NOTHING SAYS IT LIKE FLOWERS
Picking Perfect Blooms for Your Wedding
by Rose Budd
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 at
your library. 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 (pun intended!) 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.
Consult bridal guides and The Yellow Pages to set up appointments with
several different companies. Their consultants will have photo albums
(and sometimes even videos) 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 decision(s) 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 bouqet 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.
We'd like to point out that the latest trend in bridal bouquets continues
into 2002/2003: according to just about everybody, is a return to traditional
white, but not necessarily in a traditional arrangement! From all white,
to setting off the white with anywhere from one to an equal amount of
a chosen color (most impressive is the use of the rare "sterling"
rose, a silvery gray flower which is stunning), to setting off the flowers
with greens, ribbons or an unorthodox or personalized carrier, the style
is up to you. The natural or "garden" look and the flowing
or "romantic" look have already been spotted this year! Cascading
bouquets are making a strong comeback (but remember that they're really
hard to get airborne if you plan to toss your bouquet out to your single
guests). Another non-traditional arrangement making much headway in
popularity is the wrist or forearm bouquet. It is of course a smaller
arrangement, but it is virtually hassle free - you don't have to put
down or hand off your flowers everytime you want or need to do something.
This is especially popular with brides who are marrying in a less elaborate
wedding gown or other formal or street wear.
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 location(s).
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 guests tables (always a fun part of the event as you can either
play a game for the centerpiece or present it to the woman whose birthday
is closest, etc.) 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. But all of these things cost money. If you're using local
flowers, it might be possible to go all the way, everything you'd like.
But if you choose rare or out-of-season flowers, the costs could skyrocket
with storage and shipping charges. 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!