Are you one of the hundreds (probably more like thousands) of brides getting married on a farm? Maybe you’ve picked out your wedding venue, but you want to make it look completely different? Between the weddings being planned in open spaces like barns, estates and museums, and those being planned in spaces that are blank slates, how to transform your wedding venue is trickier than you might think.
As a wedding planner, I specialize in creative weddings and open spaces. In this blog, I’m sharing some wedding planning advice that we give our couples and busting some myths about these types of weddings too. So, if you want to know not just how to transform your wedding venue, but everything you haven’t thoughts about yet, read on!
Let’s get one thing out of the way, and that’s the biggest myth about planning a wedding where you get to bring everything in:
You will not save money this way.
I can’t tell you how many brides call me up and tell me they want to get married on a farm “because it’s cheaper”. First of all, no it’s not. Second of all, farms and open spaces in general aren’t right for everyone and shouldn’t be selected because they are the alleged cheaper option.
While we’re on the subject, “wildflowers” aren’t really a thing and using them isn’t one of the ways you can keep wedding costs down.
The Wide Open Spaces
When I say “open space”, I am including any type of wedding venue where you’re basically building the entire thing from the ground up. Literally. This includes the following: private homes, farms, barns, wineries, and museums. Basically, all non-traditional spaces that will allow you to have a truly unique wedding design because you’re picking everything.
I’m not really sure who started the rumor that farm and barn weddings are less expensive than having a wedding in say a banquet hall or other established wedding venue. It doesn’t make any sense if you think about it. Consider a banquet hall the all-inclusive spring break vacation and a farm wedding as that ala carte trip to Europe. The banquet hall is including a whole lot more in that “per person” cost than an open space wedding venue is. Let’s break it down…
You’ve Got Nothing and Everything Costs Something
When you go to a banquet hall style wedding venue, these things are generally included:
Versus the non-traditional spaces that generally include:
See the difference?
I’m not asking that question to be a jerk either. It’s just mind-blowing to me how anyone could possibly think that a non-traditional space like a farm would be a great way to cut wedding costs. I promise you that a farm wedding or any other open space will be more expensive than most banquet hall style wedding venues.
If you believe me and you’re still all about the non-banquet hall wedding, then keep on reading. If I just ruined your day, well…thanks for stopping by.
Banquet Halls for the Basic Bride
My company does not specialize in banquet hall weddings. Crystal and marble just isn’t my style and so we generally work with couples looking for “something different”. That’s not to say we don’t plan our fair share of weddings in spaces with everything included, but when we do, we’re generally transforming the entire venue. There will be more on that later in this blog.
One of the best things about selecting a creative space for your wedding venue is the option to pick your own caterer. Established wedding venues will already have an in-house caterer/kitchen and sometimes that can limit your food selection. Foodies would do best to get married in an open space that allows them to bring in the caterer of their choice. This also means not having to commit to a caterer until after a tasting, which is never going to happen in a banquet hall style wedding venue.
The catch? Well, there are a few…
Depending on your location, you will have to follow local liquor laws, and each caterer has their own policies as well. Bringing in your own alcohol is a great way to keep wedding costs down, so take that option if you can. Other scenarios include having the caterer bring in the liquor or having a completely separate liquor vendor and then dealing with hiring barstaff that is legally allowed to pour alcohol.
Meanwhile, if at this point you’re not convinced that hiring a wedding planner for this type of wedding is a necessity, you might be crazy. Anyway…
Besides the liquor law nonsense that changes from state to state, your menu could be partially dictated by the venue you select. I planned a wedding industry event at an industrial warehouse once and we needed to bring in an outside caterer. They had a kitchen onsite but it was Glatt Kosher. If you don’t know what that means, it’s basically super strict Kosher and if you’re not following their rules (which you’re probably not if you don’t even know what Glatt means) you can’t use their kitchen. So, my caterer could not use their working kitchen, which meant they had to set up their own kitchen, outside, right down to the ovens and running water.
Creative venue spaces frequently have restrictive or smaller kitchens, or you won’t even be able to use them. Other times, the venue might have rules that directly affect the catering team. For instance, one farm that I work at a lot doesn’t allow smokers or water to be dumped anywhere. This farm is the perfect setting for a pig roast, but you’re not allowed to do it, and not being able to use water in particular ways is inconvenient for caterers. The more you inconvenience a wedding vendor, the higher your cost will be.
Does the freedom to choose your own caterer, build your own menu and have unique options for your guests outweigh everything else you’ll be dealing with? I’m treating this blog as a weeding out process, so if you haven’t run away screaming yet, let’s keep going…
A big plus to having an open space as your wedding venue is being able to get creative with more than just flowers. If you’re not down with all that food and beverage drama I laid out above, don’t worry, you can get this creative in an established venue too.
When planning a wedding in your backyard or on a farm, you’re going to need basics including tables, chairs, linens, and serveware. Many times, the catering company will be able to handle these rentals and keep them under your “per person” cost. If you’re in an established wedding venue that already provides these things, you’ll probably be able to rent different items instead. Before committing to a venue, however, make sure that you are allowed to do that.
Caterers that provide these basics are typically going to have the basics of these basics. That means round tables, chiavari or other standard style chairs, and white and/or ivory linens. Things like farmhouse and rectangle tables, different color linens, charger plates and funky wine glasses…pretty much everything you see on Pinterest, fall outside of the “basics”. Work with your caterer to find out exactly what they provide so you know what you would be responsible for.
Another thing to consider when securing rentals: set up. Specifically, you’ll need to know whom is going to handle the rentals when they are delivered to the venue and then whom is setting them up and breaking them down. You’re probably wondering who usually handles this and the answer is that it varies. Some rental companies we work with will bring in tables and chairs and place them for us, whereas other companies drop them off at the front door and bounce. If you don’t want to show up to your wedding to see 250 chairs stacked in piles, put together a plan and discuss how everything is being set up and broken down.
Design elements are a great way to transform a venue whether it’s a museum or a banquet hall space. It’s not just about what’s on the table, but in the corners and on the ceiling and basically everywhere. The vibe of a wedding should extend past the reception room. You can transform any venue by creating a unique entrance space or changing up the chandeliers.
Ceiling treatments are perfect for tented weddings, and tents are perfect for a lot of these non-traditional spaces. Fun fact: a lot of the barns available for weddings are small and max out at 150 guests. It’s because they were built to be a barn, not a wedding venue. Because of this, many of the barn weddings we plan at include bringing in a tent for the reception. We’ve also tented backyard weddings and weddings at arboretums, as well as other places where a roof isn’t included in the package.
Whether you’re using a tent or an actual ceiling, you can transform the space using flowers, lighting and draping. Flowers can be used with existing lighting fixtures, or even as a perimeter design. You can get creative with lighting by renting chandeliers to totally change up the feeling of the space, or use a wall wash color to pull together the entire design.
Draping is another way to transform any space and you’re not limited to just the ceiling. One bride we worked with absolutely hated her venue because everyone else had gotten married there or been in the space a hundred times before. We got permission to drape the entire space, including the walls, making the venue look completely different than it ever had before.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, flowers and ceiling installations aren’t what anyone would consider “affordable”. If you truly want to transform your venue though, those are the best ways to do it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not any more affordable to work with a blank space than it is to transform a venue…but I warned you guys about that in the beginning.
To Transform or Not to Transform?
Did you make it to the end of the blog? If so, thanks for sticking around. Still planning on transforming your wedding venue? Or are you getting married at an open space venue where you’ll be bringing everything in?
What advice do you have for other brides and grooms? Was there anything in this blog that you hadn’t considered before? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave them in the comments section below.
And if you are looking for help to transform your wedding venue or design a non-traditional space, contact us right now and let’s chat!
Well, well, well…in a (not so) interesting turn of events, Style Me Pretty won’t be shutting down this weekend. A massive representation of the online wedding industry and a leader in the rustic chic style has been “saved”. Fair warning, I’m going to use more “air quotes” and italic font than you can possibly imagine. See what I did there?
If you’re not familiar with the whole story, I highly suggest reading my earlier blog on this subject. Otherwise, you’re going to be more confused than a bride deciding between table linen colors.
Only days away from “going dark”, Style Me Pretty made the “shocking” announcement on Instagram that the original owners were taking over. So, is this the result of a major corporate company yielding to a petition to save SMP, or just an amateur publicity stunt that relied on the stupidity of the masses?
Shortly after word got out that Style Me Pretty would be wiped off the internet as if it never existed, a petition was created to “save it”. During that time, the closure notices posted on their social media accounts and even on their main website all disappeared.
