Book the venue? Check. Choose a caterer and wedding cake? Check and check. Set the guest list? Another check. But what about the wedding flowers? Don’t forget to include them in the planning process.
Brides have carried floral bouquets down the aisle for as long as history has been recorded. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans believed that carrying bouquets of fragrant herbs and spices during weddings warded off bad luck.
Brides today carry flowers for very different reasons. Flowers symbolize new beginnings. Every flower means something different, so brides put a lot of thought into the types of flowers they want to include in their floral arrangements. Most brides choose an arrangement that complements their wedding dresses, but there is no wrong style to choose.
Trends for 2022 reflect the changes that have emerged since the pandemic began in 2020. In response to COVID, many flower growers adjusted their crops to avoid wasting product, so brides may find themselves needing to pivot a bit this year to find the best floral arrangements to celebrate their big days.
One of the best ways to be flexible is to have fun with it, said Stephanie Kirby, owner of The Blue Daisy Floral Design in Pittsburgh. “Couples are really having fun with their color palettes. Our clients give us a general direction for color and allow us to build out a unique and fun look for them with what is available at the time of their wedding,” she explained.
Danielle Hillgartner, owner of Flowers by Gerard in Cranberry Township, said that some of the current trends she sees emerging for 2022 include rustic, natural outdoor settings with playful and bold colors and monochromatic settings with pops of color and nature greens and grasses.
Rules seem to be out the door for 2022, said Brigette Rau-Edgell, lead designer and manager at Hearts and Flowers Floral Design Studio in Allison Park. “Anything goes and the creativity is fantastic!” she said. “My clients are envisioning very unique designs and styles that fit their own personalities. I see a trend of very organic designs with a lot of texture and greenery.”
Choosing flowers can be harder than most couples realize. Kirby offered a few tips to help the flower selection process go more smoothly. First, she encourages couples to choose based on feelings. “We encourage our couples to give us three words to describe the feeling they’d like their wedding to have rather than specific images to imitate,” she said. “Once you home in on these feelings, keep them in mind while you make decisions throughout your process and share them with all of your vendors.”
Going with a feeling can help couples who feel bombarded by endless ideas and images on social media, which can lead to decision fatigue. “It gives us, as designers, a direction to go and flexibility to propose what makes the most sense for the season, venue, color palette, and budget,” added Kirby.
Waiting too long to request the flowers of your dreams can have disastrous results. Couples must plan well in advance to give florists ample time to either fulfill their wishes or recommend reasonable alternatives based on flower availability.
“For larger, full-service weddings, we recommend 18 months to a year out,” said Kirby. “Before 18 months, the couple generally does not have enough information about the wedding to provide an accurate quote. For smaller weddings, we have had couples reach out as little as a month in advance, though we do recommend sooner if you can.” Couples must have a firm date and a contract signed with the venues before Kirby offers a floral consultation.
Hillgartner said that she asks couples to give her at least six months to plan the perfect floral arrangements for their weddings. She also recommends that they understand the needs of their church, venue, or ceremony location before selecting flowers to ensure that they have a firm grasp of what is permitted and provided. They also must consider the number of guests at their ceremonies, the number of participants in their bridal parties, and their budgets.
Rau-Edgell said flowers are an amazing part of a wedding day, and planning florals for a wedding is a “work in progress,” so the details fall into place as the planning process evolves. “However, clients should take time to research and think about what they are envisioning before meeting with a florist. Brides should definitely have photos of bouquets, centerpieces, etc., to help the designer understand their vision.”
Couples who put a lot of thought and effort into the perfect wedding flowers may want to preserve those memories in more than just wedding photos. Floral preservation is an option they can choose to keep their bridal bouquets with them forever. One unique method available to local brides comes from White Jasmine Lab in Pittsburgh. They preserve flowers using a clear epoxy resin in a variety of styles and shapes.
“To preserve the colors and textures of your bouquet, we use a granulated mineral called silica gel,” said April Schwietz, owner of White Jasmine Lab. “This specialized drying process preserves each bloom as the silica dries the flowers thoroughly for several weeks. Then, we finish them off with a UV protectant.”
After this special preparation, the flowers go through resin production, where they are encased in layers of clear resin. The process can take several weeks.
“After curing, the resin piece is removed from the mold. We finish by removing any sharp edges and then polishing the item to perfection,” said Schwietz. Customers can then arrange to pick up their finished product at the shop or have it shipped.
To prepare bouquets for the process, Schwietz recommends keeping them upright in clean water in a cool place. Avoid exposing flowers to direct sunlight, and do not put them in the fridge or freezer.
“The less you handle your bouquet, the better the flowers will preserve. We recommend you avoid touching the flower petals with your hands, because this residue can affect the look of the final product,” she said, adding that it takes approximately four to five months for the preservation process to be completed.
White Jasmine Lab also offers a Bouquet Remake option. Clients can bring in a photo of a past bouquet and the lab uses it to create a unique resin that makes a great anniversary gift.