By Rebecca Padgett
I am an outdoorsy girl. I grew up climbing trees not sitting in front of television screens. As an adult, I take every possible opportunity to engage in outdoor activities. That being said, while I hold nature to the highest regard, I don’t possess much knowledge when it comes to flora and fauna.
I’m also a lifelong learner, so when planning my own wedding, I looked forward to meeting with a florist and learning more about flowers. Before meeting with my florist, the only knowledge I had was a Pinterest board full of images that I knew I liked.
Equipped with my Pinterest board and a willingness to learn, Missy Kane, owner of Missy Gunnels Flowers, guided me through the process of selecting wedding flowers. I began by sending her images, a link to my Pinterest board and some preliminary information.
A few months later, I went to her beautiful shop to meet her in person for the first time, plus discuss details and browse her flower shop and warehouse. Below are some things I learned about the flower selection process that will help guide couples.
Do Your Research
We are visual beings living in a visual world. Fortunately we have countless sources that allow us to view the work of vendors. One of the best ways to decide on a florist is to take a sneak peak at their work on social media or their website. This will allow you to get a feel for their style, experience, and expertise. Once you’ve spied one or a few florists whose styles you dig, reach out to them and inquire about your wedding.
Show and Tell
Whether you meet virtually or in person, you should have images and ideas ready to share with the florist. Missy suggests arriving with images, color palettes, pictures of your dress and the bridesmaids dresses, and anything else that would give the florist a sense of your style. Even if you don’t know the exact flowers you want, it’s helpful to have a style defined and a vision of how you want your day to look.
With any vendor, you should factor in the potential cost when planning. On average, florals are 10 percent of the overall wedding budget. In your initial meeting, be upfront with the florist on what your budget is. The price fluctuates depending on many factors, such as how in-depth you desire your floral decor to be, how many bouquets, centerpieces, etc. you want, and which flowers you select. The florist should provide you with a detailed price list that also includes any decor rental, delivery, setup and breakdown fees.
Tis The Seasonal
Missy states that it is important to keep in mind the availability of the flowers you are selecting during the time of year you are getting married. “Flowers have seasons when they are more easily obtained, and the prices vary on the specific flower types depending on the growing season,” said Missy. She also notes that there are times during the year when flowers are more expensive. Prices increase in February because of Valentine’s Day and then again around Mother’s Day. In some cases, there are flowers that come in similar but less expensive options. Other factors you should consider are temperature and sun exposure as these can both impact the look and life of flowers.
Wants and Needs
Once you’ve defined your theme and selected your dream flowers, you need to determine what floral pieces you actually want your florist to create. While bouquets are the most obvious options, this can also include centerpieces, boutonnieres, an archway, ceremony arrangements, corsages, florals to be put on the cake, florals for your hair, and florals to adorn the food table and other areas of the ceremony and reception space.
How do you want your flowers displayed? Gold gleaming vases? Mason jars? Silver dishes? Wreathes? Garlands? If you want your flowers to be in vessels, are you providing them, does your florist or will you be renting them from another company? Will you need to deliver your vessels to the florist ahead of time? If you’re unsure on any of these points, your florist can provide advice on what would look best.
When deciding on decor and arrangement, you should consider where they are being placed. Will they obstruct the view of guests? Will they get in the way? Will they detract from the room? Flowers should only enhance. It might also help to consider your size and the style of your dress so your bouquet doesn’t overwhelm or underwhelm you. In general, the bridesmaids have smaller and less detailed bouquets than the bride.
Missy suggests that you get everything in writing from your florist, including what time the flowers will arrive on site. She advises that you also share with your florist the time that the photographer will begin taking your pictures and what time the venue will be set up and ready for the installation of centerpieces. You should also put your florist in touch with your ceremony site, reception venue and wedding planner should any questions arise on the day. You want those beautiful flowers to be seen as much as possible. Have a plan in place for them after the wedding, whether that’s allowing each female guest to take flowers or donating them to a local nursing home or hospital. I personally advise keeping your own bouquet as they can be preserved and made into a special memento of the day.
“Your wedding flowers will complete your dream vision of what your special day will look like,” said Missy. “Just like your dress, makeup, hair and shoes, flowers are a finishing touch for all of the lovely details. Fresh flowers bring your ceremony and reception to life and create an awesome and memorable experience for you and your guests.”
I very much enjoyed my experience with selecting florals. It was one of the more creative and visceral parts of wedding planning, which are what I delight in most. No logistics for me, thank you very much. Meeting with Missy, talking through the possibilities, and seeing different examples of flowers and decor helped me to envision my wedding and truly get excited during a year that has been especially challenging for wedding planning.