Insider Guide To Wedding Flowers
Written by: Clare Lamata
So you've had the engagement party, set the date, booked the ceremony, paid the deposit for the reception, started trying on dresses...now what? It’s time to get down to the finer details.
This part of your wedding planning is either the really exciting part (if you love planning) or the really tedious bit (if the finer details drive you crazy).
Flowers are one of the most important parts of your wedding day, so where do you start? Here are a few tips to think about, to make deciding on your floral arrangements as easy as tiptoeing through the tulips…
Pinterest is your best friend
Start collecting images that inspire you. Pinterest is a perfect start, but even ripping pictures out of magazines and creating a visual board will give you an idea of what you love, and just as importantly, what you hate! Colours, styles (contemporary, vintage), what varieties of flowers you like are all things to consider when collecting pictures.
What kind of arrangement are you drawn to? Teardrop, rounded, clustered, cascading, or posy? When collecting pictures keep an eye out to see how these types of bouquets match your style and wedding theme.
Artificial or real? With the quality of artificial flowers now so high, brides are opting for the faux variety. This also allows them to keep their bouquets as a beautiful keepsake.
What flowers do you actually need?
Tradition tells us we need a bridal bouquet, bridesmaids' bouquets, corsages and buttonholes or boutonnieres. Think about what YOU want. Maybe there’s an important aunt or uncle you’d love to give a corsage or boutonniere to, or maybe you’d prefer just a bouquet for yourself.
A good way to work out what you really need is by visiting your ceremony and reception venues. Look at the space you have and what decorations they already have or include.
Does your reception package come with centrepieces? Ceremony flowers? Is it something you can negotiate with the venue's coordinators?
Are you having boutonnieres or corsages for grandparents as well, or just the bridal party?
Also, remember some of the oldest tricks in the wedding book – consider using bridesmaids' bouquets as part of the arrangement on the bridal or cake table.
Can a floral arch used for an outdoor ceremony be placed inside afterwards to be used as a photo backdrop? Can the ceremony flowers be moved in as a backdrop to the bridal table? These can potentially save you hundreds.
DIY vs the Professionals.
If you are super organised, are confident in what you are doing, and have people (your bridesmaids) willing to help you, there is no reason why you can't create your own floral arrangements.
However, you may need to factor in time constraints. It IS your day afterall, so if it’s not something you and your bridesmaids will enjoy doing, then select part of your floral arrangements to “outsource” or get your florist to do all of them.
Still keen on DIY? Mason jars for vintage-style weddings are very popular, easy to fill with fresh flowers from flower markets, such as the Sydney Flower Markets (www.sydneymarkets.com.au).
Too little vs too much?
For many years, brides have been told that their flower budget should be 10% of the overall wedding budget. So if the average Sydney wedding is $50,000 – $60,000, brides should be putting aside $5,000 for flowers – an amount that's out of reach for many.
Shop around for your wedding florist. It’s important to find the perfect fit for you and it may be a boutique business in a home studio or your local florist.
Make sure you are on the same page when it comes to your expectations. Be sure to ask questions and to see their work either via their portfolio or website / social media pages.
Also don’t be afraid to change your mind, most florists don’t order the flowers from their growers until close to the wedding date, so if you've had a change of heart about styles or colours or types of blooms, be direct when you talk to your florist.
Choose flowers that are in season so you get the best quality. Asking for peonies in March, when they are in season in October or November, will be costly.
While you can have flowers imported, chances are they have spent a fair amount of time in refrigeration before arriving at your wedding so they may not last as long. Another important issue to remember is that January is not always best for flowers for outdoor ceremonies in Australia. Talk to your florist about your options for outdoor flower arches and ceremonies.
Go to a few local flower markets, attend a few consultations with florists to check out varieties and styles, design your visual board and immerse yourself in the beauty and excitement of your wedding flowers.
Clare Lamata is a florist and the owner of Bella Fiore Floral Designs.