To my clients, I am more than “just a photographer”, I am their friend and someone they trust when they need help. I've been told I go above and beyond my job as a photographer (as quoted from my past bride, Maddy)!
This week’s blog post is all about helping future Brides and Grooms choose flowers for their wedding. I reached out to Charmaine from CBL Floral Design and Stef from Eastern Hemlock Florals for their opinion on the best flowers by season as well as if they had any advice for couples when it came to deciding which Florist to hire! I also asked if they had any tips/tricks that couples should be aware of!
Charmaine: Peonies, tulips, dahlias, viburnum, and sweet peas as this is the only time they are readily available. Anemones are available from January to May – depending on whether they are local or imported can also affect the price. I would also like to add that the most popular spring flowers that are available year-round are: roses, garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, gerbera daisies, ranunculus, lisianthus, and freesia. The most popular filler flowers would include Waxflower, Hypericum Berries, Astilbe, and Baby’s Breath.
Stef: A few of my favourites are: Blooming branches – cherry, magnolia, mock orange and spirea. Depending on the type of spring we have these have a short window of about 2-3 weeks. Ranunculus, anemone, hellebores, sweet peas, and peonies are all gorgeous spring choices.
Charmaine: They tend to be very similar to spring favourites, however, Peonies are only available until June. The following are favourites for summer weddings: dahlias, ranunculus, leucadendron, all varieties of roses, hydrangeas, gerbera daisies, lisianthus, veronica, and amaranthus. Filler flowers would include Waxflower, Astilbe, Hypericum Berries, Baby’s Breath, and Seeded Eucalyptus which is available until the end of August.
Stef: A few of my favourites are: foxglove, lisianthus, zinnias, roses, and scabiosa.
Charmaine: Fall weddings often include: chrysanthemums, dahlias (available until October), gerbera daisies, calla lilies, orchids, anemones (available beginning in the fall), roses of all types, succulents, and hydrangeas. Filler flowers include Waxflower, Astilbe, Hypericum Berries, and Baby’s Breath. Seeded Eucalyptus is harder to come by, but there are many other wonderful greenery options available.
Stef: I’ve noticed that dahlia, smoke bush, amaranthus, chocolate cosmos, seasonal branches that change colour & hydrangea are quite popular.
Charmaine: Winter weddings might include similar florals to fall but in different colours. For example bolder, deeper tones, or just classic white and green.
Stef: With winter seasonal weddings, you can get creative and use a variety of evergreen branches and dried hydrangeas, dried citrus, dried cotton. There are lots of local greenhouses in Ontario that grow year round. This means that blooms like Ranunculus, Stock & Lisianthus are still available. Amaryllis is one of my favourite winter blooms and they come in a wide variety of colours!
Charmaine: I usually advise to stay away from Lilacs in hand-held bouquets because they do not do well without a water source. The same goes for using Dusty Miller as greenery in handheld bouquets. It does not like to be left out of the water, and therefore, can be quite droopy by the time photos are being taken. If a Bride insists on Dusty Miller, I always suggest artificial because you really cannot tell the difference. Especially if it’s combined with fresh florals and other greens. Seeded Eucalyptus is not readily available in the spring. If there is imported available, it’s not always very nice quality. In winter, if photos are being taken outdoors, the severe cold will affect the life of flowers. The same goes for the extreme heat in the summer. Brides need to be aware of this and plan photos accordingly with their photographer.
Stef: Certain blooms are hard to get when they are out of season unless you’re importing them. Generally, Dahlia is a late summer-fall bloom that is not available any other time of year. Peonies are the same as they are available in the spring but not for the rest of the year.
Charmaine: I suggest that couples take a look on Instagram or Facebook for Florists in their area that have good photos of their work. They should pick a Florist that they like. It is a good idea to book a consultation with the Florist to see if they are a good fit. They are going to be a big part of their special day.
Sitting down and talking about their vision, hopes, and dreams can really help a lot. I always suggest brides research on Pinterest and start a vision board of sorts before we meet. A good Florist can accommodate any style or theme and must be willing to work with the couple to achieve the look they want. This consult is critical as it sets the tone for the relationship between the couple and Florist.
Stef: Make sure you find a florist that suits you and your style. Flowers can be designed uniquely to reflect you as a couple and really set the mood of your day. Look at the Florist’s website and Instagram to see what kind of designs they create. I also highly recommend you schedule a consultation with them!
Charmaine: I understand that every couple is on a budget and so I try to help them spend their floral budget wisely. There are also multiple ways to cut down costs on florals. A good Florist can make suggestions to help with that. One area that a couple should not cut back is the bridal bouquet. As much as the photos are the main thing that lasts over the years, the bride’s bouquet is probably going to be in the photo they will still have on display 25 years later. I always encourage my brides to get the bouquet they LOVE no matter what. We can work out the rest of the details to fit into their budget.
I also suggest that they have beautiful centrepieces for their guests to enjoy because these people have taken the time and money to be a part of your special day. Giving them something beautiful to enjoy while they are celebrating with you is so important.
Most of my brides also opt for posey style bouquets for the moms and grandmothers because they are so pretty, and so much easier than having a corsage hanging on the wrist or ruining their pretty dress. They can carry them for photos and then nicely lay them aside. They are also a lot more cost-effective since they are so much less labour-intensive.
I also always find out what the groom and groomsmen are wearing because boutonnieres are not mandatory at all. Even if guys are in suits, they don’t have to wear one, (because let’s be honest, the guys already look amazing all dressed up and often have a pocket square) though that is the only time I actually would recommend them. Boutonnieres are meant to be worn on a lapel, not a vest (though I will concede to that if they really want them), not suspenders, and certainly not just plain shirts!
On a wedding day, I take the time to hand out corsages/posies and boutonnieres, help pin on where needed, and then meet the bridal party in their room to give a lesson on proper bouquet holding. This is one of the most important things that I feel can easily be forgotten. My brides are always so grateful that I am there to teach them because it’s not as simple as it may seem. SO many brides and bridesmaids hold their bouquets up high in front of their chest because it’s the natural reaction when you are nervous. They just do. But if I teach them how to hold their bouquets, I can tell from the photos that they’ve listened and learned.
I always tell them to carry their bouquets down in front of their belly button. Flowers are a HUGE part of the wedding – as you can see when you look at photos later. They really do make a big difference in the atmosphere and add so much beauty to the couple’s BEST. DAY. EVER.
Stef: There are so many possibilities when it comes to floral installations. Talk with your florist about all the different ways you can incorporate florals into your big day. Talk about what’s in season that month, and what the environment is like at your venue/ceremony site. Whether it is a hanging installation or a unique ceremony set up, you can customize your floral design to compliment the space as well as your own aesthetic.
I hope you found this post helpful for your big day! I would also like to personally thank Charmaine and Stef for their patience and answering my questions in detail for this post!
*Images used are not mine. They were sourced from Canva’s Free Stock photos*
*Bride’s bouquet in the main image was captured by myself and was created by Leanne at Fresh by Leanne*
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