For many of us, parents or not, September means the start of local school events - whether it's baking treats for the local bake sale or going to watch your niece in her soccer games - September is always back to school month.
I'm involved with a local school in Boston that serves primarily low and moderate income students. Finding funding for activities is always a challenge and every penny saved is a penny earned. At our annual fundraiser this year we had it all figured out - we were ready to make thousands of dollars for arts programming with an elegant cocktail party & raffle. We had secured donations from the Boston Red Sox and Celtics, dozens of local businesses including wine and had a fantastic caterer lined up. The only thing missing was decor. How on earth were we going to transform our school cafeteria into an elegant space? I needed a classy way to wear my DIY skills with school pride.
Enter A.C. Moore.
After being turned down by every florist we contacted for a donation my friend and fellow event planner went on an absolute spree with me in the floral department the night before our event (less than ideal, but I work well under pressure). She was not convinced that I could make the faux florals and inexpensive vases look luxe enough to tempt our moneyed guests into opening their wallets. But with a little waving of my imaginary pompoms I coaxed her through the process and convinced her I would make elegant floral arrangements in the school's blue and yellow colors overnight.
I won't lie - our caterer made our lives immeasurably easier by donating cocktail tables and beautiful linens. That alone made the room appear more like a party and less like an after-school special. We had five cocktail tables so I needed five small centerpieces. We had two registration tables and a bar so I wanted six large arrangements to flank the sides of the tables. My vision was natural florals - blue is tricky to pull off naturally so I knew it had to be hydrangea and delphinium. Luckily my local A.C. Moore is always well provisioned with a wide selection of styles.
We started with five small square vases and six tall cylinder vases. I wrapped a large leaf around the inside of each to hide the stems and the foam. I used the blue hydrangea - short and bushy - in the small square vases. Yellow wildflowers were added and a white poppy set off the colors.
|faux hydrangea and wildflower cocktail centerpiece|
|floral arrangement on the bar|
Unfortunately the photos don't quite do the centerpieces justice, but trust me, folks there kept asking when the centerpieces were going to be raffled off!
For just under $172 I was able to create 11 reusable arrangements for the school. There is no way we could have purchased fresh centerpieces and vases for less than $16 each. In fact, we had up to $250 budgeted for decor but were hoping to get most of it donated. Considering we walked away with with over $7,300 net profit for the school's art programs I'd say it was money well spent. I look forward to seeing these arrangements again and again at school functions.