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Marie Arnold

Marie Arnold Yoho, A.A.S., Floral Design and Marketing 2014; A.A.S., Greenhouse and Nursery Management 2015

In 2017, when Marie Arnold Yoho ‘14 heard about job openings in the floral department at the famed Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, she originally set her sights on a floral design position. “I didn’t think there was a chance they would consider me for the floral supervisor,” she said. But if you’ve ever been skeptical that college extracurriculars will have a bearing on your professional life, Yoho’s experience might change your mind. The head of Biltmore’s floral department noted that Yoho had been president of Ohio State ATI’s student chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers. Yoho said, “She picked up on that right away, because she had served as president of her school’s chapter, so she knew what that meant in terms of the kind of experiences I had had.”

The result? Yoho was offered the position of floral supervisor. She oversees a team of three full-time designers who provide floral arrangements for the Inn on Biltmore Estate and Village Hotel. Work ranges from providing flowers in rooms for guests who request them to complex floral constructions. “We once created a two-tier chandelier out of yellow mokara orchids. It was six feet across and four feet tall,” Yoho said.

Recently, Yoho had the opportunity to design the flowers for a dream wedding: her own, to Michael Yoho, also employed at the Biltmore Estate in engineering services. The day before her August 16 wedding, Yoho brought two designer friends (former colleagues at Petals and Leaves in Columbus, where Yoho worked prior to accepting the position at the Biltmore) to ATI’s floral lab. According to Terry Lanker, chair of ATI’s horticulture division and coordinator of the floral design and marketing program, allowing Yoho use of the floral lab was the least she could do. “When Marie was a student, we called upon her for almost every event where we needed to showcase our floral or greenhouse programs to stakeholders.” (Yoho completed a degree in greenhouse management in addition to her floral design and marketing degree.)

Using the skills she learned in the floral design and marketing program and refined as a professional designer, Yoho and her team created eight head table arrangements, seven large and 11 small centerpieces, a floral cake topper, three boutonnieres, beribboned floral wands for the three flower girls, hoop bouquets for six bridesmaids, three mothers’ bouquets, and, of course, Yoho’s spectacular freeform bridal bouquet – all in a single day.

Yoho chose a soft dove gray for the attendants’ attire, in order to put the focus on the vibrant orange roses and celosia, deep pink ranunculus, crimson anemones, and dahlias ranging from blush to magenta. The bold colors suited the bride, whose boldness was nurtured by ATI’s floral design and marketing program. “Do it. Try it,” said Yoho. “That’s the biggest takeaway from the program – confidence.”