Although we started out as a grower selling bouquets at the Ligonier Country Market, we soon started doing weddings and have found we enjoy the work, especially the artistic challenge of meeting the bride’s desires with a unique design. In 2004 we started out doing several weddings and now we average several per month! The events range from simple uncomplicated, small weddings to very elaborate affairs.
We are different from the normal florist in two very basic ways. While we have access through wholesalers to all the flowers used by other florists, we grow many of the flowers we use. Many of our flowers are just not available from wholesalers. Perhaps they don’t ship well, or perhaps they aren’t used by the average florist, which brings us to the second big difference, that of style. We have been told that our style is “English Country Garden”, whatever that is. We do use greens extensively as part of the design, not just as filler. Normally, we don’t use roses, unless requested or during Fall and Winter when our choices are severely restricted, and we definitely don’t use the ubiquitous carnation. Ever. Our designs are normally loose, not tight, and usually informal. We use all manner of growing things in our designs – including twigs, berries, and grasses. We grow and use “woody ornamentals” like hydrangeas, deutzia, callicarpa, lilac, nine-bark, and several varieties of willow. We use plants when they are flowering, but we also use the same plants without flowers for their texture or leaves. In short, our approach and style are different. We do modify our normal approach to meet the bride’s preferences, but if you like the FTD look, we are probably not a good fit.
When we are considered to do the flowers for a wedding, we need to understand the bride – her style, her likes and dislikes, and how she wants the event to unfold. Then we make our design meet her objectives. We may not agree with all of her choices, and we will give our opinion, but the day is ultimately hers, and we will do what she wants. Understanding takes time, and the initial interview usually takes two hours. Following the interview we will prepare a letter of understanding and a proposal. We know there will be changes during the interval between the interview and the wedding and this is perfectly acceptable. We will revise our pricing to reflect the changes, and find that the initial proposal is usually very close to the final price.
As long as we can prepare the flowers on our farm, where we have a good work space complete with coolers and our supplies, we will travel anywhere. Specifically, working in Pittsburgh and its suburbs is not a problem – we have done this in the past, and have future events scheduled there. We even did a wedding in Philadelphia a few years ago. During some months our own flowers may be not be available, but we have done weddings without difficulty using mostly purchased flowers.