News & Politics

Ask the Experts: The Florists

Rick Davis and Christopher Velasquez, Amaryllis

This article is from the 2009 edition of Bride & Groom. For more wedding content, head here

Can you offer any creative alternatives to floral arrangements on the table at a reception?

As a rule, something interesting and attractive should always be a part of your guest tables. But some of our most successful tables have had non-floral arrangements. Groupings of pillar or floating candles are charming, as are compote bowls full of seasonal fruits, laurel trees with suspended votives, candelabras covered in moss—even goldfish swimming in clear glass containers! But don’t be fooled: non-floral items can become very costly.

Which flowers get the most bang for the buck?

Carnations. They come in a wide range of colors and are absolutely beautiful when they’re arranged in masses. Pack them very tight and they’re very fashionable.

What’s the best way to prepare for your first meeting with the florist?

Have your location, date, and a general sense of the color palette and concept ready.

How about some nontraditional things you can put in a bouquet.

We’ve put bird’s nests, feathers, fur, seashells, fruits, and heirloom jewels in there. Those quirky things can add an unexpected and personal touch.

What are some ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly?

Use the flowers that are in season when you get married. Ask your florist what is available locally. Local farms can offer limited but beautiful flowers that are fresher and friendlier to the environment. Imported flowers leave an alarming carbon footprint. Also, avoid using floral foam if possible; use glass containers that can be recycled instead.

A lot of brides consider doing the flowers themselves to save money. Any suggestions?

Doing your own flowers is just added stress you don’t need. If you asked a bride if she wanted to cater the wedding herself, she’d probably say no. Have a realistic understanding of your budget and have your florist make suggestions that stay within it. 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 could give them away as wedding favors.

Roses are classic, but can be a bit expected. Any suggestions on how to create a trendier look?

You can do rose balls, which are basically globes made out of roses. Try positioning them asymmetrically. Single short roses in glass tubes suspended over a table—that creates a contemporary, art-installation atmosphere. Roses are also very budget-friendly.