Wedding Planning Articles
Flowers & Decorations
...."The visual feast"
For your wedding day, you wil likely want a variety of stunning floral designs that echo your chosen colors and style of wedding. Luckily, you are getting married in the California Central Coast where, due to our near perfect weather, and abundance of very fresh flowers are availalbe to your florist. Including a range of flower types, sizes and shapes, and a wide range of textures. And the actual flowers are just the beginning when it comes to building wedding flower arrangements.
This wide variety of flowers will be joined in with a multitude of combinations with each other. And then the flowers are joined with contrasting greenery, which comes in an equally wide variety of sizes, shapes and textures. Having a keen eye and talent for knowing which colors and shapes work well together is a great asset. But it is not essential one for you to have because when planning your wedding, you will be partnering with creative floral designers who know how to incorporate the various floral elements into beautiful bouquets and arrangements.
Where does a Bride start when coming up with the initial plans for her wedding day flowers? Most brides generally start by picking the color themes for the day, including the color of the bridesmaid’s gowns. They then build on this foundation of color and weave it into the floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception.
A great way to get some ideas for arrangements going is to look through bridal style magazines, find as many photos of arrangements that appeal to you as possible, tear the pictures out of the magazine and put them into your three ring binder. We know you hate to rip up a magazine. We do too. But these photos really do need to be torn out so that you can gather them all in one spot for easy reference when you and your florist sit down to come up with arrangement ideas together.
Once you have at least a dozen floral photos that you like, spread them out to see them all at the same time. Are there some you like more than others? Or are there different elements of each arrangement that appeal to you. It is possible you will like one flower type in one picture. In another photo you may like the size and color of different flower, but not really care for the shape of that particular flower. You may love just the greenery of yet another arrangement. Make notes about both what you like and dislike in each arrangement. This process is a great way to both learn what your floral tastes are and also for you to learn how to communicate these preferences with your florist.
When working with your florist, provide them with all the information that you possibly can. Of course you will share your gallery of floral pictures along with telling them about your floral likes and dislikes. But they will need much more information than that.
Wedding Site Flowers. Discuss with your florist the wedding date, if your wedding will be formal or more casual and the chosen ceremony and reception locations. An experienced floral designer will likely be familiar with these wedding sites and, beyond the bouquets and centerpieces, have immediate recommendations on specific placement for any needed additional floral accents.
Banquet Centerpieces. Talk about the color of your tablecloths and napkins, your flatware, glassware and plates, the style and color of chairs or chair covers as well as any other items you intend to have set out on your dining tables.
Personal Flowers. Share details about the color, style and embellishments of your gown and your girl’s dresses. For boutonnieres, share any details you can about the tuxedo colors and accessories. For corsages, it really helps to know the color and pattern of the mother’s dresses. Also very important is where her corsage will be placed on her dress. If her dress has spaghetti straps or is strapless, where will the corsage be placed? If she will be wearing a shear covering over her dress, will it be able to support the weight of a corsage? Because these details matter, try to gather this information well in advance of the wedding. However, this is often the most difficult data to obtain since some mothers, being busy with so many other details of the wedding, do not get around to taking care of their own attire until very late in the process.
Budget Information. Also talk about your budget for wedding flowers and decorations that your floral designer will be handling.
For the female portion of the wedding party you will need, at a minimum, your bouquet, a tossing bouquet (optional), bouquets for your bridesmaids and petals for the flower girl. Work with your selected florist to choose the flower types and colors for your bouquets, as well as the shape and size of bouquet that would best compliment your gown and wedding style and theme.
Your bouquets may consist of a variety of flower types and colors embellished with trailing greenery and hand tied with colorful ribbons. Or you may choose the striking simplicity of a single flower type and color with understated accessories of crystals and beads. So beyond the obvious flowers and greenery of your bouquet, you may also want to consider the incorporation of crystals, pearls, ribbons or other details into your bouquet.
Bouquet Shapes. There are a wide variety of possible bouquet shapes. We will describe several types below. When deciding on your bouquet shape, consider the style and embellishments of your gown and the level of formality of your wedding.
