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flowers, bouquet

Wedding Flowers: Our Top Tips

Follow these 14 tips and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect wedding blooms.

Photo: Perez Photography

Scope it Out

Look around you and think about the size of the shop and the number of people on staff. Who will work on your wedding? Make sure the floral designer you're interviewing will actually create the arrangements. Also, what kind of vibe do you get? A disorganized shop may scare you off but consider that the florist's creativity may trump her cleaning skills -- and she probably knows exactly where everything is.

Work the Room

Be sure to inquire if your florist has done weddings at your ceremony and/or reception sites before. If so, he or she may have pictures of arrangements done at your site and will be knowledgeable about what sizes, shapes, and colors work in the space. If not, he or she should be willing to scope out the space and familiarize him or herself with any limitations. At the very least, bring along some sort of photo (a press kit or pamphlet) in case she or he has never worked a wedding there before, so that you're starting with an idea of the space.

tip

Soaking your blooms in warm water will help them reach their optimum beauty.

Season's Best

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to buying red roses. Marrying around Valentine's Day? Expect a significant increase in the price of a single stem.

Simplify Your Centerpieces

Labor costs make florist bills bloom. Trim them by opting for less labor-intensive arrangements like simple centerpieces instead of wild topiaries. Also nix any elaborate blooming structures -- gateways, windows, railings, frames -- that will take a long time to set up.

Color Cues

Trust us: arrangements of cool contrasting colors (think mint green and cherry red) are definitely vivacious. But when picking a palette, make sure the flowers will suit your wedding style and colors. Bring a bridesmaid dress fabric swatch with you when you meet your floral designer so she has a good starting point.

Mind Mother Nature

Consider the season in which you are marrying when deciding on which flowers you want in your arrangements. Marrying in summer or in a humid climate? Go for hardy flowers that won't wilt, such as sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, lilies, and hydrangeas. Avoid gardenias, lily of the valley, tulips, and wildflowers.

Size it Up

Remember: size matters! Be sure your bouquets aren't too heavy or too hard to carry. Trust us: you won't want that burden. And don't choose the bridal and attendants' bouquets without regard to style of dress or body shape. A delicate nosegay will get lost against an elaborate ruffled dress, for example, and a small bride will be overshadowed by a massive cascading arrangement.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Be sure your bouquet isn't too fragrant -- you don't want to be sneezing down the aisle! Some of the most fragrant flowers include freesia, lilies, lilacs, tuberoses, gardenias, and lilies of the valley. Go lightly on these blooms.

Prepare For the Petals

Don't assume your florist will have access to your ceremony and reception site early on in the big day. Make necessary arrangements -- get written permission and a key, if need be -- to ensure that everything is coming up roses before you hit the aisle.

Photo Ops

Be sure to coordinate the delivery time of your bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres with your photographer's arrival -- you'll want them to be worn or held in formal pictures.

Fresh Direct

Have your flowers delivered boxed with cellophane and well misted -- that way they'll look fresh through your ceremony and reception. Check out each bouquet and remove any damaged blossoms. And don't leave them in the sun's path -- direct sunlight will speed up the wilting process.

Water World

If you're keeping bouquets in vases of water to maintain freshness before the ceremony, don't forget to dry the stems thoroughly before handing them out to the girls. You don't want big water stains on the front of all the dresses moments before they take the aisle.

Tossing Tradition

You don't have to toss the actual bridal bouquet -- many brides have their florists create a smaller tossing bouquet for the traditional ritual. It is an extra fee so be sure to pick a low-maintenance arrangement. There's no need to break your budget on this bouquet.

Streamline Your Vendors

These days, florists are actually more like event designers. You may be able to get decorations like balloons, streamers, lanterns, and chairs from your florist. Dealing with one vendor rather than four or five may alleviate some stress.

See More: Wedding Flowers