February 26, 2010

When DIY wedding flowers are a DIY- Don’t!

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I have been having some fun by learning to be creative in a different direction- photography. One of my best friends is an amazing wedding photographer and she is mentoring me. The other day I went with her to a wedding to act as her second shooter. As I was done unloading the cameras, she came over to me and whispered, “Don’t tell them you are a florist.” Why? Because there was a major floral disaster happening in the kitchen of the bride’s home and my friend did not want to lose her second shooter if they enlisted me to help fix the problems.

We have all heard about it and in some cases, seen it. The DIY trend come home to roost. In this wedding’s case it was an Aunt that was a retired “florist”. I do not know what her background was, how long she was in the floral business or how long she was out of it, but this lady should have never undertaken the job of wedding day floral designer.
Some of the atrocities committed on this wedding:

Bridal bouquet had gerbera daisies wired down the stem with the wire sticking out of the bottom was snagging her dress. Brown and wilted callas. Phalaenopsis orchids clumsily wired into the bouquet were wilted and dead. Stem of the bridal bouquet was so large it resembled a “trunk”. Ribbon that was supposed to be ivory was yellow.

Bridesmaids bouquets had wire sticking out of the bottom of the stems. The red ribbon used to wrap the bouquets was not color fast and bled red dye all over their hands.

Flower girls’ headbands, had flowers sticking about 7 inches off the tops of their heads.  Head band kept flopping off their heads and covering their eyes. The flower girls were given red rose petals to sprinkle down the aisle of the church. The red rose petals were crushed into the beige carpet leaving awful burgundy stains all over the church’s aisle.

Corsages were cymbidium orchids on the stem with a couple of pieces of sword fern just clamped into an elastic wrist-lette. The metal clamp and mechanics were exposed. The orchids broke off (because nothing was holding them in). Boutonnieres were roses with the blunt cut of the rose stem showing wrapped partially in ribbon secured with a pin that painfully stabbed anyone that hugged the guys.

At the reception each table was decorated differently (all 15 of them) with no sense of continuity (ended up looking like a garage sale). Large arrangements right in the guest’s line of sight. The water in vases were murky and cloudy.

Seeing all of this first hand really brought home how it is the little problems that can really add up and use up time on a day that is already short on time and so charged with emotion.

You can buy a book or watch a You Tube video to learn how to arrange flowers.  But what about all of the other little things?  Things a special event floral designer with years of experience knows how to avoid.

To spite all my advice I can understand why some brides will still go forward thinking they can design their own wedding flowers.  Saving money is usually the deciding factor.  I often advise budget brides to make their own centerpieces from items that can be put together well in advance of the wedding (Plants or candles are great choices for easy centerpieces) and have a reputable floral designer put together all of the personal flowers.

Are you unswayed or do you agree?  Will you be putting together your own wedding flowers?

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Kate Miller Events : 11:04 February 26, 2010
Great post on the risks and realities of undertaking a project that is not easily learned during the course of your wedding planning. Experience is highly valuable in the floral world - I've seen florists work MAGIC on wilting flowers, just by knowing exactly what will perk up the pesky variety.
Montreal Flowers - O.XIDE Design : 12:46 February 26, 2010
Honestly I believe you get married once, therefore its a one time occasion! I would hire a florist!
Stephanie J Designs : 14:48 February 27, 2010
Agreed! The financial lure {which often turns out to be a false promise} of a DIY wedding sounds good right out of the gate but NOTHING can replace the knowledge of a seasoned wedding professional.
Tara McHugh : 21:21 March 5, 2010
I agree Shannon. As for the photography, do you have any tips on shooting one's own floral designs? Being new in the business I don't have a pro to shoot portfolio work. Thanks for the great blog!
Shannon : 10:25 March 8, 2010
1. Get your self a really good camera. I won't go into the Nikon vs. Canon debate. But I am shooting with a Nikon d80 (I am about to upgrade my camera body) and I like to use my 50mm 1.4 lens to photograph my flowers. 2. Use natural light when taking pictures of flowers. Using a flash on flowers sucks the life out of the colors. 3. Experiment and have fun!
Paula Pritchard : 21:04 March 8, 2010
Hi Shannon! I'm a wedding florist in Seattle- found you on ubloom. Love your work! Anytime I hear someone talking about trying to DIY their wedding flowers, I tell them 2 things: 1)if you insist on going the DIY route, PLEASE do a practice round in advance and 2)I'm a professional-- and I didn't do my own wedding flowers!

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