Hi! I’m Christa Morris, proud owner of Don’t Toss The Bouquet: Floral Preservation. My job makes me feel like I have magical powers, and as I unlock my doors every morning, I am still in disbelief that I get the honor of creating irreplaceable keepsakes and tell love stories every day. I am addicted to Mondays and the influx of flowers and couples floating on Cloud 9 after wedding weekends. Married for 12 years, I am fully aware of the symbolism of the flowers that you clutch close on your walk down the aisle and the wedding magic it embodies. I am also aware of the reality of Long Island weddings, realistic budgets, a variety of styles and preferences, and patience as we plan out a forever display piece.
Don’t Toss the Bouquet134 Waverly Avenue
Patchogue , New York 11772Directions
The Wedding Industry
After starting my own wedding planning in 2008, alongside so many of my fellow bride-to-be best friends, I was brainstorming thoughtful gifts for all my pals during this special time. Since I was married pre-Pinterest and pre Etsy boom, so many of our wedding ideas were limited to what wedding magazines showed us. After some digging, I decided I was going to send my friends’ bouquets away to be preserved by what I believe was the only company in America. You had to overnight the flowers in dry ice, say a little prayer, and spend $1,200+ for preservation.
I clearly couldn’t spend this much, so I began researching and experimenting on flowers. All of my pals got a special preservation promise at their bridal showers, and my sentimental projects through six degrees of separation kept coming. Through word of mouth, DTTB blossomed into a beautiful, sentimental wedding business.
I get to preserve a tangible piece of love. I have the coolest job ever.
The Wedding Memories
Most of my wedding memories come through reactions to bouquets. One bride, Brittney, came to my workshop to proof her display setup in person because she self- admitted to her pickiness. When we moved some of her lace into the exact right spot and her eyes welled up with tears of perfection, I don’t think I’ll ever forget her “you nailed it” expression. Anytime my brides can’t hold back tears at pickup, I hold onto those memories the most.
Most recently, a bride from a June 2020 wedding picked up her completed product, from her 10-person backyard wedding. She cried and explained the rush of memories the display brought back: she picked up her invites just as the company was locking their doors for 2020 with such uncertainty, her bouquet was a surprise by her florist who ran to a farmstand for the bouquet since there was no access to most flowers at the time. The box felt extra special, just as most of my 2020 projects feel. They really remind me of how powerful love is and what really matters.
I am also really proud that brides of all budgets can come to me. I remember my King Kullen bouquets as much as flowers from a Oheka houppa. Since I started preserving on my own because of the unfair costs added onto preservation because of the sentimental edge of the field, I love that my prices provide flexibility for all budgets.
I think even more memorable is that I get to stick by my brides as they walk a new path. I get to save their flowers from their special day, flowers from hard times, and flowers from anniversaries, births of babies. We get to tell all sorts of love stories through flowers.
Although DTTB offers all types of preservation: resin, domes, ornaments, shadow boxes. I think one of our secret ingredients is that our shadow boxes are custom built. The boxes we offer are one-of-a-kind and can’t be found anywhere but here on Long Island.
I’ve been preserving flowers for 14 years. Many of my OG brides will remember sitting at my dining room table or meeting at a Dunkin Donuts after I finished teaching a night class to drop off their flowers. In 2008, I started preserving for free, for friends. By 2012, I would charge friends-of-friends for supplies. I remember when a mom asked for a receipt, and I unprofessionally handwrote one on a to-do list pad for her. In 2013, after the birth of my first son (one of THREE!), I demanded a better work-life balance for myself and put some faith into pushing DTTB into the real world with a logo, website, and credit card swipe, with my husband whispering confidence into my ears.
I feel like I was always a step behind the growth of my company because I never saw its full potential. Once I believed in its growth, we watched DTTB go from dining room table, to garage workshop, to its own commercial location. In 2019, DTTB invested in our storefront at 134 Waverly, renovated from the ground up, and opened our doors just in time for the pandemic. I love that so many of my brides watched dreams grow along with me.
Starting in 2022, we will begin construction for our Angel Baby memorial garden, adjacent to our shop. A portion of all our bridal work goes to fund our beautiful program for families who have lost children.
I have a few more plans up my sleeve in an attempt to continue keeping wedding flowers put to good use. Currently, DTTB also offers a Petal It Forward donation service for centerpieces, where we will take wedding centerpieces and distribute them out into the world to spread love.
In terms of growth, I am very happy with my workload of flowers and won’t contract out projects. Every bouquet is preserved, shaped, colored, proofed, and sealed into a display by me.
Q: I didn’t book you ahead of time. It is too late to set up floral preservation?
A: You can absolutely set up a last-minute appointment. Most of my brides don’t realize how special their flowers until they see their flowers on the big day, so our policies and procedure are made mostly for those who found us after the wedding and feel rushed with their flower preservation choices. I am also aware that my couples have so much on their plate planning the big day that floral preservation is often an afterthought. We accommodate just about everyone. If there’s an opening in our schedule, you can book with us after the big day.
Q: How much does preservation cost? Do you have a minimum?
A: DTTB has products that range anywhere from $25 up to $450. We have no minimum because I love that if a couple has a small budget after recovering from a Long Island wedding, DTTB has something for any budget. Since I started preserving because of the sticker shock at other preservation companies, I do strive to keep my projects affordable.
Q: How long does the process take? Why?
A: To put it plainly, DTTB is slow. The process can take up to a year for larger projects because of a few reasons. The main reason is we are one of maybe ten companies in America who color enhance all flowers, no matter the display. The natural coloring of flowers without dye will remain for a few years, but with dye, the flowers will maintain coloring for a lifetime of love. The dying process adds many more patient steps to the preservation, so we are not only saving the shape but we are saving the coloring. Also, I am a solo worker who takes a lot of pride in my work and in your love stories. I take my time so I don’t overlook important small details. Lastly, my husband and his father build all our shadow boxes, so there’s a second art that comes into play into our process.
Q: How do I get you my flowers? How long after the event should I bring them to you?
A: You can get our flowers three ways. 1. Schedule a floral dropoff at www.donttossthebouquet.com/book-online within three days of your event and dropoff flowers at our shop. 2. Schedule a courier to come to your actual event and pick up your flowers so there’s no running around for you. 3. Ship them if you are far or in a time crunch. We can provide shipping tips if this is the route you choose.
Q: What type of options do you offer?
A. Our options can feel a little overwhelming. We offer a ton of resin pieces: 8x8 and 10x10 blocks, floral trays, ring holders/dishes, candle holders, coasters, bookends. We are known for our shadow box, dome, bubble, and tabletop displays too. We have also added in pressed flower options. In addition, we have smaller items like ornaments, mini boxes, and floral jewelry - all made from your sentimental flowers.
Most of my followers will see that I am performing a delicate juggling act. I am a wife and mom of three little boys, homeschooling because of the pandemic and continuing because we all really enjoyed the experience. I also didn’t fully quit my day job as my flowers grew, so I balance in my role as a college English professor there too. In fact, my students get a discount when they get married! I also live in an old Victorian home, so house projects/restorations are also often somewhere in the schedule. I love supporting small businesses and collaborating with fellow dreamers and teaching my children how to make the world a better place in small ways. As of lately, our future Angel Baby garden planning has consumed my free time and given me great purpose.
I love what I do, and my finished projects still make me gasp. It never gets old! I tell everyone that if I won the lotto, I wouldn’t stop my flowering. I am so honored to be trusted with such a special part of your day. I understand the importance of your blooms; they are both an extension of your day, your love AND me.