Before I sit down with a couple to discuss their wedding flowers, I like to have brainstormed a bit prior to our meeting. I take out my handy dandy “vision” sheet and start reflecting on what they have told me about their wedding date, the venue, how many guests are invited and their color palette (The 4 Crucial Decisions That Need To Be Made Before You Start Thinking About Wedding Flowers). I find myself at some point always writing down the same little trustworthy group of flowers somewhere during this process. They are available year-round and come in a sufficient amount of color choices. I thought I would share them with you!
HYDRANGEA: Available colors are- white, pale blue and mini chartreuse green. (there are more colors that hydrangea comes in, but I am only listing the year-round ones)
Pros: Moderately priced for how much space they take up.
Cons: Can wilt easily and prone to break if not taken care of properly.
LISIANTHUS: Available colors are- white, light pink, cream, butter, pale green, lavender, dark purple and bi-color white/purple.
Pros: Hardy for how delicate they look. Great foliage and shoots that can be repurposed in arrangements and boutonnieres.
Cons: If left in grower packaging too long, they can get condensation on the petals which turns them mushy. Petals show bruising easily.
STOCK: Available colors are- white, butter, apricot, light/dark pink, light/dark purple and raspberry red.
Pros: Inexpensive for how much space they take up. Smell like cinnamon.
Cons: Sometimes they can be a little leggy on top...where the petals are more spaced out….doesn’t look as pretty. Short vase life. Vase water can get VERY smelly if not changed out often with these.
FREESIA: Available colors are- white, yellow, red/orange, lavender, dark purple, light pink and dark pink.
Pros: Smell wonderful. Unique shape. Good option for boutonnieres and corsages. Long lasting.
Cons: Sometimes buds can be small and immature, which never open.
ROSES: Available colors are- Anything you can imagine except black, blue or gray.
Pros: Long-lasting. Look great tight or fully open. If you bruise a petal-just pluck it off.
Cons: Cleaning thorns off.
GARDEN ROSES: Available colors are-Anything you can imagine except black, blue or gray.
Pros: Romantic ruffled center. Lovely fragrance. Great alternative for peonies.
Cons: Expensive, some varieties can blow (open) really fast.
SPRAY ROSES: Available colors are-Anything you can imagine except black, blue or gray.
Pros: Long-lasting. Great for boutonnieres, corsages and head wreaths. Lots of blooms-you can really get a lot out of one stem.
Cons: Cleaning thorns off
GARDENIAS: Available in white
Pros: Amazing strong scent. Romantic and elegant. One bloom looks great as a statement piece in hair. If hydrated properly it can last a long time floating in water.
Cons: Comes stemless (need to give it a wired stem). Bruise very easily from the oils on your fingers. Expensive.
ORCHIDS: Available in lots of varieties (Mokara, Vanda, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Cymbidium, Phalaenopsis and Lady Slipper are the most common)
Pros: Visually striking and unusual. Long lasting. Very versatile and can be used in arrangements, submerged under water, boutonnieres and corsages and hand held bouquets.
CALLA LILIES: Available in large and mini size. The large are available in white and green. The mini’s are available in yellow, burnt orange, red, all shades of pink, white, all shades of purple, bi-color white and purple (picasso) and deep blackish plum (swartzwalder).
Pros: Long-lasting. Great for arrangements, hand-held bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages.
Cons: Tricky to use with oasis foam. Since their stems are porous and not woody it makes it challenging not to bend them. Large white callas can bruise and brown if not handled with care. As they unfurl, they have a tendency to rip.
HYPERICUM BERRY: Available in red, burgundy, brown, peach, green and cream.
Pros: Great accents for boutonnieres, corsages and head wreaths. Long-lasting. You can get a lot of berries off just one stem.
Cons: Sometimes there will be a couple random brown berries within the bunch. Just pluck them off.
Now, there are plenty more year-round varieties that I purposefully didn’t mention. They have their place and usefulness at times, but the above are my go- to group. They are reliable and abundant stems that offer wonderful color and elegance to any celebration.
So, your betrothed got down on bended knee and asked for your hand in marriage. You of course quickly said, “Yes!” and have been in a tailspin, creating Pinterst boards filled with your favorite dresses, hairstyle ideas and honeymoon trends. And your sweetheart just popped the question yesterday! The next thing to do is decide on your flowers, right? Wrong. Whether you are going to hire a professional florist or design the flowers yourself, there are 4 crucial decisions that you should make before you start thinking about wedding flowers.
