7 Wedding Floristry Tips From Jacqui O
Wedding Planning - 20.12.21
Your wedding florals are so much more than bunches of flowers. They are the fragrant focal point of your wedding style; a source of scent that will evoke memories of your wedding for years to come and a symbolic accessory enriched with personal significance – whatever your flowers mean to you, they’re sure to be a key feature of your wedding day.
This is going to be the best day of your lives, however, I remember only too well when I was getting married and I kept saying “I’ve never planned a wedding before…” because I honestly had no idea what I was supposed to be doing! Just remember there’s no right or wrong way.
When it comes to choosing your wedding flowers, most couples will have an idea of colours, but perhaps not the flower names or even what will work at your venue. It’s OK to be unsure… Having a floral expert on your team will make your life a little easier and that’s where a trained professional like myself can help!
As a wedding and event floral designer, I meet couples every day who come to me for advice on how to use flowers to leave a lasting impact, what flowers are in season around their chosen date, how to achieve their desired look and fragrance, and what it will all cost. It’s a big subject that I have dedicated many years to understanding but to sum up, here are my 7 top tips to help you.
1. Make Your Flowers Personal & Unique
YOU are the secret ingredient, so be confident, authentic and weave your personality into your florals. Identify your style, are you free and spontaneous or are you neat and orderly? Thinking outside the vase by allowing your wedding flowers to mimic your passions and loves in life. Create purpose within your flowers e.g. Do you have memories of your fiancé bringing you roses? Does your grandmother grow hydrangea in her garden? Do you have a hobby or interest you want to show off? You can collect inspirational images of flowers, bouquets, table centrepieces you love by using Instagram and Pinterest as a source of ideas to create style boards to help illustrate your vision to your florist or floral designer (Do you want to know the difference between a florist and a floral designer? Read HERE)
2. Consider Seasonality
Flowers bloom naturally at different times of the year; some cut flowers will be readily available in specific months or only under certain weather conditions and will be the best quality in their natural growing season. For example, peonies look their best in May. You should also consider calendar events such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Across the world, generally, prices rise due to the demand for flowers, so bear that in mind. There are usually too many buyers and too few flowers. Weather conditions can also cause shortfalls in certain types so it’s always good to be flexible with varieties. This does not mean you personally need to be an expert but if you want a particular flower, think about the time of year you choose to get married and ask the experts for advice.
3. Consider BLOOMING RESPONSIBILITY
Caring for our planet is all our ‘blooming responsibility’. At Jacqui O, we try to help and support our couples to get the best value from their ceremony flowers and create ways for them to be repurposed so that you and your guests can enjoy the beauty of your wedding flowers for longer whilst reducing the environmental impact on our world. Some of our couples chose to place the ceremony arch behind the reception top table to frame them whilst others use it as a photo booth for their guests to enjoy. There are so many possibilities but asking your floral designer is a great way to see what is possible with your scheme. Also, if you choose Cheshire or British grown blooms (available Apr-Oct), you are preserving our planet; flowers that are grown not flown have a reduced carbon footprint and may have provided food and habitat to a huge variety of wildlife before being cut. Alternatively, see what props and accessories the florist has in stock by embracing recycled vessels and containers; every beautiful thing has a story along with a few dents and scratches.
4. What’s Your Venue’s Style?
Your florals should work with the surroundings of your chosen venue, not against them. If it’s a country estate venue, consider romantic and elegant with romantic garden flowers like roses, delphiniums, and dahlias. If it’s a rustic barn, try going organic and wild with the florals. If a wedding venue has high ceilings this offers the perfect opportunity to complement the reception room by using tall table arrangements. Combermere Abbey has so many possibilities for you to make the venue truly yours for the day, in the Glasshouse, I often suggest creating florals around the central column to ‘wow’ guests as they enter. And you have to say ‘I do’ in style by dressing the ceremony doorway that leads to the beautiful orchid maze leaving both you and your guests with treasured memories forever.
5. Accessorise, Accessorise
I like to remind my brides that your bouquet is your ultimate wedding accessory and should complement the beautiful detail on your dress. Our top tip is don’t hold your bouquet too high. It will hide you and your stunning dress; and after all, you are the real centrepiece of your wedding. Instead, carrying the flowers at hip height captures you at your best in your photographs.
6. Less Is More
Recently a bride remarked “I could go to a supermarket and buy flowers for a lot less”, I agreed she could but I asked would it achieve the look she wanted on her special day? There was a pause, the answer was “no”. There is a misconception that you put the word ‘wedding’ in front of flowers and you will be charged a fortune. I went on to explain that if you bought a pack of roses would they open up into beautiful large, ruffled heads? No, well that’s because I am selective in the ingredients that go into your floral creations and work with the best growers and suppliers. Be open and share your budget with your florist, and if you have no idea just say. At Jacqui O, we often tell our clients the average budget for flowers at the venue as this provides a guide. Some couples will spend less, some will spend more depending on how important the floral aesthetics are to them. I personally recommend having a ‘must have’ list e.g., brides bouquet and buttonholes and ‘a nice to have’ e.g., welcome flower arrangements. Also, if a florist comes back and their quote is too high, give them a chance to rework it for you when you’ve decided what you want to remove or ask them for ideas particularly if they have worked at your venue before… They are an expert in the field after all. If the quote is very low, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best value!
Sometimes less is more. A few larger focal designs will make much more of an impact on you and your guests than lots of small flower arrangements spread through the ceremony and reception.
7. Hire An EXPERT
A floral wedding on average takes over a week to plan, prep and deliver, you’re not just paying for the final product—you’re paying for the talent, vision, creative expertise and service of a floral designer or florist. I have had clients in the past who allowed a friend or family member who is ‘creative’ to make the bridal party flowers or table flowers as a gift. On reflection, these clients often say they wish they had got a professional to create their florals. Although it’s a lovely gesture, will you be talking about the flowers for the wrong reasons in years to come or not be talking about them at all? If you want sensational flowers, hire the expertise of a trained floral designer who is skilled in the art of floristry to bring your vision to life!
Jacqui O is one of Combermere’s trusted and recommended wedding florists and is based in Cheshire.