The Perfect Flowers

table settingFlowers are the jewels of a wedding—beautiful, aromatic accessories that visually enhance your celebration. Just as you dress up your jewellery for a night on the town or a special occasion, so too, you choose your bridal bouquets and matching floral arrangements based on the formality and style of your wedding.

Experts, such as Greg Brown, owner of Atlanta-based floral design studio Foxgloves & Ivy, recommend allotting 12% to 15% of your wedding budget to flowers. “On average, the price range is usually between $2,500 and $4,000,” says Brown. However, there are several factors that contribute to the amount of money you will spend. First and foremost is determining how important flowers are to you and to your budget. “You can spend less during the day since you will have more natural light and day weddings tend to be less formal in scale and size,” Brown says. For an outdoor beach wedding, for instance, floral arrangements at the ceremony can be kept to a minimum in favour of splurging on floral decorations at the reception, since, as Brown points out, that is where the majority of the celebration takes place.

Another money-saving tip is to give priority to the bride’s bouquet and other bridal party flowers since these will appear in photographs, and use larger blossom flowers, which require using less stems, for ceremony and reception decorations. Brown suggests grouping these larger blossom flowers together in ornamental vases for use as table centerpieces.

Another factor to consider when choosing flowers is weather. The Caribbean grows a wonderful array of fresh flowers and greenery such as hibiscus, anthurium and heliconia—traditional wedding favorites. In addition to these, the islands offer stephanotis, ginger lilies, roses and orchids, among others. For an outdoor wedding, Brown advises against using hydrangea, dahlias and roses because they wilt easily in heat. Instead, try orchids, ginger lilies, protea and anthurium. Indoor locations with air conditioning afford you with more possibilities, but also it is important to remember that you have the option of shipping flowers to the Caribbean from the U.S.

While shipping flowers to your destination wedding will increase your floral budget, this opportunity allows you the flexibility to access almost any flower you desire. Whichever you decide, Brown suggests using seasonal blooms of a particular colour palette rather than specific flowers: “This allows the designer to work with flowers in season that look best at the time of your wedding. And also, allows for floral substitutions when needed, without altering the overall look and feel of the wedding.”

Once you determine the amount of money you plan to spend on flowers, speak to local professionals to determine which blooms will be available on your wedding day. Keep in mind there are many ways to dress up your event without breaking the bank. Hetty Atkinson, a leading regional florist, proposes incorporating beach artifacts such as seashells, sea fans, and sea grape leaves and berries to add a unique, colourful touch that will save you money.

Flowers light up every wedding simply through their colour and design. But, there is no magic number of bouquets or floral arrangements you should have. Whether you plan to spend thousands on your flowers or hundreds, the range of decorative possibilities is endless. Be creative and let your flowers and decorations reflect your personal style as they shape the ambiance of your special day.

Greg’s Top 5 Tips

1. Before you hire a florist, get referrals from other vendors, family members and friends.

2. Arrive at your floral meeting prepared. Know the color scheme you have in mind, including dress colousrs, and the details of the ceremony/reception locations.

3. When available, bring pictures! Clip out pictures of flowers and design styles that you like.

4. Consider the season in which you will marry to determine which flowers are blooming and what the weather will likely be on your special day.

5. Be realistic about your budget and expectations. Be open to suggestions and guidance from your floral professional. Remember, they do this for a living and their ultimate goal is to give you what you want.