Love will bloom at Flower Show wedding, and you're invited

Get them to the Convention Center on time! Floral designers Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt will wed at this year's Flower Show.
Get them to the Convention Center on time! Floral designers Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt will wed at this year's Flower Show. (BILL SCHAFFER AND KRIS KRATT)
Posted: February 21, 2012

Every year at Flower Show time, there's so much talk of new this and that, it's tempting to tune out. This year, there actually is something different in the works: a wedding.

Floral designers Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt will be married at 7:30 p.m. March 7 in the middle of show week, on the entertainment stage. They'll be surrounded by a 25-foot waterfall, thousands of tropical flowers, and a fiery volcano with its own goddess. It's all part of the main exhibit.

The 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show theme is Hawaii: Islands of Aloha, and Schaffer and Kratt, after full-court-pressing by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show's producer, will tie the knot in front of 150 friends and family members. Showgoers can gather 'round or watch on the big screen at the Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets, where the show runs from March 4 to 11.

This was not the original plan.

"Kris was born in Pacifica [Calif.], and I figured we'd just go out there at the end of the summer and get married by a JP [justice of the peace] on the beach, a no-shoes kind of thing, just the two of us," said Schaffer, 50, "but PHS kept saying, 'Well, what are your plans? How about a wedding at the show?' "

Next thing you know, there was an offer on the table: Get married at the show - imagine the press - and the horticultural society would coordinate, provide entertainment and VIP reception with champagne toast and cake-cutting, and throw in a Hawaiian vacation, too.

Sold!

It sounds very natural to Kratt, 41. "It's still about the moment," she said, "and the Flower Show is a very comfortable place for us."

Schaffer, a third-generation florist, and his co-designer Kratt, an FTD master designer who also develops products for the floral industry in China, will be wed by Municipal Court Judge Gerard A. Kosinski, an old friend of Schaffer's.

As Kratt walks onto the stage, Hawaiian musicians will play the ukulele rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by the late Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, one of her favorite songs and entirely appropriate for a wedding or a Hawaiian-themed flower show - or, in this case, both.

The plan was only nailed down in late January, leaving Kratt, who travels extensively, little time to shop for a dress. While in Tampa, Fla., recently for a convention, some floral-designer friends took her to David's Bridal.

"I found a dress in two hours," Kratt said.

It's strapless, mermaid-style, with crystal beading. "It fits perfectly. I left the store with it," she said.

Schaffer will wear a tux that should nicely offset his long, graying locks. "It's a Samson thing," he said.

This will be a second marriage for both and, naturally, they want to do their own wedding flowers, which should be interesting. They design with flair.

Recently, in cellphone interviews as they walked Betty Pancake, their 31/2-year-old pug, Schaffer and Kratt explained that they have already marked one of life's milestones in public.

Schaffer proposed to Kratt on bended knee in front of 900 peers at a meeting in San Francisco last July of the American Institute of Floral Designers. She was utterly surprised, and the heartwarming moment was uploaded to YouTube almost instantly. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E1YWTZiNfs)

Actually, the couple's forthcoming nuptials are the second in Flower Show history. Jamie Rothstein, the Old City floral designer and longtime show exhibitor, married Bill Rosenberg at the 1998 show. That year's theme was La Passion du Jardin.

They married under a canopy inside Rothstein's exhibit, modeled on the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. There was no mass invitation or big screen. In Rothstein's words, "It was a quietly elegant, serene type of setting."

That is not the case here.

"We haven't gotten around to registering for gifts," Kratt said, "and I still need shoes."


Contact staff writer Virginia A. Smith at 215-854-5720 or vsmith@phillynews.com.

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