Picking flowers

Bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres – a lot of blooms go into your big day. But that doesn’t mean you have to stress. Here’s how to have fun picking flowers that fit your vision.

click to enlarge Picking flowers
Jared Rickord and Amy Sturm had their ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield.
Jared Rickord and Amy Sturm had their ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield.
You’ve set the date, selected a venue, maybe even booked your band. Now, it’s time to choose flowers that will add the perfect finishing touch to your special day. Not a flower connoisseur? Don’t fret, you’re not alone.

“Flowers are new territory for many brides, and the process can be intimidating,” says floral designer Jennifer Morris, owner of J. Morris Flowers in Leesburg, Virginia. “Even if you’ve ordered a floral arrangement or two in the past, you probably haven’t bought large quantities like you will for your wedding. Remember, the whole process of planning your wedding should be fun, and when it comes to flowers, there’s really no wrong way to go.”

Smile your way through your flower-picking endeavors with the following tips.

Connect with your florist
Of course every bride wants a florist who knows flowers, but Morris says also look for a florist who’s willing to know you. “Besides walking you through the process and helping you find what you like and want, a good floral designer should really listen to you, ask you about yourself and the groom and, most importantly, show passion and enthusiasm for finding the right flowers for you,” Morris says. “You should leave your florist saying, ‘That was fun. She really got what I was looking for.’”

One way to find a good fit is to look at potential florists’ websites to get a sense of their style, says Virginia Wolff, a floral designer in Chicago. “Seems kind of obvious, but although I’m confident I can do any style a bride asks for, if you look at my site, you get a feel for what your flowers will be like even with your particular taste. Most likely the florist will add a touch of her or his style to your flowers, so be sure you like it.”

Research those blooms
There’s nothing like a surprising price tag to take the fun out of planning, says Morris, who suggests looking into the cost of flowers before allotting a budget. “Ten percent is still probably right on for what you’ll spend on flowers, and with the national average for a wedding costing around $27,000 or $28,000, it’s likely you’ll spend a few thousand dollars on your flowers,” she says. “It’ll be more fun when you meet with your florist if you have somewhat of an idea of what flowers you can afford so you’re not overwhelmed with cost and options on the spot.”

It’s no news that Pinterest can provide a frenzy of wedding flowers at which to gaze, but Wolff says that in addition to pinning blooms you like, pin ones you don’t like. “I had a bride come in recently who told me she was very minimalist, so I showed her pictures of arrangements I thought she wouldn’t like. Right away she felt comfortable, and we were able to move on.”

Take a floral field trip
Sometimes you just have to see and feel your flowers to embrace them, says Morris, who suggests visiting your nearest floral wholesaler, if possible. “These aren’t your ordinary grocery store flowers. You’ll find flowers you’ve never heard of in all kinds of colors and sizes, and they’re usually labeled, so browse around, gather some up, take photos and send them to your florist,” she says. “It’s great to look at pictures online or in books, but flowers are most powerful in person.”

Ask for a showing
For couples who want to see their vision come to life, Morris makes a sample of the bride’s bouquet at half its full size, as well as a sample centerpiece. “I take it a step further by bringing together their table cloth, china, stemware, flatware and special chairs, along with the samples so they can see how it all comes together,” Morris says. “It’s really a fun thing and ensures that the bride and groom are happy with everything.”

Break bloom tradition
Give your guests a break from table décor by drawing their attention to the ceiling. “Some couples put a majority of their décor budget into the ceiling so that guests are wowed as soon as they walk into the venue,” Lopez says. Besides chandeliers, try hanging lanterns, fabric designs, glass globes, frames or flowers, she says.

Viewing your flowers as an accent to a more impactful piece is another way to enjoy them. “The flower girl and ring bearer can add so much charm to a wedding, but recently a bride told me that she was having her two grandmothers be the flower girls, and that they would throw petals down the aisle. I thought that was so clever,” Wolff says.

Another client of Wolff’s asked her to create floral accents for a six-foot-in-diameter open hoop that stood eight feet tall with floor-length ribbons attached all around it. “Instead of place cards, the bride put guests’ names and table numbers on the ribbons, so when people walked through the hoop, they looked for their name,” Wolff says.  “The guests had a blast doing this.”

Morris recalls a bride who created her centerpieces by stacking old-fashioned vintage cameras on top of travel books. “She didn’t want flowers to overshadow her overall theme, so we just created them as accents to her theme on each table, and it really worked,” Morris says.

Now that you’ve got some ideas for a fun-filled flower picking experience, you’re sure to cross one more thing off your to-do list in no time.

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