Feb 19, 2013 The Language of Flowers and Corporate Event Planning
Roses, irises or daffodils?
In our last blog, we mentioned weaving edible plants from the menu into centerpieces. In this blog, we wanted to expand on the impact of florals when designing an environment. Though flowers may seem as ubiquitous as wallpaper at corporate events, the reactions we have to flowers can be surprisingly unique.
The Victorians developed a symbolic language for flowers, called floriography. Flowers could be used to send coded messages, enabling the Victorians to secretly express hidden passions. The Victorians may have been on to something – flowers do have meaning.
Working with clients, we’ve often been surprised by the emotional connotations people bring to a particular flower. Recently, a client resisted our suggestion to use irises as a floral for a dinner. She said they were “daytime” flowers.
Why daytime? Why not use irises for an evening event?
As professional designers, it’s incumbent on us to sometimes push people to look at things in non-traditional ways. We don’t want you to look through the lens you normally perceive the world through.
And the fact is, your guests can attach a positive or negative feeling to any flower. To get around this, we try to give the arrangements an unexpected twist, perhaps in the repetition, or the volume, or color of flowers. For example, red roses are lovely and often used (and chock-full of romantic connotations). But instead, what if you used a pale green rose? Using an un-dyed, natural green rose makes guests stop and take a second look, and consider the flowers outside of their normal emotional context.
Fortunately for designers, there are a lot of new flowers out there to keep reactions fresh, and many heirloom flowers are coming back into vogue. For example, we’re seeing more deep burgundy colors, almost going to chocolate. There’s even a carnation that looks like Irish moss that we enjoy using.
We also like to use flowers that are local and seasonal, to support local growers and reinforce the “sense of place” in the environment. This way, flowers become an homage to what the area is about. Not all of our guests “get it” on a conscious level, but those who do get a kick out of it.
And since flowers are ephemeral, after the event, we seek out ways to extend the connection to joy that flowers bring. We’ve donated edible centerpieces to create a rooftop urban garden, where kids can learn about sustainability and nutrition. Arrangements are always welcome at hospitals and Seniors Centers. We even found a well deserving bride whose budget couldn’t accommodate flowers.
This attention to detail sets Wilsonwest apart. Not only do we want to make sure that every dollar that goes to an event is well spent, but we make certain that an opportunity to give back to the community is “baked in” to expand the impact from your corporate event.
Mary Sullivan is the Executive Producer at Wilsonwest and Ken Swyt is the Creative Director