10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Flowers
Written by Nicola Lapp, Floral Designer
You’re planning your wedding and that’s fantastic! You’ve probably been bombarded with questions like, “When is the wedding?” “Where is ceremony taking place?” “How many people are coming?” and “What kind of décor are you using?”
I love weddings; I think they are a beautiful celebration of love and I also love a good party – seeing how all the details come together and watching people have a good time is such a satisfying feeling! That being said, planning any event can be filled with challenges, and a wedding is no exception! Here are my top ten tips for how to choose a florist and pick out your wedding flowers while staying on budget!
1 – Is this the florist for you?
Every florist has their own unique style. Do a little bit of research before you meet with one. Check out their social media pages and website. If you’re looking for a lush and gorgeous bohemian-inspired bouquet, but they only show pictures classic, tight, rounded bouquets, they might not be a good fit for your style. Are there examples of other types of arrangements besides wedding work? A florist who only posts pictures of bridal bouquets may not have the skills to create archway pieces, boutonnieres, or large-scale table centerpieces. Don’t be afraid to ask them to show examples of their work!
2 – You CAN start planning too early
I know a lot of couples out there want to start the planning process early so they can feel less rushed and have more time to relax leading up to their wedding date. Good on you if you’re one of those couples! Before you meet with a florist, ensure you have your wedding date, colours, venues, and approximate guest list determined. If you don’t know whether you’re getting married in the spring or winter, using neutrals or bold colours, getting married inside or outside, or how many tables you will need for your guests, a florist can only do so much for you! Both the couple and the florist will leave the consultation feeling unfulfilled. I usually recommend coming in six to eight months before the wedding, and certainly no more than a year in advance to even the most prepared couples.
3 – Leave the entourage at home
A wedding is a personal affair – it’s about the couple and their love and commitment to each other. Bring in a special person if you need some support (sometimes it’s best to leave the significant other out of this unless they are also flower lovers!) but limit it to one or two at the most. The more people you bring, the more opinions THEY bring, and so on! I once had a mother of the bride tell me what flowers her daughter wanted, the Maid of Honor had her own ideas too – each had a whole list of flower names, colours, and pictures of bouquets chosen for her. The bride hated all of them and wanted a simple bouquet of white roses. It has happened on occasion that a couple brings in a family member or a friend who has worked in a flower shop – this can be a recipe for disaster if they haven’t been in the industry for a while as you may receive contradictory or outdated advice from the friend and potentially leave your florist feeling frustrated. Asking questions is fine, but don’t let someone else backseat design!
4- Inspiration boards – best friend and worst enemy
Florists are visual people. We work with our hands, and learn best by seeing and creating! Visuals are great tools for us because we can then understand what types of arrangements a couple is seeking, what colours they are using, and what types of flowers they love. I encourage all couples to bring in photos of inspiration to their consultations. Before meeting with a florist, decide three things: what are your colours, what style of arrangements you like, and (if possible) what types of flowers you love. Keep it cohesive – having too many pictures because you like one flower there, and that piece of greenery here, is overwhelming and you’ll be frantically trying to remember why you saved that picture in the first place! Keep you inspiration board simple – limit yourself to a few pictures in each category (personal flowers to carry or wear, ceremony, and reception) that you feel best represents your event.
5 – Don’t believe everything you see!
Finding an image online does not guarantee that all the flowers in that photo are real or have not been edited to alter the colour of the bouquet. A photo-shoot is an opportunity to make dreams a reality, but can also lead to false impressions. I’ll let you in on a trade secret – florists know how to mimic flowers that are out of season, can create composite flowers, and use flower-safe tints and sprays to alter the colour of blooms. I’ve had more than one bride bring in a photo of a bouquet that was made completely out of artificial flowers – all the blooms were either an incredibly saturated blue or a violent shade of purple – colours not found in nature! An experienced florist will be able to tell you what flower varieties are in season for your wedding date and what colours they are available in.
6 – Stuck on detail
Nature is unpredictable, and Mother Nature does not use paint chips or fabric swatches to colour flowers and plants. When deciding on your wedding colours, remember that there is no such thing as an exact shade of colour for any flower. Be flexible – understand that there will be subtle colour variations among the flowers and that nature is not perfect. A great florist will choose the best blooms to use for your special day and will ensure that each and every arrangement they send out is looking their best and coordinates with your wedding’s theme. Be open to options. Ask your florist what will compliment your wedding, rather than what will match it exactly.
7 – Seasonal availability
One of the biggest factors in determining wedding flowers is the time of year you are getting married. While flower availability is increasing as the market expands, flowers are still a natural product and need proper growing conditions to thrive. Check your sources – if you’re head over heels for a flower arrangement from a florist in Florida, they probably have easy access to a lot of flowers that Canadian florists can only dream about or can only bring in during certain times of the year. One of my favourite flowers is an Italian poppy, but their growing season is short and they don’t always travel well. Sometimes the whole bunch can come in and look fantastic, and other times the whole bunch is too green to open, or has damage from shipping. This is a big reality check for a lot of couples when they are faced with the facts that their dream flower is not in season for their wedding (peonies in December!) and will raise the price of their flowers to something astronomical ($15.00 or more for a single bloom!). Ask your florist for alternatives to help lower the cost of your arrangements; there are plenty of options for “look-a-like” flowers that are more readily available (and less expensive) such as chrysanthemums instead of dahlias and garden roses for peonies when the latter are out of season.
8 – Turn up the volume!
While seasonal availability can limit flower choices, a person’s taste can also limit the types of flowers used. Larger headed flowers such as hydrangea, dahlias, roses, and lilies take up more space than small, dainty flowers such as cornflower, freesia, lavender, and ranunculus. If you love the wildflower look, be prepared for a similar price tag to an arrangement created with larger headed flowers. Smaller does not always mean less expensive! You need more small flowers to create an arrangement than you would if you used fewer larger headed flowers. Flowers are sold by the stem, and the more stems you need, the higher the price!
9 – Greenery does not always equal big savings
The current trend towards greenery heavy wedding arrangements has a lot of couples excited when they first start planning their wedding. Just like flowers, not all greenery is inexpensive. Most of the types of foliage that are very popular with today’s weddings are as close in price per stem to that of flowers! Opting for arrangements of mostly greenery in the hope that it will significantly lower costs is not always feasible; usually it is just as expensive, if not more so than having flower arrangements. Eucalyptus, olive branches, and tropical foliage that are on-trend right now can leave you with a large sticker price. If you love the look of greenery, set aside a little more than you would think to budget for your wedding flowers.
10 – Repurpose those blooms!
If you’re on a budget, but also want to dress up a space with flowers, think about ways in which you can re-use an arrangement. Statement pieces at the ceremony can be re-used at the reception on either side of an entryway or the head table. Bouquets can be placed in glass vases along the head table, or if you have a large wedding party, they can even be used as centerpieces! Flowers on an archway at a ceremony can be used on the guestbook table or cake table.
Learn from the best
Check out our Floral Design classes to learn from Nicola and other great Metro instructors.
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