Floral design can be a bit daunting, and it’s a big project to tackle all by yourself. While there are plenty of resources to help guide you, it can sometimes be helpful to acknowledge the mistakes commonly made by couples to prevent any potential disasters.
“At the end of the day, all you’re going to have are your photos,” says Katie Watkins, founder and creative director at Blooms and Twine Floral Design. For this reason, she says, it’s important to be thoughtful and do your research, whether you choose to work with a professional floral designer or decide on DIY wedding flowers.
Watkins says this idea of mixing a little DIY design with a little professional floral design is one of the more recent issues she’s experienced with couples she’s worked with. Though it picking your own wedding flowers or bouquets may seem like an appealing way to save money, or a fun project to do with your bridesmaids, people often underestimate the amount of work that professionals spend on each wedding, she says, from building relationships with growers to making sure that flowers are picked in season. For this reason, it’s best to commit to either DIY-ing wedding flowers or finding a professional early on, instead of trying to supplement one with the other.
“I caution against doing it 50-50,” she says. “It’s really hard to maintain quality and consistency at a wedding, especially for someone without experience.”
In many aspects of weddings, we like to think that less is more, but fresh flowers are definitely an exception. Unless you’re forgoing florals altogether (books and candles make beautiful table arrangements, after all), consider ordering 10 to 20 percent more than you think you need.
Maybe you didn’t think to add a floral arrangement to your guest book table. Or, maybe your mother-in-law decided at the last-minute that she’d love a bouquet, too. These are the things you can’t always anticipate, which is why it’s best to be on the safe side. Plus, flowers rarely go to waste, as they can be repurposed in so many creative ways.
Another common mistake that Watkins sees from a lot of couples is getting set on a specific flower or type of greenery. Because of seasonality and dealing with the unexpected (such as floods, pandemics, and other disasters), it’s best to keep your options open and work with your wedding florist to find alternatives that you like. The same idea applies to very specific colors, as florists and farmers are limited to only what’s available at the time.
“It’s really hard to break it to somebody that the thing they wanted isn’t an option anymore,” Watkins says. “If you get so attached to one specific look that not having that look is going to ruin your wedding, that’s just setting you up for a bad time.”
Certain fresh flowers best serve specific purposes when it comes to weddings, while some should be avoided altogether. For example, while a tulip or hydrangea flower arrangement might be beautiful, these blooms don’t last long out of water, which usually makes them a poor choice for bouquets.
It’s also very important to consider what types of flowers you’re using for your centerpieces, so that they don’t overwhelm your guests’ senses. Lilies and lavender may be beautiful and fit your wedding’s aesthetic, but their distinct fragrance will likely detract from the lovely dinner being served. Instead, consider using them in the bridesmaids bouquets or aisle arrangements.
Though it does work on occasion, Watkins suggests against planning to use bridal or bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces. If you’re having an outdoor wedding in the middle of July and taking lots of photos, she says it’s nearly impossible for the flowers to stay fresh the whole day.
“If your centerpiece is dead before it makes it to the table, that’s something guests will remember,” she says. “Make sure that your pieces that are going to be in focal areas are fresh and beautiful.”
If you’re set on repurposing (which is highly encouraged), instead consider using the bouquets for bar tables, bathrooms, and other places that could use a small dose of elegance, or may otherwise be overlooked.
You might have lists upon lists of floral inspiration on Pinterest, but if you’re getting married in a garden setting or at a National Park, an abundance of flowers may only distract from the natural beauty of the location itself. Large flower arrangements for wedding tables, and dramatic, floral backdrops may be stunning in a hotel or industrial loft, but they might feel a bit overwhelming (and even out-of-place) in some outdoor wedding spaces.
Just make sure that you’re working with the design of your wedding venue and not against it. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your mind if it makes sense and helps with the overall aesthetic!
It’s really important not to get too caught up in the details when it comes to floral design. Whether you’re working with a professional or DIY-ing it, the details of a single table arrangement aren’t going to matter as much in the grand scheme of things, so make sure you spend your time wisely. It’s more important that the overall floral arrangement looks cohesive than that each table arrangement looks identical.