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Wedding Floral – Ask an Expert

Wedding Floral – Ask an Expert

You’ve done it. You’ve found the perfect dress! The one you’ve always dreamed of! Now, it’s time to pick the person who will design your most important accessory­ — your bridal bouquet — along with your attendants’ bouquets, your boutonnieres, your centerpieces, that floral archway you’ve had pinned on Pinterest since your first date with your now fiancé. Wow! That’s a lot! So how do you pick such an important part of your big day? Well, Chandra Christenson of Simplified Celebration let us pick her brain on the topic and we’ve got the scoop for you!

What trends are you noticing in floral design for weddings?

Brides have been using romantic color palettes like gold and blush, but we’re starting to see some more mixed metals and geometric designs, and some brides are also opting for very bold, deep colors. Bouquet requests are for large, custom arrangements that are very organic. Cascade bouquets are coming back in trend, but not the formal, structured bouquets of the 1980’s ­— today’s are much more free flowing and natural.

How early should you book a florist?

The floral elements can really set the tone of your wedding, so it’s best to bring a floral designer into the planning process early on — usually after you’ve locked down your date, venue, photographer and caterer.

What should a bride look for in a good floral designer?

Always ask to see a portfolio of real weddings that designer has done personally. Don’t deal with a middle man or trust that your flowers will look like the flowers from a published catalog the florist shows you. Also, look at Facebook and Yelp reviews to get a sense of previous brides’ satisfaction. You should only work with someone who sets a meeting and gives you their whole attention. If it’s a busy shop and they keep getting pulled away to work with walk-in customers, they aren’t really focused on what you want for your big day. In terms of location, don’t think a brick-and-mortar shop is the only way to go. You’ll find good florists there, but you might find ones that are just as good and potentially less expensive working out of their homes. If you do work with someone who is home-based, just make sure they are professional when they interact with you and that you’re comfortable with their portfolio of other weddings. Make sure any florist you work with has a back-up plan in case they have an emergency on the day of your wedding.

How should a bride prepare for meeting with a potential floral designer?

She should have a good overall vision for her wedding, an outline of her budget and know her venue and photographer. Come prepared with your color palette and any floral likes and dislikes. An organized Pinterest board is great! (see Tip From a Pro below)

Are there frequent mistakes or misconceptions you find brides have about wedding floral?

The biggest problem I run into is not having a realistic budget. A bridal bouquet alone can cost between $99 and $399 depending on the types of flowers used, the number of stems and the time of year. Providing your florist with an idea of your overall budget and how you plan to use the flowers allows them to help you find the best options. If flowers are your main décor element, your floral budget might be higher than someone who just wants bouquets and boutonnieres. Pay attention to the designer’s suggestions; they know their business and how to get the most bang for your buck.

Are floral delivery and set up included in pricing?

Always ask and never make an assumption. There is probably a cost for on-site delivery and an additional fee if any on-site floral design is required (like decorating a car or an arch, which can’t be done in the studio). There may also be a strike fee if you aren’t willing to remove the floral elements yourself and the designer has to come back and remove them.

Who should get flowers and are there any flowers or colors to avoid?

Obviously the bride and bridesmaids should all get a bouquet. Additionally, the groom and all his attendants should get a boutonniere. Any flower girls or ring bearers should get petite arrangements that suit the style of the wedding. Parents and grand-parents should get corsages and boutonnieres. Great-grandparents and ushers are optional. The Northwest isn’t a very formal flower culture, so most people are not going to know the meanings of any particular flower or color, but you should avoid any flowers that mean something strange to you. I have a lot of brides who say lilies remind them of funerals. If that’s the case, don’t have them in your wedding bouquet! You should also find out if anyone in your party is allergic to a particular flower or has a fragrance sensitivity. You don’t want to inadvertently cause an allergic reaction that overshadows the whole day.

What sets Simplified Celebrations apart from other floral designers in the area?

I really do love designing for weddings! I am so thankful that my job is also my passion. We also offer event planning services so we have great connections with other vendors. Simplified Celebrations is a studio-based business, which means we aren’t open to walk-in traffic so you get much more focused attention and, I think, have a lot of fun at our consultations!

Tip From a Pro – Getting the Most from Your Pins

If you are newly engaged and just started to use Pinterest to gather all your wedding dreams, always organize your boards by topic ­— a board for flowers, another for fashion, etc. If you put all your wedding pins on one board, you are going to waste time sifting through them trying to find the relevant ones for the vendor you’re meeting with.

Chandra Christenson has been a floral designer for over 14 years and has helped over 1,000 brides with beautiful floral arrangements. She is a graduate from the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Ore., and has owned Simplified Celebrations ( for eight years. If you are interested in floral design, check out one of her Sips and Stems classes offered regularly at local wineries or set up your own private class!

First published in our Summer 2016 issue.

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