Flowers! The pretty, the exotic, the traditional, the lovely, the wild, the cultivated, the classic, the rare, the seasonal, the local, the symbolic...flowers are an essential part to any wedding, however minimal or maximal their position.
Your wedding flowers will take up to 10% of your budget and also set the tone of a lot of your wedding. They will feature in your wedding photographs and video, be in the ceremony and reception locations and will be a focus of conversation. They are also symbolic of your vision of romance and a key element of the whole style and theme of the day.
And it’s not just the flowers - it’s the way they are arranged. There are rose bouquets and then there are rose bouquets…
So how do you get the flowers you want, in the design you desire with the budget you’ve got?
Start scouting for florists at least six, preferably eight, months before your wedding day. Remember the peak times for weddings and therefore busy periods for florists are May to September. Also, bone up on your understanding of florist jargon and names of flowers. Look at our florist glossary for help here. You need to be able to hold a meaningful conversation with would-be florists and florist designers.
FIX YOUR BUDGET AND THEME EARLY
Your budget should be less than what you really have available for flowers; you need to allow for extra costs like setting up, tips, taxes, suddenly having to find another source for your preferred flower or an alternative. Make it quite clear to the florist from the get-go: what can you do with $2000? Not: ‘Ooh I love it but can you reduce it down by $3000 as our budget is only $2000?’ Ask for a low proposal and a high one so you have options. Check on the guarantee for delivery and how the flowers will be kept fresh for the event.
CONSIDER THE VENUE
If it is an outdoor venue where there are a lot of natural flowers or plants, your floral arrangements should be minimal as lavish displays will just clash. However, if your setting is an ornate, formal stately home, a low key romantic, rustic theme will look like vased weeds and totally inappropriate; here a grand centerpiece is probably required. Also, consider the table linen and the food you will be providing. Think ahead when it comes to the combined aesthetics.
REVIEWS, WEDDING MAGAZINES, WEDDING PLANNERS, NEWLYWEDS
Consult all of the above to find out suggestions of good florists. Get inspiration, adapt, be flexible. Then scoop out a select few and go see them for a chat and a look at their portfolio.
FLORAL ARTISTRY - DO YOU NEED HELP OR HAVE YOU GOT THIS?
Not all florists are equipped for your fantasy floral arrangements. Sometimes you need a florist designer to help structure the most appropriate collections: your lavish cascade or the nosegays, the charming breakaway or ornate candelabra. However, they are more pricey than a florist and, if you are artistic yourself or have a team of creative friends willing to help you DIY, you could produce the masterpieces yourself.
SOURCE THE FLOWERS YOURSELF
You could actually go all the way and get the flowers yourself - if you allow yourself sufficient time and also work out the logistics involved carefully. Being a wedding floral arranger is not just about shoving cut flowers in vases; it involves the timely ordering of bulk fresh, seasonal flowers, searching online for coupon codes, getting sufficient buckets and flower food in advance, getting a strong stem-stripper and a strong pair of shears, setting up an assembly line, working out how you are going to transport the flower arrangements….lots of vases full of water and moving vehicles do not go well together! There is a lot to consider but, if you can pull it off, the savings are well worth celebrating!
HAVE AN IDEA AND SOME VISUALS TO SHOW
When you do go to see your potential florist, bring along with you your moodboards, swatches of any bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, your color palette and any relevant information regarding the theme or venues. This will help give your floral designer an idea of what you are aiming for but remember they are artists and aim to create one-offs. Being able to talk to and be understood by your florist is critical. You also need to trust them; if they are suggesting compromises or more seasonal flowers, there will be a reason. They may need to substitute flowers if out of your price range or season.
USE FLOWERS TO EVOKE STYLES TO ENHANCE YOUR THEME
Certain arrangements of flowers evoke certain styles: tight bouquets, for example, demonstrate the classic; large bounteous displays suggest romance, brightly colored flowers and lots of greenery give an outdoor, rustic feel, simple, elegant structures are for contemporary or minimalist weddings. Then there are other kinds of displays and arrangements - some involving fruit, vegetables, small ornaments. Yes, you can get some awesome arrangements out of avocados and cantaloupe! Bear in mind the size, weight, volume and potential allergy factor too. You may like the smell but if two of your bridesmaids get severe hayfever from their posies, maybe you should find a different flower. Also, check the flowers do not clash with the fashion you have chosen. They should complement it.
REUSE CEREMONIAL ARRANGEMENTS
If the flowers are being used at church, ensure they are taken and reused back at the reception location too. Get your money’s worth out of them. Bear this in mind when deciding on the arrangement so that they don’t swamp the table, however; what looks great on the altar may be a major social obstacle in a dining room!
BE FLEXIBLE REGARDING YOUR CHOICE OF FLOWERS
Have an A and B list and check out striking flowers that are a lower price. For example, Peruvian lilies, the dramatic tall gladioli, baby’s breath, sunflowers and daisies. Keep the colors varied and aesthetically pleasing when considered with all the other elements of your decor.