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Wedding Florist Chat with Dale Harmon, Thursday, June 5 at 11 AM
Special events florist Dale Harmon takes your questions today at 11.

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published June 2, 2008

Washington, DC
I just got married two weeks ago and our florist went above and beyond! The company provided extra flowers and floral arrangements to place around the venue. They did not charge us extra. It hadn't crossed our mind before but do people typically tip florists? We appreciate their extra work but are not sure what the protocol is for this type of things since the extras weren't necessary.
Since it was the owner who made the decision to go above and beyond, first of all a thank you letter for their files is a proper thing to do....Any of the crew that worked on installing your event could be tipped...even $25.00 a person would be appreciated if that works in your budget.  The shop or business owner would appreciate a good bottle of wine or a gift certificate. Chances are you will do business with this florist again and this is a great basis for the future.
Washington, DC
I have no idea what flowers should cost for a wedding! What would be the average price range for a wedding for 150 people and only one bridesmaid?
Here in Washington, a high quality bridal bouquet can range from $50 to $75. for a simple selection of stems and greens to $300 to $400 and up for over the top creations.  The bridesmaid flowers are usually a variation on the theme of the brides flowers and run about one third the price.  Fifteen centerpieces (thinking that you will have 15 tables of 10) again can run from $50 to $75. up into the hundreds depending on your taste and budget.
Washington, DC
I want green flowers at my ceremony and reception. What are the best accent colors?
It is a very popular theme during this eco-friendly time to try and be as green as possible.  Fresh flowers do come in many shades of green and depending on your color scheme for bridesmaids etc. look beautiful pared with brown, yellow and orange for a fall look and pastels like pink, yellow and lavender for more of a spring feel.
washingtonian
I love gerbera daisies, but for some reason they remind me of baby showers not weddings. Have you seen brides use them before? Maybe there's a way to class them up--like pairing them with another flower? And am I right to think they come in every color under the sun?
Gerberas do come in an wide range of colors that include traditional wedding shades of white and pale yellow and pink as well as hot, bold colors like hot pink, red, orange and yellow. Because of the size of the gerbera flower, they provide a great accent color to a mixed arrangement but also look great alone with greens in a hand tied bouquet. However you use them, make sure that your florist uses the freshest flowers they can find and wires the stems so they don't wilt before their time.
Arlington
My mom has really bad allergies, so we want to make sure to not to use really fragrant flowers. Can you recommend something that won't make her sneeze through the entire ceremony?
It is really difficult to find fresh flowers that have no fragrance at all. Since you want your mother to enjoy your wedding to the fullest, I would suggest that you investigate the quality of silk flowers for your bouquet...I think that you will be pleasantly surprised. Centerpieces can be live plants either flowering or green in beautiful baskets or other containers.
Springfield, VA
I'm trying to be eco-friendly with my wedding planning, so for the flowers, I want to be sure to use locally grown flowers that are in season. What will be a good pick for a late-September wedding?
Any florist that you work with can speak with their favorite local growers to find out what the selection will be in the fall.  Many people are deciding to use living foliage or flowering plants as centerpieces and for room decor because they can be given as gifts to the wedding party or special friends or delivered to hospitals or nursing homes.  Your florist can also investigate using only flowers that have been organically grown using only natural fertilizers and pest control.
bethesda
i love pink! my bridesmaids dresses are a deep pink so i want to use a range of pinks in the flowers. what's are some interesting pink flowers i could use in my arrangements and bouquets? (no roses, please!)
Pink is a great color and has a huge range of shades to pick from.  I would also suggest that you ask your florist to show you what adding a touch a red and or lavender does to keep the pink focus even more vivid.  Suggestions would be pink blush dendrobium orchids, pink hybrid lilies (sorbonne) and pink alstroemeria. 
Washington, DC
What kind of trends have you noticed in wedding flowers recently?

Brides and their families have been very aware of what they can spend and what things cost this year. Even though there are always a few over the top celebrations that seem to have unlimited budgets each season, for the most part the trend is to stay simple and elegant and be "green aware" whenever possible. Flowers that are locally grown and from organic farms are popular as well as the using of living plant material is room decor and as centerpieces.

Cleveland Park
I am having an October wedding. I am having a difficult time coming up with ideas for decorating an outdoor ceremony space, and my florist has not been much help. Any suggestions?
Without seeing the exact space you are dealing with it is difficult to give you perfect advice, however there are lots of possibilities for decor.  All varieties of traditional exterior plant material such as leyland cypress and arborviate along with colorful trees like red maples are available in containers for rent. A wonderful outdoor ceremony setting can be created. Depending on your color scheme, fall color palate mums and other flowering plants can be used to add interest.
alexandria, va
I am getting married this fall, and flowers are one of the only things I have left to do in my wedding prep. Here's the thing - I want to be as frugal as possible as budget priorities were other things. We're getting married outside and the reception will overlook a wildlife sanctuary, so it should be fairly pretty already. However, I will need bouquets and some sort of centerpiece for the tables - what do you suggest as the best way to proceed? Go to a florist with the colors I want and have them suggest seasonal flowers that work best on a budget? I have no sense of what things should cost - could a thousand dollar budget cover 4 bouquets and 10 tabletops? Thanks so much.

The setting that you have chosen sounds perfect for a fall wedding.  Because of the surroundings, I would suggest that you ask your florist to provide flowering or colorful foliage plants in baskets or appropriate containers with fern or ivy for the centerpieces and then with your 4 bouquets you should be able to stay within your budget. 

Thanks to everyone who wrote in today..Sorry that I could not get to every question. Feel free to email me with additional questions or comments....Dale Harmon   Dale@plants-alive.com

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Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 06/02/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Chats