Flowers

Traditionally, this is one of the areas where the groom, rather than the bride’s family, has to pick up the tab. He’s responsible for paying for the bride’s bouquet, the buttonholes and corsages. He and the bride are jointly responsible for buying bouquets for their parents, too and the Bride’s family is normally only responsible for the outlay of the church and reception flowers and the bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Choosing flowers in season

Choosing flowers that are naturally in season ensures that they are at their best and at their least expensive. It’s also a more eco-friendly approach to floristry. Here’s a checklist of what you may require:

Bridesmaid’s bouquets
Corsages for both mothers
Buttonholes for Groom, fathers, best men & ushers
Church Flowers
Table decorations
Pedestals for the entrance to the venue
Flowers for the wedding cake or the cake table
Bouquets for both parents
Flower arrangements for the toilets

Flowers represent…

The idea of the bridal bouquet was traditionally a bride carrying a bag of fragrant herbs to ward-off evil spirits. The Romans advance this to signify a bride’s fertility. The couple would also be adorned with flower garlands to symbolise their new life together. Later, in the Victorian era, different flowers had different meanings, thus enabling lovers to communicate just by using well chosen blooms and these associations are still used to day. Here is a list of some of those meanings:

Calla Lily represents Magnificent Beauty
Freesia represents Innocence
Ivy represents Wedded Love, Fidelity
White Lily represents Virginity, Purity
Orange Blossom represents Eternal Love
Orchid represents Love, Magnificence
Pink Rose represents Perfect Happiness
White Rose represents Charm and Innocence
Red Rose represents Love and Desire
Tulip represents Love and Passion

Types of flowers

Roses are perhaps the most popular and versatile of wedding flowers, available in almost every shade with the exception of blue and dusty pink; both of which are frequently requested. Each variety has its own characteristics and a particularly good choice if you are having your bouquet preserved.

Cala Lilies

Cala lilies are very popular. With their clean shape and wide range of powerful colours from mango to dark grey, it is easy to see why. They’re cheaper during the summer than in winter as they’re actually much harder to find.

Gerberas

Bright, cheerful gerberas are available in a multitude of colours and are currently a very popular choice, particularly for brides looking for bold colour schemes. Varieties like Sundance, Dino and Amby make a good substitute for sunflowers, and some varieties are similar to chrysanthamums if you’re looking to match them with smaller blooms for your arrangements.

Cymbidium orchids

Cymbidium orchids, which are larger than Singapore orchids, are available most times of the year. They can look exquisite trailing from the bridal bouquet and they make unusual buttonholes, too, however they can be easily lost in larger arrangements. So, for a better effect in pedestals – and at less cost – why not substitute orchids with large, bold & impressive lilies? Alstromeria Alstromeria are similar in shape to lilies and orchids, they last well, but will need to be wired, so won’t be suitable for a simple hand tied bouquet.

The English varieties are more vibrant in colour but are only available during the summer, whereas pink and white varieties which are grown in Holland are available all year round.

Alternatives

There is a growing trend towards using more natural looking garden varieties of flowers to create a romantic, vintage look. The possibilities are endless; from Sweet Peas, delphiniums, poppies and ranunculus to garden roses, dahlias and herbs. Your florist can give you advice as to what is in season and what will look good throughout the day; allow your imagination and creativity to run wild!

Bouquets

Choosing the perfect bouquet is not only one of the most exciting prospects, but can also be one of the most daunting. Of course, you want a bouquet that enhances your dress and compliments your colour scheme, but it shouldn’t distract from the most important thing… you! How you look and feel on the day is so important, so accenting your dress with the right flowers will help you look and feel special.

There are so many popular styles of bouquet to choose from; simple hand tied posies, over-the-arm bouquets to teardrop and trailing shower bouquets. Take in the shape of your dress and its detailing. A simple dress may look stunning with an elaborate bouquet, but a heavily detailed dress may well need something simpler with it that won’t distract from its beauty.

Posy styled hand tied bouquets will suit most dresses and are particularly stunning against slim, figure-hugging dresses. More traditional dresses and princess line dresses, though, look fabulous with teardrop and trailing bouquets. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to select something you like and will feel comfortable holding.

Colours

When considering colours to go with your dress, some brides may chose more traditional ivory flowers against an ivory dress, like William and Kate’s Royal Wedding. However, you may choose to take colours from the bridesmaid’s dresses and put some of these colours in your bouquet.

Consider what flowers you like most and maybe write a list. Also make a list of what flowers you don’t like, then consult with your florist to work out ways to incorporate all your favourite flowers into your chosen style of bouquet, creating the right shape to compliment your dress, your figure and the colour scheme.

It’s quite fashionable to mix shades of colours together these days. So that rather than just having mauve and ivory flowers in a bride’s bouquet, for example, you might mix shades of mauve and deep purples, through to lilacs and ivories, creating a less stark colour scheme. This has the benefit of giving the bridesmaids delightful mixed-flower posies to match, because the ivories and lilacs will look pretty against Purple dresses.

Bridesmaid’s bouquets will often be simpler than the brides. If you choose a trailing teardrop or shower bouquet, you might consider a hand tied bouquet of matching flowers for your bridesmaids. And if you’re having a hand tied bouquet yourself, maybe they’d like something a little smaller and simpler?

