I am overjoyed to tell you that Honor has been selected as the florist for the Susan G. Komen Lunch for the Cure event later this month. Thank you to Ann Berryman and the rest of the board for trusting me and my team with this great privilege. The luncheon will be a great chance to discuss the phenomenal milestones that have been achieved in cancer research and community access to medical care plus looking forward to what is ahead for the organization. Portland's own New York Times Bestselling author, remarkable mother and advocate, Cheryl Strayed will be this years guest speaker. It is no wonder that they sold out quickly and had to add more tables.
With over 51 tables in the ballroom there is opportunity to do a couple different centerpieces throughout the room. That way it is not a "sea of sameness" when guests walk-in. Of course the color pink is synonymous with Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, but this year we are going to do monochromatic pinks with touches of soft grey and chartreuse green. We wanted to make sure the flowers were seasonal, appealing to both men and women and were something that guests could enjoy well after the event. So we landed on doing happy cyclamen plants for the bistro tables in clear glass and a mixture of fragrant hyacinth and scented geranium arrangements in simple grey box vases along with robust azalea plants in a modern grey cement planter. All accented with living mood moss. Very cool. I will post pictures as soon as I can!
Grey, like blue, is another one of those challenging colors to find naturally in flowers. It is such a great color though-one of my favorite. Luckily, the grey flower options that are out there are really cool. I have listed a healthy selection below.
Just a couple weeks ago, I got to travel to Heber City, Utah to see one of my best childhood friends get married. Naturally, I had to do the flowers! Here is a sneak peak of what's to come!
Once couples get engaged and have enjoyed the blissful high for about a month, comes the realization of starting to plan the festivities. If it is the first marriage for both people, the learning curve for appropriate vendor budgets is steep and uncharted territory. Understandably, it is hard for people to set a budget for something they know nothing about (flowers, music, catering) or on the other hand, they set a budget which is completely unrealistic for what they want to achieve.
A great florist will provide you with a custom quote for your wedding flowers.
Flower shops that propose wedding package A for $250, B for $1000 and C for $2000 or what have you, should be avoided, in my opinion. There are just too many amazingly different people with amazingly different tastes out there to file them into fixed choices. It leaves no room for imagination.
Personally speaking, I do not ask people what their budget is during a first meeting. If they offer it up, then fine, but otherwise it makes me feel icky asking. For me, understanding the couples story, personalities and vision is the focus for when we first meet. Basically, are we a good match. It is obvious that we are entering a business transaction.....couple wants flowers and I in-turn listen to them and provide killer designs with exceptional customer service for their wedding day. For this, I will receive a profit for my time and talent. Win-Win:) I feel like it would start things off on the wrong foot, if the first thing out of my mouth was, "So guys, what's your budget"? Terrible. It zaps the love and creativity right out of the air. Some of my most favorite projects have been small in scale, but super detailed and special. Big budget or small budget, at the end of the day, it just has to be pretty.
I always suggest to couples to approach the wedding flowers by telling me everything that they would like to have on their wedding day. All the bells and whistles. Then I can quote it as such. I also like to quote each item separately with an in depth description. Does this take more time? Of course. But it gives the couple a detailed look of what each item is costing. That way, in the event that we need to scale back, they can select which items are not as necessary and delete them from the quote or I can rework the design to get the price down.
Below, I have provided an average pricing guide for the most commonly requested wedding flowers (including labor). Of course, there are circumstances that would cause these prices to fluctuate: availability, flower choice, design complexity, seasons, holidays, and weather, but generally this is what you can expect.
Bridal Bouquet: $150-$275
Toss Bouquet: $30-$50
Bridesmaids Bouquets: $65-$85 each
Boutonnieres: $12-$15 each
Corsages: $20-$25 each
Flower Girl Basket with Petals: $25-$30
Hair Flowers: $2-$5 per wired bloom
Head Wreaths: $65-$125 each
Arch Rental $200-$300
Fresh Floral Swag for Arch Center: $250-$350
Fresh Greenery Garland: $10-$15 per foot.
Arrangement Pillar Rental: $40-$60 each
Large Ceremony Arrangements: $200-$350 each
Chair Nosegays: $40-$65 each
Aisle Petals: $200-$450
Flowers Throughout Entire Structure (Pergola/Gazebo) $2,500-$5,000
Floral Curtain $100-$150 per strand
Guest Centerpieces $95-$150 each
Card, Gift and Guest Seating Table Arrangements: $100-$200 each
Cake Topper and Layers $65-$100
Door Wreaths: $150-$300 each
Cocktail Tables: $15-$30 each
Bar Arrangements: $75-$150
Also, a great florist will also set-up and breakdown all the flowers/decor for you as well. Some price it by a percentage of the total being spent on the flowers. It can be anywhere from 15%-20%. Other florists figure it by an hourly rate/per person. That is usually anywhere from $30-$50 per person/per hour. Plus $1 per mile roundtrip for each event site. So naturally, it is less expensive if you are having the ceremony and reception and the same venue.
I hope this sheds a little light into wedding flower pricing. Hopefully, it was a pleasant surprise and not a shock! Remember these are just average price ranges. For example, a bridal bouquet of all white hydrangea would be less expensive and a bridal bouquet of lily of the valley and hellebore would be more expensive than what I mentioned above.
Joe and Casey are such a lovely couple and it was a pleasure to design their wedding flowers. I have designed flowers for same-sex couples in the past, but this was extra special since their ceremony was an official wedding ceremony!! Yay! The State of Oregon just recently made same-sex marriage legal this past May.
