The first decision to make regarding wedding flowers is whether to use fresh blooms or silks. This decision is based solely on your desires as a couple. Silk flowers have come a long way in the last ten years. Colors are more realistic, fabrics are better quality and designs are more accurate. The pluses for silks are is that there is no wilting or freezing worries, your preferred blooms are available no matter what the season, and the arrangements last forever. Fresh flowers offer fragrance and the traditional beauty which only real blooms can add. However, they need to be handled carefully to prevent weather damage, they are definitely seasonal and they have a limited lifetime. Regardless of which option you choose, there are several things to consider.
What is your budget? Both real and silk flowers are expensive. If you plan on using out-of-season blooms or custom made colored silks, you are going to pay even more. If your heart is set on yellow roses to highlight Washington's golden grasslands, ask your florist if there are less expensive flowers which could surround a single bloom. Another budget consideration is how many flowers you will need. Large arrangements are not required over every flat surface in sight. Think about local touches, such as pine boughs and local berries for the pew bows and chair backs. A combination of silk and fresh flowers might work for you. You can also arrange for the ceremony flowers to be transported to the reception site. A trusted friend or your florist can easily move larger altar arrangements and lobby decorations to the reception while you are posing for formal photos. Just be sure to provide clear instructions on placement and care of the flowers at the reception.
If you are truly talented with flower arranging, there is no reason you can't handle your flowers yourself. But be really honest with yourself -- are you going to have the time and energy right before you wedding to be dealing with all those flowers and arrangements? Make sure you have plenty of help and a backup plan. If the florist doesn't get your holly berries in time, you won't have a professional to back you up. If you are using a professional, ask for references and see samples. Find out their flower substitution policy. What happens if all the purple orchids are wiped out due to a freak storm? Agree in writing who is responsible for setting up the arrangements and taking them down. A professional can help you stay on budget, offer suggestions for other arrangements and make sure you receive the highest quality flowers.
The overall tone and the location of your wedding are important considerations when choosing your flowers. Plan to highlight the beauty of your surroundings. If you are being married in your parent's backyard, what shrubs, flowers, and trees will be flowering during your ceremony? Cherry branches, loaded with blossoms, can be enchanting for any type of wedding. If the garden will be covered in masses of blooming Japanese Irises, fill containers to overflowing on the tables and any walkways. Use containers that support your theme, such as teak buckets or antique milk jugs.
Think of your flowers as the supporting actors in your ceremony. Use them to artfully weave all the elements of your wedding into a cohesive tapestry of love and joy.