What did that mean?
Then, the original owner posted on her Instagram account that she was in discussion with the corporation she originally sold the website to, and she had no idea what was going to happen, but she felt positive. Just like the original closure notices, that post has also disappeared.
What did that mean?
And while all of that was going on, those members of the wedding industry that had been published on Style Me Pretty, all scrambled to screenshot their work. Editors from countless other publications dropped their exclusivity rule and began accepting submissions from those that either had been published on SMP or had recently submitted to be published.
What did that mean? Well, that meant a serious amount of time for hundreds affected by the closure announcements.
Just yesterday, a notice appeared on Style Me Pretty’s Instagram page.
It’s a long statement (which, by the way, came as a surprise to absolutely no one) and many people didn’t read the whole thing. Why? Is it because everyone has a short attention span? Is it because there are no details that will matter to anyone at this point since the majority of people have a “girl bye” attitude to what looks like a PR stunt?
This isn’t a laundry list of thank yous ala Oscar speech style either. There’s stuff in here that people should read. So, was the length intentional, much like a contract would be in order to take advantage of that short attention span?
Here are a few things that jumped out to me:
“…the original founders have acquired Style Me Pretty’s assets so that the brand can live on and thrive and become even better than ever….Tait and I are SO excited to reboot this incredible company and build on the work that the team at SMP has already created.”
Implying what? A re-brand of a site that completely changed focus when it was originally sold? Re-branding is an arduous task for any company in any industry, and many times it is considered suicide. This website died when it was sold, but it seems no DNR was ever signed so here we are with those cardiac arrest plates yelling “clear” and hitting the chest of SMP.
“In the short term, we will be self-funding the site, running super lean and we’ll be making as much time to interview brides and industry professionals as possible so that we continue to build a place that vendors want to stand beside and readers want to devour.”
And by running super lean, I’m going to jump to the conclusion that many people are out of a job. Would they have been out of that same job had the closure actually happen? Absolutely. But, this feels just like when the Titanic sank and only one life boat went back to rescue those that went down with the ship. Rose is all “I’ll never let go”, but she ain’t sharing that door she’s floating on either so…
The interviews they reference are perplexing too. The online wedding industry is rapidly changing and what SMP offered is not what engaged couples want anymore. Vendors that advertise on the website don’t book couples with the success they used to. Unless these interviews are with vendors outside the SMP “you can’t sit with us” circle, it’s a total waste of time.
“I believe that any joy felt here should be gifted to this incredible team and not to Tait nor myself. It is bittersweet that we won’t be able to take them along right now as the work that they have done for this company is simply immeasurable.”
Well, no good deed goes unpunished.
The Greatest Show On Earth
It has been said that to write well, you have to write what you know. Well, what do we know?
Was this all a publicity stunt? It’s starting to feel that way, and there is an overwhelming social media response screaming just that. I’ll admit that when I first heard about the closure, that was my initial thought as well. It was one of those rare times when I was hoping to be wrong. But, once again, I’m never wrong. Ask my husband, he’ll tell you.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the expiration date of the domain name. I figured it would be close to the closure date since we had been told the website would vanish from existence. On the contrary, the expiration date was set for 2020. Which could mean a few things:
1. The domain would be held onto until that time, when it would be available for sale.
2. The owners of the domain would auction it off or sell it to the highest bidder before the 2020 date.
3. The website was never going anywhere. At least not until 2020. Which means they already had other plans and transfer of ownership ideas in place.
There are rumors that the corporate owners of SMP did try to sell the domain to other companies, specifically to a competing blog called Ruffled. But is it possible that the original owners were given first rite of refusal and leveraged that to drum up some publicity and see if the buy back would be worth it?
It’s not a total stretch and here’s why:
In my original blog written about the “closure” of SMP, I talked about the evolution of engaged couples. Specifically, how they don’t want anything that SMP has offered. They want authenticity, and let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of authenticity in pictures of a blonde bride and groom standing at the top of a mountain bathing in sunlight while holding a 500 pound bouquet of cascading greenery. The percentage of couples that can relate to that is low.
We know that SMP had millions of monthly page views. But, if those views don’t turn into conversions for the advertisers, then “bye bye” advertisers. I never advertised with them, but I have had a celebrity wedding I planned published on the first page and pushed by their social media team. What do I know? I know I never received a single inquiry from it, yet I received plenty of inquiries from brides that saw those same exact images on my Pinterest page.
How do you get wedding industry members to care about your website again when it has become painfully obvious you’re not attracting their ideal client anymore? A petition with thousands of signatures and a bunch of passion isn’t a bad way to start. Combine that with the panic of “if a website like Style Me Pretty can just close, what does that mean?!” and you’ve got a winning combination. There’s just one problem:
It does not matter at all what the wedding industry and these online wedding magazines and blogs think of themselves. It only matters what the engaged couples think. So, if you have to use a PR stunt to raise brand awareness, is your brand worth being aware of?
As We Stumble Along
The online wedding industry is not the same animal that it was when Style Me Pretty was born. In fact, the entire wedding industry has been in a constant state of evolution. Style Me Pretty represents a niche market, which on some levels can be a good thing. It’s not a good thing, however, when that niche market appeals to roughly 5 people.
Which brings us to the re-branding implications/promises of the former and now once again owners of Style Me Pretty. They are self-funding which I am interpreting to mean no advertising…for now. If there is no vendor book, like the old (way old) original days of SMP, there’s no obligation on their part to publish anything other than what they want to. What do they want to publish?
Their announcement on Instagram was paired with a photograph taken by the photographer who started the SaveSMP hashtag as well as the petition. Before I started writing this blog, I wanted to sift through the comments for two reasons: 1. What was the reaction of industry members and 2. Did any actual engaged couples care to comment?
While there is no shortage of positive comments and heart emojis, there are a fair share of industry members quick to point out the missing diversity and authenticity on Style Me Pretty.
It was a good thing to see Style Me Pretty fade away. It is part of the online wedding industry evolution, and the evolution of the wedding world in general. You can have a niche, sure, but if the niche only resonates with the smallest percentage of engaged couples available, either adapt or close. If the picture they chose to accompany their “J/K we’re actually not pulling the plug” is any indication of their level of commitment to re-brand, then we might see the real death of this website sooner than later.
And since there wasn’t a single comment from a bride or groom regarding the “saving” of SMP, I’m guessing that funeral would be poorly attended.
Engaged couples want authenticity. It doesn’t get much more black and white than that. Why members of the wedding industry threw themselves in front of a building about to be knocked over to save someone else’s brand other than work on their own is not something I can understand. Maybe they’re afraid of change, but if that’s the case, then their in the wrong industry.
We will never know if this whole thing was a weak sauce publicity stunt (it was) and I personally won’t waste my time on anyone else’s brand other than my own. Authenticity is winning, finally. The evolution of the online wedding industry is no longer moving at a glacial pace. It doesn’t matter what Style Me Pretty does next.
Style Me Pretty has been a source of wedding inspiration for 12 years now. Back before wedding websites were a dime a dozen, Style Me Pretty represented a more organic wedding style that would eventually become a trend. Phrases like “rustic chic” and “boho” became popular with a major assist from Style Me Pretty. If you like barn weddings, you’re likely on the wedding website every day.
But with the extinction of Style Me Pretty after April 30, 2018, will we also find out that flower draped alpacas aren’t cool anymore? What does this website take with it once it goes dark later this month? How does this impact the wedding industry?
And is this really a bad thing?
Once upon a time, a girl created a website full of whimsy. Years later, she sold it to a huge corporation for a bunch of money. Turmoil raged through the land, there was a whole bunch of corporate merger madness and the website went up for sale. No one bought the website and the big scary corporation shut it down. The end.
Not exactly the happily ever after ending, if you consider the corporation being the villain. But, are they?
My husband and I were discussing the story this week and he said something that I have heard before: Businesses are made to be sold. While I understand that to be true, at this moment in time, I could never see myself as a person that creates a business just to sell it. Maybe it’s just not how my character works.
Or maybe I’ve just never had a multi-million dollar offer and a chance to make that decision.
But it’s pretty cut and dry, isn’t it? If you sell something, you are giving it up. You don’t have any control over it anymore and in essence you are choosing the money over what you created. That’s not to say you won’t always have some attachment to the business, but if you care about what happens to it, you wouldn’t sell it.
In this particular fairytale, our leading character was repeating history. Prior to Style Me Pretty being born, the creator went from having a part time job at a stationery store to creating her own invitation line…which she then sold. The reason why she sold isn’t hard to find, and she basically talks about the stress and an opportunity landing in her lap in an article you can read right here.
