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Ultimate Flower Guide February 19, 2009

Filed under: Resource Alley — genesiswse @ 1:37 am

Flowers can be one of the most beautiful elements of your day. Used creatively, they can add color, drama and fragrance. In an excerpt from the book, The Modern Bride Survival Guide by John Wiley & Sons, we show you how to pull your floral look together, from hiring the right florist to picking the perfect blooms.

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~~~Talent Search~~~

Here’s how to find the right florist for your big day.

Scout around. Besides checking out the centerpieces at friends weddings, check out the arrangements at your favorite restaurant, watch for great flowers being delivered to your coworkers and ask for suggestions from anyone who sends flowers as part of their job (assistants, event planners, etc.)

Sense the style. Is the florist’s work similar to what you’re envisioning? One who does mostly free-form centerpieces may no be the right choice to create a manicured topiary.

Talk about your budget. You should let your florist know up front how much you can afford. Even if you can’t get the lavish orchid bouquets you wanted on your budget, your florist should have plenty of ideas for creating a similar look more affordable.

Share the details. Bring swatches and photos of everything you’ve decided on so far – the sites, the dresses, the cake, the menu. These images will help give a picture of the wedding as a whole so bouquets and arrangements can be created to fit your wedding style.

Sign the contract. The contract should include your wedding date, time and location; addresses where various flowers should be delivered (you might want your bouquets ahead of time for photos at your parents’ house, for example): details about the number of each type of arrangement needed; what types of flowers will be used; and the color scheme you’ve chosen. Try to be as specific as possible, so your florist won’t forget that you discussed using pale pink roses instead of hot pink.

Arrange to see a sample. Your florist can create a protype of the centerpiece once you’ve signed the contract, to ensure you’re both on the same page.

~~~Centerpieces 101~~~

Your centerpieces can be the most admired arrangements in your wedding celebration – guests will be staring at them for a few hours or more. But deciding what you want (Tall or short? Natural-looking or highly stylized? Flowers only or something more?) can be challenging. Here’s how to pick the best arrangements for your wedding.

Consider the size of the space. A room with low ceilings calls for shorter centerpieces so the space doesn’t feel cramped, while soaring spaces need tall arrangements to fill in that dead air above the table.

Choose a cool container. Although simple glass bowls are nice, you can consider vessels with personality, like tin watering cans or antique teapots.

Include some unusual ingredients. Incorporate fruit or other non-floral elements like glass “bubbles” or faux jewels.

Go beyond the cookie-cutter arrangements. While identical arrangements throughout the room give your reception a cohesive look, they aren’t always scintillating to look at. Ask your florist about varying the look from table to table, whether you opt to keep everything in the same color family but use different blooms – white roses on one table, Casablanca lilies at the next – or you decide to use variations on the color scheme, displaying pale lavender flowers at one table and bright purple at another.

Think inside the vase. Many florists are doing cool vase treatments – using citrus slices, cranberries or other interesting elements to line the inside and hide flower stems.

Consider recycling. Breakaway centerpieces – groupings of several small containers to creat a cohesive whole – can become favors or be donated to hospitals or nursing homes.

~~~Bouquet Basics~~~

There are a number of different bouquet styles to choose from Here’s a description of each.

Biedermeier: Concentric rings of blooms fan out from the center of this graphic bouquet, which looks a bit like a flowering bull’s-eye when finished.

Nosegay: This classic style – a tightly packed, round bouquet of blooms – has been the most popular for years.

Pomanders and wreaths: Ball-shaped pomanders or ringlike wreaths are a fresh twist on the classic bridal bouquet.

Arm bouquet: Think beauty-pageant winner. This grand bouquet is held flat in the crook of your arm.
Cascade: Flowers drape down from the bouquet , which came into its prime in the “bigger-is-better” ‘80’s. Modern cascades are more compact and don’t hang to the ground.

Hand-tied: This is another popular style among brides. The florist wraps the stems with ribbon instead of inserting them into a foam-filled holder.

~~~Make the Most of Your Floral Budget~~~

If you’re looking to stretch your floral dollars, follow these tips.

Find out what’s in season. You may pay a fortune for lilacs in the fall or tulips in the summer because your florist will be paying to ship them from another hemisphere. Stick with flowers blooming in your locale at the time of your wedding, and you’ll get more abundant and fresher arrangements.

Authorize a market buy. Consider giving you florist a little artistic freedom: Let her pick the best flower-market bargains in your color scheme and other parameters. That way, you’ll get grander arrangements at a great price.

Get back to basics. Exotic orchids are lovely, but simple carnations or other ordinary blooms can be extraordinary if they’re artfully arranged.

Bulk up beyond the blooms. Add greenery or berries (bear grass, rosemary and pepperberries), small fruits (lady apples, kumquats and grapes) or even things like beads, feathers and crystal sticks to your bouquets and centerpieces. You’ll get the unique looking flowers and save money in the process.

Reuse your flowers. Bridesmaids’ bouquets can serve as centerpieces, and larger arrangements from your ceremony can flank the dance floor or adorn buffet tables. (Get permission first if your wedding’s happening at a house of worship: They may ask you to donate your flowers to the congregation.)

Choose hardier blooms, such as sunflowers and calla lilies. Your florist won’t need to order extras the way he would for delicate flowers like sweet pea and gardenias, which can easily be damaged in transit or when being handled. Even stronger blooms like tulips and roses can show bruising if they’re white, so consider using colorful flowers instead.

Be bold. Opt for big dramatic flowers, such as peonies, hydrangeas and sunflowers, and your florist may need to buy only a few for each of your bridesmaids to carry down the aisle.

