Blooming wonderful - top floral tips for your big day
There’s so much to think about when planning your wedding – but one thing you must not forget is the flowers! They play a surprisingly big part in setting the tone for the day, and can also take a big slice out of your budget, so they need careful consideration. However, if you don’t know your roses from your ranunculus or your peonies from your petunias, there’s no need to worry. With a little bit of professional help from a florist choosing the flowers can become one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. In this post we share a few useful pointers to get you started.
Decide on a budget for you blooms
This will give your florist a good idea of what’s possible – there’s no sense is discussing options that are going to be too much of a stretch. As a rule of thumb you should probably allocate just under 10% of your total budget for the flowers.
Draw up a list
You could keep it simple and just go for bouquets, buttonholes, and centrepieces. The list of possibilities, however, is considerably longer. You might want to include a floral crown for the bride, tossing petals for guests, lounge area arrangements and decorations for the powder room. It’s smart to prioritise – draw up a “must have” list and “nice to have” list. For example “flowers for the wedding party” may go on your “must have” list but “flowers for every table” might go on the “nice to have” list. This will prove a huge help when you and your florist discuss the different options.
Choose flowers that suit your theme
The florist can advise here – because it’s easy to get it wrong. For example, gerbera bouquets wouldn’t work with a vintage or “shabby chic” theme but are ideal for modern, contemporary weddings. Gypsophelia, peonies, David Austin roses and carnations are far more suited to vintage-style weddings.
Swot up on the symbolism
Certain flowers have special meanings that are useful to know. Roses are not only lovely to look at, and have a wonderful aroma, but are also associated with love and passion – hence their popularity at weddings. Convallaria (Lily of the Valley) means purity and sweetness. Stephanotis means happiness in marriage. Sweet pea symbolises departure (a bride leaving one life behind to begin a new one with her husband). Marigolds, on the other hand, mean cruelty, grief and jealousy – so they are best avoided!
The big question of the bridal bouquet
The bridal bouquet is an essential accessory so it’s important that it compliments the dress…without overpowering it. As a general rule the bigger the dress, the bigger the bouquet. So, a simple and elegant column dress works well with a single stem of lily. A full, detailed dress, on the other hand, suits a bigger bouquet with mixed flowers. As far as colour is concerned white flowers to match your dress, with contrasting green leaves can look stunning. If your dress is off-white peach, orange and pinks can make a delightful contrast. Don’t forget how the flowers will look in the photographs. All-white or ivory bouquets are stunning, but without additional colours they won’t stand out boldly against a white or ivory wedding gown.
It makes sense to pick flowers that are in season. These are always the best value and will be the strongest and longest-lasting throughout your big day. Any flower grown out of season is either grown under glass or has travelled a great distance to get here, so expect to pay more. Some flowers are readily available all year round, such as roses and tulips, so can be a good starting place budget-wise if you don't know exactly what you want. But remember that even tulips are best in the spring - when they're the highest quality. And do also remember that the flower seasons for cut flowers are about 2 months ahead of those in your garden.
There’s a lot to be said for silk
Artificial flowers are now so botanically correct that it’s hard to tell the difference from the real thing. One big advantage is that you can buy them well in advance so there are no surprises on the day and they are also easy to transport. One useful tip is to spray a small amount of the perfume you are wearing onto your silk flowers for a lovely scent. Cost-wise they are only marginally cheaper than fresh but they can be kept indefinitely and make a marvellous memento. If you want to free up budget to spend on other things you can even hire silk flowers for the day, or sell yours after the event.
Find the right florist
Do you want someone who will take the lead and give you a lot of ideas and advice? Or do you have a pretty good idea of what you want and just need someone to deliver your vision? Make sure you see their portfolio so you get a good idea if their taste and style matches your own. Also talk to friends and relatives who have recently tied the knot to get their input and suggestions, not just on choice of florist but to gather any useful tips and hints they may have.
Pick our brains before you pick your flowers
The team at Clevedon Hall have a wealth of experience that covers every aspect of wedding planning – including all things floral. Whether it’s drawing up a lit of recommended local florists or deciding how best to decorate our venue for the maximum wow factor, all you have to do is ask!