Photo: Ashley Rose Photography
A little more than a year ago, I thought of a clever way to dispose of the collection of unwanted vases I’d amassed from receiving flower deliveries over the years: I filled each with a grocery-store bouquet and, with the help of my friend Emily, gave them to residents of local nursing homes.
The appreciation, emotions and connections we felt while handing a vase of flowers to another person—a stranger—was unforgettable. It filled us with a humble joy that also warmed each recipient, and we ended our day knowing we had brightened someone else’s.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, this joy was already being spread on a larger level. Based in West Palm Beach, Petals With Purpose is a nonprofit that delivers leftover floral arrangements from events like weddings and galas to South Florida hospitals, shelters, nursing homes and similar facilities. For both givers and receivers, the concept is a win-win: The nonprofit will pick up the flowers, rearrange them if necessary and deliver them to the recipient of choice. The donated flowers are also tax deductible.
As someone who’s experienced a glimpse of this service in my own way, I jumped at the chance to assist the organization with an upcoming fundraiser. On May 17, my fiancé, John, and I will participate in Bubbles and Bouquets, a timed flower-arranging competition at the Polo Pavilion at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Following a brunch, we’ll go up against four other couples to see who can arrange the most beautiful bouquet in the time allotted. Brunch attendees can donate to the couple they believe has created the best arrangement, and the duo who raises the most money at the event wins. Of course, all funds, including ticket sales, benefit Petals With Purpose.
Make no mistake, the competition will be fierce: John and I will test our floral skills against Giovanni Di Stadio, president and CEO of Interiors by G, and his husband, Jack Lighton, president and CEO of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center; Bill Foman, a plaintiffs attorney with Deitsch and Wright PA, and his wife, Dena, a partner at McLaughlin and Stern LLP; Aaron and Julie Menitoff, owners and managing partners of Aaron’s Catering of the Palm Beaches and International Polo Club Catering; and Emily Pantelides, president of Pantelides PR and Consulting, and her husband, FPL spokesman Peter Robbins.
Beyond the floral-arranging event, each couple is also competing to raise the most funds for Petals With Purpose before the brunch. Click here to make a donation in support of a couple or to purchase tickets to the event.
Until the big day, John and I will be channeling our inner Martha Stewart and practice assembling blooms. And when our own big day arrives, you can bet we’ll be asking Petals With Purpose to collect our leftover wedding flowers and use them to spread joy.
- What: Bubbles and Bouquets, a brunch fundraiser and flower-arranging competition in support of Petals With Purpose
- When: May 17
- Where: The Polo Pavilion at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington
- Tickets: $60; click here to purchase or to make a donation