Later in that article, she shares that she received a buy-out offer for Style Me Pretty. But not the offer she would later accept from the corporation that would shut everything down. Instead, it’s an offer that she rejected because, as she states, “what we were doing had more value than we knew.”
Fast forward 8 years, when Style Me Pretty’s continued huge growth leads to a partnership with a corporate company…and eventually the buy-out offer, in May 2017, that would be accepted. Not just accepted, but seen as the “proudest day of her career” according to this interview.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
― Anaïs Nin
The announcement that Style Me Pretty will essentially disappear was bigger breaking wedding news this week than any royal wedding ever will be. Emotions and opinions are really strong, and if I’m being honest, I don’t have mine completely sorted out yet.
My work has been published in Style Me Pretty, and I still remember the joy I felt when that happened. Not all publications or wedding blogs are created equal. Style Me Pretty is a bucket list publication for many, including myself. There’s no denying the high level quality of work displayed, so feeling validated when they decide your work is good enough to be included, is normal.
The problem though, is that those people validating you, aren’t the ones hiring you. Not then and not now.
When Style Me Pretty created a vendor listing, it was invitation only. Yes, you had to pay to advertise, but you weren’t even given the opportunity if your work wasn’t up to their standards. It used to be a big deal to get invited into their “little black book”. If you’re outside the industry, just imagine that for a second: Wedding vendors getting excited that they are good enough to give their money to an advertising platform.
The thought process behind advertising (or not) in any wedding outlet revolves around return of investment. You put your advertising dollars into the platform that speaks to your “ideal” client. Frankly, Style Me Pretty couples are the ideal client for a good amount of wedding vendors. So between the ego validation and the higher chance of getting your portfolio in front of the clients you want to book, many would’ve gladly thrown money to be on this website. And then bragged about it.
So, it should come as no surprise that many are devastated by this news. I understand it on paper, absolutely, but I can’t quite get there emotionally.
It’s weird because, you feel like you’re supposed to be mourning. And you’re sad, but you’re not totally sad. It’s almost like when you go to a repast after a funeral. You just put somebody that you love into the ground and you’re never seeing them again. But now, you’re sitting over one of three pre-selected entrees with other family members talking about the good old days and laughing. You’re thinking how you just said your final goodbyes to someone and how devastated you are, so how can you be talking and laughing?
I remember my first funeral was when I was four years old. I was downstairs during the wake because this funeral home was some weird bi-level unit and wakes are really long and when you’re four you have to stay as long as your mom says you have to stay. Anyway…I’m downstairs with a few family members of mine, and just above my head on the second floor was a dead relative. At four years old you don’t really get the concept of death, but what you do know is that it’s sad and therefore, people will cry.
Yet this entire time I’m standing in the random basement of a funeral home, during a wake, and no one is crying. In fact, they are joking, laughing and telling stories. Meanwhile, all I knew was that someone was dead and you’re supposed to be crying. But you’re not.
That’s me with this whole Style Me Pretty death thing. I’m not crying. But this time, I shouldn’t be. And you shouldn’t be either.
Just like anything else, Style Me Pretty changed as the growth continued. The Style Me Pretty that used to get wedding vendors the bulk of their work, is not the one going dark at the end of the month. That one went dark years ago. That funeral is over.
I say this with the absolute and utmost respect for the website and everyone that has been a part of it: the mourning period is done.
The wedding website that handpicked the vendors that were allowed to pay them to advertise, hasn’t been around for years. When their little black book was selective, you might have found 3 wedding planners in your area when doing a search. But now? There are so many planners listed that you can filter it down to categories like “elopement planners”. Those are just the vendors that are paying to be showcased. I’m not even going to bother figuring out the vendors getting free advertising on their “Vendor Guide” platform, including myself.
Another change? There are roughly 900 other wedding blogs and websites out there now, many with vendor listings. Is Style Me Pretty still one of the best, even after the corporate change? Absolutely. So why should you still not be crying?
Because your ideal client isn’t there anymore. They haven’t been there since AOL got involved and they’ve been cheating on you with social media. You’ve been chasing the ghost of ideal wedding client past.
AOL presents, Style Me Pretty. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I mean, all the sports stadiums and arenas are named after banks and big companies. I’m sure the higher ups at MetLife know how to throw a football right? (That’s a Giants Stadium reference for anyone that missed it).
AOL and its parent company know nothing about the wedding industry and more importantly, they don’t care. Corporations with portfolios so diversified that none of the companies they own have anything in common do not care. Corporations that own similar companies, only care enough to buy and shut down the one making less money in order to cut competition.
Businesses are created to be bought and sold, remember?
The point is, corporate got involved, and it’s not the same anymore. Style Me Pretty grew up when you weren’t looking, and the validation you still need from them, has devalued.
Life Goes On
There are a significant amount of people in the wedding industry involved in a petition to save Style Me Pretty. A petition that is being endorsed by the website’s creator and original owner. Despite the extreme amount of respect I have for both the creator and the website in general, I have to question this move.
And while I firmly believe that unless those signatures are on a stack of cash, that this is a waste of time, I’m going to link it anyway to play fair. Hopefully, if you’re a wedding vendor that wants to rip my head off right now, you can take this as my olive branch of understanding your pain. I am not, in any way, trying to mock or dismiss anyone’s feelings.
This week has brought intense debate of whether or not it will matter to future couples that the vendors they interview for their weddings were once upon a time featured by Style Me Pretty. The answer is “no”. It won’t matter if you were never published on Style Me Pretty or if you were featured every week since day 1.
Look how quickly major and devastating news stories are forgotten. This website shutdown didn’t even trend on Twitter. If Style Me Pretty actually disappears from the internet like the corporate owners have promised, people will stop caring much sooner than you think. The website, the hashtag, and everything else will cease to exist. Hell, this blog probably won’t make sense in what? A year? Less?
But it’s more than the website being erased from the internet. It’s about the growth of the website that didn’t match the evolution of the engaged couples.
There’s nothing on that site that engaged couples are looking for anymore.
Style Me Pretty was Pinterest before Pinterest. Style Me Pretty was the wedding blog before wedding blogs existed. But Pinterest isn’t going anywhere, and new wedding blogs are added every day. The market is extremely saturated, so why on earth would you want to save a website that doesn’t give engaged couples what they are actually looking for?
I said that the funeral for Style Me Pretty was years ago because that’s when their format changed. Marketing in the wedding industry (and I assume others) has also changed since then. But if you’re not changing, if you’re not going through that same growth that Style Me Pretty went through, then your funeral might be next.
Style Me Pretty got it right with the rustic and organic style wedding trend. The reason that trend, that style, hasn’t died is because it can evolve and change. It is a niche that will survive because of it’s ability to adapt.
The lack of authenticity on “Style Me Pretty brought to you by AOL”, is where they went wrong. And it’s that same lack of authenticity that is present on all major wedding blogs and websites, that is unappealing to couples. This entire world is desperate for authenticity and real connections. You know when people are really desperate? When they’re planning their wedding, a celebration where they will announce to those closest to them that they found their soulmate. That’s when authenticity wins.
Go figure, right?
And that’s the trend that matters. It’s not about the alpacas as much as it’s about the authenticity.
It’s growth and it’s painful. No one really likes change and everyone gets annoyed with big corporation take overs. Style Me Pretty grew up, went into a coma, and then Uncle AOL pulled the life support plug. This wasn’t the first wedding blog to go down, and it won’t be the last.
Whether the website is archived or obliterated at the end of the month will not affect your business growth. Wedding vendors no longer need to depend on huge blogs to define who they are. The validation of your work comes from the engaged couples, which is where it should have come from all along. If you’re not authentic, you are irrelevant.
As I write this, the 689th winter storm is quickly approaching the area. It’s the first day of Spring and Mother Nature does not care. Meanwhile, even my three year old is done with the snow. So, to help everybody get ready for Spring (whenever it decides to arrive), I put together 10 Spring wedding ideas that you can steal for your own big day!
10 Spring Wedding Ideas
When you think “Spring Wedding” you probably think of flowers, right?
“Flowers. For Spring. Groundbreaking.” -Devil Wears Prada-
It’s a pretty obvious choice to use flowers as much as possible if you’re having a Spring wedding. But most blogs will tell you to just use peonies or other Spring style flowers and you’ll be set. There’s also the idea to use Spring colors like pinks and blues which will only end up making your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt.
