I’d like to preface this post by saying that if you’re not in New York, this one (sadly) might not be for you. Another preface… I have a LOT of local florists on my favorites list, ranging from boujee boutiques, to mom & pop shops, to Brooklyn-based floral wonderlands. And while I’d love to list every single one of them, we would be here all day. So, I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of New York based florists, each with their own unique style. If you plan to buy your significant other a bouquet this Valentine’s Day, shop these local gems and help support small businesses!
Organic shaped bouquets with a true Brooklyn feel. Stems Brooklyn carries wildflower arrangements in mason jars, flower crowns, and sweet little plants that are potted in stone vessels. Their floral arrangement style is artistic, cheerful, bright, and airy, with an emphasis on sustainability.
I used to pass by Rosehip Social each Sunday while running errands. I’d wander into the store aimlessly, and walk around the rustic wooden table in the center of the quaint space to admire the latest arrangements on display. I remember the hanging vines, small soil spills, and overgrown plants… it was a quintessential kid-in-a-candy-store experience.
While the original shop in Brooklyn is under renovation, Rosehip Social is temporarily based in Ridgewood. Their florals are stylish and chic with an eclectic, yet timeless, twist. They carry vibrant stems in bud vases, dried lavender and bunny tail grass, and striking arrangements like this Five Dozen Rose Bouquet; an absolutely breathtaking gift for Valentine’s Day.
Freyer’s Florist & Greenhouses
If you’re located outside of Manhattan in the suburbs of Westchester, Freyer’s Florist & Greenhouses is a local gem based in Yorktown Heights along Route 202. Their family owned operation has been in business for over sixty years, with a focus on local weddings, house floral, and holiday arrangements. Fun fact, this is where my family goes to buy our flower arrangements each Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Freyer’s bouquets embody a classic and traditional style that feels both timeless and romantic. They offer tiered pricing options to build upon the size of each bouquet, ranging from Standard, to Deluxe, and Premium. Their Long Stemmed Red Roses are a must for Valentine’s Day. Though, I also love this Say Something Sweet bouquet of two dozen ballet pink roses. Mainly because of how elevated, feminine and luxe it looks, but also because pink is my favorite color!
Designs by Ahn
Designs by Ahn is a NYC based florist that’s located on 5th Avenue and East 28th Street. The owner, Victoria Ahn, was a professionally trained ballet dancer, and her experience is embedded into the unique design approach she takes with her floral arrangements.
While they all have a lush and luxurious appearance, Designs by Ahn offers quite a wide range of bouquets. Some are more rustic and organic, while others have a super chic and modern style. One of my personal favorites is Jubilee (I know, you’re probably so surprised), but I also find this Arabesque arrangement to be insanely beautiful, with just the right balance of edge and grace.
If someone asked me to describe Ovando in 3 words, they’d be modern, dynamic and elegant. Ovando is a bit more widely available; servicing Manhattan and Southhampton, as well as Palm Beach & Miami. The owner, Sandra de Ovando, is a seasoned traveler that brings an exotic flare to her ultra-luxe arrangements.
If you’re looking for the perfect Orchid, search no further (some would even say these are Ovando’s specialty). This Romantic Orchid is an exquisite and striking arrangement to make a statement this Valentine’s Day.
Have a question about something specific? Ask it on my Q&A page!
Marc Wilson is the Founder and Creative Director of The Style Marc, a globally recognized floral design and event production studio based in Harlem, NY, and working from New York’s Hudson Valley, Wyoming and Miami, FL. Marc began his career in the home furnishings industry, fueling his enthusiasm for design, painting, architecture, and international travel. The Style Marc is known for designing classically elegant environments with a modern twist. Each event is ultimately uniquely designed to reflect the collaborative spirit of the client and Marc’s design team.
The Style Marc has been published in Town & Country, Brides, Grace Ormonde, Manhattan, US Weekly, L’Officiel Paris, and Essence. The Style Marc was named one of Brides Most Influential Event Professionals of 2020 and a 2020 BizBash 500 “Must Know Event Pro.” With over 20 years of experience in the event design industry, The Style Marc designs and transforms milestone events from intimate to grand weddings, to Fortune 500 events and celebrity events. The Style Marc has worked with the likes of Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Magic Johnson’s Aspire (TV Network), Essence, The Baha Mar Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, Restoration Hardware, Rolex, The Apollo Theater, Mercedes Benz, Hugo Boss, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Historical Society.
Did you always know that you wanted to be in the events industry?
No, not at all. When I came to New York I had hopes of becoming a sculptural textiles artist. I got into the events industry after 8 years in home furnishings. During that time, I was involved in a lot of entertaining. I was also given the opportunity to travel nationally and internationally for work. Entertaining quickly became a big part of my life.
When the textiles company was sold, I felt the need to get back to a more grounded experience. That summer, after a few months on a lovely tropical island, I researched the top floral and event companies in New York. I narrowed it down to three companies. To learn more about them, I first went to each as a customer. I then decided to approach Olivier Floral Atelier. I spent a lot of time in Paris and loved the French design aesthetic and what Olivier was doing, it was very fresh and modern. I went in, asked to speak with Olivier, and inquired if he was looking for any help. He asked me if I had any experience, and I said no. He replied that he could not pay anyone that didn’t have experience. I offered to work for free for the summer, and got my first gig.
