There are SO many individual preferences when it comes to what is best to have on hand in your “day-of” wedding toolkit. A well-planned, multi-use toolkit can certainly help prevent you from ending up in a bind on wedding day. Florists need to be prepared with a variety of attaching mechanisms in order to comply with venue requirements, navigate weather-related complications, secure to various surface textures, hide said mechanics in complicated spaces and address so many more “what ifs” that arise throughout wedding day setup.
I carry an actual toolkit for myself and my freelancers to pull from as well as a utility-belt style kit full of items I always need handy whether I’m climbing a ladder or am simply working away from our staging space.
Toolkit Must Haves:
Clippers: Always have extra clippers for yourself & your team. Even with a toolbelt on, I’m notorious for setting my clippers down in the most random of places.
Fabric Scissors: In case of any stray threads on ribbon, or additional ribbon cutting is needed.
Ribbon: Extra ribbon in case water sloshes too much in transit and a fresh ribbon is needed for a bouquet, or perhaps for a last minute boutonniere addition.
Bind Wire: My go-to for attaching lightweight items pretty much anywhere. It’s quick and easy and does not require knots to be tied, simply twist to secure.
Nylon Fishing Line: I purchase 25lb durability for extra security with anything hanging. This is also fantastic for those areas that require invisible mechanics.
Glue Dots: These are great for adding just a little bit of extra stability to lighter vase structures, I place underneath my lighter bud vases to help secure, especially if tables are being moved about between ceremony and reception. Glue dots are also great for sticking vines and leaves to walls, adding stability to candlesticks, and so many other random small attachment needs.
Zip Ties: You can never have too many of these on hand. Zip ties are used in most installations. They are sturdy and able to attach greenery, foam block cages, chicken wire, really anything you need to nearly any structure.
Chicken Wire: Always bring extra of this, especially if the installations are “no-foam”-sometimes structure sizes change from proposal to day-of set up. It’s always a good plan to have plenty of extra chicken wire for on-the-spot armature building to support any and all installation shapes and sizes.
Gloves: If you also provide the glassware for your brides, bringing gloves to put on before placing on the tables prevents you from having to clean off additional fingerprints when onsite. I clean all my glassware ahead of time AND place the correct candle sizes into each so it is one less thing we need to do on setup day.
Glass Cleaner/Paper Towels: Even with gloves, things happen, and it is always a good idea to have extra glass cleaner and a rag or paper towels on hand to attend to any last minute cleaning needs.
Brick Clips: Brick is one of the more tricky surfaces to attach to but brick clips are inexpensive and can save the day when you’re in a bind and not allowed to attach with any other tools.
3M Strips: All sorts of lifesavers here. I try to get the 3-5lb durability.
Tape: I bring a roll of each kind--clear, waterproof, paper tape, electrical and duct tape. Trust me, play it safe and bring them all.
Wire: In case any last minute flower wiring is needed. Very handy for these hot Texas weddings!
Cold Glue: Extra security for certain types of heavier flower/fruit placement in installations or for any corsage/bout issues.
Boutonniere/Corsage Pins: Always bring extra just in case
Safety Pins: Pinning to fabric has certainly come in handy before.
Floral Putty: Mostly used for frog pin arrangements.
Furniture protectors: These have SUPER strong adhesive and also serve to protect a variety of venue surfaces when using ropes or chains to loop around beams and other areas.
Heavy Duty Magnets: Steel beams you can’t loop around, anyone? This was a new addition for a recent install that saved my tush!
In my waist toolkit, I am always sure to have my own set of the following:
*clippers, glue dots, bind wire, waterproof tape, fishing line, phone (with alarms set for each section end time), small snacks (my current favorite is “Bear Naked Granola Bites”)
Some of the larger items we bring that don’t fit into our toolkits include:
Foam bricks and cages
Buckets with a pour spout (to soak foam and for filling glassware with water without bringing every piece of glass to a sink).
Broom and dustpan
Step stool and ladder(s) (extension is best for varying heights if installs are your thing).
Cart/dolly: for transporting from your van into venue and beyond. Some of these venues require a bit of a hike to the ceremony area. Dolly if transporting boxes of glassware/votives.
Extra vases/containers (always 1-2 extras of each type of vase used in case of accidents).
1 buckets extra flowers/greenery for any unexpected needs: filling in, extra requests by venue or client, accidents, weather-related issues, etc.
Towels: any larger spills or cleaning needed
Tarp: to lay below any installation areas for fast cleanup
Larger snack cooler with waters and topo chico!
*If larger installations are taking place onsite a few other items may be needed: hammer/mallet, sandbags or bricks for weight, stakes, rope/chains, carabiner clips and more. These are on a case-by-case basis.
I think that about covers it! I hope this list is helpful for any newer designers out there. I find my toolbox continues to grow after nearly every wedding as I’m always discovering new ways to secure items. For any other designers out there, what additional items do you never leave home/studio without?