Kristi Hord: What it’s like to be a professional Flower Girl

Great flower arrangements can add a ton of aesthetic value to any event—but for weddings, they convey a lot of emotion, connect it with nature, and are just dang calming to look at. Kristi Hord from Flower Girls gives us a look behind the scenes.

Photo by Don Mears Photography

Flower Girls consistently produce some of the most beautiful arrangements in town. And their philosophy on why they do what they do is just as beautiful. Plus: have you ever once thought about how it must feel nice to be part of the setup of a big day? A lot of excitement building as you walk around making everything beautiful with blooms? Neat.

Kristi’s Story

I’m a people person and love the one-to-one quality I get meeting with brides and learning what they want in order to make their day memorable. I’m sentimental, and I really appreciate the small details that make things special.

It’s very rewarding to be setting the scene at a church or outdoor venue leading up to the ceremony and reception. The band is getting warmed up, the caterers are prepping and I get to see it all come together. The flowers are a final touch and welcome guests to the celebration, whether it’s fancy or a down-home vibe–how fun is that!

Photo taken at the Mill at Fine Creek by Kristi Hord

Photo taken at the Mill at Fine Creek by Kristi Hord

We’ve always loved using flowers from our own gardens, or from friends’ and neighbors’. And we love finding local growers who focus on organics and sustainable practices. That’s a fun part for me too, meeting some really cool folks who adore growing flowers and care about the environment. By sticking to mainly weddings and special events and orders, we can take the time to find what we want. It makes the process, which requires lots of labor and time, a lot more enjoyable, because it’s more personable.

What’s your take on the wedding industry?

People always ask me if it’s a hard industry because of the “Bridezillas” out there, but I’ve honestly never met one as the owner of my business. I’d honestly rather not think about our wedding business as being an “industry” in the first place. There’s no doubt that a wedding order is a special order, but at the end of the day, all we are trying to do is make people happy (maybe even thrilled!) with the flowers and service we provide.

What effect do you think sites like Pinterest and wedding blogs have had on the industry?

I believe we are always able to get the overall desired effect without needing to use specific kinds of flowers or foliage.

I love Pinterest because I love images, but am not on it nearly as much as I’d like to be, and I’m sure that’s a good thing. Pinterest and blogs are so great for sharing ideas and getting what’s desired across. A picture really is worth a thousand words, and we work with a lot of out of town or simply busy people, so it’s helpful to see examples of what they like.

I’m sure these tools have helped the industry grow because they help people figure out what might feel right for them by seeing what others have done. A fellow florist shared with me this past weekend an image of a floral monogram floating in the the pool at a reception. It was an idea his client had seen online and it was really cute! These tools help everyone communicate ideas and so we all learn more about what can be done.

What are some things you think that brides and grooms worry about that they really shouldn’t?

I don’t really see the grooms worrying about too much, ha! But I’d say the weather and other things out of their control. For flowers, I believe we are always able to get the overall desired effect without needing to use specific kinds of flowers or foliage, so there’s no need to worry about a specific flower not coming in, we can always find a good (sometimes even better) substitute!

Who are some of your favorite local vendors? And why?

Taken at Saint Catherine's: Photo credit: Kristi Hord

Taken at Saint Catherine’s: Photo credit: Kristi Hord

I love outdoor venues in RVA: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Maymont, The Mill at Fine Creek1, and soon to be Sneed’s Nursery (home to Flower Girls)! We are building a barn on the property, which will be used for educational classes and events! Very excited about that.

Also, the Buttercream Bee for cakes, Don Mears2 for photography, and Mills Family Band for music.

Tell us your very favorite wedding story, whether it’s a horror story or a moment of beauty.

My very favorite wedding story is the story of any couple that makes their day awesome by being super cool, wonderfully calm and very collected, because they know the meaning of their day is about sharing this special time in their life with their loved ones, no matter the weather, no matter what! (It’s hard to do, I was not one of these brides).

Ellie and Kwan Burke. Photo by Jenny Lamphire.

Ellie and Kwan Burke. Photo by Jenny Lamphire.

One couple that sticks out in my mind are Ellie and Kwan Burke. They just celebrated their wedding anniversary this past weekend, and six years ago, we had a typical, atypically HOT day for May in RVA. Their wedding was outdoors at Maymont and right around the time the ceremony was about to start, the hotness broke into a crazy windy, stormy mess. But everything turned out fine. Luckily for the flower scene, we’d done terrarium arrangements for half the centerpieces and heavy, all peony arrangements for the other half!

Ellie had hired my neighbor’s daughter as one of the “kid sitters” for the evening, and I called her late that night to see how everything went. The sitter reported that everything was smooth sailing, all had a fantastic time, and asked me to keep her in mind for our future events because she’d even had a blast! My very, very favorite part to this particular story is two-fold: 1) Ellie wore her great-grandmother’s wedding dress (that her mother and sister also wore) and she was absolutely radiant in it. 2) Ellie turned out to be my favorite yoga teacher and continues to inspire me with her beautiful nature.

  1. Boom! We’ve got a feature coming on the Mill at Fine Creek later this week! Great minds think alike, obviously. — ed. 
  2. Double boom! Don will be featured this week as well! — ed. 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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