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Amy Balsters from The Floral Coach smiles while sitting at a desk covered in books


Amy Balsters

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How to Plan Ahead for Your Floral Installation Setup

Have you ever heard the saying, “Measure twice, cut once?” I once worked on a tricky floral installation setup that required some reworking after the mechanics weren’t secured well by a previous designer. (Personally, I think being a florist means pulling out your best MacGyver skills…especially when a floral installation setup goes wrong!)

The golden rule for a floral installation setup: mechanics twice, design once

Unfortunately, because I had to jump in and rework the mechanics, our timeline for this floral installation setup was delayed. During this misstep, I kept mumbling to myself, “Mechanics TWICE, design ONCE! Mechanics TWICE, design ONCE!”

I pushed through and got it all done, but this experience definitely left a lasting impression on me. It was a great reminder that, if our mechanics aren’t solid, we can’t create the beauty and vision we wanted to create in the first place. If we want to bring our ideas to life, we have to spend some time planning first.

Many florists have this down, but far too often I see florists winging it. Why? There are many valid reasons why we may not plan ahead for a floral installation setup. It may not feel feasible during the craziness of wedding season, or maybe planning just isn’t your strong suit. Planning ahead can be extra difficult when we have back-to-back events with very little time in between. I can get tired just from thinking of all of this!

Why planning your installation setup before the event is worth it

So, is slowing down and planning ahead for a floral installation setup really worth it? I look at this way: there are already so many variables that we can’t control on busy event days, so why wouldn’t we want to minimize the stress of that by planning ahead where we can?

Granted, the unpredictable nature of event days means we’ll always have to wing it to some extent. Unforeseen circumstances do come up, and I get it, flexibility is a MUST. I’m not saying you can’t be flexible. I am saying that we have to be like a willow tree, which bends in the wind but is still firmly planted.

If we aren’t planning ahead for our floral installation setups and go into event days unprepared, here is the fall out:

  • We can waste precious set up time.
  • We can add to the wear and tear on our bodies, especially when we already have to recover from wedding weeks…you feel me?!
  • We lose money by overusing materials not budgeted for, meaning we’re saying bye-bye to some of our profit. 
  • Having to wing a floral installation setup can put so much undue stress on us and our team, which will ultimately cost us in SO many ways.

My top event setup tip: use visualization to prepare for your installation beforehand

When you have a lot to do to set up your floral installation on event days, the best way to minimize trouble is to think through the mechanics and logistics of what you need to build and install. If possible, have a plan A, B, C. D and so on. 

My favorite trick is to do a visualization. I know, I know: it sounds super woo-woo, but hear me out!

First of all, I do NOT do this when I’m super tired. I like to visualize my floral installation set up long before the event when my mind is fresh and thinking straight.

This may sound really obvious and over-simplified, but it’s the method that I have used for years to keep me from forgetting things on event days.

I sit down with a clear mind and go through the entire order for the wedding or event in my head. I VISUALIZE everything I will need for the installation, starting with what I am unpacking from the van and carrying to the site. What are the things I generally need for every floral installation setup? What will I need for each specific item this time? What tools, materials, etc. will I need to make this happen? 

If something doesn’t hold during the setup, what are my backup mechanics? I think of three different backup options I could use if needed.

Hint: thinking through all this helps me estimate how much time and labor I will need for this specific floral installation setup, including the size of the team I’m bringing with me. Even just unloading can be a time-consuming affair!

Planning for your next floral installation setup needs in advance will save so much time and energy

I can’t tell you how much time and effort visualizing my floral installation setups has saved me. I absolutely hate schlepping unnecessary things to event sites. I would rather know that I’m bringing only what I really need to make that design work because I have tested it, done a trial run, thought through it in detail, done my research, and have a backup plan. 

Let’s be honest, we’ve all worked far too many events where florists are just moving buckets around from area to area, while running out of this or that, or realizing we forgot some major element, etc. 

There is no PERFECT plan, (am I right?) but this trick has helped me NOT forget those silly little things that would have slipped my mind while I  was tired and not thinking straight. Mistakes during a floral installation setup are bound to happen, but I am all about MINIMIZING those risks through diligent planning!

We are professionals, and part of our job is showing up prepared and ready to do our best work for our clients each and every time. The good news is that, with a bit of planning and preparation, we can minimize the stress of the event/wedding day hustle and totally ace our floral installation setups!

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