(For more information on selecting flowers for your wedding, visit the Flowers Page!)

Flowers Create the Mood (May/June 2009)

Your floral arrangements can set the tone of your wedding and reception celebration, adding romance and dramatic dimension. To capture the ambiance that you want, it is necessary to know a bit about flowers – and how your money is to be spent.

In today’s economy, a good florist has to accommodate all types of brides and their budget. Don’t be fooled by the recent trend found in some bridal magazines that flowers comprise 7% of your wedding expense. According to Susan Jaspers, owner of Blossoms, “The industry must define this as brides tend to surmise that the percentage includes the ceremony and reception flowers. I’m here to tell you that would be impossible. The 7% barely covers the personal flowers for the bridal party and family. A good rule of thumb is allocating 10-12% of your budget for centerpieces, bouquets, corsages and boutonnières.”

Most floral companies will go out of their way to accommodate your budget but you must be realistic. Don’t ask for 30 centerpieces and a bridal party of 16 for $400. The overriding question you must ask yourself is “how much is it vs. how much I want it”. A big trend for the past few years is petals on the aisle runner. The minimum rose cost for a small aisle is $300 and it could go up from there. Rose petals work the best but stock and carnations are cheaper.

“Centerpieces are made to make a WOW factor at the reception,” explains Susan. “If the bride is on a budget, she can rent or buy inexpensive cylinders and float a stem of orchids in water in a vase with lights. That way she is only spending money on the one stem of flowers and it’s an inviting presentation.” You must also watch out for tall vases – especially if your reception is outdoors. Tall vases have been known to tip over on windy days. Some catering packages provide flowers for the buffet table. If they do, it’s critical that they coordinate their arrangement with the florist.

Another challenge is the current color trend for weddings. A big color this year is lavender. The problem is lavender flowers are delicate, difficult to obtain, and turn brown quickly. Use flowers in season (to see what flowers are in season, check out Flower page.) During the summer months, stay away from blossoms that are not heat-resistant and be prepared to spritz with water the flowers you have selected. And don’t be surprised that a lot of flowers used in the summer months have to be wired to stand upright.

Some brides try to keep the cost down by purchasing the flowers themselves and do all the work. There are many downfalls to this approach for flowers have to be taped, wired, shaped, added with foliage and fillers, and wrapped with ribbon. Even if all this is done the day-before the wedding, the flowers still require water and refrigeration. Here’s the big catch: flowers cannot be kept in your own fridge because the gasses emitted from any stored fruit and vegetables will rot the flowers quickly. If you’re thinking about silk .flowers, double-check with the coordinator of your wedding site. Many outdoor venues don’t permit silk flowers due to clean up and vacuuming. And just so you know, most silk flowers don’t float in water if you’re thinking of using them in centerpieces.

A professional florist will provide you with creative ideas in addition to providing their knowledge, their labor and their time. As Susan advises, “When you make your appointment, bring swatches of your bridesmaid’s dresses so that we can help you coordinate the colors. Let your florist know your style, your theme, your likes and dislikes and if you’re allergic to any fragrances – and be honest about your budget parameters. We have an eye to detail and can give various recommendations to make the bride’s wedding dream come true.”

Picking Your Wedding Flowers (August, 2007)

One of the greatest and favorite ways to adorn your wedding and reception, creating your tone and theme, is through flowers. And no one understands that better than, ready to help you choose the florist that’s right for you with the loveliest of bouquets and centerpieces.

Floral trends have color exploding. Consider having sunny-yellow orchids, deep-purple peonies, magenta dahlias and pairing of bright-red and fuchsia roses. In creating the Bride’s bouquet, add charm and sentimental meaning by weaving in vintage buttons, beading and crystals from your mother or grandmother’s wedding dress. And, for the reception, don’t limit yourself to just one centerpiece for each table. Instead, place individual flowers at every plate setting, or running small groupings of flowers down the length of a long table.

There are various ways to get inspired. Look at the reception area. If it’s elegant, you might want to have roses embellished with crystals or enhanced with jewel toned peacock feathers. What is the season of the year? A fall wedding is abundant with oranges and red flowers, such as chrysanthemums, whereas pink peonies and bright-green beargrass can herald spring.

