Choosing Flowers/Florists

Petals flow like colourful ribbon in a wedding procession adorned with a garden-variety of tulips, peonies and roses.

Next to choosing a dress, flowers can be one of the most influential and creative factors in determining the ambiance of a wedding or a special event.

Flowers, like colours, carry different meanings. And the arrangement and choice of those flowers may have a significant impact on the attractiveness and overall beauty of an event.

So choosing both a florist and the flowers that will appear in an arrangement is an important decision.

“Choosing a florist is almost as important as choosing your gown or an event coordinator,” says Janet, an events coordinator in Wales. “Flowers help create romance and charm.”

A florist can help determine the mood and feel of the wedding using various flowers, which should coordinate with dress colours and compliment the entire bridal party.

For instance, an informal wedding on the beach in bare-feet may need simple bouquets of daisies.

But a formal occasion may call for thousands of cala lillies, hundreds of roses and arrangements for every member of the wedding party.

And as florists have evolved into artists, some creations may be more cutting edge or different than traditional bunches.

Some floral designers like Jane Carroll have found new ways to display flowers in homes using an artificial “trug” that enables flowers to be placed in stabilized vases three in a row in a log-like design. But that kind of arrangement though trendy in a window would not be suitable for a wedding.

White-on-shades of white – or monochromatic styles -- have been a popular trend recently mixing white lilies with white roses or soft ivory colours; or various shades of red or lavender in one bouquet.

In addition to choosing colour and style, each flower has its own meaning.

Anemonas carry the meaning of expectation. Baby’s Breath, which was practically a must-have in bouquets a few years ago, carry the meaning of innocence. Bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids often wear a sprig in their hair or their bouquets are graced with a shower of baby’s breath.

Freesia, which also carries the meaning of innocence and has a light fragrance, has become the “new” baby’s breath.

Cala lilly’s, which carry the meaning of magnificence and beauty, became very popular in the last few years. They are often coupled with lilies, which mean majesty, honor and truth, and lilies of the valley, which mean happiness.

Hydrangea’s, which have experienced a recent surge in popularity, carry absolutely no meaning, but they often appear in bouquets of peonies which carry the meaning of bashfulness, ambition and determination.

Orchids, which create an elegant presence, carry the meaning of love and beauty.

Daffodils, popular for a garden wedding, carry the meaning of regard.

Carnations, which are not as popular today as they were ten years ago, still appear regularly in various bouquets. Their colours vary significantly and so do their meanings. Pink means boldness, red means love and white means talent.

Daisies, popular for casual weddings, carry the meaning of sharing feelings.

In choosing flowers, it’s important to remember that a bride’s choices may vary from her own bouquet to her bridesmaids to the groom and his groomsmen to the wedding’s location. Variety can add excitement but as a whole flowers must still compliment one another and carry the same feeling of elegance or fun intended by the bride.

Every member of the wedding party should receive some kind of flower be it a bouquet, a corsage or a boutonniere.

Also, baskets of petals can be shared with guests to throw as the bride and groom depart to replace rice. Throwing rice on the departing bride and groom has been thought to bring the couple good luck but it is actually dangerous for birds who may choke and brides who might end up with rice in her gown or hair.

Finally, just like every other item in a wedding, costs will help determine final decisions.

While many florists will give a reduced rate for providing the entire wedding party and decorating the location, final costs will actually come down to what flowers you choose and how much time each display takes to design.

Flowers chosen from outside the region, or off-season flowers, can add several dollars to the final tab. Most flowers are about 25 percent more in the off-season than they are in the season they are typically blooming. Costs are typically added on by shipping expenses.

Foreign imports, such as roses from South America, are additionally expensive and trendy styles or extravagant displays can add extra time and therefore labor costs.

Most bridal bouquets alone start out at about £75 with bridesmaids’ and junior bridesmaids’ bouquets beginning at £50, but prices may vary from region to region in the UK.

To decrease costs, bouquets can be filled out with less expensive flowers such as ivy, freesia, Queen Anne’s lace and baby’s breath.

Also be prepared to pay a few more Pounds or negotiate a better deal if you are marrying close to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Florists are typically extremely busy and may have to pad tabs in order to hire additional help.

But regardless of expense, flowers are one of the most alluring portions of a wedding or special event. And each carefully chosen petal can help create the memories of a lifetime.