2018 First Lady's Luncheon | Washington Hilton, Washington DC - American Grown Flowers

The First Lady's Luncheon is a bipartisan event to honor the First Lady of the United States. Proceeds go to a charity of her choice.

Over 15,000 stems were donated from flower farmers across the country. 170 centerpieces, 800 boutonnieres, 50 bud vases, numerous other arrangements, and an 8x8 flower wall were designed and executed by about 30 florists, farmers, and volunteers from different parts of the country from Alaska to Rhode Island. It was such a cool experience to meet and connect with such talented and wonderful people, documenting as they worked so hard to bring the 106th First Lady's Luncheon together!

Thank you Kelly of Petals by the Shore for asking me to photograph on behalf of you and American Grown Flowers as you lead this team of hardworking individuals to execute the vision you've been working on for so long - what an honor it was!

It was fun to photograph a head shot of each of the volunteers and flower designers who were there to execute. They were all so sweet and enjoyable to spend time with! Luckily the sun was shining in the hotel courtyard for us to use as a nice green backdrop.

After a delicious lunch together at the hotel restaurant, it was time to set up the ballroom! During this time, we were given word that Melania was still in the hospital after undergoing kidney surgery which was obviously disappointing since she was the guest of honor.

After a stormy night spent in the hotel (with tornado warnings!) we woke bright and early to get ready by 5:00 am and head down to finish the morning-of setup! The flower wall had to be put into place, ballroom arrangements, the boutonniere/corsage bars, and so much more! Once we were all ready to go, we showered and changed and got ready for the guests to arrive! I believe I heard that there were over 2,000 guests! It was so fun to watch the ladies pick out their corsages and take pictures in front of the flower wall, enjoy a few mimosas, and mingle together! I loved to see the styles these women had - and let me tell you, they brought it! Hats, shoes, gorgeous dresses...

Once the luncheon began, introductions of the spouses of congress, followed by Mrs. Karen Pence, wife to our vice president. She gave a beautiful speech and we all carried on with a lovely lunch and celebration in honor of Melania. 

I was so blessed to be part of such a beautiful event! It was such an impressive sight to see so much hard work be put in my Kelly and her team, and be able to photograph such influential people of our country. Would love to be back next year! 


Lead designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore

Co-lead designer: Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet

Design team: Fancy Florals by Nancy, Harmony Harvest, J Starrs Flower Barn, Goodness Gracious Florals, Blair Sweet Blossoms, Green Sinner, Sophisticated Floral, Westcott Diana, Christina Flower Co., Bergerons Flowers, CW Floral Design, Pamela Primrose, Susan Marie, Atelier Ashley Flowers, Crimson and Clover Floral, Whats up Buttercup LLC, Pollen and Pastry

Support Team Members: Wayne Zimmerman, Alaskan Legacy Peonies, Betty Joslyn, Sunny Side Flowers PA, Fresh Blooms, DV Flora, Dream Floral Art, Rose Gold Event, Anna MK, Arnosky Family Farms, Hagerstown Garden Club

Farms: Mellano and Company, Gallup and Stribling, Westland Orchids, Resendiz Brothers, Kendall Farms, Ocean View Floweres, Callaco, Holland America Flowers, Sun Valley Floral Farms, Len Busch Roses, Eufloria Flowers, Dramm and Echter, Green Valley Floral Co, Fern Coolie, Arnosky Family Farms, Oregon Flowers, Bloomia Flowers, Harmony Harvest, Protea USA

Sponsors: Accent D├ęcor Inc., DV Flora, Oasis Floral Products, Shop Nature Supply

Host: The Congressional Club