If you would like to see more images from their wedding you may view them in the featured weddings tab within the Lookbook page of the website.
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!
I can't wait! It is almost here! This weekend I will have the pleasure of designing flowers and joyfully attending Joe and Casey's wedding out in the Columbia River Gorge. Stay tuned for pictures!!
This past weekend, I had the honor of making personal flowers for a wonderful couple using this classic color palette of green and white. I love the black and white striped grosgrain ribbon for the bridesmaids and the delicate and feminine lace ribbon for the bride. The bouquet ingredients were: local fresh mint, scented geranium leaf, white freesia, super green garden roses, local white dahlias, white lisianthus and white stock.
Over the years I have been asked countless times from clients on how to get fresh flowers to stay looking their best. Usually because they have recently received flowers or bought flowers and found themselves pitching the whole arrangement within 3-4 days. Most people have this assumption that the arrangement is self-sufficient and requires no maintenance, or subscribe to some lazy tricks that will do the job for them. You know the ones I am talking about: putting a copper penny in the vase, mixing in vodka, sprite or bleach to the water, slitting the neck of a tulip, adding the commercial powder....none of this really works folks.
Assuming that the florist is buying the freshest product from the wholesaler in the first place and has taken the necessary steps to care for the flowers during processing and designing, the client should just be responsible for changing the water daily and giving the flowers/foliage a fresh cut.
Changing the water daily means changing the water daily, not adding water to the vase. Which a lot of people assume is the same thing. That only makes a vase with a little bit of dirty water turn into a vase with a lot of dirty water. Changing the water out completely is crucial because if the original vase water sits day after day the bacteria is just building upon itself. The flowers are drinking that dirty water constantly and thats why they rapidly deteriorate. After all, it is just stagnant water. Depending on how large your arrangement is, changing the water out might be a two person job. That is how it is typically done in a flower shop. One designer gently grabs the arrangement at the top of the vase with both hands and lifts it out, while the other designer dumps the water and refills the vase with cool water. This helps to preserve the design. Otherwise, if you are by yourself, you can grab the flowers with one hand and dump the water with your other. This takes a little skill though. If you have another vase that is similar, add fresh water to that one and just transfer the arrangement to it. The water level should be at least to the middle of the vase, if not higher. I always top my vase off with water once the arrangement is in the new vase. I have encountered many times in my career clients that are baffled as to why their lily got droopy all of a sudden. It was because the arrangement itself had sucked down so much water, the water level had gone past where the stem could reach. Also, make sure to take off any scrappy foliage on the stems that will be sitting in your new clean water. Leaving it on will only make your clean water turn to dirty water faster. The crucial fresh cut step would obviously be taking place in between pulling the arrangement out of the old water and placing it in the new water.
If you frequently receive flowers or place flowers in your home, investing in a florist knife or a decent pair of clippers is a must. Do not use regular scissors! They damage all the preciously delicate cells in the stem. Plus you never get a crisp cut. People end up massacring the flesh of the stems because they are just sawing away with a pair of dull ribbon scissors. And for the love of God, just because you have long sturdy fingernails to pinch the ends off, don't do that either. I would recommend using a knife over clippers, but a lot of people are intimidated with using a knife, so clippers are the next best thing. (I will cover using a florist knife vs. clippers in later blog post) When you are cutting the stems you don't have to take off much-about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch should do the trick. Since you are doing this everyday to the arrangement, you don't want your tall entryway bouquet to turn into a table centerpiece in two days. The objective is that you are reopening the pores of the stems so they can slurp up all that fresh water you are about to plunk them into. Within a day the stem pores begin to shrink and scab over within the cut area, making it harder for the flower to pull the water into itself. Cutting the stems daily keeps a constant flow of fresh water to the flower.
Let's remember, that at the end of the day, flowers are a perishable item. They are not meant to last forever, no matter how good you take care of them. A typical flower shop arrangement should look as good as the day you got it for 3 to 4 days-if you doing the things I mentioned previously. After that time, some (not all) of the flowers will be peaking and won't be around much longer. There is nothing you can do about this. A mini calla lily will always outlast bella donna delphinium. So just discard the flowers as they expire and enjoy the others. However, if you do receive flowers or buy flowers and they are just completely sad within a day, call the flower shop immediately. They should replace it, without question. It also gives the flower shop time to see it (you can bring it in or they might have the delivery driver pick the original one up when they are dropping off your replacement) and call their source for the flowers to get credit. Do not wait a week or later to call and let them know. It is unfair to the flower shop at that point. They can't be sure if the product was in fact bad or if you weren't taking care of it properly from the get-go, because as I mentioned above, some flowers will surely be on their way out within a week. It puts the flower shop in an awkward position as well because in the end, they want you to be happy. They will be at a complete loss if they send you a new arrangement and can't get any credit back from the wholesaler. Some people out there have unrealistic expectations for flowers. It would be like buying a gallon of milk and complaining to the grocer that it tastes sour after the expiration date...well duh.
Beyond the two major responsibilities of giving your flowers a fresh cut and changing the water daily, there are two other pieces of advice I would give. The first one is, keep the flowers away from heat. Don't put them in a sunny window or leave in a hot office. There are some people out there that think that "cut" flowers need ample sunlight to live. No. They needed it when they were still attached to the original plant. Now that they are cut, exposing them to direct sun or heat will only make them droopy. Lastly, pinch petals or pollen off as the flower ages in the vase. It is more aesthetically pleasing and once a tired bloom is plucked the flower will refocus on blossoming the remaining buds.
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