“Every guest stood before the wedding cake or flower wall to have their photos made,” remembers Jeanna Furst AIFD.

The ancient Greeks used the term ‘takes the cake’ to mean ‘wins the prize’. Jeanna’s innovative cake table runner idea ‘takes the cake’. It won lots of praise from their wedding guests.

“Our daughter, Kristi, wanted wedding flowers that were artful rather than traditional,” explains Jeanna of Furst the Florist in Dayton, Ohio.

The Furst family and staff creatively used 5,000 stems of flowers to deliver the wedding décor of Kristi’s dreams!

Jeanna shares techniques for how they created the impressive designs.

A watercolor inspiration

Kristi, an art teacher, chose the Dayton Art Institute’s Gothic Cloister room for her reception.

The wedding color harmony was inspired by a watercolor Kristi hand-painted. It offered a flourish of sunset hues – coral, melon, peach, orange, fuchsia, and watermelon.

Kristi wanted an edible work of art for a wedding cake and a mural of fresh flowers featuring her signature design. Floral Foam Tiles were the perfect mechanic for creating the two.

Designing the cake runner

“The floral cake runner made of floral foam tiles was an experiment and we had a plan B,” shares Jeanna. It took 500 blooms to complete the flower-filled runner.

Jeanna first thought to cover the table entirely in flowers, but her baker was afraid that it might diminish the cake. She came up with the idea of creating a flower runner.

The 18-inch width of the foam tiles seemed overwhelming for a 48-inch wide table. Jeanna cut the panels into 12-inch widths and pre-drilled holes for the zip ties that would connect them.

The 48-inch tabletop panel was anchored by 30-inch side panels (table height).  The three panels were zip-tied together. The spaces between connections were filled in with flowers on-site.

“I was concerned about the side-panels remaining vertical without sagging due to weight, but the opposing weight of the horizontal tiles across the tabletop held the side panels perfectly in place,” says Jeanna.

Glass cubes atop the table supported the circular glass base for the cake. ‘That way you could see the full runner underneath the cake,” Jeanna explains.

A breathtaking move

The cake was placed in the center of the dance floor to capture the eye of arriving guests.

Before the couple’s first dance, several guys lifted the table with the runner in place and walked it about 50 feet off the dance floor.

“We all held our breath!” laughs Jeanna. “The table decor remained intact.”

The next day the flowers were still sitting in place looking fresh and beautiful. “I attribute the long-lasting condition of the flowers to pre-soaking the tiles in flower food,” Jeanna confides.

Creating the mural 

To create the floral mural, they measured an existing wrought iron railing. Calculating that measurement against the 24-inch x 18-inch foam tiles indicated 12 full floral foam tiles were needed.

One row of foam was cut off each panel to perfectly fit the railing. Holes were drilled into the end of each tile to accommodate the two cable ties that would secure each panel in place.

Jenna menued everything, including how many flowers each 6-inch x 6-inch tile square would require. 1800 blooms were needed to execute the mural.

Daughter Kylie is also a floral designer. The three ladies lay out the tiles in wall form. Using the watercolor as her guide and a sharp pencil as her tool, Kristi drew the design into the foam across the series of tiles.

Colors were noted on cardettes in each section paint-by-number style. The tiles were numbered like a puzzle.

The mom and two daughters flowered the tiles in advance on worktables at the shop. Placing the finished tiles on a greenhouse cart in the flower cooler. On Saturday, the tiles were rolled into a delivery truck.

Following the numbers, they put the mural back together onsite with the help of co-worker Loann Burke AIFD, AAF, PFCI.

The resulting backdrop was a beautiful 3-foot high and 12-foot long wall of deliciously fragrant flowers!

The pre-soaked tiles (water and flower food) were drained and designed on Tuesday. On Saturday, they were installed on the wrought iron rail with a canvas drip cloth placed beneath to catch dripping water. 

Reception guests were blown away

The Art Institute allows only two arrangements and personal flowers in the entrance and at the wedding ceremony.

When guests entered the Gothic Cloister reception they were blown away by the volume of creative designs that greeted them!

Centerpieces throughout the room featured hanging heliconia, pincushion protea, king protea, ranunculus, anthurium, and other interesting materials.

The cake table runner and floral mural featured a fresh mix of hydrangea, peonies, roses, and garden roses and along with some silk coral hydrangeas and peach poppies needed to fill in specific colors.

Accessorizing the room

A collection of clear glass vases held flower arrangements balanced at the top. The flowers appeared to be floating in the room.

Triple brick trays were elevated on 30-inch glass cylinders and placed on marble shelving. Each brick tray sat atop two cylinders. They were placed together in eight sets of four cylinders.

“A product I hadn’t used before but will use again is the 6-inch standing sphere.”

Jenna loved how the sphere allowed her to design inside the Accent Décor compote. “We sprayed manzanita with gold and a berry color paints and added tight clusters of roses into the designs. It transported easily because it sat down in the vase so well.”

Menu designs for profitably

The key to designing weddings profitably is to menu each design – variety of flower, number of stems, notes regarding design, etc.

This ensures that you will have the product you need while maintaining the wedding budget.

“When you fully detail your wedding notes and make the appropriate calculations and procurements anyone can step in to execute the plan, if needed,” Jenna explains.

A team effort

While it was a family wedding for the Fursts, it was also a team effort of staff and vendors.

“Our participating vendors get to share the pictures in their advertising, too,” says Jeanna. “It helps all of us to showcase what we can do that isn’t typically requested.  We are proud of that.”

“Each wedding deserves a beauty of its own. We always ask that brides allow us to create flowers their guests will remember,” Jeanna adds.

What innovative floral mechanic ideas and photos can you share with us?