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Monroe florist participates in ‘Wedding Day,’ a new television reality show on TNT

By Nancy Kriz

David Recine, owner of Flowers by David Anthony in Monroe, is the “dream team florist” for the third episode of the TNT program, “Wedding Day,” which will be broadcast June 30. Photo by Nancy Kriz

MONROE – Ask Monroe florist David Recine if there is such a thing as blue apples and he’ll tell you there is in a fantasy world.

Recine, the owner of Flowers by David Anthony, knows this for sure because he recently created extravagant floral displays featuring real green apples which were hand-dipped into fantasy

blue apples for the fairy tale wedding of a Hudson Valley couple in the new TNT reality show, “Wedding Day.”
The show, which premiered June 16, is a new “feel good reality show” which gives “deserving couples a helping hand to ensure the most important day of their lives is also the most magical,” according to TNT. Couples are selected based on nominations submitted by family and friends. Viewers will learn about the couple from the time they first met to their wedding day.

Those familiar with reality television will find “Wedding Day” features certain characteristics seen in other reality TV shows. Elements of TLC’s “A Wedding Story” and “Trading Spaces,” ABC’s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” and even a smattering of NBC’s “The Apprentice” will be visible to viewers.

“We conducted an extensive search from coast to coast for couples whose stories are undeniably inspirational and uplifting,” said Mark Burnett, who also produces CBS’ “Survivor,” and ABC’s “Apprentice,” in a statement. “The show also gives us the wonderful chance to give back to those who volunteer their time or put their lives on the line to help others.”

Short-term leave

Capt. Christina Fanitzi and Capt. Shawn Fitzgerald will appear in the June 30 episode of TNT’s “Wedding Day. Fanitzi is the granddaughter of Monroe residents Eileen and Joseph Nash.

Recine’s floral studio work is featured in the June 30 episode focusing on Army Capt. Christina Fanitzi, whose grandparents are Monroe residents Eileen and Joseph Nash, and her fiancé Army Capt. Shawn Fitzgerald. They had been planning to get married for years, but Army commitments kept their wedding from happening. At the time the show was taped, the couple was each stationed in different areas of Iraq.

With cooperation from the Army, the episode opens with footage of Fanitzi and Fitzgerald and tells the story of their courtship and their Army obligations. Via a satellite hook-up, the couple is told by “Wedding Day” they have been selected to have a dream wedding.

The military gave the couple a short leave to return home for their Jan. 16 wedding, and the show continues with both of their families greeting them at Westchester County Airport. As the couple is sent off to spend time together in Manhattan, their families and friends are given tasks to help to put together the wedding and reception, featuring a “world travel” theme, all in a week’s time.

Sprinkled within are conversations with Fanitzi, Fitzgerald, their parents and friends as well as short segments with Recine and other professionals talking about their involvement.

“We were referred by the venue, Anthony’s Pier 9,” said Recine, who is one of the house florists for this caterer. “They (the production company) were scoping out the venue and we were setting up for a big holiday party. They absolutely fell in love with our work. When we were told about the premise of the show and about this couple serving in Iraq, I wanted to be a part of this. Their story was so compelling. I wanted to be a part of creating something amazing. It sounded like a really cool design experience.”
Good for business

Recine was equally comfortable in noting his third reason for wanting to be involved.

Christina Fanitzi, granddaughter of Monroe residents Eileen and Joseph Nash, and her father Anthony prepare to walk down the aisle for her winter wonderland fantasy wedding at St. Mary’s Church in Marlboro, created for her and fiance Shawn Fitzgerald by the new TNT reality show, “Wedding Day.”

This floral display featuring real green apples, which were hand-dipped into fantasy blue apples, filled St. Mary’s Church in Marlboro and was among the lavish floral pieces created by the floral design team at Flowers by David Anthony in Monroe.

“The business side of this is that it will shed some really cool light to prospective clients on the types of things we can do,” he said.

Being a part of this fantasy wedding included Recine contributing his floral studio’s time, talent and picking up the tab for his work.

“We paid for everything,” Recine said, noting he received no compensation for the show. He estimated the retail value of the flowers and design work donated to the show to be between $15,000 and $20,000.