Lighter colors are absolutely the way to go for a Spring wedding, but the answer isn’t just pink and blue centerpieces. There are plenty of color combinations available so you don’t have to feel restricted to pastels. Once you have those colors chosen, you can work with your designer and florist to incorporate them into the decor; particularly the flowers.
1. Use a Floral Touch at Every Place Setting
Give your guests a touch of Spring when they sit down to your reception by placing a flower either on the napkin and menu or charger plate.
If you’re using a charger plate, opt for one with a simple or neutral border, which will allow the floral piece to stand out. For couples offering their guests a meal choice, this is a great way to compliment the menu card as well.
Instead of using a charger plate, or if your venue does not have the dinner plate pre-set on the tables, use a pop of Spring with a colored napkin to act as the backdrop for your floral piece. Can’t decide on what flower to use? Mix it up and have your florist use two different blooms for every other place setting.
2. Flower Girl Power
If you have a flower girl or 4 in your wedding party, it’s super easy to incorporate the Spring trend through their dress and even accessories.
Look for a flower girl dress with a floral pattern or one that can be accessorized with a floral belt. No matter what your colors are, the flower girl wardrobe doesn’t necessarily follow a set of rules and doesn’t have to match everyone else in the wedding party. Don’t be afraid to use a bright pink or purple rose as an accent, even if your colors are white and green.
3. Flower Crowns
Flower crowns are insanely popular right now (even though I used them at my wedding 100 years ago BTW) and the options are endless. Your florist can create this Spring look for your flower girls, which is always something little girls are excited to wear.
Of course, flower crowns aren’t just for flower girls. Bridesmaids are wearing them now and even brides are choosing to wear them over the traditional veils.
4. Go Outside
Truly having a Spring wedding? Take it outside, even if that means just your wedding ceremony.
If you’re not in an area where it “looks” like Spring outside, consider adding touches of flowers. Think beyond the ceremony arch or arbor, and put flowers on banisters and railings. Summer weddings can still have a spring vibe, even if the flowering plants have all turned green. Work with your designer to create a Spring vibe, even if it’s just your ceremony being held outside.
If you are planning on hosting your wedding outside, it’s always important to have a Plan B. For how to prepare for bad weather on your wedding day, be sure to check out our blog on that subject here.
5. Bright Colors
Remember earlier when I said you don’t have to make your wedding look like an Easter egg hunt to get the Spring look? While I’m not going to tell you to use bold colors like emerald green or marsala red, you can and should use bright colors like pinks and yellows.
Spring is all about new life and new beauty, and sometimes nothing is more beautiful than a bouquet of bright flowers. If you’re worried about the colors being too intense, you can tone it down be using paler colors as well.
Another Spring idea for your flowers is to add in fresh greenery to break up the brighter colors. The greenery acts like a base to all of that color, which is perfect if you’re looking for a more modern look.
6. Lace Dresses
I know there are plenty of brides trying to skip right over this one because you hate lace but hear me out. The reason lace is a staple in weddings is because it’s classic and versatile. For some reason, most brides hear the word “lace” and think of their grandmother’s tablecloths. Meanwhile, lace, when done right, gives a soft and romantic look that is perfect for a Spring wedding.
When used with other fabrics, lace is a perfect compliment. Even if the bride isn’t wearing a single piece of lace, the bridesmaids can and there are endless options available that even the biggest lace-hater bride would love. Still not convinced? Check out these gorgeous examples our friends at The Dessy Shop have available.
7. Blue Groomsmen Suits
More and more, grooms and groomsmen are pulling away from black tuxedos. Aside from the black tie formal weddings, my couples are always asking me for other options. This trend is likely to continue as more weddings are being designed outside of the standard banquet hall and in places where a black tuxedo just wouldn’t make sense.
Dressing the groom and groomsmen in blue suits is a great Spring idea for so many reasons. The shades of blue available are endless and even the darkest ones are perfect for Spring. The color is also incredibly formal and can be dressed up (or down) using accessories including shirts, ties and even shoes.
Not sold on the blue color for your formal Spring wedding? We love when our grooms work with our custom tuxedo designer to create the perfect mix of what they’re looking for. If you want to ditch that black tuxedo, but you know mom wants to see you in something more formal, meet halfway and go for the satin details without everything else.
8. Cake Flowers
Yes, we’re back to flowers again!! I am a huge fan of real flowers instead of sugary ones on cakes, but for Spring weddings, this is a must.
There are plenty of ways to add flowers to your wedding cake, making this Spring idea the most versatile on the list. Whether you want to cover the cake in a cascade of roses or simply add a few flowers here and there, we have all the inspiration you need on our wedding cake board right here.
9. Floral Linens
Linens are one of my favorite ways to get creative with wedding decor. Floral linen options can be anything from a flat pattern to a more textured cloth. But no matter the color or colors of the floral pattern linen, this is a great spring idea for any time of the year.
They are also one of the most complicated components, especially when you’re dealing with (at most) a bunch of swatches trying to figure out what works. Since linens can also add up quickly, I always recommend adding linens to a few signature tables such as: cake table, gift/card table, escort card table and the sweetheart table. Since these tables can be different sizes, even using the same linen for all four tables will look different and add dimension to the entire look.
10. Sweetheart Table Floral Explosion
The sweetheart table will be a major focus of the reception for the entire night, even if the bride and groom don’t spend much time actually sitting at it. Many times, the sweetheart table will be overlooked and wind up with little decor or just the bouquets from the bridesmaids. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, there are many brides and grooms that don’t think about this part of the decor until it’s too late.
The sweetheart table is a great way to bring a little Spring into your wedding decor. Since the table is much smaller, it wouldn’t make sense to simply add another centerpiece. Framing the table with florals is basically inviting the wedding guests into a Spring garden anytime they visit with the bride and groom (which is often).
Whether you want to create a lush floral design that drapes to the floor, or frame the table with flowers and candles, you can totally bring a bit of Spring into your wedding by focusing on your sweetheart table!
Are you having a Spring wedding or bringing a bit of the season into your own big day? What are you doing to make that happen? Share your Spring ideas in the comments below for other engaged couples!
Ok, here come the pitchforks and cries about how dare I insult peonies. Look, peonies are great and all, but other wedding flowers exist. Like ranunculus.
Sounds like a sneeze right? Well, it does when some people try to pronounce it.
Anyway… there are other flowers that don’t have a season that’s 4 seconds long like peonies. And it’s time to give some other wedding flowers the spotlight they deserve.
Ranunculus has always been a favorite flower of mine, and if I can convince a bride to use them instead of peonies, I totally will. I like peonies, don’t get my wrong, but so does everyone else. I’m not saying they’re basic but, if they were a person, they would wear Uggs starting September 1st and totally order a pumpkin latte at Starbucks same day.
Ranunculus is a gorgeous wedding flower and comes in a bunch of different colors. They look great in everything from bouquets to centerpieces.
Just like peonies, ranunculus is fluffy and takes up some room. But they are more structured and hence, more interesting than the peony. Plus, they don’t look like they could fall apart at any second.
So, there’s that.
Ranunculus also has a longer season than the peony, and it’s available during the height of wedding season. By the way, if you’re looking for more information about in season flowers, make sure you check out this blog right here.
Another favorite of mine is the hydrangea. Unlike ranunculus, hydrangea is a well known flower type. But did you know it comes in like 479 different colors?
Yes, the white hydrangea is super popular since white goes with everything, but with purple trending again, I expect to see plenty of purple and antique blue versions of this flower.
Hydrangea, like ranunculus, takes up a bunch of space…except a lot more. Why does that matter? Because if you’re working with a tight floral budget, you want to use flowers that you need less of.
Basically, for every stem of hydrangea, you would need a dozen stems of peonies. And peonies are already way more expensive than hydrangea. This means you need more of the more expensive flower.
Bye bye budget.
Hydrangeas are a lot like a hangover. They need hydration. That means these flowers are best in centerpieces or displays for things like your escort card table. Don’t waste them in a bouquet or else you might have a wilted mess without a constant water source.
Frequently, brides will ask me what the alternative is to peonies…especially if they aren’t getting married in the 4 minute long season the flower is available in. I love to recommend ranunculus, but the more popular answer is garden roses.
Garden roses are huge. If you missed the blog about garden roses and other types of this romantic flower, head over to one of our previous blogs right here.
There’s a definite reason that roses are so popular for weddings: they are the ultimate romantic flower. Roses for Valentine’s Day? Slightly popular.
But you don’t have to just go with red roses, and besides an insane amount of variety being available, there are plenty of colors to choose from. If you’re a bride looking for a peony substitute, the garden rose will be the same size and give that same soft and whimsical look.
