Wedding Flowers Chat with Rick Davis, Thursday, February 28 at 11 AM

Rick Davis has been with Northeast DC's Amaryllis florist since it opened in 1989. He was chief designer as the store transformed itself from a flower shop in a hotel basement to what it is today—a large and well-known special-event company. Rick has been featured in magazines such as Food & Wine, In Style Weddings, and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. He took over as owner of Amaryllis in 2002.

Thank you for your questions. We hope these answers will make your planning process a lot easier and more enjoyable. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us or set up an appointment at Amaryllis. Remember, flowers are a great addition to your big day.

McLean, VA
What is the best way to use calla lillies in a bouquet for a fall wedding–thinking of trying to have them bunched upside down in a glass vase. What are your thoughts?
Orange callas are beautiful for fall, and bunching them upside down is a fabulous, contemporary look. But don't limit yourself to orange callas—there are other rich colors like mango, burgundy, wine, eggplant…
Washington, DC
I am getting married in August and I am having an eco-friendly wedding. What do you think about potted flowers as table centerpieces? Thanks you so much.
I think the potted plant is a great idea, you could do one per table or smaller pots for every guest, in groupings to create one centerpiece. But there are other ecofriendly centerpieces: biodegradable containers, organically grown flowers, or locally grown flowers. A lot of being ecofriendly is using local product to cut down on trucking. A lot of live plants are trucked from California to Washington, so that's not as ecofriendly as using something local.
Washington, DC
Thank you for taking questions. My wedding is this August in DC. My colors are various shades of purple (preferably the darker tones). I am a little budget conscious and heard that the following combination of flowers would be easier on my wallet: Black Calla Lilly, White Nerine and Black Vanda orchid. Is this true and will these flowers be in season in the month of August? Additionally, it was suggested to me that I should throw in a contrasting color such as yellow. Any suggestions on an affordable yellow flower that would work well with this combination?
I don't think you need to throw in a contrasting color. Arrangements of purple are beautiful. Stick to your guns. The flowers you mentioned, though, are not budget conscious flowers. Budget conscious flowers for August would be purple dahlias and purple hydrangea and lavender roses. The purple callas you mentioned would probably not be too expensive, but vandas are usually pretty up there. You could also try incorporating some beautiful dark, shiny green leaves, but definitely stick with the purple. It'll look great.
Arlington, VA
I'm having a wedding at a venue with a garden and beautiful landscaping. I don't think that I need floral arrangements for the ceremony since I'll be getting married in the garden. But, I do think that I need the following floral arrangements – bouquets for bridal party, corsages, and table arrangements. Can you think of anything that I've missed? Thanks for taking my question!
You'll need placecard table arrangements if you're doing assigned seating. This also acts as a major focal point for the entrance to your reception. Putting flowers in the powder rooms are always a nice accent. And even if you're getting married in a garden, it might be nice to do a floral focalpoint. For example, a large garden urn filled with flowers.
washington DC
Thanks for taking questions. I saw in a magazine a picture of a centerpiece which consisted of a clear tall vase full of oranges, topped with a shrub made of what appear to be thick wooden branches; from the braches the bride had hung ribbons in orange. I am looking to implement a similar design. Do you have any idea what plant or wooden fixture would work to top a glass vase? I thought about using long wooden sticks, but the design does not allow the ribbons to hang as well as a rounded fixture.
I think what you saw in the magazine is manzanilla branch, which we're seeing a lot these days. But watch out, they're pretty expensive. I would suggest finding a florist that already has them in inventory and then you're paying a minimal rental fee. 
Alexandria, VA
We are not using a wedding planner and we are getting married in early Sept 2008. What flowers are in season at that time that are pretty and budget-priced for the bouquets and for decorating the church? How would you recommending decorating the church if we are on a tight budget?
September is all about hydrangea, roses, and dahlias. They create the most impact on a budget. For the church, do two altar arrangements and the first few pews to mark for family. You're only in the church 45 minutes.
Evanston, IL
I want to have a sailor wedding. Can you make a flower arrangement/centerpiece that looks like a sailor hat made of daisies or another white flower?
I think a good way to go would be to create something that uses nautical elements like driftwood, lots of candles, sand, shells, and grasses. One of our greatest parties on the Eastern shore incorporated all of these elements. Anything can be made out of flowers, just a few days ago we did a dog made out of flowers for a client's birthday party. But that can get costly. If you want to incorporate sailor hats, maybe do it for the cake or for the placecards as a whimsical focal point. But a nautical wedding would be great.
Washington, DC
I want to incorporate flowers into my table centerpieces, but I don't want them to be too tall. Do you have any ideas for squat centerpieces that aren't floating roses (too done) or mini bouquets (too simple)? Thanks!
You could do a collection of different height candles, either pillar or floating. (Beware of your fire codes.) Then, you could intersperse flower blossoms or even petals around the candles. This is a clean and dramatic ambiance.
