Wedding Week – Day 5 – Elva Graham on Flowers

Choosing your flowers for your wedding can be somewhat tricky….especially if you don’t consider yourself one to know much about flowers. Here are a few tips to get you excited about choosing the right flowers for your arrangements:

  • Communicate your vision, likes, dislikes, and expectations. Collect a lot of pictures and share them with your florist, it is the best way to convey what you want or don’t want in your floral designs. Think of your answer to this question…”If you could stand at the back of our ceremony and watch it, what would you want to see?”
  • Trust your florist. They want to make your wedding breathtaking. Remember why you hired your florist with their amazing talent!

  • Flowers are a great place to choose an accent color — for example, a lime green against a lavender gown will bring out the best in both colors and make for fabulous photos. A bridesmaid in a lavender gown with lavender flowers will make for very disappointing pictures. Choose colors you have always loved; not what’s trending now on Pinterest. You will be happier in the long run.

  • Choosing highly aromatic flowers for centerpieces may sound like an amazingly romantic idea, but it will drive your guests insane if they are prone to allergies. For highly aromatic arrangements — stick to your bridal bouquet and the altar arrangements.

  • Remember that not all beautiful flowers can stand up to the long, waterless wedding day. Ask your florist what flowers will work the best in what arrangements to withstand the long day!

  • Think about the size and comfort when it comes to your bouquet. Realize that the larger the bouquet, the more it covers and fights with the overall design of their dress. Further, do you really want to carry something that is huge and heavy?

  • Remember …what’s underneath a centerpiece is as important as the arrangement itself. Linens don’t just complement the look of your centerpieces; they complete them. From runners to underlay’s and overlays, the right ‘undergarments’ can make flowers flourish on a table.

  • Know what season your favorite flower is available! Some flowers just aren’t available at certain times of the year (or are very expensive) so make sure you take this into consideration when choosing which flowers to incorporate into your bouquet.

  • Concentrate on what is meaningful to you as a couple and make sure you and your vendors have shared expectations. If you have a family heirloom such as an antique brooch, a lace hanky or something else to work into your something old, new, borrowed and blue, ask your florist to add it into the top of the stems. Brooches in particular look fantastic and are a lovely way to finish off the handle.

  • Remember that most brides find that flowers are an important part of their day but forget to include them in the planning from the start. Start first with your budget and then decide a theme. Then contact your florist; they are able to advise you even in the planning stages to help you achieve the look you want.

  • Begin the process of booking vendors by speaking to one vendor from each category before booking anyone. This way they can get an idea of what things cost and perhaps they could help you budget better.

  • Have a realistic budget for your flowers. Trust your designer to advise you on what is available and how much it will cost. Remember to be flexible!

  • Leave at least a six-week window ahead of your wedding week to be able to line everything up. Your flowers will be cheaper if you can give your florist the time that they need to order. Flowers come from South America, Holland, and all over the world, so it is very hard to contact farms across the world and have flowers arrive within one or two weeks.

  • Remember that aisle flowers can become centerpieces, and alter pieces can be used on a buffet table. A wedding service is short; it is a shame to waste beautiful flowers that can be used in the longer reception.

  • If you have a favorite florist don’t be afraid to ask them to travel if you are planning a destination wedding.

Now that you have some helpful hints for your flowers, here are few things we have seen recently that won’t lead to such a great flower experience.

  1. Couples tend to see the centerpieces and the table setting but do not visualize the whole reception room with their guests in it. For example, couples pay for a room with a wonderful view of the ocean or scenic surrounding and want tall, large centerpieces that will obstruct this view. Explain your vision to your florist so you can have the view & the flowers, too!
  2. A florist can do a much better job if the bride asks for an overall look, feel, and color scheme and then lets the florist create it. By not being flexible with your arrangements, you aren’t getting the most bang for your buck and you may be selling yourself short on having the most beautiful flowers. Your florist has likely made thousands of arrangements and knows which flowers work well with others. Allow them to guide you in your selection process.
  3. Often times brides are weary of “expensive flowers”. Flowers like cattleya orchids and peonies are more expensive, but they also cover more space and have a greater impact. One cattleya orchid can have a greater impact than a bouquet of roses. Once again, trust your florist to do the best job of meeting your expectations within your budget.
  4. I’m not saying that DIY flowers are a bad thing, but Brides [who try to DIY their flowers] will purchase dozens of glass vases for centerpieces, only to become overwhelmed. We receive many frantic calls asking to take over the stress of these DIY projects, which often becomes more expensive than hiring a professional from the start. Before you choose to DIY your flowers, consider hiring a professional to help with them so you can use your DIY skills on another area of the wedding where you feel more comfortable.

For a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Green Thumb Florist, comment on this post with your favorite flowers or ask Elva a question. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win! And for those of you who don’t win, call Elva today & order your flowers to receive 10% off your total. You must mention this blog. Offer expires June 1, 2013.


Elva Lynn Graham was born and raised in Faison, NC in Duplin County. She currently lives in Mt. Olive, NC with her husband Brad and daughter Katie. She began doing florist work at the age of 15 and did her first big wedding at the age of 16. By 20 she had opened Green Thumb Florist and Gifts in a historic home in Faison. If you asked Elva what she does in her spare time she would, at first, laugh, then proceed to tell you about spending time with her family and friends, her competition clogging team, and traveling. She is also an accomplished cook and a wonderful mother.


Photos by Brittani Schultze-Gardner.

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