Bouquets can also be trimmed with exciting finishing touches like lace, diamantes or pearls that match the details on your dress. Feathers and small butterflies are popular, too. Most of all, your bouquet should be as unique as you are and individual your tastes.

Once the bouquet’s sorted you now have to decide which of the flowers to use for buttonholes, so the whole wedding party will look coordinated. You might like to incorporate one or two flowers from your own bouquet into the groom’s buttonhole, leaving the rest of the wedding party to have a simple buttonhole using the flowers from the bridesmaid’s bouquets?

When planning your wedding flowers, though, do remember: there are often many ways to economise, but please don’t do it with your bouquet! It will be in all your official pictures and will be ingrained on your memory for many years to come, so, like your dress, it must be perfect and everything you dream of.

Ceremonial Flowers

Whether a church or a civil ceremony, you want it to look beautiful. If you’re working on a tight budget, though, remember your ceremony is only an hour at max and throughout, everyone will be concentrating on the two of you. So if you decide to cut your budget anywhere, it should be here rather than at the reception; the reception is where you’ll spend the majority of your time.

Churches can be huge spaces and can engulf even the biggest flower arrangements, so it’s easy to get carried away. Before you get start, visit the church and examine the areas that’ll be most visible on the day. One or two pedestals at the front, for example, not only show up in pictures, but can then be relocated to your reception and flank the entrance, or either side of the top table.

Aisle decoration can be nice, but don’t feel the need to decorate every pew end; if at all, every other pew is more than enough. The choices of decorating the pews are many, from floral arrangements, to single flowers or bows. Consider your budget because floral arrangements can be expensive and it’s unlikely you’ll find anywhere at your reception they can be reused.

Popular, too, are font decorations and the entrance and windowsills. These can be pretty and, if budget permits, can look wonderful. However equally lovely are scattered tea light candles and lanterns.

If you’re having a civil ceremony, your decorations can always be used twice like long and low registrars table arrangements which can go on to frame the top table.

A pair of pedestals at the front of any room looks pretty, too, and again, these can be relocated to the entranceway or top table. Formal floral church arrangements don’t necessarily work for civil ceremonies, but small hand tied bouquets and bows can look stunning decorating the aisle.

As a finishing touch, you may choose to have chair covers or balloons in the ceremony; a simple understatement that turns a room into something unique and lovely.

Finally, why not consider having your ceremony and outside? Many modern venues have temples and pergolas you can marry under where your guests can sit out in the sunshine. The gardens themselves often make fantastic locations for your photos after the ceremony. But if you do go for an outdoor location, remember to plan for what your backup plan is if a weather front moves in!

Remember, though, the ceremony is all about the two of you becoming husband and wife and celebrating your love for each other.

Reception Guest Tables

With so many different styles to choose from, this is where confusion can set in. If you’re hoping for a country cottage or vintage theme you might like to like vintage jugs filled with simple blooms, or birdcages adorned with rustic flowers. These work particularly well in marquees and barns, suiting the surroundings perfectly.

If your reception is in a grand hall with panelled walls and high ceilings then you’ll probably need tall floral arrangements. Tall vases filled with sweetly smelling lilies may be an option and a tall candelabrum with twinkling candles and pretty floral arrangements. Or maybe you’d consider large martini vases with co-ordinating arrangements of flowers? There are many options.

Not everyone likes tall arrangements, though, and they certainly don’t suit every venue, so alternatives could include goldfish bowls wrapped with stems of flowers, cubes filled with roses, or traditional round posy arrangements of mixed flowers. There’s really no limit to what you could spend on your reception flowers, but try to bear in mind that large arrangements with lots of flowers will always be more expensive than simple arrangements.

Wedding favours are often a part of the place setting, from simple nets of sugared almonds to boxed chocolates or mementos. Attractively packaged they should coordinate with the colours of the flowers and style of the table setting.

Try not to clutter the tables. Once flowers are in the centre and the tables are laid with cutlery, glasses and wine bottles, they probably won’t need too many extras. It’s very easy to go over the top, but if you aren’t careful the table will end up looking cluttered and uncoordinated.

One other thing to bear in mind; if a florist supplies containers, vases, bottles, etc, for your use, they will want a deposit. And, of course, if anything is broken or goes missing, this will need to be paid for.

Floral Displays during Lent

Be aware that many places of worship discourage larger floral displays during Lent; the period before Easter. If you plan marrying during this time, have a chat to the minster about what is acceptable to them.

Final Hints & Tips:

Book your florist early. Most can only do one or two weddings per day and you want to be sure the person you want is available.

Use someone enthusiastic and is sympathetic to your needs and look.

Be realistic with your budget and tell the florist what it is. This way they can show you options that stay within it.

Be realistic about colours. Brown and blue roses don’t exist, but there are shades of vintage inspired ones that may blend beautifully.

Relax and enjoy planning your special day. It should be a delight, not a chore!

Amanda Taffinder Flowers- 07968 843012
The Blue Carrot – 0752 7777 419
The Roseland Nursery – 01872 501825

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