FORWARD BY KATE FAORO WRIGHT
I think there is a language of living things that many people can feel, but that is hard to describe. Just like humans, flowers have a life cycle of bud, blossom, and wilt. Their parallel journey and ephemeral beauty serves as a reminder that, unless you slow down and take the time, much of the beauty found in everyday life will pass you by. This transient element of living things is a reminder to slow down and recognize the bounty that exists in life itself, and much of that bounty is found through love.
As a bride myself, flowers were the last thing on my radar. They were in the “wouldn’t it be nice” category and not something that I had thought about budgeting for. I found my venue, my photographer, my catering team, and my dress. The major pieces had fallen into place. And then my mother-in-law turned to me and asked, “What are your thoughts about flowers?” That question felt so much harder than it needed to, and looking back on it, I laugh. I processed an internal dialogue that went along the lines of, “Flowers would be amazing, but they’re just going to die. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on something that isn’t going to last that long, that can only be appreciated for a day.” And I laugh today because that’s exactly what a wedding celebration is — a fleeting moment in time made special for a single day to celebrate two people committing to a lifetime and legacy of love. Why would flowers be any different?
My mother-in-law kindly suggested we go talk to a florist just to check it out. I thank her for both her kindness and her wisdom in making that call. She probably felt my hesitation to incur any further costs on what was already adding up to a valuable but more-than-budgeted event. When we arrived, we went over my Pinterest board and realized I had a vision beyond what I had previously acknowledged. My venue was outdoors, which did a lot of the adventure vibe and setting for us, but there were certainly pieces we could add that would make the ceremony a little extra special. And it was my mother-in-law’s gift to me. To this day, I am so very thankful.
If you meet me now, you’d know that I love the language of flowers, of living things, and am convinced that I will be a florist in my next life. Keeping plants in your home can improve your quality of life if you take the time to get in tune with them and learn how they like to be nurtured. In the same vein, florals have the ability to drastically transform an event space. As a planner, I advise couples to think about where they are going to experience and appreciate an injection of life the most. If it’s an installation at the ceremony or in a major gathering area, then no, you don’t have to spend money on centerpieces. What I am focused on is making sure that your investments look and feel valuable on that day, including what you spend on bringing life into your space. Some couples feel the most value in wearables like a bouquet, boutonniere, flower crown, bracelet, or hairpins. Other couples feel value in making a floral statement with installations and hanging objects.
Whether you plan to hire a florist or do it yourself, there are some questions that commonly crop up when I consult with my clients. So I thought I’d collaborate with an expert to bring you some answers! We want you to feel that you have an understanding of the value of your dollar, education around the real cost of living things, and can make decisions in this area from an informed point of view. We want your floral plan to feel chosen and make it feel like an easy “Yes!” to bring life into your celebration. So whether your route is to partner with a professional or dive into the world of DIY, we hope this information helps you determine which is your camp so that you can author your floral game plan.
— Kate, Creative Director of Tapestry Event Co.
It seems pertinent to start with the first question I ask in consultations: What is the feeling you hope to provoke, in your guests and yourself, on your wedding day? What subconscious chord do you hope to strike? Throughout the process of planning my own wedding, this question was central to every decision made. I knew I wanted to step back at some point in the evening and look out over all my friends and family, sharing a meal, feeling romanced in the warmth of our celebration; I wanted every moment to feel like nostalgia. I have always believed that whatever is worth saying can be said with flowers, that whatever is worth remembering can be created with blooms. Flowers remind us of how beautiful the world can be; they ground us in the ephemerality of a specific time and place.
The greatest gift from a professional florist to you is the ability to take what’s in your head, or scattered through your Pinterest boards, and turn it into a cohesive and beautiful reality, tailored to the feelings and aesthetics that are important to you. It’s true that a flower on its own is a beautiful thing, and can create and add to an ambiance, but a florist’s expertise lies in their ability to take a dream of multiples from a vision to a reality. This expertise, in all its forms, is what determines the ticket price of a professional florist. I recognize, as with any luxury item included in wedding planning, that florals add value to your day and that ticket price may be inaccessible to some. Many couples do opt for DIY decor and florals, and I have seen some incredibly beautiful and creative events come from Pinterest-savvy couples! The number one thing to keep in mind when choosing where to spend your money for your celebration is that ultimately, your wedding will be perfect if you choose the things that have value to YOU. There is absolutely no one way to do it “right”; there’s only what’s right to you! If you opt for the value in building your own wedding on a budget, I have gathered a few pro-tips for executing a floral-DIY celebration throughout this article (in Pt. 1 and 2).
As with any professional and artistic service, the invisible work is what you are paying for. I have spent years cultivating the basics of floral design, from how to plan and order event flowers, to processing, caring for, and designing those florals, and beyond that, learning how many hours and pairs of hands it will take to execute day-of. These years of experience are my education and my skill set; I consider this my second Bachelor’s degree! From start to finish, I estimate that I spend between twenty to thirty hours behind the scenes on any event, from planning to ordering, preparing my space and team, and finalizing details BEFORE a flower is even touched. These are the hours a professional gives back to you in your planning process, hours that would likely be doubled or tripled without their knowledge. Imagine attempting to learn all of this on your own in preparation for your celebration: What size vase fits on a six-foot round table? What flowers are in season? How many stems to make the centerpiece full? Where to buy that vase? How much product to order, and for what date? How to process and store those flowers? How to make the arrangement itself? If it feels like your florist does things effortlessly, it is only because they have spent years honing their craft.
Often, couples on a strict wedding budget opt for flowers purchased in pre-made bouquets from a market, or consider buying flowers at you-cut flower farms. While a viable option for many, I would urge couples to consider, again, the personal touches offered by a professional florist that may be lost when buying pre-arranged flowers. A florist is likely buying product from a wholesale market, which either gets product straight from local farms or ships them from other states or countries. Flowers found at these markets are going to be of a higher quality and variety than what can be found at a public market or even in a grocery store; they will be fresh, properly stored and cared for, and of a large variety. You are more likely to find your favorite flowers through these markets and your professional florist — from peonies and ranunculuses to garden roses and orchids, each with their own care needs. You will be able to curate a palette and style much more easily with your florist than through a public market.
For some couples, simple and understated flowers in a vase are all that is needed; maybe this couple is getting married outdoors and doesn’t need a lush arch or arbor. Perhaps they don’t have favorite flowers and are more than happy with grocery-store or public market offerings of pre-made bouquets. Most weddings don’t fall into this category, however. Hiring a professional florist opens your wedding to so many personal possibilities, like lush installations, unique centerpieces, and dreamy bouquets. You will have more input on what flowers you do and don’t love, which will make the most impact, and your florist can play around with your style and that feeling you want to capture. Florists also come with an entire inventory of curated, unique, and varying accessories like vases, votives, and candle holders for rent that allow couples the freedom to invest in their day without stockpiling those items they may only use once.
— Angelene Little, Villanelle Floral
If you are interested in learning more about the work process and value of a florist, as well as more tips for couples going the DIY route, make sure you read Why Hire A Florist Pt. 2!