Vinton designer earns invitation to decorate White House for the holidays

With 27 years of experience under his belt, Mark Frye is eager to help the first lady decorate

Christmas came early for one Vinton florist who will soon be decking the White House halls.

VINTON, Va. – Christmas came early for one Vinton floral shop that will soon be decking the White House halls.

The Creative Occasions Events Flowers and Gifts shop owner is packing his bags and heading to Washington to help decorate for the holiday season.

Switching out the wedding bouquets for jingle bells, Mark Frye is eager to help decorate the White House for the first time ever.

“I was a little surprised because there are people who have done this for a number of years,” Frye said.

Frye inquired about the opportunity back in August and was told to apply in October.

One month later, he received an email that stopped him in his tracks.

“My wife was sitting at the kitchen table with me and I looked at her and she thought the look on my face meant that something was wrong. She said, ‘What’s the matter? What’s happening? Is somebody sick?’ I said ‘No, I think I just got invited to the White House,’” he recalled.

The first lady selects the theme and Frye will help carry, hang and arrange decorations to fit her vision.

Frye said normally 200 volunteers are selected.

Decorating a real Christmas tree versus a fake one requires different techniques and Frye is already thinking about what tools he should bring to the executive mansion.

“I wonder about how we are going to install the garlands on the mantles,” Frye said. “Do we use command strips? They’re not going to let us put nails on there I’m pretty sure.”

Frye will forgo his Thanksgiving dinner to be at the White House for three days.

But after designing weddings, business events and occasions at home for 27 years, he can’t wait to learn from other designers.

“When you get a bunch of designers together, it’s often crazy,” he said. “But it’s often a lot of fun. So, we will just kind of feed off of each other. I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot.”

Frye said he is already planning to apply again next year.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.