Floral Options For Your WeddingBy Rebecca Sherman
Choosing a Florist
Start the process of choosing a florist by looking online for example works, attending bridal shows and by asking friends and family for referrals. If the flowers at a recent wedding were particularly exquisite, ask the bride which florist she used. Once a list of several has been formed, make an appointment with each to sit down and talk about options and to view photos of past arrangements and weddings. The first appointment will usually take an hour or so.
Before keeping that appointment, assemble some items that will help the florist to help you. First, work out a general budget for your wedding flowers. Ask yourself questions like:
• How many bridesmaids and groomsmen will there be?
• Who outside the bridal party will receive flowers to wear?
• Will the florist decorate the pew ends or the altar in the church?
• Will flowers be required for the wedding cake?
• Will the florist decorate the reception site, including the head table and other tables?
In addition to budget information, your florist will need you to bring such helpful items as photos or magazine clippings of flower arrangements you like, a photo of your wedding dress so she can match the style of the flowers with it and a fabric swatch from your bridesmaids’ dresses for color comparison.
The cost of wedding flowers can vary widely depending on several factors. Exotic out-of-season flowers will, of course, cost far more than locally-grown and easily obtained in-season flowers. Upscale, cutting-edge floral designers will most likely be more expensive than a more traditional florist. Bouquets rich in certain flowers and light on greenery will certainly make a dent in your pocketbook. Though the conveniences of having a florist decorate the church and reception site can be more costly, it is usually worth the amount of stress it will relieve and provides beautiful end results!
The average cost of wedding flowers lies somewhere in the $800 to $6,000 range for most medium size weddings. Some brides avoid some of this cost by arranging the flowers themselves, but this can be a stressful and tricky operation. If considering this option, remember that the flowers will have to be prepared either the day before or the day of the wedding and will need to be refrigerated. Someone will have to transport them to and distribute them at the church. Is the added responsibility worth the money saved? Only the bride herself can answer that question.
Bouquets & Such
Color saturation is the watchword for today’s bridal bouquets, according to local florists. They say that blue is still a very trendy color for flowers, especially when paired with purple or a periwinkle color. Subdued colors such as taupe tinged with pink are edging their way into bouquets everywhere, too. These colors go well with the taupe and pewter dresses worn by today’s bridesmaids.
As for bouquet shapes, they say that ‘simple elegance’ are the first words out of every bride’s mouth. Many brides today seek out a pavé arrangement, which is a tight cluster of blossoms. Such bouquets might consist of a single type of flower in the same or related colors or it might include several different varieties of flowers. These arrangements have very few, if any, greens, which can make them costly. This is a very balanced, geometric look made popular in recent years.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the European hand-tied bouquet retains its favor with brides everywhere. This arrangement has a fresh, natural appeal and can include a diverse selection of flowers. Most often, these bouquets have a casual simplicity that many brides find particularly appealing.
What flowers do brides choose to include in their bouquets? Romantic roses, as always, top the list. Brides also choose fresh lavender, sages and other herbs. Berries, Lisianthus (also known as the false rose) and hydrangeas make regular appearances, too. Silk flowers remain popular, especially top-of-the-line silks, that can hardly be differentiated from fresh. Some brides even include delicate silk fruits in their bouquets.
To set off the simple look of today’s flower arrangements, whether formal or natural, florists employ different styles of rich-looking ribbon. Satin ribbon might wrap around a bouquet’s stems to hide them and to ensure unstained, unpricked hands. Wide satin ribbon in silk gives a lush simplicity when tied in a simple bow. Sheer ribbons add a fairy-tale feel to a tight cluster of elegant blooms. Ribbon colors range from deep cocoas to pearly white.
Today’s boutonnières also have a new look, pared down and simple, often with a satin ribbon to accompany them. And like the pavé bouquets, boutonnières often forego the greenery to achieve a single-minded elegance.
That elegant simplicity has changed the way churches are decorated for weddings, too. A lot of brides are doing more at the reception than they used to. The church look is simpler — the (decorating) money is spent at the reception. That means receptions have blossomed. There, topiaries and wheat sheaves decorate tables with elegance. Again, pavé clusters of single or several flowers adorn tables like jewels.
Preserving the Flowers
With all the effort, time and money that go into the wedding flowers, one final detail that is often overlooked is preserving them. For centuries brides have discarded or left their bouquets to dry and shrivel away. Now brides can keep their bouquets with the latest technologies in flower preservation. The process of flower preservation is incredibly involved and time consuming if done correctly. Floral preservationists know how to handle each flower to provide you with the most "life like" look possible. Keep in mind plans must be made in advance if floral preservation is desired. Consult a floral preservationist at least two months prior to the wedding to arrange to have the flowers shipped, delivered, or picked up immediately after the wedding while they are still fresh. Preserved flowers are attractive accents for any home. Special display pieces can be made using the flowers and other wedding keepsakes. Just as the wedding gown, photographs and other sentimental memorabilia can be a reminder; bridal flowers too can bring a lifetime of enjoyment!
Rebecca Sherman is an editor at "ModernWeddingPlanner.com."
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