Are flowers necessary for a wedding?
Ultimately no of course not, however for most brides flowers play a large part in the overall look, feel and scent of the big day.
That said, there is no reason to feel you must break the budget with flowers. The truth is, flowers are expensive and if you don’t have deep pockets, or flowers are simply not all that important to you, don’t hesitate to consider minimal floral décor, or other forms of decoration.
Some couples choose to incorporate faux flowers (we’ll come back to those), others use completely different materials which are more in keeping with their style and some prefer to purchase plants which can then be used in the garden or given to guests as gifts.
The choice is yours.
Different Flowers and Seasons
Depending upon your vision and overall style for your wedding, flowers often feature heavily in the design.
Think carefully about, and discuss with your florist, achieving what you want, at the time of year and in the geography you are marrying.
Which flowers and foliage are available locally varies tremendously both geographically and seasonally.
Generally, many more varieties are available in the Spring and Summer months, than in Winter.
If you are keen to be as sustainable as possible with your wedding, you won’t want to ship flowers from the other side of the world.
Florists will advise you about which blooms are available at your price point, in your location, at the time of year you’re marrying.
Fresh versus Faux
When I started out in the wedding industry, the use of faux flowers was a real ‘no, no’.
However that was a long, long time ago and the quality of faux flowers available today has improved exponentially.
Amongst other things, including them can allow you to have out of season flowers, or involve that particular bloom which reminds you of your late Grandmother, for example.
Faux flowers, or a mixture of faux and real, can work out cheaper but this definitely isn’t always the case.
Talk to your florist about the pros, the cons and the prices, plus which good quality faux blooms are available if you’re keen to explore this option.
Wedding Flower Considerations
Your overall vision
Always return to your overall vision and remember whether or not flowers were one of your top priorities.
It doesn’t matter what the magazines, blogs and your bossy just-married friend says; what matters is what your vision is.
Your colour scheme
Consider your colour scheme and overall style.
Are you having a laid back affair, a super sophisticated city backdrop, an English country garden style marquee or something completely different?
Which flowers and what sort of arrangements will complement that?
Think about the size of the various spaces in which you might place arrangements and make sure they fit. For example venues with really high ceilings benefit from taller arrangements, whereas lower arrangements better fit spaces with low ceilings.
When it comes to your bridal party’s flowers, make sure smaller members are not swamped by oversized bouquets or headdresses and the dresses are not overpowered by the flowers.
Your florist will help with all this, but if you are going it alone these are important considerations.
Where might you have large, or smaller, arrangements and how big do you feel each bouquet should be?
When it comes to pedestals, urns, arches and other large arrangements, consider whether or not you plan to recycle or reuse them later on in the day.
If you do, and it can be worth it in terms of cost savings, think about how you will move or transport these flowers, who will do the heavy lifting and placement and whether they will fit into whichever vehicles are available.
Flowers doubling as gifts
If you have fresh flowers, then remember they have a very short lifespan once cut.
If you’re planning to give thank you gifts to people who’ve helped you plan and deliver your wedding, why not use centre pieces and other easily transportable arrangements, or plants, as gifts?
It can be worth making sure you take cellophane and raffia or string, along with scissors, to the reception venue if the vessels the flowers are displayed in need to be returned to the florist.
Allergies & Dislikes
It is rare to ask guests in advance whether they are allergic to any flowers in the way you would ask about food.
However, if you, or a member of your bridal party, is particularly allergic to a plant, or suffers from severe hay fever, it’s worth avoiding certain blooms and letting your florist know in good time.
The same goes for any flowers or foliage you don’t want in your wedding flowers.
Make sure you know when, and where, your florist (or whoever is in charge of organising your flowers) plans to arrange and deliver each item.
Venue permitting, flowers may be arranged and put in place the afternoon or evening before, or early on the morning of the wedding.
If arrangement of certain flowers is dependent on others’ actions, it’s important to let your florist know and put them in touch with these people.
For example, if there is a funeral at Church the day before your wedding, the florist will need to wait until it is over, and all mourners have dispersed, before starting to arrange wedding flowers.
If the room where your wedding breakfast is to be held is the same room a hotel uses for guests’ breakfast, your florist won’t be able to place table centres until breakfast is cleared and fresh linen placed on the tables.
Many florists will start, or complete, arrangements off site, or in another room, before bringing them to where they will be placed for the ceremony or reception.
What you will want for your ceremony will depend on the space you’re in and whether you’re sharing arrangements with another bride.
If you’re having a Church ceremony on a busy Saturday in the Summer, for example, the chances are you won’t be the only wedding.
What many choose to do is have relatively understated, whites, creams and greens and share the cost of the Church flowers.
If you’re not sure whether others are marrying in your Church that day it’s worth asking.
Arrangements you might want include:
- entrance pedestals, urns or an arch
- pedestals for the altar
- pew ends (I recommend every other pew, rather than every one)
- font flowers
- window sills
If you’re marrying in a room or space at a licensed venue, think about the space and what will enhance it.
Arrangements you might want include:
- entrance pedestals, urns or an arch
- pedestals near the Registrar’s table
- low arrangement for Registrar’s table
- chair backs
- arrangements for other spaces such as window sills, minstrel’s galleries, pillars etc.
Moving Reception Flowers
When it comes to your reception, you may or may not be in the same venue.
If you are, recycling arrangements is a lot simpler than moving them from Church.
You might use pedestals from your ceremony to decorate the entrance to your reception, or either side of your top table, or move chair backs for the top table chairs, for example.
Bouquets, Buttonholes etc.
You will probably want a bouquet for yourself (two, if you’re two brides) and your bridesmaids, along with buttonholes for your Groom Best Man and Groomsmen or Ushers.
You may also consider:
- Buttonholes for Fathers, Grandfathers, Godfathers and Brothers
- Corsages for Mothers, Grandmothers, Godmothers and Sisters
- Head dresses or flower crowns
- Flower balls for flower girls or smaller bridesmaids
- Floral collars etc for dogs/ other pets you are involving in your day
Timings and Delivery
Make sure your florist knows where each item is to be delivered and what time you are leaving.
For example, you may want all buttonholes delivered to Church, or your civil ceremony venue, except your Father’s if he is where you are getting ready.
You may want all bouquets and corsages delivered to wherever you are getting ready with the girls, except the corsages for the Groom’s mother and sister as they are at a different hotel, for example.
Some florists will only deliver to a specific number, perhaps two, of addresses, so if you require more drop offs, consider booking a cab, or a member of your wedding team, to do the other deliveries.
What your florist will expect of you
Florists cannot work completely in the dark, so it’s important to go to your consultation with at least:
- an overall idea of your vision and style for the wedding
- your own ideas of flowers and colours you like – this can be pictures if you don’t know names
- some idea of what you plan to spend on flowers
- numbers in your bridal party
- likely number of tables for centre pieces
- likely spaces for arrangements – ceremony & reception
Turning up completely empty handed, with no idea at all of what you’d like, makes things very difficult for a florist.
You don’t need to be an expert, or be totally sure of your budget, but some idea really helps.
Images are especially useful.
Even if the flowers in your images are more expensive than you can afford, or unavailable on your date, a good florist will be able to suggest blooms which might create a similar overall look and feel within budget and availability.
What to ask your Florist
If you’d like a complete checklist of everything to ask your florist, both before you book them and in the run up to your wedding, you can find mine here.
Image Credits in order:
Brigitte Thom via Pexels
Olya Kobruseva via Pexels
Anna Siracusa via Pexels
Amina Filkins via Pexels