Taking these steps first is helpful to the florist or if your DIY, it will keep you organized, efficient and on budget.
THE 4 CRUCIAL DECISIONS
Set The Date: Selecting and setting your wedding date is huge when it comes to making decisions on flowers. There are a lot of flowers available year-round (I will cover those in a later Blog post) and just as many that are not. It doesn’t do any good to fall in love with blush-colored peonies (only available mid May-late June) if you end up picking a date in late August. There are SO many options for wedding flowers it can be overwhelming. Think of it as a blessing, that you can eliminate 75% of the noise and focus on the beautiful selection during your season.
Select A Venue(s): Setting the date and selecting the venue sometimes go hand-in-hand. A lot of times people are “sold” on the venue and have to select a date from the ones the property still has available. Knowing the venue(s) before you think about your wedding flowers will help determine 2 key things. The where and how. Where are the best places to put flowers at this venue? Does the vineyard you chose have a large wooden pergola that would look amazing if it was decorated with a rustic floral swag? Does the hotel ballroom have a grande staircase that could be enhanced with a fresh garland draping along the banister? How will you attach the flowers to a structure that the venue has given you permission to do so, but has advised that you can’t use nails, staples or adhesive (answer: zip ties!)? How will you transport large vased arrangements from the church to Aunt So-and-So’s farm?
Perhaps while you are exploring the chosen venue, you are finding it has some bare or ugly places that need to be dressed up with flowers. More than you had anticipated. With this new information you might have to approach the flowers in way that will give you the volume that you need while staying in line with your budget. On the flip side, maybe you selected a venue that is visually stunning and doesn’t really need anything more than the table centerpieces. This would give you the opportunity to splurge more on expensive varieties of flowers.
It is also a good idea to find out if the venue(s) has any rules that need to be followed. For example, finding out from the church that they don’t allow you to remove the decor and flowers they have in place during the Easter season would be good to know beforehand.
Guest Count/Table Layout: The most expensive part of a floral budget is generally the guest centerpieces. Figuring the amount of people that will be invited first, will help you have a more realistic idea of the floral budget needed for this area. For example, let's say you are planning to invite 150 people to your wedding. Most likely your guests will be seated at round tables that accommodate 8 to 10 people per table, which equates to 15-19 guest tables total. That also means you would need 15-19 centerpieces. That’s a lot of flowers! I always suggest to brides to assume that everyone you are inviting will attend, to get a better idea of how expensive it could be. Then when the replys come in and the guest numbers start to go down, you can either keep that savings or apply that money into the remaining centerpieces.
This decision also includes, how many people will be in your bridal party? Are you having 2 bridesmaids or 6? That detail alone will significantly impact the quantity of flowers needed and your budget.
Knowing the guest count also helps you plan for the aisle decor as well. If you were planning to have flowers on every other chair down each side of the aisle, knowing the guest count would help you determine how many rows there will be in total. Therefore, telling you how many chairs will have flowers and how many will not.
Color Palette: The color combinations are endless that you could use in your wedding and your wedding flowers. There of course is classic white and blush pink or the rich fall tones of burnt orange, chocolate brown, garnet red and velvety plum. What about doing something with the current trend, like corals and turquoise? All of these and the countless other combinations are all wonderful and would make great color palettes for any wedding. Just settle on it first, otherwise you will drive yourself batty looking at every flower in every color available. It gets to be information overload. Even go as far as selecting the bridesmaid’s dresses and your table linens.
When I first sit down with a bride and groom to discuss their vision, I always ask them these 4 questions right off the bat. It would be hard to know the amount of flowers you would need, which in turn tells you how much you are spending, without solidifying these 4 areas first. Thus, wasting a bunch of time. Now go on and get crackin’! Once you are solid on these 4 decisions, choosing the flowers will be a piece of “wedding” cake!
Thank you so much for all of your hard work on the flowers and sharing your talent with us! We're incredibly grateful!
-Taylor and Kendra
Thank you soooo much for all of your hard work on our wedding. We couldn't have pulled it off without you! We have truly enjoyed working with you- you always have the best, positive energy....which was needed when ours was waning :). We hope to work with you again in the future. Please keep in touch.
XO Erika, Deborah and Jon