Here is a post from our lead designer, Jonathan Berry, who has been with Yvonne Design for almost one year now. His post is about wedding flowers in Hawaii and differences between Hawaii from the mainland. I find it interesting to learn how a designer from the mainland adapts to the wedding world in Hawaii, and, more specifically, in what ways the floral industry here in Hawaii is different from the wedding industry on the mainland.
By Jonathan Berry~
As a floral designer and event professional from Boston, I can say that the transition to the floral industry here in the sunny state of Aloha has required a bit of adjusting. While in many ways the flower varieties incorporated into designs can be much the same, the ways in which they are used can often require far more thought and preparation. Although I’ve come from very reputable, high end floral design studios and received excellent training in the meticulous care of flowers and plants, I’ve still had to continue learning new methods, tricks and processes here in my new home.
The biggest shock in coming to work with flowers in Hawaii is that there is not a floral market as you will find in any major mainland city. Being that we order the majority from wholesalers and growers in California, we are able to get exactly the same flowers here that are available worldwide. I certainly miss the days of strolling the market, chatting with the vendors and other designers and seeing the week’s “harvest”. While not having a flower market is a personal let down for any floral professional on the island, it doesn’t actually make a difference when it comes to what we can provide for a client. The only difference that a client can expect to see is the inevitable higher cost that comes with shipping the flowers thousands of miles. While it is unfortunate and unavoidable, that’s the price you pay for a wedding in paradise! :)
photo by Visionari
photo by Eugene Kam
Another surprise (and honestly a welcome one) is how proportionally little tropical flowers are incorporated into wedding designs. I do love to use them, but the very bold colors and hard lines that a lot of tropicals inherently have don’t always do well to create a soft and delicate look for a wedding centerpiece. While many tropical flowers do grow plentifully in Hawaii (mostly the Big Island) clients are often surprised to hear that many of the tropical flowers and orchids that would be incorporated in their centerpieces actually come from other countries. In the photo below, the phalaenopsis orchids were shipped in from Vietnam and the cymbidium orchids came from Holland. The only flower in this design that grew in Hawaii is the tuberose.
photo by Jose Villa
A tranquil Hawaiian beach is the ultimate dream for any engaged couple. With the potential for a picturesque landscape to create a backdrop for your ceremony or reception, it’s no wonder that so many people fly here from all over the world to experience the best day of their life. But when the happily engaged bride and groom-to-be are jet-setting and soaking up the sun in their jacuzzi, there are certainly some things that we floral designers must consider. The weather here is typically warm/hot enough that it is crucially important for flowers to be kept cold and in water for every possible second until they are placed into our bride’s hands, onto tables, a ceremony arch, or wherever they happen to find their place in a couple’s special day. Also, because flowers lose their water through their petals, it is also very important to keep the blooms hydrated by continuing to mist them with water from above. When planning your flowers for an outdoor wedding in Hawaii you must consider the time of your ceremony and reception. Many flowers will not fair well if they are out of water for an extended period of time, particularly mid-day. This should always be an additional consideration if you are hoping to reuse your ceremony flowers somewhere at your reception.
photo by Visionari
Now if you’re thinking, wait - I was in Boston last July and the memories of sweat, offensive heat, humidity and high noon hallucinations of igloos and ice cream are still fresh in your mind, please let me kindly point out that while many people will choose to brave the summer heat and get a tent, there are far more indoor weddings in Boston than outdoor (even in the summer). Speaking of Boston’s weather - one noticeable difference as a floral professional is the delivery and care of the flowers in the winter. In Boston, flowers must be wrapped in plastic or covered in some way so that the delicate petals do not freeze between the delivery van and the venue’s door (yes, it’s that cold). As for the “winter” in Hawaii ... need I say it? ... there is none!
Indoor weddings in Hawaii are actually much the same as back in New England. The only noticeable difference is in the “island feel” that you experience at many of the island’s venues. You’re greeted in the halls with the aloha spirit of Hawaii rather than the “what are you looking at?” spirit of a major mainland city. While I have to say that the ratio of indoor weddings here is greatly in favor of their outdoor counterpart, an indoor wedding on the island offers a great advantage in what we are able to achieve and “pull off’ with a client’s flowers. The air conditioned rooms are the perfect environment for a wedding centerpiece, whether they’re made with hydrangea and peonies or anthurium and orchids.
photo by Frank Amodo
So there you have it - a little insight into the inner workings of wedding flowers in Hawaii from the eyes and mind of a mainland transplant. I hope that I’ve done well in explaining the thought that goes into planning the flowers that will be used for a wedding or event here. Should you want any more information ... you know where to find me!