First Lady’s Luncheon 2018 Washington DC
On Mother’s Day Weekend, I was part of a volunteer design team for the 106th First Lady’s Luncheon, hosted by the Congressional Club. Each year the Congressional Club hosts a bi-partisan luncheon in honor of the First Lady to benefit a charity (or charities) of her choice. This year’s luncheon benefited Lily’s Place, in Huntington, West Virginia, which provides medical and therapeutic care to infants who are prenatally exposed to drugs, while also providing support to the children’s families.
I felt really privileged to be a part of such a talented and creative team made up of designers, American flower farmers and other leaders in the Floral Industry, including Kasey Cronquist, CEO/Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission. This year’s design team was headed by two women that I respect and admire, Kelly Shore, of Petals by the Shore, and Mary Kate Kinnane, of The Local Bouquet. These two women have been so inspirational to me because both of their businesses focus on sourcing local and American grown for their events. The Local Bouquet actually uses 100% American grown flowers, which I think is absolutely incredible. Under their leadership, almost 35 designers and support team members gathered together and spent 4 days creating some really elaborate floral decor.
More than 15,000 blooms were donated by 21 different American flower farms to help bring awareness about American Grown Flowers to Washington, DC. I typically prefer a bright color palette to a neutral one so I was thrilled to see all these bright colors when I arrived.
The theme for this year’s luncheon was Arizona inspired, with the caption “Limitless Horizons”, so we had some really bright and fun flowers to use. We carried this theme through all of the design elements, including the enormous flower wall. Together, this talented team created 150 guest table designs….
We decorated a 104 ft promenade/runway that ran through the middle of the dining room…….
Isn’t this a really awesome shot of the completed runway? This is how the guests of honor entered the room to go to the head table.
We created a 60 ft head table, that was complimented by an amazing backdrop……
We made around 800 individual boutonnieres, which we gave away to guests at two separate boutonniere bars!
We used an inspiration photo of an Arizona sunset to create a huge flower wall. This became a huge photo opportunity for guests, with a line winding all over the cocktail hour!
We created arrangements for two cocktail receptions, podiums, and attendees’ hotel rooms…..
Kirsten Smith Photography
Almost as important to me as the flowers are the relationships that are created and strengthened when I get to be a part of things like this. There were times when it kind of felt like we were all attending some kind of “flower camp.” It is such an incredible experience to come together with other talented designers to create these works of art. Old friendships only go stronger and new ones are forged as we work together to bring the important message of American Grown flowers to Washington DC through our designs. I can’t say enough thanks to Kelly and Mary Kate for leading us through these four days with their passion and vision both for the final design and for American Grown Flowers. Here are some of my favorite pictures of my tribe!
Delaware Valley Floral was responsible for trucking all of these amazing flowers into Washington, DC and Accent Decor donated all of the vases used throughout the event. These amazing T-shirts were provided by Nature Supply Co and Oasis Floral Products provided the tools and supplies needed for us to create the pieces. Kirsten Smith Photography helped to document this amazing collaboration and is responsible for all of the images you see here! At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of all of those amazing and wonderful people who contributed to this event, but before I leave you, here are a few more behind-the-scenes images for you!
Below is a complete list of all of the farmers, designers, sponsors and volunteers who contributed their time, energy, passion, and materials. Thank you to everyone who helped bring the message of American Grown Flowers to Washington, DC.
Certified American Grown Flower Farms: Mellano @mellanoandcompany | Gallup & Stribling @gallupandstribling | Westland Orchids (not on IG) | Resendiz Brothers @resendizbrothers | Kendall Farms @kendall_farms | Ocean View Flowers @oceanviewflowers | CallaCo @_callaco | Holland America Flowers @hollandamericaflowers | Sun Valley @sunvalleyfloralfarms | Eufloria @eufloria.flowers | Dramm & Echter @dramm_and_echter | Myriad (not on IG) | Green Valley @greenvalleyfloralco.1973 | Fern Trust @ferncoolie | Texas Specialty Cut Flowers (not on IG)
Photographer: Kirsten Smith Photography @kirstensmithphotography
Design Team Members: Kelly Shore – Petals by the Shore; Damascus, Maryland @petalsbytheshore | Mary Kate Kinnane – The Local Bouquet; Little Compton, Rhode Island @thelocalbouquet | Nancy Zimmerman – Fancy Florals by Nancy; Fairbury, Illinois @fancyfloralsbynancy | Jessica Hall – Harmony Harvest Farm ; Weyers Cave, Virginia @harmonyhrvst | Jamie Taylor – J Starr’s Flower Barn – Preston, Maryland @jstarrsflowerbarn | Lisa Ruf – Goodness Gracious Florals; Darnestown, MD @goodnessgraciousflorals | Blair Roberts – Sweet Blossoms; Frederick, MD @blairsweetblossoms | Rose Kocher – GreenSinner; Pittsburgh, PA @greensinner | Lora Losinger – Sophisticated Floral Designs; Portland, Oregon @sophisticatedfloral | Diana Westcott – Whole Foods Market; Stevensville, MD @westcottdiana | Julie Christina – Christina Flower Co; Bristol, Rhode Island @christinaflowerco | Christi Lopez – Bergerons Flowers; Springfield, Virginia @bergeronsflowers | Carrie Wilcox – Carrie Wilcox Floral Design; Fairfield, Connecticut @cwfloraldesign | Pamela Hale – Freelance Floral Decorator; Prussia, Pennsylvania @pamelaprimrose | Sue Tendall – Freelance Floral Designer; Potomac, Maryland @susanmarie0502 | Ashley Greer – Atelier Ashley Flowers ; Alexandria, Virginia @atelierashleyflowers | Amy McManus – Crimson & Clover Floral Design; Baltimore, Maryland @crimsoncloverfloral | Melissa Dawson – What’s Up Buttercup; Charlotte, North Carolina @whatsupbuttercupllc | Candice Hart – Pollen & Pastry; Bloomington, Illinois @pollenandpastry
Support Team Members: Wayne Zimmerman – Fancy Florals by Nancy; Fairbury, Illinois | Melissa and Les Saltzman – Alaskan Legacy Peonies; Homer, Alaska | Betty Joslyn – Joslyn Peonies; Homer, Alaska @bettyjoslyn | Claire O’Brien – Sunnyside Flowers on Sunnyside Farm; Dover, Pennsylvania @sunnysideflowerspa | Karri Mast – Fresh Blooms; Wilmington, Deleware | Kim Bang-Nguyen – Dream Floral Art; Fairfax, Virginia @dreamfloralart | Katie MacGregor – Rose Gold Events & Styling ; Damascus, MD @rosegoldevent | Anna Kirkpatrick – Mississippi State ; Arab, Alabama @annamk15 | April Zentmeyer – Hagerstown Garden Club | Carol Kreykenbohmbarn – Hagerstown Garden Club | Connie Lenhart – Hagerstown Garden Club | Karen Palmer – Hagerstown Garden Club