Sunday, December 6, 2009

Floral Art/Design

The Bridal GownWhen most people think of their local florist a simple bouquet of flowers are first to come to mind. Then if there is a holiday party on the schedule maybe a nice centerpiece is the item that encourages you to call or better yet visit your florist. What many people do not know is that today the world of floristry has grown and developed into a very professional industry. Most people choosing to become florist today will first attend a trade school. Florists who have been in the industry for years or generations return to the classroom for extensive training or better yet a college degree program in floral art and design. Today it is not enough to just prepare simple bouquets and nice centerpieces.

Handcrafted netting

Recently Condè Nast asked me and 3 other professional florists to create floral sculptures for their stand at a bridal fair. Yes, floral sculpture is part of our talents and becoming more often requested from our clients. Floral art and design is fast becoming a must in our industry.
I decided to create a bridal gown constructed of hand crafted wire netting. The support structure alone took 42 hours to construct. Then the entire structure was covered with sisal making sure to maintain transparency. The finishing touch included pearls, diamonte, crystals and finally flowers and greenery. This is truly floral art and design. Many thanks to master Gundensen from Norway for sharing this technique with me.

The bridal gown


Buffet table

My Stand

This technique can be used in various ways to create decorations for events and gift items. I have used it from creating lamps to decorating the brides home. Even my own stand at the bridal fair was decorated with hearts in his same technique.
Next time you have a decorating need be sure to check first with your florist….you might be in for a nice surprise.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Bridal Fair - IoSposa

My stand at "IoSposa"

The ceiling design was all hand strung beads.

Organizing for a fair is so much work. Not only does it require that I find some creative idea that will capture the attention of thousands of tired fair goers but also to create something that will show my skills as a designer and florist. Then comes the managerial and marketing work. Even though I have people who handle these responsibilities, I believe it’s important that I am involved in the process.

This year I concentrated on WHITE and LIGHTS. All of the arrangements on the stand were white and had LED lights in and around everything. The overall effect was interesting.

The big news this year was that the national television channel asked me to do a brief interview on the trends in bridal bouquets. How odd that something I created just for my own pleasure was spotted by the reporter for the interview. This is exactly why I love my work.

That's it!!! Now it's time to wait for the results of so much hard work.....which will mean more hard work during the wedding season.

Maybe I'll rest for a moment.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Irish brides in Rome

Although only 15% of my bridal business comes from Irish couples getting married in Rome I must admit that designing for the Irish women who contact me about their wedding is one of the most enjoyable parts of my work.
Just this September I was asked to design for an Irish couple. The lovely bride was kind enough to send me a photo of the bouquets that I designed for her and her bridesmaid. I absolutely love these bouquets. I hope you do too.
Many thanks to the bride for sending me the photo.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"The colors of Baroque"

Professional florists make a point of fueling their inspiration. They make an effort to update themselves on new techniques and trends. This is one of the main reasons why I always suggest to my clients and friends too, to chose a professional florist just as you would any other professional for your needs. Honestly, would you chose a hairdresser or chef who hasn’t had any training in their field? Chose a professional florist.

Here I am in a city 85 km from home taking a course. The theme of this course is the “Colors of Baroque”. This may seem unnecessary to Americans but here in Rome I often find myself in churches or Villas that are decorated in this period style. Understanding the period assures that my designs will successfully enhance their surroundings.

Learning has been made especially inviting since the course is being held in one of Fiuggi’s five star hotels. Just take a look at what we are seeing while we are listening to the instructor and designing our works of Baroque floral art.

Ahhh!! It’s great to be a professional florist.

Gotta go. Class is about to begin.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hearts and Flowers


My last visit of the day at the October 2008 Bridal Fair was a mature and very friendly couple. After only a few minutes of conversation and I knew this was going to be a meeting that I would remember for a long time. Maria Grazia and I hit it off straight away. She loved my work and I loved her enthusiasm for planning her upcoming wedding.

Maria Grazia and her fiancé came to my shop where we talked for literally hours about her dreams for her wedding day. Even Walter had many questions and special requests for the designs and types of flowers. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I began to make simple drawings of the designs to make sure that we were all imagining the same concepts. Once we agreed it was time to take pencil and paper (still use those) and my calculator (yes, I still use that too). I put together my proposal and then printed the contract.

