The Nose Knows
You want to know a secret? I suck at flowers. When I began producing special events in 1996, I didn’t know much about flowers. I could only identify mums, carnations, roses and a few other standard blooms and was ignorant regarding how to properly arrange them. And when I buy flowers for around the house, I tend to turn my mixed bouquets into multiple monochromatic arrangements because I don’t trust my ability to mix and match colors and textures. When I was an event producer, I wouldn’t dare take on the task of creating flower arrangements for my clients unless it was the simplest of events. I always left that task to the pros. For important events like a wedding, I’m a firm believer in letting seasoned experts do the job they do to minimize headaches.
A New Breed of Florist
Five years ago I met one of those pros at a networking event for eco-conscious businesses. It was Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. I was immediately impressed because Ellen sources all of her flowers within 100 miles of her studio in Baltimore. None flew on an airplane as is the norm in the flower industry. This philosophy not only enables Local Color Flowers to support the local economy, but carbon emissions are greatly reduced from the limited transportation. Even better, none of the flowers are chemically preserved.
But there is more. Ellen and her team compost all natural refuse in order to grow more flowers because their design work can result in up to 20 pounds of discarded leaves, stems, branches and more per event! Local Color Flowers also likes to use containers that have had previous uses such as milk, wine or apothecary bottles. And they don’t use floral foam. Visit Local Color Flowers’ web site to read more about their green business practices.
A Guide to Local and Seasonal
Because Local Color Flowers only sources flowers within 100 miles of their studio, that means they use flowers that are in season to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. If you have no idea what flowers will be in season for your June wedding or October fundraiser, just visit LoCoFlo’s web site that outlines what is available by month.
So what did I use for my June wedding? Read on! And you’ll find my tips for using flowers at a wedding or event at the end of this article.
Flowers Trump Veil
When I first tried on wedding gowns, I didn’t really feel like a bride until my friend Kieta adorned my hair with a veil. Now that made me feel like a bride! So I planned on wearing a veil, until I selected my gown. A veil would have been a bit much because my gown featured an off-the-shoulder lacy adornment that resembled a veil. So I opted for flowers in my hair. And I’m glad I did. It was much more me. But I had no idea what flower was going in my hair until Ellen showed up at my hotel room with a few options. We agreed on a white dahlia.
My attendants Lori and Fern weren’t too sold on having flowers in their hair. Perhaps they felt they would resemble 1970’ flower children (even though we were children in the 1970s…). But Ashley Riddle from Up Do’s for I Do’s expertly placed some bachelor buttons in their hair and all apprehension diminished.
Blooms to Carry or Wear
Since I was wearing white, I wanted to carry a bouquet that was chock full of color! Not only did my bouquet look gorgeous it smelled awesome thanks to mountain mint and spearmint leaves. All together, my bouquet contained:
- pink peonies
- sweet peas
- sweet william
- mountain mint
- poppy pods
Fern and Lori’s attendant bouquets were very similar.
Boutonnieres and corsages were made of flowers you might not normally think of for this purpose. Check out the photos below along with the key to see what we did.
- Boutonniere 1 – sweet william, calendula and a little money plant
- Boutonniere 2 – yarrow, statice, thistle, and a smidge of oakleaf hydrangea
- Corsage 1 – yarrow, statice, and a dahlia with no petals
- Corsage 2 – sweet william, bearded wheat and a leaf from oakleaf hydrangea
- Corsage 3 – nigella bud, poppy pod, and another smidge of oakleaf hydrangea
Of course, Dolly the Dog, who was brought in for a whopping 20 minutes for family photos and then taken back home, had her own lei of flowers to add to the festive atmosphere of the day. To get full use out of it, I had her wear the lei again the following day for her walks around the block!
Props for the Celebration
When guests entered the venue, escort cards were on display along with a gorgeous, tall arrangement that made a statement. It included peonies, bells of Ireland, bachelor buttons, snapdragons, safflower and curly willow. Two smaller versions of this arrangement were used for altar arrangements during the ceremony. Later, the two altar arrangements were given double duty when they were moved to the two outer corners of the stage for our DJ/Band.
For the cocktail reception, we had simple vases of fuchsia peonies atop high cocktail tables that were adorned in elegant linens. The dinner reception featured a trio of arrangements on each guest table: peonies, bachelor buttons and bells of Ireland (fuchsia, blue and green, the 3 featured colors of the day). In lieu of a guest gift, we told guests that they were welcome to take home an arrangement as our thank you for attending the wedding. Also on the dinner table at each guest setting was a folded napkin with a sprig of rosemary that smelled awesome!
Remember, when planning your wedding or other event, you can stay local and still have stunning flowers!
Tips for Wedding and Event Flowers
- Use a professional florist. It will save you time and headaches.
- Ask your florist from where he/she sources flowers. Support a pro who sources local, seasonal flowers and engages in other earth-friendly practices like composting flower waste, avoiding the use of toxic products and elements that won’t easily biodegrade.
- Use containers and vessels that have had a previous purpose. If you don’t have any, visit a yard sale, thrift or antique store or see what your florist has available.
- Have an end plan for every single flower arrangement you have. Distribute to guests after the party concludes, donate to a nursing home or give them to a non-profit that may be holding an event the next day.
All images on this page by balance photography.
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