Roses, tulips, peonies, lilies, sunflowers…when it comes to choosing wedding flowers the options are endless and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
I spoke with the lovely Joyce of Petals and Paint Floral Design here in Carleton Place to get the information that you need to know in order to make the floral selections for your special day.
- Choose the Right Florist
Before you order your flowers you want to ensure that you are working with a reliable and professional florist.
Be cautious when it comes to un-established, private, people who claim to be florists. While these individuals may have good design skills, they likely haven’t received the proper training on the care and handling of flowers, and they may not purchase their flowers from a reliable distributor, which can result in flowers of a much lower standard than those from floral shops.
Do your homework before choosing a florist; check out their websites and Facebook pages, read reviews from previous customers, and see if they have won any awards.
Another option is to ask your venue if they have any preferred florists. A venue isn’t going to recommend someone they’ve had poor experiences with since it reflects back on them, so their recommendations can generally be trusted.
Word of mouth is also a great way to get florist recommendations. Ask friends and family members who have recently had weddings or other events about which florists they used, what their experience was like, and would they recommend that person.
Beside reliability and professionalism, you want to make sure your personalities mesh so that you can work together smoothly. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having to work with someone you are constantly butting heads with because you don’t share the same vision.
- Order Early
The required ordering time can vary depending on when your wedding is, and the size of the florist’s company.
Many shops will book multiple weddings for a day, but do have a maximum number they can handle in order to maintain their best service. Larger shops generally can handle more weddings per day than smaller shops due to the larger staff size.
To ensure that you get the florists and flowers you want for your wedding Joyce recommends booking your florists at least 9 months in advance of your wedding.
Ordering early also helps with budgeting. Early ordering allows you to find out how much the look you want is going to cost so you can budget the rest of your wedding accordingly. Leaving flowers as an after-thought and going to a florist with high expectations but just a couple hundred dollars since that is all that remains in your budget will likely result in disappointment.
- Average Cost
A number of variables contribute to the overall costs of flowers. These can include the size of the wedding party, number of centrepieces, how many flowers will be used in other décor, and the types of flowers used.
Small and simple weddings can be done for a few hundred dollars, while a wedding of the same size but with more elaborate décor can cost over $5,000 dollars.
For the average wedding of 3 bridesmaids, 3 groomsmen, parents’ flowers, bride and groom, and 10 centrepieces, Joyce estimates a cost of $700-$1,500.
- Seasonal Affect
While the ability to source flowers internationally has allowed florists to get many flowers year-round, it doesn’t mean all flowers are available year round, and at the same price. Having to obtain flowers internationally due to the lack of local availability will increase the costs.
Costs of some flowers, such as roses, increase during the “wedding season” (generally June-October), due to the higher demand.
An additional factor in floral costs is the Canadian dollar. Many flowers are purchased from the United States, since the Canadian climate limits the quantity local growers are able to produce. The decline in the Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar has caused a rise in floral costs.
- How to Save
To help save your floral budget, Joyce recommends choosing flowers that provide a big impact for a lower price.
Hydrangeas are a popular choice for budget-conscious couples since they provide a big impact with their larger tops and thus require fewer stems.
Other budget-friendly blooms include Fuji Mums, Gerbera Daisies, Baby’s Breath, and Carnations.
Another option is to choose designs that have one or two focal flowers surrounded by fun and unique greenery. This is also a modern look for couples wanting that particular style.
One option you may wish to avoid if you have a limited budget are garden roses. These flowers are very popular and shown in many online bouquets; however, their high demand also comes at a high price at $12-$28 per stem.
To put that in perspective, the cost for 20 stems to divide amongst your wedding party arrangements would be $240-$560 alone.
- Current Trends
Round bouquets have continued to be the most popular choice for many brides over the past few years. However, this year there has been an increase in brides looking for a less structured work with a variety of greenery added.
Boutonnieres continue to vary depending on the couple, some choosing something very simple if the men are not big on flowers, while others request that the stems be wrapped in ribbon for a more formal look.
Popular colours the past year have included blush tones such as cream roses like Vendelas and Quicksands.
Garden roses are still in high demand due to their romantic association, and they are a common substitute for couples wanting peonies when out-of-season.
Garlands running down the centre of long tables are the new trend in centrepieces, with some couples adding a few flowers to the display.
Mercury glass is the popular choice for couples going for the more traditional centrepieces.
Arbours built from tree poles such as birch which are then decorated with garlands and corner floral arrangements are another popular trend at the moment.
The current popularity of country/rustic theme weddings have resulted in an increase in corresponding floral arrangements. Some examples include bark covered vases; mason jars; sap buckets filled with baby’s breath; wine barrels with large arrangements designed on top of hydrangeas, delphiniums, or Queen Anne’s lace; and for the men, boutonnieres made from empty shot gun shells filled with wax flowers or baby’s breath.
- Florist’s Advice
Joyce’s advice for couples is to be open to the suggestions the florist gives. He/she is a professional and has the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work through his/her experience.
Also keep in mind that while a bouquet or centrepiece may be on the internet it doesn’t necessarily mean that your florist can make it happen for various reasons such as location and supply.
Bring your photos and ideas with you to the florist’s since he/she can use them as inspiration. You and the florist can then work together to create a look that you want and your florist can obtain with his/her creative abilities.
If you need to make changes to your order do this as soon as possible, not at the last minute. While you may think it’s a quick and simple change it does result in additional work for the florist since he/she has to change quotes, change order forms, and see if the change is possible with the supplier. It’s important to remember that your florist may have multiple suppliers, and those suppliers have multiple customers, so any change affects many people.
Lastly, a thank-you to your florist on your wedding day is always appreciated, and goes a long way to building a positive relationship with the florist should you require his/her services again.
As you are able to see, there are many things to consider when making your floral selections. I hope the above information is able to assist you in the process.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Joyce for taking the time to answer my questions, especially in the middle of wedding season.