1. Choose your venue carefully
The venue for your ceremony and reception will dictate how you decorate, and that includes flowers. For instance, if you have a big, open reception hall without any built-in decorations, you’ll need to fill it up with something. A large, empty space is a blank canvas, which can be challenging to decorate if you’re not a flower pro.
Your task will be much easier if you choose locations that are already beautiful or that are smaller. A historic church with stained glass windows and carved wood doesn’t need much. Small bouquets at the end of the pew will probably be enough. An outdoor wedding in a garden or similar setting comes with its own flowers, leaving you with only the reception to decorate.
For the reception area, a smaller space requires fewer flowers. As with the ceremony space, if you can choose a location with some character and existing decorations, your job with flowers will be a lot simpler.
2. Plan and practice in advance
Don’t assume flower arranging will be easy. It is both an art and a skill. People pay florists for a reason. This doesn’t mean a bride can’t make her own arrangements, but don’t leave your plans to the last minute. Put together a plan for your flowers as soon as you lock down the venue. Decide where flowers will go, so you know how many you need.
It’s also a good idea to practice making arrangements and bouquets in advance if you want to do it yourself. Get some inexpensive flowers in season and try your hand at making centerpieces and bouquets. Do this well in advance. If you find you don’t have a knack for it and need to hire a pro, you’ll still have time to do so.
3. Set a budget before you buy
If you’re on a tight budget, choose flowers primarily by price and then build your décor around those options. For instance, if lilacs will be in season and inexpensive, create a color palette and design theme for the venue that centers on this delicate purple flower. Use whites and lavenders to complement them.
4. Choose seasonal flowers
You may have a vision for your event, but if it involves out-of-season flowers, you could be out of luck. Know what you can get for your wedding date. Even if you can get flowers you want, they will cost more if they are not in season.
There will be some variation in seasonality depending on your location, so check with local farms as you plan your flowers.
Some of the prettiest flowers are delicate and wilt quickly, especially in extreme temperatures. For the best results and to avoid disappointing decorations, get flowers that stand up to temperature, wind, moisture changes, and handling.
Good options for sturdy flowers include chrysanthemums, baby’s breath, calla lilies, alstroemeria, carnations, sunflowers, and roses.
Another good way to keep flowers alive and vibrant is to use potted plants. This also saves you the trouble of making complicated centerpiece arrangements. Decorate the pots to match your wedding theme.
6. Don’t forget accessories
Flowers are only the beginning. To make bouquets and decorations, you need a lot of floral accessories. For centerpieces, for example, you’ll need vases or some other type of vessel, like fishbowls, for the arrangements. Buy more than enough in case some break.
For professional-looking arrangements, use floral foam. This is a material you place at the bottom of the container. It soaks up water and holds flower stems upright. You’ll also need several pairs of good scissors for you and your helpers, floral tape, pins, and wire.
Decorative accessories add an extra touch to floral décor. Use things like ribbons, feathers, stones, and candles to complete your vision for the wedding. You can save money on these items by buying in bulk. You can also scavenge items, like evergreen branches and pinecones for a winter wedding or driftwood and shells for a beach-themed wedding.
7. Understand your timeline
For cut flowers, timing is everything. Order them too soon, and you can end up with dead flowers for the event. Wait too long, and you risk not getting flowers on time. You also need to consider when you’ll actually make the arrangements, bouquets, and boutonnieres.
Centerpieces and other décor arrangements are sturdiest, so you can make those two days ahead of the event. For bouquets, it’s best to wait until the day before the wedding. Boutonnieres should be made as late as possible, the morning of the wedding if you can.
Chances are, you won’t have access to your venues until the morning of the event. Depending on how many flowers and arrangements you need to make, space in your own home could be limited. Plan ahead for a location to receive the flowers and put together your arrangements and bouquets.
This should be a large space where you can keep the flowers for a few days before the wedding. If you don’t have space at home, ask around to friends and family. A cool basement is an excellent place to set up shop.
Don’t forget transportation in your plan. You may be able to take delivery of flowers from a wholesaler at this location, but you still need to get them to the venue. Your centerpieces should fit in the vehicle without damage. A van is ideal, but a larger car that can make several trips also works.
9. Enlist help making the decorations
Putting together one or two centerpieces may feel like a fun project. When you have two days before the wedding and boxes of flowers and vases to arrange, you may start to panic. Get a few friends or family willing to help you. It’s not a bad idea to enlist more people than you need in case a few can’t make it.
Bouquets require more skill than centerpieces, so consider contracting this job out to a professional. You can still save a lot of money by doing the event decoration and leaving tricky bouquets to a florist. Your own bridal bouquet is particularly high-stakes and may be best left to a pro.
The best way to avoid wedding flower stress is to keep it simple. Yes, flowers are beautiful, but they cost a lot of money and require handling, finesse, and time. To avoid the potential pitfalls and stress of flowers gone wrong, make a simple plan.
Choose just a few types of flowers, for instance, and design simple arrangements. Instead of huge vases stuffed with flowers for centerpieces, float a few blooms in a glass bowl of water with colored marbles or stones. Simple can be just as elegant and beautiful as over-the-top arrangements, even more so in some cases. The more complicated your plan, the easier it will be to make mistakes and be disappointed on your big day.
A wedding just wouldn’t be a wedding without some flowers. Even in the dead of winter, you want floral cheer to brighten the venue and your special day. Don’t let the pressure of having perfect decorations overwhelm you, though. Use these tips, so you can enjoy your big day without worrying about the arrangements.