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

    Pastel bridal bouquet with roses and hydrangeas
    Photo by Menning Photographic

    "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. ...And Color

    Photo by Kay English

    "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

  3. Consider How the Flowers Will Photograph

    Purple rose and white calla lily bridal bouquet
    Photo by Dawid Bilski Photography

    “Your colors may be purple and white, but mixing two colors contrasting colors without any shading can look like polka dots in pictures. Instead you might want to add in lavender and gray green foliage to give it a softer look."

    --Erica Smail-Carlisle, The Flower Girl, Lenexa, KS

  4. Make Your Wedding Bouquet a Priority

    Rustic themed bridal bouquet
    Photo by Sawyer Creek Photography

    "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

    Elegant white family-style reception table
    Photo by The Nichols Photography

    "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. Reuse Your Blooms

    Photo by Mississippi Pearl Photography

    “One way to save money on your flowers is to make your flowers do double duty. I usually design ceremony flowers in such a way that they can be redistributed for display at the reception. Including vases for the bouquets to decorate the head table is a great way to reuse the bouquets that you have already paid for. Once photos are completed the bouquets are often left lying about anyway."

    --Patty Kudlacz, Fairy Godmothers Inc., Oak Park, IL

  7. Know Your Budget

    Coral place setting
    Photo by Our Labor of Love

    "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

  8. Break Tradition

    Gerbera daisy an grass centerpiece
    Photo by Hudson River Photographer

    "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

  9. Simplify Your Bridesmaid Bouquets

     Bridal party bouquets of baby's breath and white freesia
    Photo by Karime Photography

    "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

  10. Look Into Renting From Your Florist

    Silver mercury candle votives
    Photo by Ryan Phillips Photography

    “When I provide items, from vases and votives to arches and gazebos, I know what works and what doesn't. I have tested my own materials; I know how long my candles will burn (creating ambiance for the whole night) and what size is needed to avoid smoke marks. When you give us items to use, have you washed them all and removed all the stickers? That becomes more [charged] labor on my end.”

    --Patty Kudlacz, Fairy Godmothers Inc., Oak Park, IL

  11. Get a Stem Count

    Lush white reception table centerpieces
    Photo by Juliet Elizabeth Photography

    “Make sure that you get a detailed proposal from every florist you meet with and if possible, ask them for the exact count of each flower that will be included. We always provide our brides with exactly how many of each flower they are getting for the price. This helps you to understand what is driving the cost since flowers are expensive. Also, it eliminates disappointment on your wedding day when you expected a large, lush arrangement as described but instead got a minimal amount of blooms and lots of filler. If you don't like or want greenery say so!"

    --Rachel Trimarco, Bride & Blossom, New York City

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