The only drawback to using garden roses is that they are extremely fragrant. If you’re a bride with allergies, or concerned about your guests, then stick with ranunculus instead.
While not the perfect substitute for the peony, we are seeing the protea become a popular bloom. With its massive size, only one is really needed for an entire centerpiece. Unlike the peony, however, protea are very structured.
But, if you want your flowers to be a metaphor for your marriage, then go team protea and bench team peony. Like, the whole team.
I don’t hate peonies, I swear.
If you’re still not on board the ranunculus train, and you’re not in love with the other options, don’t fret just yet…
Another showstopping wedding flower is the dahlia. Available in plenty of colors, this flower is softer than the pretoria, but not as fluffy as the peony. But again, the peony looks like it’s going to fall apart at any moment.
Dahlias are not only super gorgeous, but they blend really well with all of the other peony alternative suggestions above. They are such an “in between” flower that they can be the featured artist or the backup singer.
While available during the height of wedding season, brides don’t have to just use Fall colors here. Dahlias are gorgeous in paler shades like peach and cream.
Whether your wedding vibe is romantic and rustic or modern and chic, the ranunculus and really all of these flowers are great alternatives to peonies. Take a look around at some of our real weddings right here and get inspired for your own wedding day.
Will you be using any of these flowers we suggested? Are you ditching peonies for a different wedding flower? Share your ideas in the comments below for other brides to be!
The rose is a classic flower and often used in wedding design. It’s currently trending on social media, probably because Valentine’s Day is in 5 minutes.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -Shakespeare
No offense, Bill, but a daisy will never be a rose. It’s not a rose, unless it’s a rose.
More than ever, couples want a unique wedding with traditional elements. Roses are something a lot of my couples want to ditch because “everyone uses them”.
But just because everyone uses them, doesn’t mean you have to use them in the same way. In this blog we’ll talk about the unexpected ways you can use roses in your wedding design.
A Rose By Any Other Name
There are over 150 different varieties of roses, making this flower one of the more versatile ones. Brides can be extremely specific as to what type and color rose they want for their wedding.
Despite this, roses have the reputation of being boring and overdone. This could not be further from the truth. That’s actually about peonies. *shots fired*
Unlike some other flowers, roses work in everything from boutineers to bouquets to centerpieces. It’s about finding the right rose.
Garden roses, on their own, have different varieties. They are all massive in size and have layers of petals, making them the perfect choice for weddings. These babies are in a league of their own and while every other bride is using peonies for their bouquets, you can stand out from the crowd with these instead.
Mixing different roses is a great way to add texture to centerpieces and even ceremony design. While garden roses can steal the show, spray roses are perfect supporting cast members. Create a unique look by using them in both the bridal bouquet as filler and as part of the groom’s boutineer as well. Make that boutineer unique by adding a splash of color or adding something funky such as berries or a small succulent.
Ring Around The Rosie
One of the reasons roses are frequently used for weddings, is that they don’t have a season. You could get married in the dead of winter or in the middle of summer, and roses are available.
Peonies, by the way, are available for about 30 seconds, so let that bandwagon pass you by.
Since roses are readily available in plenty of colors, it’s easy enough to incorporate them into your wedding design. The pink, white and gold color combination might be trending for weddings right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to use pink and white roses. Work with your florist to explore other options like earl grey and quicksand roses.
Along with working with any color combination, there is a rose for every style of wedding. This classic bloom is not just reserved for a sit down dinner at a castle in France with a sunset ceremony.
Rustic brides can give a boring wedding cake a unique twist by adding fresh roses and greenery to the design. Create a seamless look by using the same florals on the cake as you did for other decor like the centerpieces and bouquets.
If you’re hosting a trendy garden style wedding, using roses seems like the obvious choice. Just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean the design has to be. This is another great chance to discuss color options with your florist that will leave guests asking you just what type of roses you used.
Create a natural look by using roses to enhance a mantle or by placing them inside a fountain. Or go over the top and put them in places that are unexpected like trailing down the inside of a banister. Just make sure you have permission from your venue first!
Everything’s Coming Up Roses
What about those brides that aren’t using flowers for their centerpieces, but want to incorporate a floral feel? Just because you’ve ruled out real flowers, doesn’t mean you’ve ruled out all flowers.
And I’m not talking about using fake flowers, don’t worry.
Floral designs are huge right now in the fashion world. From the wedding gowns to what your bridesmaids will wear, designers are showcasing floral details in everything.
The “all-white” trend is just as popular as the floral trend, and I am dying over this gorgeous bridesmaid dress by Dessy.
If the idea of putting your bridesmaids in full on floral is too much, consider adding subtle pops of the style instead. A gorgeous floral belt is the perfect touch to add to a wedding gown. Of course, who’s doesn’t love seeing a flower girl rock an adorable rose detailed dress like this one?
Roses are Red…
A lot of my brides shy away from using red roses. Too many bad memories of the losers they dated showing up with gas station roses on Valentine’s Day.
I’ll refrain from calling out any of my ex-boyfriends here.
But red roses are perfect for all seasons, especially late Summer, Fall and even Winter. Basically every season except Spring is what I’m trying to say here.
As a designer, I like to use the season of the wedding as inspiration. It has nothing to do with that myth about using “in season” flowers, which we talked about in this blog right here.
The key to using the colors of the season and still making your wedding look original, is all in the combinations. Let’s be honest, plenty of brides are going to use “Fall colors” for their fall wedding, which includes those deep red roses. Give your guests the unexpected by taking your wedding vibe to the next level.
Note, I said “vibe”, not “theme” because this is a wedding and not a prom. Just saying.
Red garden roses are showstoppers because they are huge. This means a few go a long way, and you can add in other florals and even fabrics. Create a warm and welcoming reception for your guests with long tables covered in sparkly runners, garden roses and plenty of candle light.
When using red roses, or any dark colors, it’s important to make sure they are seen. When working them into a centerpiece, candles aren’t going to be enough. Use a talented lighting designer to pinspot each table in order to see the centerpieces both in person and in your photographs.
Some Say Love, It Is A Flower
Roses can play a big part in your wedding ceremony design, just as much as the reception. You don’t need a flower girl to create your walkway. Instead of using a runner or lining the aisle with candles, create a design using rose petals all the way to the altar. Wedding planner tip: rope off the end of your aisle to make sure the design isn’t destroyed by guests looking for their seats.
Even in small doses, roses can make a big impact. Since it is often regarded as the most romantic flower, using it for your ceremony is an easy decision.
If you are hosting an outdoor ceremony, you might not be able to create an aisle design. It’s easy enough to design an over-the-top arbor with cascading florals, but not every couple wants that. If you’re looking to keep things simple, but never boring, add in touches of roses to “hold together” the design at the end of your aisle.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Roses have always been a part of weddings, and like the traditional white wedding gown, they are here to stay. More than ever, brides want to make their wedding different from the rest. Even though roses are considered a standard wedding flower, when used correctly, they’ll help create that unique wedding design you haven’t seen on Pinterest 100 times before!
Will you be using roses for your wedding day? What ideas can you share with other brides? Share in the comments below what your ideas are!
Flowers are a huge part of most weddings, but aside from the basics, a lot of brides look for help in this area. Whether or not you can tell a peony from a ranunculus, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about wedding flowers.
Flowers play such a major role in weddings, that the couples I work with, frequently have more opinions in this area than many others. Sure, the venue is important and I guess the wedding gown is kind of a big deal too…but couples are intense really care about those flowers. Not only do they care, but sometimes brides are so passionate that I forget we’re talking about centerpieces and not politics.
One time, I was discussing the options of centerpieces and watched my bride have a stroke at the mere mention of low centerpieces. It was like we had stopped talking about her wedding flowers and started discussing North Korea. She had a huge aversion to mixing low and high centerpieces because she attended a wedding, was sat at a table with a low centerpiece, and took it personally.
To each their own…
The point is, brides (not really grooms, let’s be honest here) have a thing with wedding flowers. When I first start working with a couple, we chat about flowers without going into too much detail. We discuss the general look and feel of the wedding. As we move forward, questions get more detailed like:
Do they have a color scheme?
Are there any flowers they want to avoid?
What are their “must-have” blooms?
For those couples that are opinionated but clueless, I like to know about previous weddings they have attended. If you’re one of those brides that doesn’t know what she wants, but has to have what she wants, this is a good starting point.
One of the florists that we work with, chimed in on this as well. When I asked Chad from Carroll’s Florist how he works with couples that aren’t sure where to start, he recommends gathering pictures:
“By sharing photos of florals that appeal to you, a florist should be able to get a sense of style that you prefer.”
