First Lady's Luncheon Showcases American Grown Flowers

Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

This was the 106th annual effort by the Congressional Club to host the First Lady’s Luncheon.

It was also the third opportunity for Certified American Grown to provide all of the flowers for this bipartisan tradition.

Each table was adorned with a beautiful centerpiece, carefully handcrafted by an all volunteer team of dedicated designers, helping to showcase the beauty of American Grown Flowers. Accent Decor provided all of the vases for this year’s luncheon.  Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

On May 15, every table centerpiece, the dais, the high tops, the flower wall, the runway and all 800 boutonnières were 100% American Grown. America’s flower famers proudly sent over 15,000 stems of flowers from farms across the country to Washington, D.C.

An all-volunteer team of floral designers worked together to help make all of the American Grown Flowers shine for this year’s First Lady’s Luncheon. The awesome T-shirts were donated by Nature Supply Co.. Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

An incredible team of 32 floral designers convened in Washington, D.C. and transformed the Washington Hilton Ballroom into an amazing display of the beauty that is represented in our homegrown flowers. Lead by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet, designers worked through Mother’s Day weekend to ensure everything was ready for the almost 2,000 people who would attend this time-honored event honoring the First Lady of the United States.

The Washington Hilton Ballroom is the second largest ballroom in Washington, D.C., capable of hosting over 2,000 people.  Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

Unfortunately, First Lady Melania Trump  was unable to attend. Admitted into Walter Reed Hospital on May 14 for a routine kidney procedure, the luncheon would go on without the First Lady for just the second time in the event’s history.

Certified American Grown representatives pose for a picture with Second Lady Karen Pence (center). Pictured from left to right, Jumana Misleh, Kasey Cronquist, Benno Dobbe, Second Lady Karen Pence, Pamela Arnosky, Kelly Shore and Klazina Dobbe. Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

Second Lady Karen Pence stood in for the First Lady and a delegation of American flower farmers had the opportunity to speak with her about the growing movement for American Grown Flowers. In conversations, flower farmers encouraged the administration to consider bringing American Grown Flowers back to the White House, featuring the homegrown origin of flowers like they do food and wine.

Certified American Grown hosted Congressman Tom O’Halleran during the luncheon. Congressman O’Halleran’s wife, Pat, was this year’s chair of the First Lady’s Luncheon. Going around the table from the left, Congressman O’Halleran, Kasey Cronquist, Michael Genovese, Betty Joslyn, Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Klazina Dobbe, Benno Dobbe, Claudine Perez, Kate Penn, Pamela Arnosky and Jumana Misleh.   Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

“It was an incredible feat,” shared Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “From the flowers sent by our farms, the transportation provided by Delaware Valley, the vases from Accent Decor, the amazing volunteer design team; everyone came together to contribute to something beautiful and it really reflects the ‘can do’ of what Americans can accomplish when we are working together.”

Wearing their American Grown boutonnières, guests were excited to take their picture in front of the beautiful flower wall. Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

A major highlight for guests attending this year was the floral wall and boutonnière bar. Guests stood in line for the opportunity to take a picture in front of the all-American Grown Flower wall. The boutonnières made the event even more festive, and nearly everyone in attendance wore one!

Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

“It was an honor to be involved with this year’s luncheon,” shared Kelly Shore, this year’s floral design team leader. “We had an outstanding group of volunteers and I could not be more proud of all that we accomplished on behalf of America’s flower farmers. They sent us some amazing flowers to work with.”

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane led this year’s design team effort, responsible for over 180 arrangements and a team of 32 volunteer designers. The awesome T-shirts were donated by Nature Supply Co.. Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

Thank you to the following flower farms for contributing over 15,000 stems of flowers to this year’s luncheon:

The all-American Grown Boutonnières were a big hit at this year’s luncheon.


  • CallaCo
  • Dramm & Echter
  • Eufloria
  • Green Valley Floral
  • Holland America Flowers
  • Kendall Farms
  • Myriad Flowers
  • Ocean View Flowers
  • Protea USA
  • Resendiz Brothers
  • Sun Valley Floral Farm


  • Fern Trust


  • Len Busch Roses

    The design team worked together to prepare the ballroom.


  • Oregon Flowers


  • Texas Specialty Cut Flowers


  • Bloomia
  • Harmony Harvest

A big thank you to our partners Accent Decor, Delaware Valley Wholesale, Smithers-Oasis and Nature Supply Co.

Second Lady Karen Pence stood in and represented the First Lady during this year’s First Lady’s Luncheon. Kirstin Smith Photography