A Florists' Guide to Large Flower Installations

What are flower installations? They are those larger-than-life flower pieces at events that make all guests go from WOW, to how!? They usually require mechanics, extra time to set up and break down, and even water hydration systems, depending on the plants used.

From floating chandeliers with flowers cascading down towards the guests below to walls overgrown with beautiful blooms for breathtaking photo ops, cake displays, archways, and many more creative floral structures - these installations undoubtedly bring a whole new level of life into any wedding or event.

Brides have been requesting large floral installations for a long time now, and with the surge of viral designs-- we don’t think this trend is one to go away any time soon. This is why we want to encourage florists to give it a try! You could be the only wedding florist in your area to offer these large installations, and once it gets around, you’ll be the one getting all of the referrals! 

The very first step is to get inspired, check out other florists’ installations, and start getting an idea of what you’d like to try out. Here are 5 Flower Chandeliers to Draw Inspiration From to get your creative juices flowing!


Types of Floral Installations


There are many types of floral installations. Some common types of installations, that would act as a great starting point for any event florist wanting to get their feet wet, are: 

  • Arches: Traditional arches include structures like the chuppah, mandap, and arbors. These are typically a type of symbolic archway framed around the couple during the ceremony.
  • Walls: This is exactly what it sounds like - walls stuffed with flowers! They can be freestanding or can be built on a wall of the venue.
  • Suspended Florals: These include chandeliers, cloud-like structures, or any other imaginative designs that have flowers hanging from the ceiling with special mechanics and rigging. Confidence and safety need to have reliable, structured mechanics - just like the floral hoops, our partners over at Floral Mechanics offer!

We dig deeper into these installation types, and the difference between arches and arbors with examples in our blog, Getting Started with Large Floral Installations: 4 Most Common Types.


Getting Started


Our partners' Accent Decor has created these amazing instructional videos with Details member, Ian Prosser of Botanica International Design Studio, (pictured above) on how to design structures for events. They have tutorials for arbor gateways, many different archways, and even candleholders! We’re sure you’ll learn some great techniques for designing with structures of all shapes and sizes.

Keep in mind that the more you try something new, the better you’ll get! Practice makes perfect. Follow along with workshops, YouTube video tutorials, or ask a florist friend with experience for advice. Play around with leftover blooms and products from other events so you don’t waste any new products.

The planning for your large installation(s) is the most essential step! There are plenty of things to consider when getting ready to offer installations for your events, aside from just the design.

  • Venue Layout & Relationship
    • Establishing relationships with venues makes communication much easier when planning out what you’d like to do for installations.
    • Depending on the venue or company you will be working with, you may need to give them a copy of your liability insurance and an Audio/Visual company to help install the structure. This will need to be accounted for in the cost for your client!
    • Some venues will have a team to help you install your designs.
    • If not, there are tenting companies that will also help to hang structures. Reach out to companies you have relationships with!
  • Mechanics: The How
    • Venues with open rafters are always the best and easiest option.
    • Make sure to go see the venue in advance and find the rigging points.
    • You’ll need to get a base structure for your design. 
      • How much will it weigh with all the products on it?
      • How large is it? Will it be near or hitting other fixtures?
    • It’s recommended that you try to prepare as much of your structure as possible ahead of time.
    • Always bring zip ties, binding wire, pins, corsage tape, socket wrench kits, and correct cables.
  • Materials: The What
    • Here’s where your botanical expertise will shine! If you’re not ready for water hydration systems, use plants and flowers that can be water tubed, or last a while without water.
    • Want to mix it up by adding some faux flowers into the design? Not a problem. Just make sure they don’t get ruined during breakdown so you can reuse them. Even if you get just a few re-uses, it’s a big money saver!
    • Will you be “going green” by not using any other materials other than the structure and plants, or will you use some floral foam to help with the form? It’s totally up to you! 
    • Don’t forget to accurately balance the materials on all sides of your structure. For example, the more you can distribute weight on the ends of an arch, the more sturdy it will be.
  • Pricing: How Much?
    • When in consultation with your client, a budget will need to be established. The amount of manpower, materials, rental equipment, and time will dictate the overall cost of the installation.
    • Charge the client for rentals as well. For example, if you are renting a lift it may cost you $300, charge the client $500. This will account for any unforeseen charges with the outside company.
    • This is where Details can help! Using our software, you can plan out the recipe, materials, labor, and add your markup to get the final price for your hard work and talent. 

Preventing Mishaps


Adding large flower installations to your roster can be a big undertaking. Feeling intimidated by all of the work and nervous about the structures is completely understandable, and comes with the territory. That’s why it’s really important to cover all your bases in your Contract Terms and make sure your equipment is safe and secure.

  • Contract Terms
    • You will need to discuss your expectation levels with your client. Communication is key!
    • In our Masterclass, ‘The Do’s & Don’ts of Large Floral Installations’ with Elizabeth Fisher, she mentioned making sure you have an Artistic clause in your contracts. Modifications will likely be made on the day of the event.
    • Recommend insurance for the event if there is a major weather concern!
    • Do not ever guarantee blooms to clients, you never know what will happen during the ordering and shipment process. Substitution and Artistic License clauses will aid in this protection.
      • It is all in how you sell the concept to your client! Be delicate but matter-of-fact when in conversation with the client.
    • Have a clause about extra time for the event and let the client know there will be fees associated with the strike.
    • Provide an additional form for personal items releasing you from liability if they bring their own items.
    • Don’t be afraid to enforce your contract if you start seeing red flags.
    • You can also add a clause to communicate the use of photos in social media. If photos are used by other vendors for marketing purposes, require credit. Include that you will be posting the photos on your social media as well.

Lastly, ask the client what they would like to do with the flowers at the end of the event! Have a form that they can specify what they would like to do with the flowers, for example, donate the ones that are still intact. Associate a fee with client-specific requests and even upsell by offering preservation of the bouquets.

Interested in learning more about Contract Terms and how they can be used to protect your business during events? Check out our recap blog from our Masterclass with Holly Chapple on Florist Contract Terms.

  • Trakkit THS
    • Staying up to date with the right technology is also important when avoiding any kind of disaster on the day of the event.
    • Elizabeth Fisher shared with us a recent incident where her cooler had frozen hundreds of dollars of flowers overnight!!
    • As florists, a cooler malfunction is a looming fear in the back of our minds. Luckily, there’s a new tool that helps monitor your cooler's temperature and humidity at the palm of your hand!

Trakkit THS is a humidity and temperature sensor that tracks real-time analytics about your monitored space. Learn more about Trakkit in our blog, Save Yourself From a Flower Cooler Nightmare with Trakkit’.

In summary: Having a solid design plan with all of the tools you need is essential in making large flower installations work for your business and your clients. It’s a big step, but will undoubtedly pay off in the end! We hope this guide gives you the inspiration and confidence needed to get started! 

Details Flowers Software can help you get started planning out your installations. From the recipe to inventory management, added fees, markups, and even custom Contract Terms - the whole process and pricing can be planned within our software. We invite you to start a free 7-day trial with us and explore all of the features we offer - created for florists, by florists!

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