The months prior to the wedding passed very quickly. Maria Grazia and I met at intervals to discuss adding items to the church decorations. We even met at the reception location in order to verify that all our ideas were correct logistically as well as artistically.

Well, I underestimated my own creativity. The overall effect was stunning. I decided to call in a favor from my good friend Fabrizio who is a freelance photographer, to take photos of our work. These are the results of our hard work and Fabrizio’s photographic talent.

I hope you have enjoyed these as much as I have. Each time I look at the photos a smile comes to my face. First for realizing my designs so accurately and second for the wonderful friendship that developed between me and Maria Grazia during the process.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Bridal Bouquet

Passion is like a fireplace. It requires care to maintain a roaring fire.
Floral Design is my Passion but in order to maintain this very passionate relationship I know that I need to literally do something to keep it going. This past weekend I attended a Floral Design demonstration about 90 miles away. It was wonderful to sit in a garden atmosphere and listen to our dutch Floral design master, Pieter Landman talk about the new tends in wedding design and then bring these concepts to life with fresh flowers and plants….Yes! I did say plants. He showed us such beautiful ways to use plants in our floral designs for weddings and other grand events. He taught us new techniques in using plants that will really create awe for event guests.

Driving home was a challenge . I was so excited about all that I had seen and just couldn’t get to my shop fast enough to try out these new techniques and offer them on a smaller scale to my customers and better yet, to some very fashion forward bride.

The life of a florist is so very exciting.

with tons of passion,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Professional Florist

Decorated Rice Holder

In these times of economic challenges it is even more important than ever to carefully select the suppliers you need for your special events. How much something costs should be reviewed based on what you will receive from the floristin terms of product but also customer service. As a professional florist I’m often asked about my pricing. I carefully explain to the client the importance of evaluating more than the price. Dedicated service is also a part of the price that cannot always be measured.

Recently I was booked for a wedding in the center of Rome. During our designing session we decided that the trees outside the church looked fine as they were. On the actual day of the wedding I noticed that the tree vases were damaged. In a case like this there is no time to consult the client. It is the responsibility of the professional florist to make an intelligent decision without worrying about payment. We were prepared with the materials necessary to decorate the unsightly vase.

Choose a prfessional you can trust. Your special day can't be repeated.

all the best,


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flowers for the Mother's

A very specail gift idea!
Often I receive requests for bouquets to be delivered to the reception to be given as a gift to the mothers, to thank them for their support and love. Flowers are really one of the best ways to say thank you. But one of the problems that I have with making this delivery is that there isn’t any place for the mother’s to keep their flowers for the rest of the event. Also there isn’t a way to make a long lasting impression.

For this reason I designed a floral arrangement in a box with the added touch of an inscription on and inside the box that will last forever. The box itself is a nice item. In addition there is no need to look for any type of vase because the flowers in the box are inserted into wet floral foam. The other wonderful aspect is that it can easily be taken back home if your mom has flown to attend your wedding. Just think of the presentation of the lovely personalized box with long lasting floral arrangement inside that can easily be transported. It’s great!!

Just this past weekend I donated an arrangement to the Celtic Ball that I attended in honor of St. Patrick’s day. The lucky winner had flown into Rome for the event and was pleased to be able to take a floral arrangement home to show all her friends.

So for those brides getting married in Rome, be sure to consider this lovely option as a gift for the Mother's.

Cheers, Debra Maireann croi éadrom i bhfad! Happy St. Patrick's Day

P.S. On Saturday 14 March I attended the Celtic Ball, early celebration of St. Patricks Day. It was an absolutely lovely event. Learn more about the Ball and see who attended from Ireland on

Here is a picture of me with the ambassador and his lovely wife. Another picture is of me and my date for the evening. Very special company indeed!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Floral Designer

Abiti "Gattinoni Couture"

When I first received the telephone call that the high fashion house of “Gattinoni” wanted me to design bridal bouquets for their fashion show and their customers I was elated. After a few hours the reality that I would be working for Guillermo Mariotto set in and I was terrified. Terrified that I would not be able to create for such a demanding artist. Fortunately, those feelings lasted long enough to motivate me to grow professionally and create some of my best work. Guillermo was so encouraging. He reminded me to design from heart and use my skill as a floral designer to execute my designs. These are the words that repeat like a mantra in my head whenever I am designing whether it be for an email customer or a client in my shop. What a wonderful opportunity it has been to work with Guillermo Mariotto at “Gattinoni”.