After several months of cleaning and cutting flowers, I was already assisting the Olivier team with flowers at the famed Café Boulud. As time went on, I found freelance jobs with Robert Isabell, Renny & Reed, and Preston Bailey. It was Preston who helped me realize I could do this. Seeing someone who looked like me in a space where there were almost no people of color was a game changer!
During your twenty years of experience in global event design and production, your work has been featured in dozens of top publications like Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The New York Times, Brides, and Town & Country. You’ve amassed a client portfolio of major companies like ESPN, BMW, Rolex, and have designed events for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. To what do you attribute your success?
It is plain old naivety, fearlessness, perseverance and tenacity. I was too young and eager to be scared.
The home furnishings industry had market weeks twice a year. After getting myself established, I went back to my old clients and procured a position as their plant and flower supplier for their market weeks. From there, I researched corporate event departments and after reaching out, business bloomed.
Eight months after reaching out to the (then under construction) W Hotel on the corner of Park Avenue South and Union Square, I received a call from the new events director to design their grand opening and become a preferred vendor. It was the first preferred vendor relationship of my career. I never looked back, and it all rose from there.
What were some of the challenges that you encountered while expanding your business to service areas outside of your home base of NYC, including D.C., Miami and Wyoming? How did you overcome them?
Logistics, logistics, logistics. It’s everything in our business. Once I had this in place, everything else was easy.
In all the cities we work, we have a centralized phone number for clients to call. This way we never miss a potential event inquiry. Our national and destination business grew out of our clients’ request to have us design events where they were. I quickly realized I needed to make sure we had great resources. We always do our due diligence beforehand; find a trusted partner, communicate clearly with our venues and do a site visit if needed (especially when producing out of the country).
We always use our core team on all of our destination events to help ensure consistency in our work. Sourcing product, freelance staff, and making sure we partner with a floral supplier that has national and international capabilities is paramount.
This summer, you introduced a new branch of your company, called the Floral Crate. It’s a genius idea that you exhibited a sneak peek of during the Wish Upon A Wedding Around the World Virtual Experience back in August. Can you shed some light on this chic endeavor?
When bad things happen, there are always opportunities that present themselves. The Style Marc Experience was conceived after COVID-19 appeared and our industry came to a standstill, seemingly overnight. I saw an opportunity to keep engaging with my clients through digital content creation.
The Floral Crates are personally curated seasonal floral boxes that are shipped directly from the farm to our clients’ doors, ensuring freshness and quality. You can purchase the flowers as a package with a vase, or separately if you like. My clients purchase the Floral Crates as a fun activity while at home, as an experience for small parties, for wedding proposals, or as gifts during Zoom calls and attendees make the floral arrangements together.
We also provide flower tutorials on how to design your Floral Crates, which are available on our YouTube channel. Virtual design classes for corporate or social clients are also available (live or pre-recorded). These experiences can be completely customized, from the flowers in the Floral Crate, right down to the design class. You can find out more information on my website, just click on the ‘Shop’ button.
As Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors for The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals, you are leading important conversations on equal opportunity, representation, recognition and exposure to amplify the voices within the black community. What are some of the initiatives that support the mission of this organization? How can event professionals get involved?
The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals was an idea birthed by our Founder, President & CEO, Tara Melvin. We’re a non-profit national organization representing black-owned businesses and entities within the wedding & event planning industry. The Society is a working body seeking active and ongoing change through collective and individual efforts.
We seek membership among black wedding and event professionals who are dedicated to their craft and to their business, but who are also committed to the industry and its evolution. We seek to encourage members to excel in their talents, to create opportunities that allow for unity within our communities, to elevate business acumen through education, to yield financial support from within and outside of the organization, and to bring awareness to others of the multitude of black-owned businesses within the wedding and events industry.
Our initiatives include building diversity & inclusion though creating accountability and awareness, enhancing the visibility of NSBWEP members, and by showing the economic power of the black dollar.
Check out the NSBWEP website for our national members directory to source amazing events pros or to become an allied sponsor or partner. You can also find more information on the NSBWEP Instagram and LinkedIn. Our Mantra is: “WE have become the CHANGE, WE want to BE!”
Something amazing that I recently discovered, is that four percent of purchases from The Style Marc benefits Ali Forney Center. What inspired you to give back to that organization?
I believe deeply in giving back to the black and gay communities, and try to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself. I had a difficult experience coming out as a gay black man, and my heart goes out to any young man, woman, trans or non-binary kid struggling to find their way after being abandoned for just wanting to be who they are. On a daily basis I am confronted by homeless gay youth in New York, and if I can help, even in the smallest of ways, I feel compelled to do so.
If you were to leave us with something to think about, what would it be?
I’ve always loved this quote by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I love this because it truly exemplifies what we do. We are called to create memories and moments, and for me, this is what it’s all about, it’s why we do what we do.
