delivery, setup, installation, etc. In terms of logistics, it’s important to know the itinerary of the day to plan the delivery, staging, and transportation to multiple venues if needed while being practically invisible to the guests.
6. What are some opportunities for clients to save money, yet still have an impressive arrangement, bouquet, or centrepiece?
Whenever possible, think local and seasonal. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a statement with flowers. Seasonal blooms will often save you money especially if you can source them locally. They’re also guaranteed to be fresher and could last longer. Pick one or two focal blooms plus a few elements that add can add texture. These filler flowers tend to be less expensive and can add visual interest to your arrangements.
7. What kinds of events have you worked on?
Mostly weddings of all sizes and setups but we’ve also done a few anniversary parties, corporate events, bridal showers, and hosted various seasonal workshops.
8. What are some of the biggest misconceptions about adding flowers to an event?
There are two that we run into often. One is around using more greenery than blooms and the other is around only ordering a couple of items rather than a full suite in terms of cost.
More often than not, the cost of stems of the more popular and trendy greenery such as the eucalyptus varieties tends to be similar to the cost of an equivalent number of blooms.
Also, we sometimes are asked to just make one bouquet or one centrepiece of a particular kind. As an events-based flower studio, we still have to order each element in bulk so whether you’re ordering 1 or 5 centrepieces, we may be getting the same number of blooms and would have to factor that in the cost.
9. What are some tips you can give to potential clients, on how can you work together to make their event successful?
Try to plan ahead as much as you can to ensure date availability, time to secure the right variety or seasonal substitutions, and be open to suggestions. It’s great to have a vision and a general sense of colours and overall look, then be open to ideas and suggestions that can achieve a similar look, but potentially save you money. i.e. repurposing some elements from ceremony to use at the reception.
10. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business?
It’s been, well, … interesting. Like everyone and every business, we’ve definitely felt the impact of this pandemic in terms of event cancellations, postponements, and the rise of elopements rather than full or traditional weddings. The ripple effect also extends to our suppliers who have had challenges securing the right varieties and quantities of products, especially with border closures and delivery delays, which translates into an increased overall cost. All the more reason to really consider and support local farms and work with what’s in season.
11. You’re both mothers to very little ones, congratulations! What advice would you give to other working parents who are trying to balance it all?
Thank you! It’s definitely a challenge most days but loving what we do sure helps us manage. All we can say is, you have to tackle it one day at a time, give yourself grace, and make sure you focus on your health and family first. Flexibility is key and having a good support network is paramount. Set boundaries for yourself and set client expectations accordingly. We’d rather have fewer customers but make them really happy than overbooking and have many who are less than satisfied.
Thank you Mary, this was incredibly insightful! Although I am completely obsessed with flowers, and have been working with florists for years, there are some tips in here that will be helpful to me when working on future events. I'm hopeful that everyone reading this take away a few tips as well! You and Mel are incredibly talented and you should both be very proud of your flower studio!
If you’d like to work with Mary and Mel on your next event, their contact details are:
24 Queen Street W
Cambridge, ON N3C 2A7
Store Hours: By appointment only
Written by Carolyn Keery and Mary McGuinness