Working in this profession continues to give me many rewards. I'm so blessed.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Irish Brides

The Bride and groom The bridesmaids
Over the past two years I have been contacted by a number of irish ladies who are planning their destination wedding in Rome, home of the Pope. Although this is a very romantic idea for any catholic, planning at a distance with people who don't necessarily speak your language is not easy. I've learned recently that so many irish ladies come to me not only because I am a trained florist but also because of my attention to the needs of a bride trying to design and plan from a distance. When a bride sends me a request I immediately begin to create a file that contains photos of the bride, her bridal gown and the style and color of bouquets that she likes. I make an effort to ask questions that I know will help in chosing the florals that reflect her style. The brides that chose to work with me are usually interested in doing most of the planning themselves as opposed to using a formal wedding planner but may need a local person to assist with certain wedding details or language barriers. I always offer to assist in any way necessary to ladies who have chosen to have me design their wedding flowers. Some brides send their wedding favors directly to me and I make sure that they are delivered on time to the reception or contact a local vendor for information. Other brides have asked me to assist with the coordination of the reception activities.

Questions brides usually ask me:
Can you (DebraFlower)do a particular design?The answer is always "YES". I am a trained florist. I have been trained in all of the basic as well as advanced techniques in floral design.
When do you (DebraFlower) deliver the bridal flowers? Always 3 hours prior to the ceremony. I believe that a bride should have her flowers for the first picture she takes. I do not ever deliver flowers in front of the church. My flowers will easily last for days so there is no need to worry about them wilting.
How much does a bridal bouquet cost? Normally the cost of a basic handtied bridal bouquet starts at about 80euro.
Why does a bridal bouquet cost more than an ordinary bouquet? A regular bouquet is normally constructed from whatever flowers the florist has in the shop. The flowers for my bridal bouquets are purchased specifically for each bridal bouquet and carefully selected for perfection. Normal bouquets don't require matching ribbons or "Bling" treatments.
Which flowers are in season at the time of my wedding? I make a point of suggesting flowers that are in season at the time of the wedding. My reason is because I know that the flowers in season last longer and look nicer throughout the wedding day.

If you have any question at all about planning your wedding in Rome, please feel free to contact me. I'm always available to help my irish brides.....

Cheers, Debra

P.S. Come back on March 15th to see photos of the Celtic Ball here in Rome.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day

The celebration of lovers is just a few days away. Like so many other parts of the world, Italy is no exception in the celebration of “San Valentino”. My most important role for this event is to find the highest quality Red Roses at the very best price. Believe me this is no easy task especially since I love rich red roses whether they be long or short stem. I so agree with Preston Baileys view on flowers, “you never have enough flowers….” And I so totally agree on his view on sending flowers, “if you’re going to send flowers, send six dozen and not two”. Recently a celebrity customer of mine did just that, he sent 123 long stem roses to his girlfriend. She wasn’t the only one emotional by this extraordinary gesture of love.

I wish you deep love and six doezen red roses.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boutonniere /Buttonhole

Everyone forgets the groom. Fortunately at DebraFlower the groom gets a lot of attention. I believe that the groom should be involved in the designing process of the wedding decorations. It’s his wedding too. Some of my best ideas have come when a groom has expressed his likes and dislikes while designing the wedding decorations.
The Boutonniere or Buttonhole as some call it is the floral decoration for the groom. I make a point of creating with great care this small group of flowers that will be placed in the grooms lapel hole or even in his pocket. The design is always something that looks as if it had been picked from the bridal bouquet. Many years ago the groom would in fact pick a flower from the brides bouquet and place it in his lapel, now I design it that way so we don’t have to ruin the bridal bouquet that took so long to prepare. It’s actually an art to design such tiny and beautiful bouquets for the groom.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flower Purchasing

