Fresh – Blooming – Blossoming…all words to describe something new, a beginning. And hence, the centuries old poetic tradition comparing a new marriage to the springtime is continued to this day when every new couple enhances their wedding ceremony with flowers.
HOW TO BEGIN
The first step to deciding on the floral accompaniments to a wedding is to develop a basic concept based on the personal tastes of the bride and groom. Generally, this begins with a discussion about which are your favorite flowers. Then, decide on a basic approach: extravagant, tasteful, modest, etc. A good place to start accumulating ideas is in the bridal magazines such as this one and floral arranging books. One thing to consider right up front is whether or not the flowers you’d like are grown locally, and if so, would they be in bloom during the season in which you marry. This could prove to be a big cost factor later on.
CHOOSING A FLORIST
Because your floral arrangements can be taken care of months in advance, it’s never too early to contract with a florist. After your final decisions, it’s one thing you’ll never have to worry about again before the wedding. The florist will take care of the delivery to wherever the bride is preparing, to the ceremony, and to the reception, and take care of all the preparation and presentation at each location. Recall weddings and other events you’ve attended where you liked the floral approach and find out which florist handled the arrangements. Set up appointments with several different companies. Their consultants will have photo albums of past presentations and more than likely, you’ll see an example of just what you had in mind for an overall approach. And like every other area in wedding planning, price shop.
FLOWERS FOR THE BRIDE
(and Bridal Party)
The Bridal Bouquet (and flowers for your hair or headpiece) is probably the most important item on your flower list. The flowers you carry or wear will be determined by the color and style of your gown and so the final decisions must wait until you’re settled on the dress. The florist must be able to see a good photograph of the garment (or even the dress itself) to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. This is not to say that the other floral plans can’t move ahead before you’ve settled on the gown; you can save this to be your last decision. (Another thing to consider is that the common approach is to coordinate the boutonnieres for the groom and attendants with the bouquet and so the plans for their tuxes or suits must be in place as well as the gown.)
The bridal attendants and other members of the extended wedding party for whom you wish to provide flowers must all be coordinated as well. This, of course, depends on what each person is wearing and, for instance, it may be necessary to provide the mother of the bride with a flower matching her dress as opposed to matching the rest of the party.
Always remember to check into the latest arrangements with your florist. And also remember, you are not required or expected to follow the latest trends. Do this only if you have a real desire to contemporize your ceremony. Otherwise, go for what you want, letting your personal style set the tone.
CEREMONY AND RECEPTION
Your principal arrangements at the altar or place of the actual ceremony will form the basis of the arrangements at the reception when transported by the florist after the event. Therefore, both locations must be taken into consideration for size and style. If a common ground can’t be found, you could wind up springing for two entirely different setups. Most florists will be familiar with area churches and reception halls, but if not, they’d more than likely be willing to visit the locations. Other than the decorations for the entrance/receiving line and head table or bridal party table, other uses for flowers are as the centerpiece for your guest’s tables or to give out flowers as favors for your female guests. Outdoor weddings and/or receptions are a bit easier to plan as you more or less have free rein over your choices because coordination is not as big a factor – you have lots more room to spread things out!
FINALIZING YOUR PLANS
Always keep cost in mind. There are many other wonderful uses for flowers at a wedding such as a miniature copy of the bouquet atop the cake, strewing flower petals in lieu of rice, or garlands for the head table and entrances. Your florist will help you to set a budget and stick to it and a good florist will make suggestions without ever overwhelming your original ideas. Once your arrangements are finalized, you’ll have a worry-free item crossed off your big list of things to do and be assured of one more job well done so that you can concentrate only on having a good time on the most important day of your life!