Joliet Junior College Floral Design Professor Donna Theimer won Florist Review Magazine’s Picture-Perfect Wedding Contest in the “Best Wedding Reception” category for floral arrangements she designed in a Wilmington backyard wedding last September. This is the second time Theimer has achieved an award from the magazine – in 2005, she won “Best Wedding Bouquet.”
Theimer’s award-winning reception design included centerpieces, hanging floral arrangements, and decorations for the wedding cake and cocktail table. Her design encompassed a “contemporary garden elegance” theme, and incorporated hydrangeas, roses, carnations, stocks, lilies, and amaranth.
“Winning this award validates that what I’m doing in the classroom is what the industry also values. It’s like a stamp of approval, and it means a lot to me,” Theimer said.
This accomplishment comes at a time that’s bittersweet for Theimer – after 15 years of teaching floral design at JJC, she will retire at the end of the school year.
Theimer’s interest in floral design began in her ninth grade biology class at East Aurora High School. While she hated learning about the animal side of biology, she loved learning about plants. Her biology teacher saw this, and encouraged her to take an horticulture class. It was while taking the horticulture class that she was introduced to floral design.
In addition to her schooling, Theimer said her mother also played a role in encouraging her interest in flowers.
“Growing up, my mom let me dig up whatever part of the yard I wanted. It really encouraged me to start working with flowers, and it pushed me to get into it,” she said.
After she retires from JJC in May, Theimer plans to stay in the floral design industry. Her goal is to work for a wedding event company certified by The Knot magazine.
“Retiring from JJC is so bittersweet. I am going to miss the students and the people I work with,” she said. “But now, I’m going to get to finally go out and work in the subject area that I teach. And it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
As a winner in Florist Review Magazine’s Picture-Perfect Wedding Contest, Theimer will receive products such as ribbons, gems, decorative wires, and decorative containers used in wedding design. She plans to donate these items to JJC’s floral design program.
For more information about JJC’s floral design program, visit www.jjc.edu/agriculture-horticulture.