It is advisable to employ a florist to supply the flower arrangements. Most of the work with the flowers is done the day before and the morning of the wedding when the couple and their families are at their busiest. Therefore unless the floral displays are very simple it is wise to have them professionally prepared.
When deciding on florists seek personal recommendations from friends and recently married acquaintances. If you are unable to decide, it is best to visit several and look at their displays. Most florists will allow you visit them at a time when they have prepared flowers for other weddings so that you can see the quality of their work.
Decisions regarding the flowers should only be made once the wedding outfits have been chosen. The style and colour scheme of flowers should be in keeping with the wedding and in particular reflect the personality of the bride.
The florist should be given notice of the wedding approximately four months in advance so that he is free on the day. The florist will want to discuss precise details around six weeks before the wedding.
Many flowers can now be obtained out of season because they are grown in greenhouses and are imported from other parts of the world. Seasonal flowers, however, are more likely to fresher and less expensive.
Flowers in Season
The Coded Meanings of Flowers
Over the centuries certain flowers have acquired meanings. Some brides take account of the meanings of flowers when deciding which blooms to include in their bouquet. A list of flowers with their meanings is given below:
|Apple blossom||good fortune|
|Asphodel||my regrets follow you to the grave|
|Burdock||touch me not|
|Chrysanthemum – red||I love you|
|Chrysanthemum – white||truth|
|King’s Cup||I wish I were rich|
|Lemon blossom||fidelity in love|
|Lily-of-the-valley||return of happiness|
|Meadow Saffron||my best days are past|
|Tulip – red||I love you|
|Tulip – white||I am worthy of you|
The Bride’s Bouquet
In the past the bride’s bouquet was compose of white flowers to symbolise purity. Although some brides still choose to have a white bouquet, many choose colours which complement the bride and bridesmaids’ dresses as well as the general colour scheme of the wedding.
When choosing flowers it is worth taking a sample of fabric from the bride’s dress to the florist. This can be a great help when matching colours. This applies even if the bride has a white wedding dress and wants a white bouquet because whites can vary in their shade and intensity.
There are several classic shapes of bouquet and good florists have a selection of photographs to demonstrate them. The florist should also be able to advise on which flowers match the chosen shape bearing in mind the colour scheme and seasonal availability.
The most popular designs include the “trailing waterfall” shape and the round “posy” of tightly arranged flowers.
The “trailing waterfall” shape draws the eye from top to bottom and can therefore have a slimming effect. However, it can overshadow a petite bride if it’s too big. The cascading shape of bouquet best complements a full length skirt. It can result in an unbalanced look with shorter skirt lengths.
The posy style of bouquet draws attention to the middle of the body. It may not be suitable for brides not wishing to draw attention to their hips and also for very tall brides.
The bouquet is held just below waist level. If this is likely to obscure a feature of the dress which the bride particularly wishes to be seen then she can choose a bouquet which lies across the arm.
As a general rule large bouquets suit formal, long dresses while smaller bouquets or even a single bloom are more in proportion with a knee-length dress.
The bouquet ribbons are tied at the ends into knots to symbolise unity.
Preserving the Bouquet
There are several ways of preserving the bouquet as a souvenir.
- The bouquet can be dried and kept whole or dismantled and a collage made from the dried, pressed flowers.
- A replica of the bouquet can be made from silk flowers.
- Suitable shoots can used as cuttings to grow new plants.
Alternatives to Floral Bouquets
Instead of a bouquet the bride may choose to carry:
- white prayer book
- Dorothy bag
Some brides choose to wear floral headdresses. A well chosen headdress can create a spectacular effect. The florist should be able to give advice on matching the headdress to the dress and the bouquet.
Flowers by their nature are delicate and care must be taken not to disturb them through the day as this can spoil their effect. Additionally, advice should be taken from the florist on choosing flowers that will not wilt, particularly if it likely to be a hot day. One possible solution to this problem is to choose a headdress of flowers made of silk or some other fabric. These will look good all day and can be kept as a memento of the day.
The bridesmaids may also wear floral headdresses or incorporate flowers into their hair style.
The bridesmaids usually carry posies which are smaller than the bride’s bouquet. The colour and style should match their dresses and the overall scheme of the wedding. If the bridesmaids are very young they may damage flowers by over-handling or grow tired of holding the posy. An alternative may be allow them a small basket which is easier to handle.
Corsages may be worn by the couple’s mothers. They are small floral arrangements worn as buttonholes.
Buttonholes are usually worn by the groom, the couple’s fathers, the best man and the ushers. If the couple wish, they may provide buttonholes for all their guests.
The groom usually wears a single white carnation to match the brides dress. The best man and the fathers wear a double red carnation and the ushers a single red or white carnation.
Other colours of carnation and other flowers, for example roses, may be worn as buttonhole.
Carnations are usually supplied by florists with a sprig of greenery and the stems wrapped so they are easy to fasten and remain fresh for the whole proceedings.
Flowers for the Wedding Ceremony
The decoration of the church should be discussed with minister at the first meeting to find out what the church’s policy is. Some churches will not allow flowers to brought in. The church supplies the floral arrangements. Others will allow the couple to supply the flowers.
Often churches have regular helpers who arrange the flower displays and who will help display the wedding flowers for a contribution to church funds. Because they are familiar with the Church they known what looks the most effective. This is a great help for the inexperienced flower arranger, particularly at this hectic time. Alternatively the florist will arrange the displays.
When the church is hosting several weddings on the same day there will not be time to change the floral arrangements. The church will be decorated by the church flower arrangers and cost divided amongst the couples. The Church decorators are usually available to discuss the type of arrangements with couples.
If a couple have very specific ideas about the way they want to decorate the church it may be advisable to choose a less popular day, when theirs will be the only wedding taking place in the church.
If the couple or their family is decorating the church, this is usually done the day before the wedding.
Locations for Flowers in the Church
- Pew ends
- Isle ends
- Window ledges
- Around font
- Alter and chancel
- Alter steps
Because weddings take place in Register Offices every day they are suitably decorated and most will have at least one flower arrangement. Registrars may also allow further displays to be brought in but this should be discussed at an early stage of planning with the Registrar’s office. The main concern is that setting up displays does not disturb other ceremonies taking place on the same day.
Flowers at the Reception
Some reception venues such as hotels and restaurants often include floral arrangement as part of their service. Others may make a charge. Most venues will allow the couple to supply their own floral decorations. The management should be consulted to arrange a convenient time to set up the displays which will not inconvenience the catering arrangements.
The decorations usually consist of a large display just inside the entrance which is seen by guests as they enter the reception room, and arrangements on each of the tables for guests. The top table occupied by the newlyweds usually has a more ornate arrangement.
Large halls and marquees usually provide plain backgrounds and therefore flower arrangements should be spectacular and large to catch the eye. Decorating with potted plants is a good idea as they can subsequently be used in the newlyweds new home.
Many couples choose to decorate the cake with flowers instead of bride and groom figures. The flowers may be display in a silver vase or a small spray which is laid on top of the cake. A simple yet effective alternative is to place a single flower on the cake. Any flower which sits flat such as a stem less, slightly opened rose or a large daisy will be suitable.
The caterer who supplies the cake will be able to supply the flowers and vase. Alternatively the florist supplying the bouquet and other flowers could also supply the cake flowers to ensure a harmonious colour match.