We’ve got an exciting and informative post ahead, so I’m going to be very brief in my introduction. Hands down, Mary Beth and Theresa of All Seasons Floral Preservation offer the MOST unique product in the wedding industry. They and their team of flower pressers preserve your bridal bouquet for generations in a beautiful one-of-a-kind work of art. I know you will be as amazed as we were by the care and detail put into each masterpiece. As you follow the process pictures, note that each individual petal – not flower, but petal – is pressed. Every design is the arrangement of hundreds of petals.
What drew you to making floral art?
Mary Beth: It was actually Theresa’s idea and I loved it!
Theresa: I had just relocated to northern VA after living in Arizona for 25 yrs. Flowers, botanical surveys, and gardening were a huge part of my life. I absolutely love flowers! After spending one winter without flowers blooming around me, I yearned for a way to bring flowers into my world year round. A few years prior, I had pressed my younger sister’s wedding bouquet, and thought aloud to my husband, “Preserving wedding bouquets seems like such a wonderful service nearly every bride would want. Wonder why it is not as common as wedding pictures? What a fantastic business venture for some highly motivated entrepreneur to start up!” So when I was looking for a way to work at home while our youngest son was still a toddler, my husband brought up the idea again. He suggested I ask Mary Beth if she was interested in sharing a business venture. Mary Beth has always been so skilled with both networking and customer service. I never would have begun this journey without her by my side!
What prompted you to join the wedding industry?
Mary Beth: When thinking about the most meaningful and sentimental flowers in one’s life, the wedding bouquet is at the top of the list! As we did our research, Teresa found that there were very few options for brides in terms of bouquet preservation. Most companies offered freeze-dried preservation which results in a shadowbox or tabletop dome display. We thought that offering brides a custom-designed framed work of art created with their wedding flowers was a unique and beautiful alternative. So much time, thought, and expense goes into selecting the wedding florals, it is heartbreaking for them to be enjoyed for such a brief period of time.
Becky: I sooooo agree, don’t you, readers?? :-)
Has there been any particular job that was extra special for you or an award that you’re especially proud of?
Mary Beth: The Knot “Best of Weddings” Award and Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice Award are determined by reviews that brides’ have written about their experience with us. Receiving these awards tell us (and others) that our commitment to creativity and customer service is appreciated by our brides. Winning the Washingtonian Best Wedding Vendor Award is special in a different way since the award is based on votes from other wedding professionals.
Theresa: Asking if any one job was more special than another is like asking me which of my 5 children I like the most! I get so involved with each and every piece that I could not pick a favorite. I create one work of art at a time so I can completely focus on the special occasion, the client, and the flowers. As for an award, I would have to say that I was thrilled to receive “Peoples Choice Award” for theNatural Bridge piece I did for the Flowers Interpret Art Show in 2007. At that time, I had very little self-confidence as an artist so this award lent credibility to my title of “floral artist”.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Mary Beth: Being entrusted to preserve flowers from such a special event is an honor that we take very seriously. That said, my favorite thing is how much we enjoy every step of the process.
- Meeting with a bride to pick the background mat color, frame style, and design layout for her floral art is wonderful opportunity to get to know her likes/dislikes and sense of style.
- When we receive the bouquet, we take it apart and press each petal separately. Even though we see it nearly everyday, we are still amazed at the beauty of the flowers as they come out of the presses.
- The pressed petals and design information then go to Charlottesville where the floral artist re-assembles the petals into pressed flower and combine the pressed flowers to create the floral art. One would think that after 6 years I would not be surprised at how beautiful the floral art is when it arrives back inSterlingfor framing…but that is not the case! With all of the artwork we have created, no two pieces have been alike. It is the details that make each one unique…it can be the combination of flowers, the inclusion of an invitation, photo, or the lace from a bride’s grandmother’s dress. They never cease to amaze me.
- The final step is getting to see the reaction of the bride as she sees that her wedding bouquet was transformed into a work of art that she can enjoy forever.
Theresa: I am, and forever have been, passionate about flowers. Their natural beauty still mystifies me. The pressed petals are delicate, smooth, lucious colors, and each one a part of the special event in the lives of others. All of this delights me. I especially love to see photos of clients, brides & grooms in love, etc. that are often included a part of the piece.
Fill in the blank: I just love working with a bride that….
Mary Beth: …makes arrangements to preserve her flowers before her wedding takes place. This gives us the advantage of knowing if other flowers will be included in her design and making sure they will be dropped off with her bouquet, gathering items like invitations, programs, or other items that will be included in her floral art, and making sure that we have someone here and ready to press her flowers as soon as they arrive.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Theresa: Photos and invitations! Each and every flower that gets pressed is photographed before it is taken apart to be preserved. Whether is it a single rose, or a cascading wedding bouquet, they all get printed up for me to set in front of the petals as I create the artwork. Often the clients send along additional photos of their special day to give us an even more accurate sense of the arrangement I am to work with. I love seeing the photos of the bride & groom, sometimes they even include the wedding party, so I get a sense of the people for whom I am creating the artwork. Also, the wedding invitations add a very personal touch. Even when it is not included in the artwork, a proud mother, or a joyful MOH will leave an invitation with us when dropping off the bouquet, so we can “get to know” the bride & groom.
Any tips of the trade that you can share with us everyday flower lovers?
Theresa: As tempting as it is to hold on to your special flowers for “just one more day”, it is a fact that the fresher the flowers, the more beautiful they results are when pressed. We have found that the more quickly a flower is dried, the better the color retention. Therefore, even though it is more time consuming, we use a microwave press to preserve our flowers whenever possible. Lighter colored flowers do better pressed in phone book. Our website “About us” page has a link to a video that shows what is involved in pressing flowers, it also has some ideas of how you can use the pressed petals for scrapbooking and bookmarks.
Any other vendors you love to work with and want to give a shout-out to here on our blog?
- For flowers: Holly Chapple Flowers (www.hollychappleflowers.com), Helen Olivia (www.helenolivia.com), Affordable Arrangements (www.affordablearrangements.com), Petal’s Edge (www.petalsedge.com), Heaven on Earth (www.heavenonearthweddingflowers.com), Brook Hill Florist (www.brookhillflorist.com)
- For food: R&R Catering (www.rrcatering.com), Capitol Chocolate Fountains (www.capitolchocolatefountains.com), Market Salamander for catering and cakes (www.marketsalamander.com),
- For venue: Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast (www.briarpatchbandb.com), Black Horse Inn (www.blackhorseinn.com), Raspberry Plain (www.raspberryplain.com), Stonewall Golf Club (www.stonewallgolfclub.com), Belmont Country Club (http://www.belmontcountryclub.com), Whitehall Manor (www.historicwhitehall.com)
What contact information would you like us to share – i.e. website, email, phone, etc;
Well, readers, I made a big statement – but it was true, wasn’t it? This the the most unique and valuable product that any wedding vendor out there is offering? After Susie and I met Mary Beth, we looked at each other and said at the same time, “I wish I had known about them after MY wedding.” For all you brides out there – now you know and I hope you give them a call! :-)
Mary Beth and Teresa, you are two busy and successful ladies and Susie and I are so grateful that you took time out of your schedules to show us your process and to give us your hard-earned insights into the business side of the industry. As we press ahead with our own business we look to you as examples in excellent customer service and balance with work and family! Thanks for encouraging us to keep trying new things!