||Flowers help to strike the theme and mood of your wedding. From bright and funky to soft and romantic there are many 'looks' - and one that will be perfect for your celebration.
Most couples select flowers to complement the style of wedding they are planning, their colour scheme and wedding theme.
|Classical roses - photo by Michael Smith
So ... where are flowers used?
Generally there are:
- bouquets for the bride and her bridesmaids
- posies or baskets for the flowergirls
- flowers for the bride's and attendants' hair
- corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom
- buttonholes for the groom and his attendants
- buttonholes for the fathers of the bride and groom
- buttonholes for the ushers
- free-standing arrangements at the ceremony venue
- decorations for the pews or end of the aisles
- free-standing arrangements at the reception venue (may be included as part of your package)
- table arrangements at the reception venue (may be included as part of your package)
- floral decoration for the cake.
Most of the work will need to be done immediately before the wedding, just when things are at their most hectic. Unless the style you've chosen is very informal, it would be wise to leave the flowers to a professional florist or an experienced friend or relative.
Do some research and select two or three florists to visit.
Before you visit you'll need to know the date and time of your wedding to make sure the florist will be available. Decide how much you want to spend and make a list of what arrangements you'd like. If you're not sure about your budget, start with the minimum - you can always add more later on.
When you visit it will be helpful to have the bridal gown style and colour and that of the bridesmaids - they will dictate the style of the bouquets. Ask to see photographs of their work - look for a range of designs. See if the florist attempts to understand your taste and ideas rather than telling you what you should have.
Get a written quote for the flowers - make sure it includes all charges like delivery and GST. Find out if they're familiar with your venue - if not, will they visit it? Is there a charge for this. Ask if you can come and see a complete set of wedding flowers - look at the freshness and beauty of the arrangements.
You'll need to discuss the flower arrangements with the clergyman or venue manager. Some venues allow couples to bring their own arrangements, others have their own regular flower arrangers and prefer a contribution to the cost. If there are other weddings on the day, you may be able to share the cost of the flowers with the other couples.
Think about where the flowers will be most enjoyed - on average most couples spend 30 minutes at the ceremony and then several hours at the reception. It makes sense to put the bulk of the flowers at the reception where they can be enjoyed more.
If the reception venue will be taking your tables down through the evening, for example to make room for dancing, it may be better to go for simple table decorations and more free standing arrangements.
Make sure whatever flowers you're having will last the distance, especially in hot weather - the last thing you want is for them to look wilted and droopy half-way through the celebration.
If you're going to have your bouquet preserved, it would pay to talk to the company to make sure the flowers you're using will preserve well.
Try to choose flowers that are in season - choosing exotic blooms will push the price up alarmingly.
When you're choosing colours and flowers remember that flower arrangements, including bouquets, should have depth and contrast. To show the flowers to effect there needs to be a variety of materials, shapes and textures. It doesn't have to be a riot of colour, all white flowers can work well, but they must have a foil of foliage or other material to highlight the flowers. If not, the arrangement will end up looking like a 'white blob' - particularly in photographs.
Bear in mind that you'll be holding the bouquet for long periods. A large bouquet can be quite heavy, so think about a weight you can manage without strain. It's also important to keep your bouquet in proportion to your body, for instance if you are petite a very long and heavy bouquet may look a little overwhelming. Similarly if you are larger a small posy style might not have the impact you want.
You'd be surprised at the number of brides who hold their bouquets upside down! Not all bouquets have a right way up but if yours is asymmetrical then get the florist to show you how to hold it. I like to put a pearl-headed pin in the stem of the bouquet where the thumb should go so the bride can tell if it's right by feel.
- rather than specify particular flowers, allow the florist to choose the best value on the day in the style and colour you want
- instead of a full circlet of flowers for the hair, how about individual wired flowers threaded through your hair?
- instead of flowers on every table at the reception a large arrangement for the top table can be just as stunning. After all, everyone will be looking at the top table at some point in the evening, and that is where the photos will be taken
- buttonholes can be limited to those people who will be in the most important photos, and at the top table
- Flowers from your own (or someone else's) garden
If you have a garden, then you might have a source of materials for your wedding flowers. However, a word of warning - if you do use flowers or material from your garden you must be sure that it will be available and in excellent condition the day before the wedding. Overnight a rampant snail or bad weather can spoil choice blooms. Also, many garden varieties differ from those grown commercially for the florist trade. Roses in particular can be fragile when picked from the garden. Commercial varieties are developed to be long-lasting and strong stemmed.
Remember - all flowers are beautiful, and a good florist will turn that beauty into art.