“We do have clientele who spend money like that, but not as often as you’d like,” he acknowledged. “But everything can be tailored to someone’s wedding. It’s always a compromise to make it a palatable price.”

Recine and his design team met with the show’s production company plus an event management company and a creative team to discuss the floral components to the wedding.

“They had a certain look they wanted to accomplish,” he said. “There were time constraints and we were not used to having so many people involved. There were a lot of chiefs to keep happy. But they did give us a lot of creative license.”

‘Very rehearsed’

After the floral designs were finalized, Recine had about a week’s time to secure all the materials he would need, including hundreds of orchids flown in from New Zealand.

On the show, Recine, who’s described as the “dream team florist,” even gets his own 10 seconds of fame, talking about how thrilled he is to be a part of giving this military couple a special fantasy wedding. Viewers will even hear him good-naturedly reminding the bridal attendants they “have a lot of work to do” hand-dipping 200 green apples into fantasy blue apples as accents in high-end white floral displays lining the main aisle of the church and its alter.

Recine and his team also helped to create the winter wonderland motif at St. Mary’s Church in Marlboro by creating faux snow to line the aisle for the bridal party, the bridal and attendants’ cialis online bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres as well as florals at the reception hall.

“The church was just amazing,” he said. “But the reception hall was just incredible. To keep with the ‘world travel’ theme, the event company staged it to look like an old world hotel. There was even an antique suitcase wedding cake.”

Until the publicity launch for the show began, Recine was prohibited from talking about his participation. “We haven’t seen a thing,” he said. “I know there was a lot of footage of our team and how the family was involved. The one thing I learned is that this puts reality TV into a new light. It’s almost not reality. It’s all well-planned and well-thought out. It’s not like it just happened. It’s all very rehearsed.

“This buy Benicar online experience was good for me,” he added. “It made me know we could do something on a really short notice. It was so ‘over the top,’ so out of the norm. This had to equal a $1 million wedding.”

TUNE IN

“Wedding Day,” a new TNT reality series, premiered June 16. Watch for compare prices cialis the episode featuring the floral work of the design team at Flowers by David Anthony in Monroe on Tuesday, June 30 at 8 p.m. Check your cable system for TNT’s channel number.

Source:  The Photo News

Love Knows No Economy

David Recine, owner of Flowers by David Anthony in Monroe, was pleased with Valentine’s Day business, noting, “Love knows no economy.”

Valentine’s Day sales keep merchants hopeful about the area’s economic future, By Nancy Kriz

MONROE — The economy may be in a deep hole but love is still in the air, as evidenced by views of area merchants who found shoppers still keen on celebrating Valentine’s Day last week despite the financial woes facing the area and nation.

“It was better than expected,” said Margaret Barry, owner of Monroe Florist and Greenhouses. “I was preparing for it to be very slow and quiet. Men had ordered earlier in the week. But walk-in business was good. I had to order more flowers. It was really surprising to me.”

Her floral colleagues had similar opinions. At Flowers by David Anthony in Monroe, owner David Recine spoke enthusiastically about last week’s Valentine sales.

“We felt with the economy the way it is, that it was going to be a ‘soft’ holiday,” said Recine. “But we were extremely busy on Friday and Saturday. We had some specials that were more price conscious. They turned out to be extremely successful items.”

David Umberto, owner of Greenery Plus Florist in Monroe, was equally satisfied with Valentine business. The store moved to its new location across from McDonald’s on Route 17M early last December.

“I’m seeing the volume is pretty much the same,” said Umberto. “But I’m biased because a have a new store built in the middle of Monroe and people are coming in to look at it. People are still buying flowers for their loved ones.”

Recine speculated shoppers viewed Valentine’s Day as being somewhat immune to recession woes.

“Love knows no economy,” said Recine. “We were feeling that.”

‘Little things in life that count’

Recine’s shop also found itself busy selling more expensive long-stemmed roses as much as low-end assorted cut and medium-stemmed roses.

“We sold as many long-stemmed roses as we ever sold,” he added. “The person who buys long stems is usually going to be the person consistently looking for that quality of flower.”