How To Find Wedding Flower Inspo Photos
It’s not necessary to know the difference between boho and rustic, so stop driving yourself crazy trying to label your wedding style. Instead of trying to use those types of words (that are completely subjective), use words that you actually know and understand. For instance, if you want the flowers to reflect the season you are getting married, use that for your search on Pinterest i.e. “Fall wedding”.
If you have an idea about your colors, use that when doing your search. Don’t forget to include gold or silver if you’re thinking about incorporating one of the two. For the brides that either don’t care about silver or gold, or want to leave them out of the search completely, try searching with your colors along with things like “clear holders” or “mercury glass”.
By using specific colors instead of vague flowery language, (no pun intended) you’re more likely to come up with inspiration you actually like. You also should avoid using catch phrases like “boho chic” when initially speaking with a florist. One person’s “boho chic” is another person’s “French vintage”. Let your pictures do the talking. After all, those alone are worth 1,000 words.
See what I did there? I know. I’m so clever.
Don’t restrict yourself to just Pinterest either. While that is seen as the place to search for wedding inspo anything, it’s not everything. Be sure to check out Instagram for wedding flowers and use hashtags like you would use on Pinterest to search with. Don’t ignore regular search engines either as you can use the “images” search feature to come up with more flower inspiration for your wedding.
Wedding Flower Lies
Oh they’re out there…new ones are being made up everyday. But the biggest lie myth about wedding flowers?
“Asking for seasonal flowers doesn’t always mean cheaper!”
Amanda of Twisted Willow Flowers hears that from brides all the time. In reality, you aren’t guaranteed to save money just by using flowers that are in season.
I know, insane right? Your entire life you’ve grown up knowing one thing to be true: on your wedding day you will have seasonal flowers because they are less expensive.
Sorry to destroy your world.
It’s a myth that is reinforced not just by the moms and grand-moms of the brides getting married, (sorry ladies) but by the internet and countless wedding publications. In fact, some wedding websites allow you to search for flowers based on your season, while in another article they’ll tell you that it really doesn’t matter.
Why do they do this? To appeal to every single bride so those brides will keep reading, and so that advertisers will keep advertising. Because money. But that’s another blog for another day…
The bottom line is that it’s not as simple as picking in season flowers to keep the cost down. If it was, then brides getting married in Minnesota the month of January would have to resign themselves to holding a bouquet of snow.
Another myth about wedding flowers concerns the centerpieces. Some of my brides want the tall skyscraping centerpieces because they are hosting their reception with a ceiling in the stratosphere. It’s not necessarily that they want all tall centerpieces, but rather, that’s what they think they’re supposed to do.
“Many couples assume that with tall venue ceilings, all centerpieces need to be tall. Although a couple may be able to afford 20 typical tall centerpieces, that same budget can be used to create 10 stunning tall centerpieces accompanied by 10 shorter centerpieces.” -Chad, Carroll’s Florist
Just because your venue has a high ceiling, doesn’t mean you are required by law to have all tall centerpieces. When I work with my brides, we always discuss the option of having centerpieces that vary in height. When you look at your reception, the room will always look more interesting this way. Does that mean you have to include short centerpieces that make your guests feel less important?….Not at all. You can work with your florist to have tall centerpieces and ones that are shorter but not low and against the table.
And if your guests sitting at those tables feel less important, then you invited the wrong people to your wedding.
Wedding Flower Trends
I’m not a huge fan of following trends in general. I wore Keds all through high-school. But I’m a badass like that. A badass that had to look up if “badass” was one word or two, but a badass nonetheless.
The problem with wedding trends is that what is trending now might not be trending by the time your wedding date rolls around. I always advise my couples to stick with classic styles. You don’t want to whip out your wedding album for your kids and show them how mommy wore a crop-top dress down the aisle. Well the same is true for every other aspect of your wedding, including flowers. What’s on trend today may not be on trend for your wedding day and most certainly will not be trending 30 years from now.
The point is: don’t pick anything for your wedding just because it’s on trend. OK?
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about what actually is trending and of course, what’s not.
Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers is tired of seeing one thing: greenery garlands. Even if you just got engaged, or maybe you’re planning your “one day wedding” on Pinterest, whatever…you all know what those greenery garlands looks like.
With outdoor, barn, farm and generally rustic weddings taking over the past few years, this has been a super popular design. Typically draped down the middle of long tables, the garland would act as a centerpiece and could be accented with anything from candles to flowers.
Greenery was actually Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2017, which only made this trend that much more popular. This year, however, Pantone’s Color of the Year is ultra-violet. You can actually get ideas how to work that color into your wedding in another blog we wrote right here. We started seeing purple and even blues talked about at the end of 2017 and Twisted Willow Flowers is seeing purple color schemes starting to pop up again.
Another trend that should disappear according to Chad of Carroll’s Florist?
“Crystal everywhere. Every time I think it is going away, I get 5 brides in a row looking to drown themselves in crystal.”
With the rise of rustic weddings, it almost appears as if some brides are digging their rhinestone heels into the ground just to prove they are not that. Ironically, it’s easy enough to combine crystals with rustic and get a gorgeous upscale wedding look. But for some brides, that rustic thing is never going to happen for their wedding. Chad’s advice for them?
“Less is more.”
If Pantone’s “Color of the Year” isn’t your favorite (and believe me, I work with some brides that hate purple more than their future mother-in-law), but you want to incorporate some trends, all hope is not lost. When speaking with his 2018 couples, Chad says he is seeing plenty of textured flowers like dusty miller and that the color pallet with greens, grays, dusty blues and whites is on trend right now. Also making a huge comeback? Candlelight.
What You Need To Know About Wedding Flowers
Still feeling unprepared? Not sure how to take the next steps and find your wedding day florist? Having your event colors is a big help according to Chad, as he can help couples decide on a style, on a budget, on particular flowers, but “color is a personal selection”. Do your best to select colors before meeting with a florist, even if that means eliminating what you don’t like.
You know you’ve seen stuff you hate at other weddings on Pinterest. Start there.
A word of caution with Pinterest: it can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to fall down the “it’s already 3am and I have to get up in 2 hours so just 5 more minutes but not really” rabbit hole that is Pinterest. Pretty soon you’re pinning random stuff through your squinted eyes and you have an inspiration board with dragons on a beach. Pinterest is chock full of inspiration but it’s not all for you. Keep your searches narrow and don’t rely on that “more like this” feature too much.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Pinterest showcases styled shoots. That means you are looking at wedding pictures that aren’t from a wedding, but from a properly timed and properly lit shoot. There are no guests, time doesn’t exist, and it’s not reality. In reality, your guests have to sit at the tables and eat. In Pinterest land, guests don’t sit because the couch is stuck where it is and they don’t eat because flowers are spilling over onto the plates.
So how can you use this site without getting overwhelmed?
“Find your trend through those photos you see and really focus on letting that inspire the theme/direction of the wedding.” -Amanda, Twisted Willow Flowers
That’s the key word: inspire. Think about it this way…if you take a picture of Kim Kardashian to your hairdresser and say you want to look like her, is that going to be possible with a pair of scissors and some hair dye? Or would you also need some plastic surgery to accomplish said goal? Pictures should be used to inspire, not to copy. Besides, why would you want the same styled shoot wedding you (and all of your friends getting married saw) on Pinterest?
Be better than Pinterest.
Coping With The Cost
And now, what you’re all really here for: how to deal with the cost of wedding flowers. I know, your best friend’s cousin’s penpal had a 400 person wedding, used all tall centerpieces and only paid $2,000.
No she didn’t so stop listening to that noise. Even if she did, that is the exception and not the rule…and there’s probably more to the story that has been edited better than any episode of “Real Housewives”.
Flowers cost money. They do. Frequently, my couples will ask me why flowers cost so much. My answer always starts with “do you really want to know?”. Because, let’s be honest, no one wants to waste their time with an explanation only to be told they’re still wrong. So, if you really want to know, this is where you’re going to find out.
If you don’t want to know, then scroll for a bit to the next heading.
When I asked Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers what the one thing was that she wished engaged couples knew, this is what she said:
“How much time really goes into the florals. From the start to the finish product.”
This includes meeting or meetings, proposals (there’s always more than one), edits, samples, flower processing, cleaning, arranging, set-up, pick-up and clean-up.
Now, as a wedding planner, one of the questions I get at every last consultation pertains to what I actually do. It’s a fair question, especially since every planner is different and none of us are J.Lo.