What happens to flowers after an event? It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I get. But, it’s often posed at the end of an event, when the floral or design team is ready to start breaking down. There’s quite a range of possibilities for how the flowers are handled, that are best to know ahead of time. Keep reading to learn how to extend the lifetime of your floral arrangements post-event.
Consider Scope and Scale
What happens to flowers after an event? It’s all about scope and scale.
The size of the arrangement, type of flowers in the composition, and the format it takes (handheld, centerpiece, installation, etc.) are just a few of the factors under consideration.
Personal arrangements, like bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages almost always go home with their owners.
Centerpieces, installations, and intricate floral arrangements are a bit tricker. Some floral designers will transport flowers back to their studios to upcycle arrangements for a different occasion. Florists may also partner with organizations that accept donations of flowers post-event. Or, the flowers could sadly be discarded as trash.
All of the above possibilities can vary based on the type of floral arrangement.
For example, flowers that were intertwined onto the frame of a chuppah, or strung from the ceiling, are not left in the best condition for reuse when an event concludes. They sit without water for at least a few hours, likely much more depending on when the floral team returns to the venue for strike, becoming wilted and less structurally amenable for reuse.
Alternatively, flowers in bud vases or small centerpieces are great candidates to live another life, either in the client’s home, at another event, or as a donation.
Chat with Your Florist
It’s important to have a conversation with your floral designer about their typical practices for strike post-event. Some may be less inclined to assist with your preferences for the flowers, depending on their standard approach.
Broach the topic well in advance and work with the florist on the best plan of action for your arrangements. It’s rarely possible to accommodate end-of-night requests without prior discussions.
Donate to a Place of Worship, Hospital, Shelter or a Philanthropic Organization
This is typically a bit easier said than done. Usually, floral donations are only allowed under certain conditions; relative to the size, type and quantity of arrangements being donated.
Many hospitals won’t accept floral donations at all, or have restrictions on the type of flowers they accept. Connect with these institutions a few months prior to the event to inquire about their policies and best practices for floral donations.
Before COVID-19, companies like Repeat Roses would send a team to collect flowers during strike, and rearrange them for donation to a Rolodex of charities and hospitals. I hope they’re back up and running soon as our industry pushes through this challenging time.
Send Family and Friends Off with Bouquets
As a flower lover, there’s nothing better than leaving an event with a bundle of gorgeous flowers to enjoy in my home for the next week. If you can, invite family and close friends that stay until the bitter end to choose their favorite stems, and make small arrangements to take as parting gifts.
Repurpose arrangements to create turnkey centerpieces at your post-event brunch.
Clients can usually request that a few arrangements are set aside for pick up or delivery the following day.
Other clients will take home smaller, less cumbersome arrangements straight from the event. In these instances, florists will typically require that clients remove the flowers from the vase they were originally displayed in, as the vase could be a rental item, or intended for use at an event the next day.
Either way, the flowers can make for great centerpieces when hosting family or out of town guests for a post-event brunch. Just make sure to have the vessels and time to arrange them!
Click here to learn how to transform stems into floral arrangements at home.
Have a question about something specific? Ask it on my Q&A page!
I have an affinity towards fresh floral arrangements. They’re an easy upgrade to any space, and always boost my mood. They can be dramatic or simplistic, widespread throughout the home or featured in a few select spots.
I should preface by saying I’m extremely fortunate to be in the events industry for a number of reasons. There are a lot of perks, and being around fresh florals with the occasional chance to take some home is definitely one of them.
Floral Arrangements at Home
Any time I’m given the opportunity to take an arrangement home from an event or table sample, I gladly will! But more often than not, I’m creating my own arrangements at home.
I love a larger floral arrangement in the kitchen, a bud vase on the nightstand, clusters of flowers on the coffee table, or an arrangement on the dresser.
If I’m planning to have guests over, I may opt for a bud vase or two in the restrooms as well. Essentially, the more flowers, the better!
Budget & Buy
I build the cost of flowers into my weekly grocery budgets. I typically pick up stems at the flower market or bodega and arrange them at home, so I allocate between $15-25 seasonally (or more, depending on how often I’m hosting).
Taking the time to compose an arrangement is a creative outlet that I really look forward to each week – it’s a great way to inspire creativity!
Take advantage of flowers that are in-season for arrangements that are cheap and cheerful. I personally love bunches of eucalyptus in a white pitcher, or 5-6 single stems in bud vases, all in a row on a mantle or dresser.
When creating your own arrangement at home, two useful tools to have on-hand are chicken wire and floral tape. Floral foam is also helpful when creating more sculptural arrangements.
Form a grid pattern on the outside of the vessel with the chicken wire or tape, fill your vase with water, and begin adding your stems.
This next part is entirely up to you; use your artistic eye to create an organic shape for a whimsical arrangement, or pack the flowers in clusters for a tighter arrangement.
Floral Delivery Services
If you’re short on time, or seeking an elevated look, consider subscribing to a biweekly floral delivery service. I use URBANSTEMS when I need a more sophisticated arrangement for a specific occasion, like my Friendsgiving dinner, and to send flowers to friends and family.
Have a question about something specific? Ask it on my Q&A page!