Career of Crist's wedding florist is in full bloom
By Mary Jane Park, Times Staff Writer
In print: Monday, December 8, 2008
He has supervised floral designs for presidential inauguration parties, elaborate society galas and celebrity weddings. His lush creations have made him one of the premier florists in the Tampa Bay area.
For Tampa's Ian Prosser, assembling the flowers for the wedding and reception of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Carole Rome this week should be smooth sailing. Certainly, it will be a less daunting task than the 3,500 arrangements required for President Bush's inauguration in 2005.
Prosser, who owns Tampa's Botanica International Design Studio, would not reveal what he and his staff have imagined for Florida's first couple, whose wedding is Friday at St. Petersburg's First United Methodist Church. They have asked that the details be kept private until after the ceremony. Prosser did say that they chose "a very soft color palette. Very classic and sophisticated, with the elegance of a state dinner." Botanica International will provide bouquets for the bride and her attendants, boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party and arrangements for the seated dinner in the Grand Ballroom at the nearby Renaissance Vinoy Resort.
Will any of them include lilies of the valley, the official flower of Pi Kappa Alpha, Crist's college fraternity?
"They're not using that at all," Prosser said.
Prosser is a native Scot who owned three shops in Glasgow before moving to Tampa with his wife, Fiona, and their daughters in 1985. He opened Botanica International Florist four years later. After more than 20 years as a retailer, it evolved into an events-only business in 2007.
He has won numerous design awards and lists several celebrity clients on the company's Web site, among them NFL players Martin Gramatica, John Lynch and Ryan Nece and actors Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Kirstie Alley.
St. Petersburg resident and NASCAR racer Dan Wheldon and Susie Behm hired Botanica for their wedding earlier in the year, as did Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough and Leigh Boniello.
He worked on the floral design teams for the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and George Bush. In December 2004, the Society of American Florists chose him from among 200,000 other florists to oversee creation of all of the flower arrangements for Bush's second inauguration.
Last week, he was looking toward the new year, when he expects to have a leading role in designing florals for Barack Obama's celebrations in January.
Mary Jane Park can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8267.