Wedding Flowers Chat with Rance Goff, Thursday, July 31 at 11 AM

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 July 25, 2008

Arlington, VA
I sometimes find centerpieces more of an obstacle conquer to talk to other people at my table. Do you think an arrangement on the table is a must?
It's a common problem. I've seen a lot of people move flower arrangements off the table during the dinner. A new trend to avoid the problem would be very low, dramatic arrangements. My style incorporates a lot of texture so it gives the guests something to look at, something to talk about, and also to be able to see over. 
Arlington, VA
Would you prefer a bride/groom give you creative freedom by specifying what colors they would like an arrangement to be or would you prefer to have a clear understanding of colors, flowers and placement a client desires?
My style is different than most florists. I like to be much more interactive with the bride and groom to assure that the flower design for your wedding incorporates your personality, respects the venue, and offers your guests an opportunity to see something about you with the flowers. Ideas of color change with every blossom and every season so I try to make sure that clients have an understanding of that and that what I produce is absolutely uniquely their own. I've never done two weddings that are the same. 
Silver Spring, MD
I'm planning a late March wedding in DC with the colors purple (aubergine), green (celadon), and creme. What flowers in this color scheme are in season?
Luscious, I love it. Let's start with purple. In late March, we'll find lots of orchids. Of course roses. Lots of fresh California product like delphinium larkspur and lisianthus. If I was really hooked on aubergine, I would choose miniature calla lilies and the surprise of real eggplants. For the green, jade roses, green ice orchids, brassica, and local foliage and mosses for texture. For creme, the sky's the limit. Check the local farmer's market two weeks before your wedding to verify what's in season and what inspires you. 
Rockville, MD
What's the best way to be prepared for your first meeting with the florist? For example, what sorts of items should my finance and I discuss before we get to the florist?

My approach is rather unique. I find in the initial consultation I ask most of the questions. How did you meet? Where will you honeymoon? What do you want your guests to say about the reception?

Always be prepared and unafraid to tell the florist what you don't like. Carry along some photos you've seen that inspired you, not just from wedding magazines. And specific details about guest list, venue, and family. Nail down a few key words about the ambiance you're trying to create - rich, lush, contemporary, organic.

Arlington, Va
Wedding bouquets tend to be so traditional. Do you ever talk to brides about adding non-traditional things like fruit and vegetables? How do you convince them that's acceptable?
Every bride is different. I love working with brides. And so the sky's the limit in terms of what I'm willing to put in a bouquet. Don't be afraid of color and don't be afraid of texture. Berries are hot in bouquets right now and feathers are a big upcoming trend. 
Washington, DC
The economy is making it tough for anyone to spend a ton on a wedding. What are your tips for saving money when it comes to flowers without cutting quality?
Buy local. It reduces the carbon footprint and prices should be about half of what you would spend with flowers from Holland or elsewhere. I'm not one that really advocates do-it-yourself weddings but a lot of people are doing just that. Just be prepared to stress out your family and friends. 
Washington, DC
Hi Rance! What are three ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly when it comes to flowers?
Again, buy local. Flowers from South America should have a "green seal" which means they were grown under strict environmental and labor standards. Get a dual use out of your flower arrangements by donating them to a worthy cause or give them as gifts to your guests. 
Bethesda, MD
What's your feeling on brides who try to do the flowers themselves?
Tricky. It may seem eas, it may be easy. But it takes time and effort on the day before your wedding that you may not realize. I always advise if you do your own flowers, to remember you have to be laid back and not be angry with the people you've chosen to help you if things don't go the way you planned. Trust me, leave your mother out of it. 
Washington, DC
My wedding isn't until May 2010. What do you think the trends in floral design will be then? What trends will be out? Thanks, Rance!
Well colors, to start, all this chocolate and turquoise, pale pink and brown will be out. Overdone. We're looking at monochromatic mixes in green, lavender, and believe it or not, tangerine. Think elemental with the centerpieces and don't be afraid of other interesting elements such as feathers, crystals, and manipulated grasses. 
McLean, Va
How easy is it to have locally grown flowers at your wedding?
Check your local farmer's markets. What you see there are locally grown. So if you're planning your wedding a year out, for instance, check your farmer's market the same week as next year's wedding to see what's available. 
Alexandria, Va.
A lot of a wedding budget goes to food. In your experience, what percentage of a total wedding budget do couples dedicate to flowers? Thanks!
Typically 15 percent.
Arlington, VA
I am getting married May 2009 and have a light blue/ivory color theme. What are some affordable blue flowers that are in season in May? Also, why are hydrangeas so pricey? I thought they were in season during the summer? Thanks!

Pale blue delphinium, scabiosa, and tweedia. And check your farmer's market. 

High-quality hydrangea that is grown specifically to last and be a certain color most assuredly must be shipped in. Local seasonal hydrangea just doesn't have the staying power of other specialty hybrids.  

Wilmington, DE
I am interested in wearing a few small ivory colored flowers in my hair. Any recommendations for a flower that will hold up through the ceremony and reception and is good for this sort of use? Thank you!
White dendrobium orchid is best. Make sure to have a few extra if there's wild dancing.
Alexandria, VA
Hello! I love Ultra Violet and wish I were getting married locally to use your services! My question is - I am having a color scheme of periwinkle blue and celery green. I'm interested in incorporating other colors in the flowers but am not sure what flower types and colors would work well. Any thoughts?

Let's consider split complementary on the color wheel. And it points straight to pale peach. Luscious. 

 

That's all the time we have for the chat today. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. Best wishes for the perfect wedding! - Rance 

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