Arlington, VA
I just got engaged so I haven't planned a color scheme or anything yet but I'm most worried about the flowers since we won't have a ton to spend on our wedding. What flowers do you recommend to get the most bang for your buck?
Roses. Not to be funny, but carnations. Carnations come in a wide range of colors and are absolutely beautiful when they're arranged in mass amounts. They've become very high fashion. 
An earlier wedding chat here said, I believe, that doing your own flowers is a really big mistake. But it's so expensive! Are you sure I can't do them myself? How can we save money on this part?
Doing your own flowers is a big added stress. You need to think about your wedding day and focus on relaxing and enjoying the moment. Flowers need to be designed the day of the wedding or the evening before, and you could find yourself doing them by yourself, unfortunately. Having a realistic understanding of your budget will allow your florist to give you suggestions about what works for you. If you really want to do it yourself, maybe think about potted plants. You could purchase those three or four days before the wedding, and you could even give them as a lasting favor.
Washington, DC
I am doing a black-and-white wedding. I can't decide whether I want to do black and white flowers (I've seen it done and it's sooo elegant), or add a splash of color by doing really bright blooms. What do you think?
First of all, there are no black flowers. It would be a dark, dark purple, like eggplant color. The black and white is very dramatic, but the splash of color really gives it that spark and creates a lot of drama. Try hot pink or chartreuse. Orchids, roses, antheriums, vibernum, bells of Ireland all come in this happy green color. For hot pink, try roses or carnations. A black and white wedding is already an edgy look, and the carnations really add to that. Anybody can do roses, but carnations in voluminous amounts are hot.
Alexandria, VA
I'm planning an October wedding. Do you have any ideas about how to add a little fall touch to the centerpieces? Like, maybe something incorporating flowers and pinecones??
Fall weddings are all about texture. Incorporate flowers, fruit, berries, and assorted foliages. You can also think about the container that the flowers are arranged in. Rustic baskets, terra cotta, or bark-lined containers all say fall. Pinecones tend to lean more towards a winter wedding. Using rich colors works. Fall is about burgundy, wine, champagne and apricot, as well as shades of orange and brown.
Washington, DC
This is sort of cliche, but my wedding is going to be very pink. What are your favorite pink flowers? I don't think I want roses…
It depends on the time of the year. In the spring, flowering quince and cherry blossom, tulips, and peonies. In the summer, hydrangea, cosmos, zinnias. In the fall, dahlias, coxcomb, antiqued hydrangea. And in winter, amaryllis, cyclamen, and pink calla lilies. A lot of these flowers are available year round, but can be challenging to acquire in off season.
Washington, DC
I know roses are classic, but is there anything I can do with them to make them look more trendy? Thanks!
Of course you can. That's all subject to container and the way they are presented. You can do rose balls, which are basically globes made out of roses. Try doing them asymmetrically positioned. Single short roses in glass tubes suspended over the tables creates a contemporary art installation atmosphere. Roses are also very budget friendly.
Boston, MA
The table centerpieces for the reception are going to be the end of me. The wedding colors will be champagne and dark pink. I'd like the centerpieces to be short so guests can socialize, but I still want them to be memorable. Any suggestions for flowers, vases etc.?
Champagne and dark pink are beautiful colors for a wedding. I would suggest doing beautiful champagne linens and pink flowers. Then, you need to decide whether you want a contemporary or traditional look. I think working with one color will be easier to create a look rather than incorporating both colors into the centerpiece. If you're having trouble deciding, simple and classic is always a good decision. It's timeless. Example: Clear glass bowls filled with different shades of pink tulips.
Boston, MA
I'm going to be having a casual wedding at my parents' house in their backyard in July. What are some flowers that we can plant in already-existing gardens, as well as potted ones? When should we start planting?
Go for a specific color or go for a specific flower to create impact. You need to think about whether the garden is in full sun or shade. For full sun, try an annual like petunias or salvias or annual vinca or zinnias. These flowers come in a wide range of colors. For shade, try begonias, impatiens, or foliage plants like hostas or ferns. Then you don't have to worry about them being in bloom on the day of and they're still pretty. Try planting in May so they have time to grow. And remember to fertilize and water! They won't grow on their own.
Arlington, Virginia
My fiancee is driving me crazy with so much of our wedding planning! She wants me to be involved, which I am fine with, but there is so much talk between roses and lilies and so on, that I just don't have a clue what she is talking about. Do you have any suggestions on flowers that would make me seem like I at least care about planning the wedding (which I do, but I just have no idea where to start!)?
Would you like to come intern with us for a day? But seriously, I would suggest you become involved in aspects of the wedding that may interest you more or that you  may know more about, like food or wine or music. You can take that task off of her hands and let her focus on the flowers. Every aspect of the wedding does not need to be planned hand in hand. Good luck!