It’s a fair question to ask a florist too, but instead of asking that question, most couples just want the price to be justified. Well, everything that a florist does justifies the price. In addition to paying for the actual flowers, you are paying for the time of a professional…time that was spent with you or on your wedding and not with someone else or on anything else.
You are paying for the talent behind the bouquets and the labor that goes into it all.
Consider also that you likely don’t have experience with the cost of flowers. “Knowing” what your friend spent, what your mom thinks is fair, or what some wedding website has come up with, does mean you know what flowers cost.
That’s totally OK.
You’re not supposed to know what flowers cost and each proposal will be different depending on the specific details of the wedding. It is on the couple to work with the florist, communicate what they want and go from there. Have a number in mind? Great. Speak up before a proposal is put together.
Odds are you have a budget, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to share. I once worked with a couple that used the excuse they didn’t know what things cost, so they couldn’t give me a budget. Well, when the florist put together the sample of exactly what they wanted they loved everything…except the price. In fact, when they were told the price, they called it “ridiculous” and said they “weren’t willing to spend that much.”
Which meant they knew what they wanted to spend and simply kept it a secret assuming that the florist would come in under that imaginary number regardless of the details in the centerpiece. Makes sense right?
In the end, the couple ended up using a completely different florist who didn’t execute their vision and who they complained to me about all night. Me. The planner that brought in a qualified florist that did a sample for free and without a contract. My time and the florist’s time was wasted on not just the sample appointment but a meeting prior to that and countless phone calls, emails and inspiration board drawings.
Typically, you have to pay for that and that is just part of what you are paying for.
It’s best to be honest about your budget, just as you should expect your florist to be. Chad explains that he is open about costs:
“After reviewing their dream florals, which we discuss along with budget, I let them know what the cost will be. I explain how the majority of floral expenses comes from venue decor and then try to get a better sense of what they are looking to achieve.”
What happens if the vision is right but the price is wrong?
“If a couple’s vision and budget match, everyone is happy. If it doesn’t, I explain why and offer a series of solutions that can make them happy both with their wedding day and their wallet.”
Looking to keep those floral costs down? Of course you are. So if the incorrect rule of thumb about using flowers that are in season won’t help, then what will?
When meeting with your florist, they will be able to recommend flowers best for your overall design. If there are certain blooms that would push your budget, be sure to ask them for alternative options. Most importantly, you need to be open to their suggestions. Even if you are the bride that needs garden roses but can’t afford them and will die without them, listen to your options.
Once you have gone over all options and alternatives, as well as what the comparative costs look like, then you are in a position to make a decision. Maybe you’ll sacrifice your favors in order to afford the exact flowers that you want. Or maybe you’ll like what the florist suggests instead. The point is, you have to hear it all before deciding anything.
“Make sure you have a comfort level with your florist. Give him or her a sense of the style you are looking for and try not to tie him to particular flowers.” Chad, Carroll’s Florist
Ready, Set, Flower
It all comes down to open communication and trust. Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers says it’s important to “be open to suggestions” during the initial appointment, and to have a general idea of the colors and styles you would like to use. Don’t feel like you need to be prepared to make some grand presentation using inspiration boards and excel sheets. An experienced florist will use with what you give them and will know how to create your vision. A vision you might not even have yet.
Working with a florist is no different than working with any other vendor. It’s important to trust the experience your vendors have, instead of challenging them with stuff you read on some wedding website. If your gut tells you to walk away from a vendor, do it.
Just be sure it’s your gut talking and not a bridesmaid that just got married and now knows everything in your ear.
What do you think about the tips and tricks shared by two of our favorite florists? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other brides? Comment below with something you want every engaged couple to know before meeting with florists for their wedding!
If you’re stuck in the bitter winter cold like I am, it might be hard to envision an incredible garden wedding. How can you picture beautiful trees and flowers when everything is covered in snow? We’ve put together plenty of inspiration in this blog, as well as venue recommendations to get you started. Don’t forget to pin your favorites and share your wedding details in the comments below.
What are some incredible garden venues?
If you want your wedding to have a garden feel, then the best way to do that is to get married in…you guessed it…a garden! One of the best things about a garden wedding venue is that you’re surrounded by flowers, trees and organic beauty. It’s not necessary to go crazy with decor when it’s already provided.
This is the perfect setting for the boho chic bride to the traditional black tie mandatory bride and everyone in between. The trick is to find the right garden venue that fits your style. Perhaps you like the idea of the ceremony being outdoors, but want to bring guests inside for cocktail hour and the reception. Maybe you’d prefer a tented wedding where guests can enjoy the beauty of the garden the entire day. A full list of garden venues by state can be downloaded in the link below, and past that are some of our favorites!
The New York Botanical Gardens hosts both intimate and grand weddings. Engaged couples can create their first look photos on site, and treat their guests to a true garden wedding experience. Starr Events is the fantastic in house catering group, so foodies should add this venue to the list!
Grounds for Sculpture
Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Grounds for Sculpture is a premiere destination for garden weddings. In addition to the gorgeous grounds covered in beautiful flowers and trees, there are countless art exhibits around every corner.
Ceremonies can be held in four different outdoor locations and Grounds for Sculpture provides an indoor location in case of inclement weather. Cocktail hour and the reception are located at the restaurant on property with food provided by Starr Events. Guests will travel from the ceremony to Rat’s Restaurant on paths surrounded by sculptures and beautiful gardens. Check out what our couple, Chelsea and Yaw, did for the wedding we planned with them right here.
If you’re looking for a more formal garden wedding experience, Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, New Jersey is the perfect fit. Set far from the main road, the chateau at the end of the winding driveway includes on-site accommodations as well as separate bride and groom suites for the couple and their wedding party to get ready in.
Couples can take their pictures on countless bridges and anywhere on the beautiful grounds. This upscale setting allows couples to have a garden vibe for their wedding, while providing a beautiful estate for dinner and dancing.
What Type of Wedding Gown is Perfect for a Garden Wedding?
Once you have the venue selected, it’s time to start shopping for the perfect bridal gown. It’s important to consider your own style as well as where you will get married. Are you more boho chic in an organic garden setting, or will your big day include a clear top tent and fireworks? Below are some beautiful options to consider wearing at a garden wedding.
Floral details on a wedding gown are the perfect look for a garden wedding. With floral patterns increasing in popularity, brides have countless options with this trend. Whether it’s a small detail like a floral design on the straps, or a big statement using larger details, you can’t go wrong incorporating garden beauty into your gown. Our friends at Bridal Atelier in Montclair suggest looking at Claire Pettibone dresses if you’re looking for romantic floral inspired wedding gowns. You can read about that wedding gown trend and more right here!
You simply can’t go wrong with a ballgown on your wedding day. Plus, this is the only chance you really get to wear one! Take a spin around the gardens in a romantic wedding gown like this one for incredible pictures. We promise you won’t regret it!
This fitted lace wedding gown is romantic and chic enough for any garden wedding venue. Lace can be beautiful whether it’s an accent or used for the entire dress. For the vintage and boho chic brides looking for the perfect garden wedding gown, look no further than one with lace details!
What Color Combinations are Best for a Garden Wedding?
Garden weddings all have some element of the outdoors. Depending on your location, the season that you get married in should be considered when choosing your colors. Ask the venue to see pictures of the grounds from weddings that took place in the past in the same month you will wed in. What’s in bloom and what isn’t? Will they be changing any of the trees and flowers? If you’re considering a Fall wedding, when do the leaves change and when do they drop? Consider these details before committing to a color combo.
Pops of bright pink mixed with vibrant greenery is a great look for those late spring and early summer weddings. Channel your inner Secret Garden style and create a vintage centerpiece like we did here by using touches of vintage gold.
Incorporate the simplicity of nature by using all greenery for your garden wedding like we did here for a ceremony. Keep it clean using clear holders and plenty of candlelight. Not down with the all green look? Mix in different shades of white for a fresher approach that’s perfect for any time of the year!
Fall weddings mean deeper colors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden inspired wedding in October. This color combination of deep red and light green with pops of gold will bring your garden wedding to a chic new level.
What Should Garden Wedding Invitations Look Like?
Your wedding stationery should compliment your entire wedding design. An invitation is the first glimpse into your wedding style that your guests are seeing. Here are a few ways you can let everyone know that your wedding is garden inspired!
This pale invitation suite designed by our friends Darling + Pearl is the perfect way to tell your guests they are attending a garden wedding. The organic feel with the whimsical font is just perfect for an outdoor celebration. We really love the sketch of the property that helps guests feel like they are already there!