But, it wasn’t just costlier flowers that were popular.

“Flowers and cards are not high-end luxury items like a car,” said Umberto. “People will still buy flowers for their wives and girlfriends and loved ones. It makes people feel good to come out to a florist and buy a flower to give to somebody. It’s still the little things in life that count.”

Yet other merchants were also quick to point out that if Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend, sales are lower because people are usually out shopping ahead of time.

“It (sales) was off for  two reasons,” said Tony Cardone, owner of Fran’s Hallmark in the Stop & Shop Plaza in Monroe. “One — it was the economy. Two – the fact that Valentine’s Day fell over the weekend.”

Cardone estimated sales were down 21 percent over the previous year, but attributed 15 percent of that to the holiday being on a weekend.

“On the weekend, there’s a lot less traffic sales,” said Cardone, who is experienced in analyzing Valentine’s Day retail shopping trends. “People go away for the weekend. On a Saturday night, they (couples) might go out for dinner. That suffices in lieu of a card or gift. The husband who works during the week has to come home with something. On the weekend, he’s already home. He doesn’t have to come home with anything.”

Barry, of the Monroe Florist and Greenhouses, agreed with Cardone’s assessment.

“There’s more options on the weekend,” she said. “I think for the most part, men will buy, no matter what, when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Men never ask the price. He knows what she likes or doesn’t like. I’m not an economist. I just think for Valentine’s Day, he needs something.”

Eating out, eating in

Sometimes, what “he needs” is to take his wife, girlfriend or fiancée out to dinner. At the La Vera Cucina restaurant in Monroe, owner Tony Raja was thrilled with weekend business.

“This was the busiest weekend I had here in three years,” said Raja. “Saturday was tremendous, tremendous business. We had a lot of ‘Valentiners.’ Friday was also busy and so was Sunday. It was interesting. It looked like the economy wasn’t affecting us. It was a boost for us. ”

Like other businesses, Raja has been seen a drop off in patrons. Diners who come in two to three times weekly are cutting back to once a week, he said. Those who come in once a week have modified their dining patterns to twice a month or monthly.

But for Valentine’s Day, Raja clearly noted couples who were out for a special evening together.

“If it’s for your wife or girlfriend, you’re going to do it (go out to eat) no matter what,” he said. “Let’s hope it stays like this.”

Even those who opted to scale back and stay home seemed to spend money. At ShopRite of Monroe, store director Peter Romero was also pleased with his store’s sales revenue for the weekend.

“They were trading up and getting something nice for the holiday,” said Romero. “They were making a nice romantic dinner at home or doing what I did, having a nice family valentine meal at home.”

Romero supported restaurateur Raja’s belief that people were dining out less.

“We did experience the usual bakery cupcake business for Valentine’s Day, but also an increased interest in seafood, gourmet cheeses and select meats,” he added. “But we do notice people eating in more -that’s what customers are telling us -and not going out to a restaurant. They say it’s the economic trends doing this.”

Considering recession issues, Cardone felt having sales down at his card and gift shop by only seven percent—after factoring in that the holiday fell on a weekend — from 2008 was still welcome news.

“It’s definitely not a downturn for the customer who comes in,” said Cardone. “They are buying. But the customer count is definitely down. Still, it’s better than we thought. Our staff does an excellent job. There’s nothing (wrong) that we’re doing here. It’s a telltale sign of the economy.”

While consumers may continue to buy, they also may scale back slightly.

“Every day flower business is down compared to what is used to be,” said florist Barry. “Previously, they might have spent $60 to $70 and now it’s cut to $40 or $50. We’re fortunate that we have an Irish gift shop here and we pick up from that side. Our niche market has helped.”

Like others, Umberto of Greenery Plus Florist has faith that the economy will get itself back on track.

“People are still getting married,” he said. “They’re remembering their loved ones. They’re getting together around the table for a meal and want a centerpiece for it. There’s always a birthday or anniversary. Flowers are fairly recession-proof. In this area, I’m sure there will be a turnaround. I personally have invested in this town so I’m confident this isn’t going to be a long recession or setback.”

Source:  The Photo News