Last week I had the pleasure of helping a friend out with her Prom Flower orders. Since I’ve never really done bouquets and boutonnieres in the traditional sense I wanted to see how they’re created firsthand, and so Valerie let me observe (and play a little) in exchange for some pictures of her designs, which we hope someday grace her glorious website.
Valerie McLaughlin is a freelance floral designer working out of her home in Wallingford, PA, where she lives with her five sons and husband. The flower business suits her, adding a bit of femininity to an otherwise masculine household. Even Rudy the dog is a boy. Her home is a friendly, warm place, where neighbors and friends constantly stop by, and everyone knows each other. And when it comes to pricing, there really is no such thing as a ‘stranger rate’ with her.
Valerie creates custom arrangements within a budget. Sometimes the only direction given is the color of the dress the bouquet is to match, and that can be a challenge. Her designs reflect her own joy and passion for living.
When the kids start stopping by to pick up their flowers for the big night, that’s when Valerie really shines, instructing them on floral details and cautioning them to have a good time but to ‘be careful.’
Boys get special instruction on how to present flowers to their dates.
Valerie is also preparing for her AIFD test this summer in Miami. The American Institute of Floral Designers is a “non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art of floral design as a professional career,” and once you’re a member, you belong to an elite group of talented people who are devoted to the industry (membership also costs a pretty penny.) Lucky for Valerie, she knows AIFD members like Jane Godshalk and Tim Farrell, of Farrell’s Florist, who are willing to judge her test designs and coach her for the big day. I wish her all the best of luck this July as she heads to Miami to spend 4 hours creating 5 designs. You can do it, Val!