Don’t go wild on your color palette. Choose two colors that you love and use them throughout the décor for an elegant look. Or select one single color with multiple variations in hue for a sleek, sophisticated style. And here’s a tip you might not know. The less variation in color, the more abundant the blooms will appear. Unusual or vibrant color combinations have the same results.

In selecting your florist to help pull it all together, start with asking your recently married friends who they used or could recommend. Or, ask the coordinator at the facility you’re having your wedding at who they have worked with in the past.

Once you’ve decided on your florist, make an appointment to discuss your needs and wants. Bring pictures you’ve clipped out from magazines so that you can discuss options, a photo of your wedding dress (gowns can easily establish the tone of an event), and a material swatch from your bridesmaids dresses so their bouquets will match or compliment the color.

A good florist will come up with innovative ideas to reflect your theme or location. For a country wedding, s/he might suggest arranging flowers in antique watering cans, or wrapping white rope around vases for a nautical, seaside look.

Always be honest about your budget as some flowers are more expensive than others, especially if they’re out of season or grown in a hot house. Your florist should be able to give you different alternatives that stay within the means of your pocketbook. Your floral contract should be itemized down to the last corsage, and should not only specifically include when and where the flowers will arrive, but also who will set them up.

Popular Bouquets

Arm Generally comprised of long-stemmed flowers, such as roses or calla lilies, this slightly curved bouquet is held in the crook of the arm for an elegant, fluid look.
Biedermeier A structured bouquet made of concentric circles of different flowers.
Hand-Tied The bouquet’s handle is simply tied with ribbon or lace that can be decorated with notions like seed pearls – making this a sweet romantic favorite.
Nosegay Typically a small bouquet featuring a variety of flowers and greenery as if just hand-picked from the garden.
Round A number of flowers and blooms tightly – or loosely – packed into a classic circle.
Wired After the flower heads are removed from their stems and individually wired, they are then gathered to create a lighter, more modern arrangement.

The Secret Messages of Flowers (July, 2006)

Many flowers have their own hidden language. The most popular and well known is the red rose, which means, “I love you”, but there are other flowers that have equally romantic though lesser-known meanings.

Back in the Victorian age, a Bride would cleverly coordinate blooms that translated into a secret message to her Groom. She arranged the flowers in her bouquet for their specific meanings, or she chose the letter of each one to spell out his name or a word. For example, she might select bachelor’s buttons, orange blossoms and bluebells to spell B-O-B or lilacs, oak leaves, violets, and evergreen to spell L-O-V-E.

Consider personalizing your wedding flowers by their meanings. Give your Maid of Honor a bouquet of blue periwinkles (early friendship) or a white bellflower corsage (gratitude) to your mom. By being creative, you can use flowers for your own special message.

The flower …. means … The flower… means …
Amaryllis Splendid beauty, Pride Orange Blossoms Fertility; Purity; Festivities
Bachelor’s Button Celibacy; Single blessedness Peony Bashfulness
Blue Periwinkle Early friendship Red Carnation “Alas, my poor heart!”
Blue Violet Faithfulness; Modesty Red Chrysanthemum “I love you”
Camellia Perfect loveliness; Excellence Red Rose “I love you”
Daffodil Regard Red Tulip Declaration of Love
Daisy “Share your feelings”; Innocence Rosemary Remembrance
Forget-Me-Not True love; Do not forget Sweet Pea Delicate pleasures; Departure
Hibiscus Delicate Beauty Sweet William Gallantry
Honeysuckle Generous affection; Bonds of love Sunflower Adoration
Ivy Fidelity; Marriage Thyme Activity
Jasmine Grace; Elegance; Joy; Attachment Water Lily Purity of heart
Jonquil Desire of returned affection White Bellflowers Gratitude
Larkspur Levity White Camellia Perfect loveliness
Lilacs First love White Daisy Innocence
Lily Gaiety White Lily Purity; Youthful innocence
Lily of the Valley Return of happiness White Rose “I am worthy of you”
Mimosa Secret love; Sensitivity Wood Sorrel Joy; Maternal tenderness
Morning Glory Affectionate Yellow Tulip Hopeless love
Myrtle Love; Remembrance