- Round Bouquets are the most traditional bouquet. They are simple and, depending on the type of flowers chosen, can be appropriate for either formal or informal weddings.
- Nosegay Bouquets are held with a conical holder and are similar to round bouquets, but they generally use fewer flowers than the round and incorporate more non floral elements (greenery and ribbons).
- Cascade Bouquets are like an upside down teardrop, with a larger diameter at the top and a dramatically tapering size at the bottom. These are often loosely arranged for a wispy look.
- Arm Bouquets consist of long stem flowers carried in the crook of the arm, like those carried in beauty pageants. Depending on the arrangement and the flowers used, an arm bouquet can be formal or informal.
- Pomander Bouquets consist of a ball or cone of flowers or greenery that hang from a ribbon.
Bouquet Size. Bouquets come in a wide range of sizes so do not forget to also talk about this detail. A very slender bride less than five feet tall would seem overwhelmed carrying the same size bouquet that works perfectly for a bride with larger physical attributes.
Other Personal Flowers
In addition to bouquets, the other personal flowers needed at a wedding are boutonnieres and corsages
Boutonnieres. For the male portion of the wedding party, you will need boutonnieres, which are generally built around a single flower found in your bouquet. Generally the men’s boutonnieres are all the same; however, you may use the same flower but of a different color or a different flower to make your Groom’s boutonniere special. You may also want boutonnieres for the immediate family and special guests.
Corsages. Corsages are created for the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. Corsages are also appropriate for other special female members of the families or special non family members. You may also want to distinguish participants in the wedding who are not bridesmaids. For example, you would likely want to have corsages reserved for women who will read or sing during the ceremony.
Corsages often consist of flowers that are included in the wedding bouquet. They are generally simple and tasteful. Corsages are generally pinned to the woman’s dress or lapel of her jacket, but often dress fabrics are too flimsy to support a corsage. An alternate type of corsage is the wrist corsage, which is basically a corsage mounted on an elastic or rigid plastic ‘bracelet’ to be worn on the wrist. If possible, determine who will need a wrist corsage versus a standard one. Or you may choose to have a few of each option available.
Ceremony Site Decorations
Despite the beauty of the setting you’ve selected for your ceremony, you will likely want some additional decorations. If you are having a church wedding, try a floral spray for the altar and topiaries at the entrance to the altar and the church. You may also want to add fabric draping along the edge of the church pews, which not only adds drama to the setting, but also reserves walking up the aisle solely for the wedding party. You may also want to add floral arrangements to the ends of each pew, or to every other pew.
If your wedding is in a garden setting, your decoration needs will likely be minimal due to the array of natural greenery and color provided by the live plants in place. Some possible options for floral décor at your outdoor ceremony are a floral spray over the arbor, a trailing ivy garland intertwined with tulle and accent flowers can be added to this spray. You may want floral arrangements placed at the entrance to the ceremony setting and the arbor (or gazebo). And, as with the church, you may want to add flowers and/or fabric draping along the aisles. Some brides also like the addition of an aisle runner. A runner can range in color from simple pure white to dramatic bold red. We have seen runners ranging the full spectrum of colors in a variety of settings and they can add a dramatic unifying element to your ceremony décor.
Ask your wedding site coordinator for photos of previous weddings. Decorations used by previous brides will help to give you decorating ideas and help you to visualize your chosen decorations at the site. Ask your floral designer or decorator to visit the site with you (with a tape measure) so that they have the required dimensions and understand any physical limitations of the site.
Reception Site Decorations
There are so many decorating possibilities at the reception site that your imagination and your pocketbook are the only limiting factors. Browse through a number of bridal books and style magazines for reception site decorating ideas. A lot of your reception site decorating choices depend on your chosen style of wedding, formal or informal, and the physical attributes of your site. In a garden setting, maybe all you will need are centerpieces while a reception ballroom calls for additional creativity.
An ornate ballroom with lots of wall décor details, dramatically draped windows, plush patterned carpet and huge crystal chandeliers will require much less additional designing than a banquet room with plain walls, flush mounted lighting and no windows. Additionally, if your banquet room has very high ceilings you may want to bring in large tall centerpieces. But these tall centerpieces would look out of place in a banquet room with lower ceilings. So be sure to take these kinds of reception site details into account when coming up with your decorating plan.