Rome Flower Market
Where do florists get their flowers? This is one of the questions that people ask me the most about my work. I enjoy answering this type of question because it quickly reminds me of one of the most exciting activities that require me to get out of bed at 4am two mornings each week. Then again it also reminds me why my work is NOT as glamorous as people think.
There are basically three ways I buy flowers for my business here in Rome, the Floral Market, Importers and direct purchasing from producers. I personally believe the most important is the Floral Market. Here in Rome it is a large building where producers from all parts of the Lazio region come to sell their products. Unfortunately for florists here in Rome this operation is not at all modern or efficient but I still love going there. It’s loud and colorful and how business was done in Italy for hundreds of years. Producers bring all kinds of things including flowers that they grow in their hot houses or fields. At the market you can find every type of tree limb, bark or foliage. You can buy all types of flowers grown locally. You can also buy odd things like grasses or small fruits. All of these items look lovely when inserted into a floral arrangement. I personally arrive at the Floral market at least two times each week at 5am. This allows me to have the widest selection to choose from amongst the many producers. The best part of going to the market is establishing personal relationships with people who have been working with flowers for generations. They are willing to share their knowledge of flowers and the floral industry in general. What a wonderful group of people.

I feel blessed to have entered this business.

May you also realize your dream, Debra

Friday, January 16, 2009

Enchanted Evening

Last night I had dinner at the "Circolo della Caccia". The Circolo della Caccia, also considered an exclusive private museum, was founded 140 years ago in 1869, and is a true privilege for those who are able to gain access to its noble doors. Stepping back in time, guests marveled at the 17th century frescos adorning the walls; at the traditionally-clad wait staff in livery catering to their every culinary need; at the secret staircase hidden within the internal wall structure of the palazzo; and so much more. Guests were welcomed with a cocktail and treated to a refined dining experience amongst an international group of friends, including the U.S. Ambassador and his wife, Georgia Beth Spogli. I was asked to design a bouquet for Mrs. Spogli and then to personally present it to her at the beginning of the dinner. Seated at her table during dinner we were able to chat and get to know each other better.

Needless to say it was an honor!!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hand tied Bridal Bouquet

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, the Bridal Bouquet is one of the most important floral items that I create. Normally I suggest the traditional bridal bouquet because I can use many flowers, foliage and accessories while creating a light and easy to carry bouquet. Personally I do not like hand tied bouquets since they leave the stems exposed which can damage the bridal gown. Recently many bridal magazines feature hand tied bouquets so I feel the need to show how this bouquet is constructed. The price of this type of bouquet starts at 80 euro. The price will go up based on the type of flowers, time of year and the “Bling” that is added to the bouquet. Many ladies ask why this bouquet costs more than a normal bouquet that you can buy in any florist shop. There is far more care taken for this bouquet that will be photographed all day than an everyday hand tied bouquet you purchase to give away or decorate your home.
Note I always start with double the amount of flowers that I expect to use for my bouquet. I carefully select each flower by examining the condition of each bud. Knowing that each flower will be photographed close up and needs to last all day I want to make sure that I start with the best possible. I then condition all my flower s in a solution of floral preservative and water for a few hours. This will further ensure that the bouquet will look it’s best all through the day.

For this type of bouquet you will need wide floral tape and decorating ribbon or fabric from the bridal gown.
To assemble use a wide floral tape to hold all the stems together as you assemble the bouquet. The bouquet is assembled as you would a normal bouquet using the spiral technique and taping as you go so the flowers do not move around.
Although floral tape is very useful it is not pretty to look at. Many people who have not learned to create a bridal bouquet will deliver the bouquet to the bride with this floral tape in view. Do not accept a bouquet in this manner. During the day this tape will become sticky from the heat of your hand and that’s just not fun. I always ask the bride for a piece of the bridal gown to cover the handle but any beautiful ribbon will be fine. It’s the finishing touch that separates the designer from the novice.

My personal secret; I often construct my bouquets in the traditional way and then add dry stems around the handle in order that the bouquet looks hand tied yet is really traditional.
If you have any questions at all about your wedding flowers, please send me an email and I'll be happy to respond.
Enjoy your wedding day.