Columbus Flower Experts Offer Tips on Blooms

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Nicole Ford chose rustic bouquets from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.

One of the biggest decisions you will make as you dive into wedding planning is the day's theme. The feeling you want to evoke and the aesthetic you want to achieve during the celebration affect every stage of your planning, especially floral design. Columbus Bride asked local experts for advice on all things flowers, whether you're budget conscious or interested in creating a look your guests have never seen.

Go Glam on a Budget

Florists have different styles, but they all agree on one thing: Be upfront about your budget. "Not everyone has Kim Kardashian's wedding budget, but that doesn't mean we don't all appreciate a little bling or sparkle," says Amy Music, owner of Posy in German Village. One of the first things florists recommend is a DIY approach to glam decor. Instead of having your florist provide the candleholders, vases and centerpiece accents, bargain shop on your own for these items. This frees up resources for your florist to help you achieve the look you want for less by focusing on specific flowers instead of materials.

Michelle DeSantis, a designer and bridal consultant at Flowers on Orchard Lane says the cost of your flowers often depends on the grower. And, as you plan, it's important to understand some flowers-like the ever-popular hydrangea-are just pricey. But, if you shop around, you may be able to find reasonable deals. There are also several flowers that provide a glamorous look and are less expensive, such as carnations. "Pair carnation clusters and baby's breath with some lace and pearls, and you have glam on a budget," says Niki Wills ofFlowerama.

Do White In an All New Way

Local florists are seeing a resurgence of couples wanting to use varying shades of white and ivory, creating a simple but elegant vibe. "There's nothing more gorgeous than a white bouquet against an off-white dress," says Jill Elmore of Connells Maple Lee. DeSantis and Music agree using mostly white flowers with a green accent creates a gorgeous, ethereal look. Suggestions include blooming dogwoods, white hellebores, jasmine vine and clematis.

"When these naturally beautiful florals are paired with crystal chandeliers and formal linens, the look is breathtaking," Music adds.

If you love the idea of adding a pop of color but aren't crazy about green, feel free to incorporate small, subtle touches of your favorite shade among your white blooms. A pop of color adds emphasis to the drama of an all-white design, creating a treat for guests as they spot special touches throughout the day's events. Wills says when their florists think of white, they dream country chic, which includes lily of the valley and white tulips.

Try seeing Green

Fair warning: "If they're not going into a bouquet, succulents can be expensive," Reese says. She suggests buying smaller succulent arrangements online to help defer the cost if you are planning to purchase large quantities.

DeSantis says not many people go all-green; most couples who rely heavily on succulents incorporate pops of color, including shades of ivory, white and purple. Wills says succulents are not only wonderful to use because they add a unique, textured look, but also because they have longevity. She suggests using hanging amaranthus to add a creative and elegant look to floral arrangements and bouquets.

The options are nearly endless, and other best bets include dusty miller, sage, mint, bear grass, leaves, snow on the mountain and ferns galore. Music hopes to see more sea star, staghorn and maidenhair ferns pop up in future weddings: "This trend is wonderful because it doesn't have to feel completely rustic. It can go very casual or very chic."

Go Lush

Elmore says she first asks couples during consultations about the desired shape of their bouquets, which helps her determine which flowers to select. When considering going lush, the shape of the flower will affect the look you are trying to create. Elmore adds it's also important to discuss colors and floral availability, because certain types of flowers conducive to a lush look are not always readily available year-round. For example, if a couple decides on peonies for a November wedding, Elmore can order them, but they will be much more expensive out of season.

Reese suggests a mix of peonies, orchids and garden roses. One of her favorite flowers to use is bridal protea, as it comes in a variety of shapes and colors, and the edges of the bloom look sharp, which can accent an otherwise soft, lush bouquet or help a table centerpiece catch guests' attention.

To go lush in the fall, DeSantis recommends dahlias, zinnias, asters and leucadendrons. Music says large flowers such as peonies, hydrangeas and dahlias give a bouquet volume, while petite blossoms such as ranunculus and garden spray roses add depth to a bouquet. "Layers are the key to a full, lush bouquet," she adds. "I like my designs to feel three-dimensional."

Creating a One-of-A-Kind Bouquet

Florists don't typically like to give away their tricks. However, many agree the best thing you can do is think outside the box if you want to create a one-of-a-kind look that represents you. Says Wills, "We have access to so many new, fun and exciting accessory elements that the possibilities [for creating] a bouquet no one has seen are truly endless." Elmore says hydrangeas and roses aren't for everyone, although they may seem like a classic floral choice. She has seen couples select all baby's breath and love the look they've created. Floral designers also recommend trying to incorporate family heirlooms, such as brooches and lace, into bouquets to create truly distinct treasures.

Ashley Lombardo married Eric Geier on Sept. 27, 2013, at Grange Insurance Audubon Center. She stumbled upon a brooch bouquet as she was flipping through a bridal magazine and loved the look. So she sought to make one of her own. "Family members donated brooches, and I was given several vintage brooches and earrings from my grandmother," she explains, adding there were approximately 90 brooches throughout her bouquet. This incorporation of something borrowed helped Lombardo achieve her natural, earthy theme.

Music reminds couples if they want to create something original, the best thing to do is let go of the round, compact, traditional bouquet shape. Other ideas include a bouquet wrapped in swirls of lily grass or a bouquet designed from foliage with no flower blossoms. She adds there are also flowers that seem common but are never used in bouquets, such as daffodils. "When grouped together in a bunch, they wouldn't even look like daffodils anymore," she says. "Choosing flowers that may seem common-but not in a bouquet-is a fun, unexpected option that isn't too avant-garde."

Helpful Reminders

Wedding floral design is not for the faint of heart; it requires vision, planning and a lot of preparation. If you're planning a wedding for a year from your engagement date, you should make selecting a florist an immediate priority-schedules fill up quickly, especially during spring and summer months, and you'll want to have time to find a florist that suits your style.

During the consultation phase, trust your florist to understand your vision and move forward within the limitations of your budget. Be willing to compromise to help achieve the look you want, and be open to new and innovative ideas. Being unique is a good thing.