~~~Unique Ways To Use Flowers~~~

Accessory: Yes, flowers can dress up a lapel or a chignon, but consider working with your florist to create a unique addition to your wedding ensemble – a dramatic flower boa or a beautiful lei. Use silk blooms or flowers with limited pollen to avoid damaging your dress.

Menu Enhance: Edible flowers can add a sweet touch to various dishes: Ask your caterer to dress up your salad with pansies, consider a lavender- or rose-infused sorbet for a mid-meal palate cleanser, or adorn your wedding cake with sugared violets. Just make sure that the flowers you use were organically grown to avoid pesticide-laden blooms.

Drink Decoration: Flowers can be frozen into ice cubes or threaded onto straws or stirrers to add flair to your favorite cocktails. To dress up the bar, have your favorite blooms frozen into ice bowls or sculptures.

Favor: Have your florist set up a “flower stand” toward the end of your reception, offering several colors and styles of stems, plus paper and twine. Guests can choose their favorite and wrap them up to go.

Sendoff! Have guests toss rose petals or tiny blossoms like stephanotis to make a gorgeous (and fragrant) shower of blooms as you exit.

~~~Modern Bride Wisdom~~~

When choosing the flowers for your bouquets and centerpieces, don’t forget to consider what they smell like. You’ll be spending a lot of time near these blooms (posing for photographs with your bouquet and sitting near a centerpiece at your table), and you should love the fragrance the flowers give off.

~~~Aisle Ideas~~~

Topiaries: These tall, scuplted plants can give your aisle a more dramatic look. To really set off the aisle you can drape ribbon from one topiary to the next, or wrap each topiary in tulle to give it a softer feel.

Rose Petals or Leaves: Skip the aisle runner and create more natural (and dramatic) path by having your florist lay down a thick blanket of rose petals, autumn leaves or other colorful foliage.

Flower-Filled Cones or Baskets: Give this classic look a twist by encouraging your guests to toss the flowers as you walk back up the aisle.

Wreaths or Garlands: Berries, foliage, flowers or decorative elements like seashells and beads can be wired into gorgeous ropes or sweet circles to adorn each row.

Candles: Give your ceremony site an ethereal glow by setting candles along the way, either hanging in lanterns from poles or in hurricane globes along the ground. (Just be very sure that you’ll have plenty of room to walk among the candles.)

~~~Florist Vs. Floral Designer: What’s the Difference?~~~

The term “floral designer” may sound like a more pretentious way of saying florist. But there are differences between the two designations. A florist generally operates from a storefront, where he sells everyday arrangements in addition to special-occasion blooms; a floral designer probably works out of a studio and focuses solely on events. A florist can make and deliver centerpieces and bouquets, while a floral designer may become involved with lighting and helping you choose rental linens, furniture and other decorative pieces to create your reception’s overall mood, in addition to crafting unique centerpieces and bouquets for the big day.

~~~Dress Up Your Site~~~

The entrance: A beautiful floral wreath or a lavish garland can adorn the doorway to your ceremony space, or flank the entryway with big, bloom-filled urns or a pair of stately topiaries.

The altar: These arrangements need to be on a grand scale so guests seated far from the action can still get a sense of the blooms. If you’re marrying in a hotel ballroom or outdoors, you can craft a canopy or a simple arch adorned with blooms. If you’re marrying in a house of worship, be sure to ask where you are allowed to place floral arrangements. Some churches and synagogues have rules prohibiting flowers on the altar, for example

The aisle: You can make the most momentous walk of your life even more special by embellishing the aisle. Start with something simple – pretty little cones filled with roses and tied to the ends of the rows – or go elaborate, with a lush rose petal-covered aisle and towering floral arrangements flanking the rows. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you decide how to do it up.

o Consider the venue’s overall look. Sleek, modern topiaries may look out of place along a historic church’s aisle.

o Measure the aisle. You’ll need to leave enough room for at least two people to walk down side by side, so a narrower aisle calls for small, simple arrangements that don’t take up space.

o Determine how many rows to decorate. For a smaller site, you might opt to decorate the ends of every row; in larger spaces, you can skip one or two rows between arrangements, or just adorn the aisles near the altar.

o Keep it simple. If your budget is limited, stick with simple ribbons or small arrangements and save money for the altar and centerpieces.

* Article from original blog.

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