11 Wedding Flower Rules (Straight From the Pros!)

You want your wedding flowers to be beautiful -- and so does your florist. Here are a few expert tips for making that happen.
  1. Be Open-minded About Flower Types

    "There is nothing more disheartening for the bride and myself than when she comes in with her heart set on yellow peonies for an August wedding, only to find out that yellow peonies are just not naturally available in August. There are a ton of flowers available year-round, like roses, hydrangeas, carnations, alstroemeria, callas and orchids, just to name a few. Knowing just this one piece of information can make your flower plan go much more smoothly."

    --Shelly Chaffee, Crystal Springs Florist, Benton Harbor, MI

  2. Personalize Your Wedding Flowers

    "Incorporate something special into your wedding flowers. Wrap your bouquet with a loved one's handkerchief or include snippets from your mom's wedding dress. Or if you and your fiance have something that is special to you, find a way to reflect that in your flowers. We had a couple that met on a train, so we tied a small train charm onto her bouquet to symbolize where they met and fell in love."

    --Dawn Clark, A Garden Party LLC, Elmer, NJ

  3. Photo by Kay English

    ...And Color

    "Flower colors are never exact. Rely on your florist to help you understand the undertones of different varieties; for example, red ranunculus have orange undertones that stand out when paired with cool colors. Also remember that many of the photographs you see online or in magazines can be misleading; when the photographer is color-correcting for skin tone and lighting, it may adjust flower colors beyond what is realistic."

    --Brittany Bailey Frost, Blossom Basket Florist, Champaign, IL

  4. Make Your Wedding Bouquet a Priority

    "Never skimp on your bridal bouquet. It is the one floral design that will be on your mantel, your bedside table, at your mother's house, your in-laws' house and on your desk at work in photos for the next 50 to 60 years -- you had better like it!"

    --Katie Martin, Elegance & Simplicity, Washington, DC

  5. Stick to a Single Hue

    "If you are on a limited budget, go monochromatic for a bigger impact. A monochromatic color scheme looks more organized and really gives your ceremony and reception a pop of color that is sure to wow even in the smallest amounts."

    --Amanda Apple, Anthomanic Florist, Stafford, VA

  6. Find a Florist You Really Love

    "Your initial florist meeting is about having fun, seeing if you connect and figuring out your dream flower idea. You should feel that your florist is as excited as you are to help you arrive at your vision of what you would like for your day."

    --Jacob Moss, Jacob Moss Designs, Hamden, CT

  7. If You Want to Preserve, Have a Plan

    "Some flowers preserve better than others. You should ask your florist for recommendations about which flowers press well and best hold their live color. Then, when the reception ends, your flowers should be kept in water (and ideally a fridge) until they can be dropped off for preservation."

    --Mary Beth Lopresti, All Seasons Floral Preservation, Sterling and Charlottesville, VA

  8. Know Your Budget

    "The most difficult and least productive meetings are the ones where no budget is given. You wouldn't go to buy a car without telling the salesman in advance if you are in the market for a Lexus, Volvo or a Focus. We request in our very first phone conversation that a budget be provided at the meeting."

    --Russ Griffin, Griffin's Floral Designs, Columbus, OH

  9. Find Your Inspiration

    "Pick one thing you love -- whether it's grandma's antique brooch or a swatch of fabric -- to give you and your florist a starting point."

    --Georgia, Boise at Its Best Flowers, Boise, ID

  10. Break Tradition

    "If you aren't planning a traditional wedding, then your flowers certainly don't have to be traditional either. And there's no need to limit yourself to roses and calla lilies. I personally love succulents and work with them whenever possible. I also pull in fruit and vegetables like pomegranates, kale, apples -- whatever speaks to the wedding and a bride's vision. You also don't have to limit your containers to clear glass vases -- if it will hold water it can hold your flowers."

    --Amanda Johnson, Butterfly Petals, Phoenix, AZ

  11. Simplify Your Bridesmaid Bouquets

    "If you are on a tight budget, remember, it's your day -- not your bridesmaids'. Make your bouquet perfect. Theirs can be smaller and simpler -- and therefore less expensive. And if you're on a tight budget, don't ask 20 girls to be in your wedding. Twenty times anything is a lot!"

    --Scott Jones, American Floral Signature Weddings, Irmo, SC