Lauren from Darling + Pearl recommends mixing equal parts carefree script, neutral and natural occurring colors, and floral patterns, (or a really rad crest). Throw the added option of torn edges or a watercolor splash or two and you’re garden ready.
For a modern garden wedding look, we love this invitation from our friends at Minted. Perfect for those candlelight outdoor weddings using deeper shades of purple, blue and gray. You can see this romantic invitation and plenty more by clicking here!
How Can I Design My Wedding With a Garden Theme?
There are countless options when designing your wedding and plenty of things to think about. Will you use round or long tables? Linens or no linens? What type of glassware and plates will you use? It can get overwhelming very quickly, so here are a few things to keep in mind!
Keep It Natural
Doing too much to make your wedding have that garden feel is never a good idea. Depending on your venue and the type of garden you’re getting married in, you want to stick with that same style. It wouldn’t make sense to have bling and marble pieces in the middle of a rose garden. Pull inspiration from your surroundings and everything will flow together naturally.
Mix It Up With Long Tables
A garden is the last place you would find round tables with white linens. Invest in table rentals to really showcase the garden wedding vibe and let your florist create an unforgettable design. Long tables have become so trendy that engaged couples aren’t limited to just one style or color. Gray tables are super hot right now and perfect for those deeper colors. If you find a table you love, ask yourself if you could see it in a garden and go from there.
Dress Up Your Bridesmaids in Garden Wedding Gowns
Just like you want the perfect wedding gown for your garden wedding, your bridesmaids should reflect that same style. A long chiffon gown is formal enough for a chic wedding but relaxed enough for an outdoor garden celebration.
We love all of the options our friends at The Dessy Group have, like this chiffon gown that comes in almost every color imaginable!
What Are the Pros and Cons to Having a Garden Wedding?
Pro: A huge plus to having a garden wedding is the gorgeous scenery that’s already there. You won’t have to dress up the location as much as you would a ballroom.
Con: No wedding is without its challenges, but outdoor weddings certainly have the most. We always tell our couples that they need to have a Plan B and they need to love it as much as Plan A. Never commit to a venue that you’ll only love in the sunshine. Know the backup plans and if they don’t make you happy, you haven’t found your garden wedding venue yet.
Pro: Many garden wedding venues either allow you to bring in an outside caterer or their in house caterer reflects the farm to table style that is so popular. Whatever the case, you’re likely to have amazing food if you have a garden wedding.
Con: Depending on the location, you could be restricted in terms of noise and have to end the party sooner than you would like. Be sure to ask the venues what time the music must end and the guests must leave.
If you’re interested in a garden wedding and want to take the next step, contact us to get started! If you are planning a garden wedding, what are you doing to make your celebration unique? Share with us and other couples in the comments below!
A month into planning the backyard wedding at the home of the bride’s parents was all it took for our couple to realize their special day needed to be at an established venue. With less than six months of time, we worked with Sarah and Jan to scout a new wedding location, design the details and book all of the vendors. Moving quickly, our NYC based bride and groom decided to host their wedding at The New York Botanical Gardens.
A New Jersey native, our bride fell in love with her groom while living in New York City. With his family based overseas and a complicated schedule, the best time to host their wedding would give us only 7 total months to plan. The first month was spent planning a backyard wedding at the home of the bride’s parents. After catering interviews, rental discussions and a site visit, the couple opted to look for a wedding venue instead, leaving only 6 months to start all over.
After countless venue tours, The New York Botanical Gardens was selected for the wedding day. The couple would set up multiple room blocks in Manhattan as well as shuttle service for their 150 guests. With over half the guests traveling from outside of the country, we planned events leading up to the wedding day as well as the day after for a true destination wedding experience.
The Pierre Hotel was the hotel where our bride and groom, along with their parents and wedding party got ready for the big day. The close proximity to Central Park made it an ideal location as first look photos would take place in the city. Once hair and make up was completed, the stage was set at several incredible landmarks for amazing photographs taken by our friends Gabelli Studio.
From Bow Bridge to Bethesda Terrace, our bride showed off her diamond white lacy wedding gown, while her groom stunned in a fitted and formal black tuxedo. Despite the extreme heat of the day, the couple didn’t seem to mind at all as they snapped over 2 hours worth of photos!
Once photos of our bride and groom were completed in Central Park, they grabbed their wedding party and parents and headed off to the venue. Set-up had already begun at The New York Botanical Gardens and the ceremony design was coming together with lush white roses, flowing greenery and draping at the alter. Once our couple arrived, photos continued with their wedding party, parents and immediate family. The gorgeous grounds provided plenty of places for photos prior to the ceremony and the gardens were in full bloom and filled with butterflies.
As guests arrived and photos were completed, the outdoor ceremony was ready. The groomsmen dressed in formal black tuxedos, lined up with the bridesmaids who wore pale blue gowns. The bouquets were shades of white and complimented the overall decor and garden backdrop.
After the outdoor ceremony concluded, guests walked through the gardens to the Terrace Room for the cocktail hour. Guests enjoyed flutes of champagne and incredible catering by Starr Events. As cocktail hour concluded, the doors opened to the beautiful ballroom that was decorated with tall centerpieces full of white roses and greenery. Place cards were at each setting and incorporated the garden theme with green fern details.
Our bride and groom danced the night away with their guests as one of our preferred bands from EBE played everyone’s favorites. When guests weren’t shaking it on the dance floor, they were playing with props in the photobooth and mingling in the greenhouse space. An elegant all white wedding cake adorned with fresh flowers took center stage before dessert was served. After carefully feeding each other, the bride and groom shared cake and coffee with their guests before ending the reception and kicking off the after party.
Even if your initial wedding plans completely change, and you are left with limited time to plan the details, your engagement should be the happiest time of your relationship. It’s important to roll with the punches and be flexible and drink plenty of champagne when you’re stressed out. Of course, having a great wedding planner by your side doesn’t hurt either…
A real garden wedding with two ceremonies and plenty of culture, is exactly what our couple Chelsea and Yaw were looking for. Grounds for Sculpture in Princeton, New Jersey, provided the perfect backdrop for their wedding day. Their chic celebration was filled with happiness and joy, as they were surrounded by 160 of their closest friends and family.
The Manhattan based couple got ready in their respective hotel rooms before traveling to the venue for their first look. The bride wearing a form fitting gown was the picture of elegance, while her handsome groom rocked an ivory tuxedo jacket against a white shirt and black bow-tie. His boutineer was simple and complimented her romantic all white bouquet, created by our friends at Twisted Willow Flowers.
With countless locations available for their first look at Grounds for Sculpture, Chelsea and Yaw had no problem taking plenty of pictures before their ceremonies. Once Yaw was in place, we walked with our beautiful bride and helped keep the spectators from photo-bombing this special moment.
After the first look photo was completed, it was only a few steps to the next location to continue taking photos with our bride and groom. Thankfully, the late summer heat didn’t bother them and the anticipated thunderstorms disappeared before they even happened.
Once the bride and groom completed their portraits, it was time to include the parents and wedding party. With the groomsmen dressed in formal black tuxedos, the bridesmaids stood out in different dresses that complimented their individual looks.
After the pictures were completed, the bride and groom, along with their entire wedding party, headed back inside to change for the first ceremony. To honor the groom’s Ghanaian heritage, along with the wardrobe change was a ceremony infused with music and tradition.
Immediately following the Ghanaian ceremony, all of the guests moved to another location so the Western ceremony could begin. Our bride and groom, along with their wedding party, quickly changed out of their Ghanaian garb and back into the traditional clothing they wore for the first look photos. A stunning ceremony and heartfelt vows followed in this amazing space decorated with simple greenery and elegant garden touches.
After the two beautiful ceremonies, our couple and their guests headed to Rat’s Restaurant inside Grounds for Sculpture. Guests were treated to a beautiful stroll through the gardens and exhibits along the way, and were greeted by live music and an outdoor and indoor cocktail hour.
Touches of greenery adorned the bars, and the mix of round and long tables were classically designed with white floor length linens, gorgeous garden roses and plenty of candlelight. For an extra treat, guests were able to spend the night dancing under the stars with a unique floor plan designed by our bride and groom.
The wedding ended with a packed dance floor and heavenly red velvet cake that looked like it grew out of the garden, thanks to our talented friends at Twisted Willow Flowers. Once the party ended, our couple escaped in a vintage convertible Rolls Royce that our friends at RPD All Star provided for them to attend their after party!
We loved planning and designing with Chelsea and Yaw to help them create the classic and chic wedding they were looking for. Between the unique venue, the culture and tradition, along with incredible decor and design, this is one wedding we’ll never forget!