What do Olympic winners, beauty pageant winners and theatrical performers all have in common? Each receives a presentation bouquet to celebrate their accomplishment.

Studio54-1During its convention, the Society of American Florists hosts the floral industry’s longest-running annual, live national floral design competition. The last Sylvia Cup Floral Design Competition this past summer drew 25 floral designers from across the country. Contestants were given two hours, the same flowers, supplies, and surprise task: create three floral arrangements — a presentation bouquet, floral arm jewelry, and memorial design — to complement the theme Studio 54 Revisited. A panel of floral design experts evaluated the arrangements on criteria such as mechanics, originality and design principles and elements.

This is the first in a 3-part series showcasing the top scoring designs in each category, starting with presentation bouquet.

The floral designers in the Studio 54 Revisited themed contest were tasked to create a presentation bouquet for the Dancing Queen, the fictitious female winner of the coveted disco competition. Here is a look at the top scoring presentation bouquets.

First Place: This bouquet’s flawless mechanics and unique color harmony wowed judges. Mini midnight callas radiate from a cluster of pink protea, and hot pink and orange spray roses are served on a vinyl record-esque black collar decorated with gold wire and gold beads raised by a gold bouquet holder.

First Place by Jacob McCall, AAF, AIFD, FSMD, design director at The Elite Flower in Miami, Fla. Entry sponsored by The Elite Flower

First Place by Jacob McCall, AAF, AIFD, FSMD, design director at The Elite Flower in Miami, Fla. Entry sponsored by The Elite Flower

Second Place: Bright yellow gerberas punctuate this sleek design spotlighting exciting line movement through lily grass and gold beads.

Second Place by Libbie Deering, CF, designer at Vogt's Flowers in Flint, Mich. Entry sponsored by Michigan Floral Association

Second Place by Libbie Deering, CF, designer at Vogt’s Flowers in Flint, Mich. Entry sponsored by Michigan Floral Association

Third Place: Streams of green hanging amaranthus and gold chains flow from a black collar embellished with gold chains and gold squares. The gold metal contrasts with the soft green hydrangea blooms and loops of aspidistra.

Third Place by Derek Woodruff, AIFD, PFCI, CF, owner of the Floral Underground and Fleur Couture Cabaret in Traverse City, Mich.

Third Place by Derek Woodruff, AIFD, PFCI, CF, owner of the Floral Underground and Fleur Couture Cabaret in Traverse City, Mich.

Research proves flowers create instant smiles and delight. No wonder presentation bouquets celebrate personal achievements. Consider giving presentation bouquets to honorees at awards ceremonies, loved ones performing in a theater production or dance recital, or send flowers to congratulate a friend on a new job or promotion. Your local professional florist can customize the floral gift to really mark the occasion.

Which bouquet do you think best honors the “Dancing Queen?”

This is the first in a three-part series.

Read the second in the series, “Floral Jewelry for a Disco Queen.”

Read the third in the series, “Solid Gold Sympathy Flowers.”