However our home is not the only place where this teamwork comes in play. She is a truly gifted floral designer (IMHO one of the best...anywhere!). As with any designer - they are always looking to up the ante and create something new. Karen likes to say each couple she works with deserves her undivided attention and as such she spends weeks thinking about every wedding - from getting to know the couple to thinking about their design. As a result, each wedding is different and Karen tries not to repeat her designs (unless that is what the bride/couple absolutely wants).
New designs sometimes means new structures are needed to support these designs. Case and point was a wedding she did at The Hall of Springs two weeks ago. Karen was to create a whimsical arch for the coupe to be married in front of. She spent more than a day looking for just the right arbor to use as the basis of the arch. You would think simple enough. Build the arbor. Stick it in the ground. Cover it in branches. Voila. Beautiful. Well it is never that easy.
Two things. First - Karen wanted flower boxes at the base so it would appear as though the branches were growing out of the boxes. Second - the 10 day forecast called for potential rain on the wedding day. So it was a potential this would need to be set up indoors. Therefore I needed to design a way to both allow Karen to design at the bottom of the arch and to support the arbor indoors. It had to be self supporting - both indoors and outdoors.
Flower Box Base for Arbor (Wedding Arch):
Step 1 - Pre-build
It was nice having Paige help me.
She helped turn work time into quality time!
Step 2 - Engineer in my Mind
So my original plan was to just build a four sided bottomless "box" around each of the two legs of the arbor for Karen to design in. The arbor spikes would just be driven into the ground. Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy.
Step 3 - Re-Engineer
I am in the HVAC industry and most jobs that we quote end up being re-engineered because something always seems to change from the original blue prints to the final building plans. No different here.
Karen mentioned the potential for an indoor ceremony so I needed to come up with a way to both support the structure and allow Karen to design the bottom.
As such I disassembled some of the arbor and brought it inside to get to work on my new plan.
Step 4 - Build the Flower Box
I attached the four sides and the bottom of each window box with my nail gun and wood glue.
Step 5 - Test fit the Arbor Legs
Step 5 - Add PVC, Duct tape and Cement
I purchased PVC pipe that fit over the spikes at the bottom of each leg (there are 4 spikes on each leg). These spikes are what usually are driven into the earth.
I cut each pvc sleeve to 6 inches and covered one end in duct tape (what doesn't duct tape do?).
I then filled each flower box half way with Quikrete. Before the Quikrete set I put each pvc sleeve onto the spikes and worked the pvc covered spikes into the cement until they settled at the bottom of each box making sure everything was centered.
The duct tape served two purposes: 1) it kept each of the sleeves in place while I woked the pvc into the cement (because the spike would stick to the duct tape at the bottom of the sleeve) and 2) it kept the sleeve from filling with concrete so that the legs could be slid in and out as needed after the cement was dry.I let the concrete set for 24 hours with the legs in place as in the above picture.
Step 6 - Pre-design and delivery
My portion of the build was done. With the legs removed from the flower boxes Karen was able to fill the upper portion of the box with floral foam (provides water to her designs). We then installed the bottom portion of the legs back into the sleeves (as in the picture in step 5). She pre-designed the arbor with flowering branches in four sections - each leg, plus the upper left and right sections (as in the picture in step 3). Her plan was to do the final touches on site.
We delivered the arbor in the four sections. When we arrived it was still undetermined whether the ceremony would be indoors or outdoors, but it was comforting to know we were covered for either decision.
Step 7 - Wedding Bells
We are always happy when nature cooperates. The ceremony was going to be outside! We assembled the arbor on site and then Karen worked her magic to add more beautiful florals and made it just perfect!
btw in this picture you can also see the two pedestals I made last fall that I wrote abut here
Between our home and Splendid Stems - I am sure staying busy! I get equal enjoyment and satisfaction from building things for our home and from helping to make an object that is part of a wedding. Karen loves her couples and I am glad to do my part to help her feel like she provided them with her best!