Get to know fabric styles, colors, and weights for your table and chair covers. Consider swags, tassels, drapes. Stick with elegant white tablecloths or dress the table up with the Scottish plaid of your ancestors. Try contrasting table toppers and/or napkins. Have your florist design floral centerpieces or use live plants, mirrors with candles and a single rose. Just keep in mind the style/theme that you have previously set for your wedding…your chosen style is the one thread of continuity among all the elements of your wedding.
Something to keep in mind in designing your centerpieces is the ability of the guests to see each other across the tables during the reception banquet. Large dramatic centerpieces have become extremely popular and, when creating them, most floral designers keep in mind that a burst of flowers right at eye level may detract from dinner conversation. If you want to have large tall centerpieces on your dining tables, remember to talk with your florist about putting the widest part of the arrangement at the top of the design, well above eye level.
Discuss decoration of the various other tables that will be used at your reception with your floral designer. A quality florist can provide a number of stunning presentation based upon your specific site layout and needs. Be sure to give special decorating attention to the head table, cake table, food and drink tables and the guest book table, as these are focal points of the reception.
One cost and time saving trick is to incorporate the bride and bridesmaid bouquets into the head table decorations. After the ceremony and formal photography session is finished, these bouquets will have to be placed somewhere. So they may as well be helping with the overall composition of your reception site decorations. Your florist may even have special weighted vases designed especially for this purpose!
Another idea to consider is, once the ceremony is finished, to transfer the floral decorations from your ceremony site to your reception site. If you choose to do this, just be sure that you have a reliable person assigned to this task and that it is clear to them where these transported arrangements are to be set up.
Floral & Decor Trends
In the same way that many wedding ceremony and reception styles have become less traditional, so have wedding flowers. Some brides are having each of the bridesmaids bouquets designed differently. Different in either the color of the flowers or in the style of the flowers or both! Many brides are also opting for bold saturated colors in their flowers rather than the traditional romantic white or pastels. Many florists are incorporating colorful ribbons and pearls into hand tied French twist bouquets. It is not uncommon to see bouquets sprinkled with glitter or incorporating rhinestones and pearls. And cascading bouquets are becoming more popular again.
Floral & Decor Tips
For your wedding day, you will likely want a variety of stunning floral designs that echo your chosen colors and style of wedding. Luckily, you are getting married in the California Central Coast where, due to our near perfect weather, an abundance of wholesale flower growers are located. This means that your florist will have lots of very fresh flowers available from which to choose!
Your floral needs will vary based on your selected wedding and reception site(s). A garden needs less additional floral arrangements than a reception hall. A breathtaking ornate church will need less decoration than a simple one. If you are working on a budget, these are ideas to keep in mind.
Centerpieces should be sized for the table, larger arrangements for large tables. Be sure that you know your reception site table size and communicate this to your florist. For dining tables, guests should be able to see each other. So make tall centerpieces slender or keep centerpieces below eye level. For top heavy centerpieces, be sure that the base is sufficiently weighted – particularly in a garden setting where a breeze could blow them over. To accent your centerpiece, you can place it over a foundation - round mirror or some other foundation (a puddle of colored cloth, napkin, hand made tiles, etc.). Maybe surround it with a few votive candles or the wedding favors.
To find your Florist, begin your search with the professionals listed under Local Wedding Vendors tab on this website. To see information about Florists, click on the Wedding Vendors tab, then check off the county or counties you are interested in, then click on the Florists tab. From this list of Florists, you can easily check out their web sites - most provide a variety of photographs and and other information about their services on their site, which can save you time in the first stages of selection. Next conduct phone interviews with the Florists you liked best in this website search. Then set up meeting dates to get to know them better and to review their portfolios. Get a feel for their style and see if it matches your vision. Ask if they have photos of work they have done at your wedding site. Based how you feel about their style, availability and the confidence they engender in you, you will find the right florist for you.