Parie Donaldson, CEO of Parie Designs in Amarillo, Texas, learned about American Flowers Week from our social media posts and from her fellow Chapel Designer, Kansas City-based Andrea K. Grist of Andrea K. Grist Floral Design.
But rather than just posting a floral image on her Instagram feed, Parie and her team took American Flowers Week to new levels. They created a styled shoot, called “BACKYARD FARM TO TABLE DINNER PARTY,” and submitted the photos to a favorite style blog: Inspired by This.
As floral designers, this group of gals was excited to host a beautiful backyard farm to table dinner party. Not only did we find out about American Flowers Week, but also gathered such fresh and fun inspiration for parties of our own! It doesn’t get much better than farm fresh food and even fresher cut flowers. (The charcuterie board will make your mouth water!) Parie Designs put themselves in charge of planning (and styling) this soiree at a super cool venue – The Bowery Warehouse. They’re sharing their favorite parts with us here.
We were thrilled to have a small dinner party in honor of American Flowers Week just a few weeks ago! We get to spend so much time designing beautiful florals from Holland and other faraway places, which we love, but we jumped at the opportunity to cut some of our blooms from our own backyards and enjoy an evening together complete with yummy cocktails, delicious food and good company.
I recently scheduled a phone date with Parie to learn about her charming American Flowers Week-styled shoot. Here’s an excerpt:
AFW: I’m curious about your “styled shoots”? Why do you invest time and resources to create them?
PD: We do four to six a year. I’m so lucky that we now have an amazing photographer on staff — Mallory Morgan Henderson. She’s our new floral designer, but she’s also a photographer. It seems like every shoot or wedding I’ve done with Mallory has been published. She’s smart, savvy and spectacular. Now we can say: “Let’s do a shoot,” and we can come up with the plan, thanks to Mallory.
PD: I’ve been back in Amarillo for more than 20 years after living in and beginning my floral career in Seattle. In that time, I’ve literally only known of three farms that grow flowers. We’re surrounded here by farms where cattle, sourghum and corn are raised, but there’s nobody here growing flowers anymore. For some time, there was an amazing woman who had the most fabulous peonies growing on an acre or two — I would try to take every peony she had.
So instead, for this shoot, we sourced produce from the one local organic food farmer and then we cut everything out of my garden and our team member’s gardens (for the decor).
AFW: I love how casual and elegant you made things look. Very luxe and comfortable at the same time!
PD: Thanks! This became our employee photo shoot. We made the beautiful dinner ourselves, we imbibed, we ate, we enjoyed the evening, we took pictures.
AFW: How did you learn about American Flowers Week and decide to get involved?
PD: I knew about it because I’m a Chapel Designer. I’m watching everything go on — I’ve really been trying to get to one of those Field to Vase DInners, too.
AFW: Do you think you’ll ever grow your own flowers just to be able to design with more seasonal, local and American grown botanicals?
PD: You know, across from The Bowery, our event space, we own this huge lot. It’s mainly used for parking but I look at it every day and I find myself thinking: “How could I get water to it?” I’m sure there’s space to grow some flowers there.
AFW: Thank you, Parie! It has been great learning from you and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for American Flowers Week 2017!