What it's Like to be a Florist
As a master florist for 25 years Matt Hutchinson has been simultaneously knee deep in roses and overwrought brides but nothing flusters this floral guru who loves creating art with flowers.
Photo by Zach Bauman | Pictured Matt Hutchinson
►When I tell people I’m a florist, they typically respond with, "Oh, your job must be so fun!" There is some fun to creating floral art, but there’s actually a lot of labor involved before you see the finished product. A typical wedding takes about three days from start to finish. Flowers require a little TLC. I want our flowers to last five to seven days. That requires correct processing procedures. We start with squeaky clean, sanitized floral buckets. Next, we unpack and sort thousands of flower stems. Stems have to be cleaned, cut and sorted, along with adding the correct floral preservatives, before they go into a cooler. When we design for a wedding, there is quite a bit of math involved to make sure we have counted the correct number of stems that need to go into bouquets and centerpieces. Design time takes a good 24 to 48 hours of labor before delivering on the big day.
►I discovered my love of flowers in grade school. Remember making those May Day baskets in the third grade? I loved those construction paper flower arrangements so much that, when I got home from school, I made everyone in the neighborhood one. I did learn a hard lesson early on though: It was not okay for me to cut down all of the flowers in my next-door neighbor’s backyard to make them. Yeah, I got in trouble for that one! I had to mow her lawn and do garden care for the next few years to make up for it.
►Valentine's Day is worse than a hundred angry bridezillas. Typically, there are lots of last-minute orders. Imagine the pressure of 35 guys standing in a line waiting for you to whip up two dozen red roses arranged in a vase with greenery and filler in seven minutes or less. Yes, I am quick, but it can get pretty exhausting. Don't forget to order ahead, guys!
►Just “ugh” on baby’s breath. There’s a reason they call it baby's breath: It smells like rotten milk. I prefer to use something that smells nicer, such as wax flower or other filler flowers. For those brides who want an all-baby's breath wedding to save money, you’re better off doing pretty flowers. It typically costs the same. To make one big ball of baby's breath for a centerpiece takes a ton of stems. You're better off using hydrangea and roses or other nice flowers.
►I am so grateful for being able to provide a service to people that is unique, special and artistically designed just for you. To be part of someone’s wedding or special occasion is an honor.
►It's not as easy as it looks. There's actually a lot to floral design. It's not just throwing things in a vase. There's quite a bit of geometry and artistic stylizing to it all.
►Florists are like hairdressers and bartenders. We get to hear it all. I always try to give people my best, and that means sometimes I'm just there to listen.
►Every year I study the latest trends in floral design and color to stay current. Roses and tulips will always be a staple. In the last few years, succulents, protea and other exotic flowers have been coming into play. As a designer, it is always fun to create something unique and different. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box for something that is uniquely you!