PHOTO: Her World Brides

Mark your calendar
Our experts from Fiore Dorato, By The Branch and Flores by Nic agree that a good time for a couple to book a meeting with a florist using fresh flowers is between three and six months before the wedding. If you’re opting for flowers that have been specially treated to last at least six months without needing water or sunlight, Viva La Fleur, which specialises in this, needs just one month’s notice. 

Prep for the meeting
Tear sheets from magazines, storyboards or illustrations are always helpful when communicating with your florist. “We like to encourage our couples to come up with their own ideas and to bring sketches and printouts or pictures of bouquets and flower arrangements to the consultation, so we can better understand the look they want,” says Nicholas Don Lim, creative director, Flores By Nic.

Select the blooms
When choosing your flowers, it pays to keep an open mind. Brenda Lee Monteiro from Fiore Dorato says, “Many are set on a certain flower, like peonies, which are actually seasonal. There are always similar flowers available that can easily fit in with your venue and theme.”

The bouquet is primarily based on the bride’s personal favourites in terms of colours and blooms, says Nicholas. “Its shape and additional trims are usually determined by her body type and size, as well as her gown. Once we’ve worked that out, it’s time to talk about the venue/s and theme. And if it’s not a known venue, it helps to walk your florist through the place.”

Angela Wong of By The Branch suggests having a mix of flowers, such as alstroemerias and eustomas, as well as berries, to evoke that relaxed or cosy vibe that comes with outdoor or lunch receptions.

As for flowers that stay fresh throughout the wedding, orchids, roses and berries generally last better in our climate, especially if you’re opting for an outdoor wedding, according to Angela.

Work with a budget
If you don’t have a big budget, Brenda suggests keeping the number of bridesmaids and other attendants needing flowers to a minimum. “Less flowers mean less money spent. You can also consider choosing those that are in season and be flexible with your selection – flowers such as ranunculuses work just as well, and are more affordable than peonies.”

Brenda’s other tips: Avoid scheduling your wedding on or near a holiday as prices will go up. And reuse your ceremony arrangements at the banquet.”

When budgeting for flowers, do also factor in potential additional costs, like extra charges for the florist’s team to be on standby. “We usually charge $80 to $250 for setting up and breaking down arrangements. However, this is waived when you spend a minimum amount with us,” says Nicholas.

Factoring in time
When booking your venue, remember that your florists will need time for set-ups. Of course, the more elaborate the set-up, the more time it will take to do, says Brenda.

This article was first published in Her World Brides March – May 2014.