Annie Gray: Flower Power

By Dalina Michaels   |   February 22, 2022
Annie Gray at work on a floral arch for a September wedding on Padaro Beach

Sometimes you just want flowers. Not for a holiday. Not for a birthday. Not for a wedding – just because.

Why? Because flowers are pretty! Who doesn’t love a bright bouquet sitting on your table or by your bed at night?

And Annie Gray is a Montecito mom who knows a thing or two about flowers.

“I love flowers. I love pulling together a color palette and mixing in texture to create something that makes my heart and eyes happy.”

Gray has been harnessing her floral design with her boutique business of flower arranging and styling. She doesn’t advertise or have a website – if you want her – you just call her!

“It started so organically. I have always enjoyed making arrangements and giving small bouquets to friends for their birthdays. Then it morphed into helping with some school fundraisers and the next thing I knew, I was creating bridal bouquets and centerpieces for weddings.”

Gray grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and attributes the lush landscape and coastal sunsets to her appreciation of color and texture that she uses in her floral design.

“I love that my business is small and personal. If I know who the flowers are going to, and why, there is a major connection while I am designing and arranging.”

Gray has spent the past few years working part-time as a substitute teacher at All Saints-by-the-Sea Preschool, and working with flowers was just a hobby. It wasn’t until her skillset was called upon for Montecito Union School (where her kids, Charlie, 11, and Elsa, 9, attend) gala a few years back that she realized she could do more with her favorite flora and fauna.

“I literally set up shop in my garage. It definitely helps to keeps costs down when you are working from home and arranging flowers in your kitchen and backyard!”

From there, she has done several boutique events and a few larger weddings, but she always keeps an eye on costs.

“I try to always get flowers locally at the Farmers Market. If I need more or have to plan ahead for a larger event, then I use a wholesale company from Oxnard or Carpinteria.”

Gray Family: Annie, Will, Charlie, and Elsa

And part of knowing costs is knowing what is in season. “You can always get flowers imported but it might not feel natural and it will cost a fortune. I love ranunculus and peonies, but they are only available once or twice a year. So it’s important to choose flowers based on what is growing local and what is in season.”

While Gray said COVID made getting flowers a challenge, she didn’t let it stop her from helping to make one bride’s wedding day vision a reality: “I was doing a beachside wedding in September and the bride wanted white roses. I had ordered them, but then there was a major flower shortage in September. It felt like everyone was getting married and everyone wanted white roses! There was a production shortage, lack of labor, and poor weather in South America… all of this meant the bride might not get her perfect wedding day flowers. Fortunately, thanks to lots of planning and a great team, I was able to get everything we needed to make the day beautiful.” 

Gray loves the challenge of a large event, but says the smaller arrangements are always sweet. “I made little wrist corsages for girls for a daddy-daughter dance and it was so fun. I picked ribbons to match their dresses and it was something unique that made them feel special. That is what flowers do – they just make any occasion feel more special!”

And what’s Gray’s idea of a special day in Montecito? “Well, my husband (local architect Will Gray) grew up in Montecito and so we love spending the day with family and friends. A perfect day would include a jog along the water, a meal at The Nugget in Summerland, and then getting cozy with our kids by our fire at night!”

Need a flower arrangement for your next soiree or a bouquet for a friend just because? Call Annie Gray’s Florals at (805) 403-8228.   

In this column, we feature Montecito Moms with interesting and unique careers. If you have a mom you think would like to be featured, email


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