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ODT fashion contributor Jennifer Hughson takes the pain out of choosing the perfect wedding flowers.
Jasmine. Hyacinth. Lily. Camellia.
No, I'm not referring to your favourite Disney princess or your great aunt once removed from your father's side of the family.
No, no, no. I'm talking about flowers! Fragrant, beautiful creations that bring life and vitality to your wedding day. They can create a vibe and style
But where to start? How does one pick the Agapanthus from the Alstroemeria? The Sweet Pea from the Sweet William? The Bird of Paradise from the Flamingo Flower?
Nipping this dilemma in the bud, I decided to leaf it to an expert, branch out and ask some questions.
Here's what I discovered from one of the finest in her field, local florist Jolene Wilkinson of Estelle flowers. She definitely rose to the occasion.
With a botanical background in herbal medicine and aromatherapy, floristry was a natural progression for Jolene - something with more of a creative outlet. Over the 5 years of running her own floristry business, she has developed a distinctive, contemporary style influenced from overseas living and a love of beautiful, effortless creations. After establishing her business from home, she has been based for the last three years in a gorgeous boutique in Moray Place, central Dunedin.
From a florist's point of view, Jolene likes to know about you and your wedding. This will inspire her to create beautiful arrangements full of heart. She advises not all flowers can be guaranteed until the week of the wedding, so there is a high level of trust involved when working with these unpredictable, natural items.
Trusting your florist completely allows you to relax and rest assured their expertise will find options for all possible scenarios. Agreeing on a style/feeling/theme opposed to a specific flower is a wise idea.
After spending some time with Jolene, I concluded the main things to consider when planning your flowers are: style, setting, budget and season.
Bringing the florist an invitation sample and some fabric swatches is a good starting point. This gives them an idea of your preferred colour palette and any potential themes, such as ‘casual beach nuptials' or ‘grand garden affair'.
According to my expert Jolene (she really is bloomin' marvellous), a popular look of last year was a sweet, nostalgic 1950s feel with beautiful pastels and sorbet colours (mint, blue, lemon, pink) made into perfectly rounded bouquets and arranged in multiple cute jars for the tables (sometimes with coloured water too, fun!!). This was an old-fashioned-made-contemporary look which will always be fashionable because it is just so darn cute!
Currently, she is seeing a trend of a more relaxed ‘New York' style which references a 1920-30s feel and keeps flowers in a more natural form. Foliage, such as branches and berries, is very important for this look - it helps create a looser, less defined shape. Colours for this look include browns and burgundy with pops of blue and peach to lift it.
When thinking about what style you want created, try to keep things less gimmicky and more about the flowers - they really do speak for themselves! Simple, classy, uncomplicated arrangements will live on in your photos and memories as a gorgeous timeless look.
While a whole bridal party of bouquets and buttonholes may suit one couple, they might not suit another. Think about your wedding's setting and take it from there. Tell your florist where your wedding is, who is involved and listen to their suggestions. They will know what Larnach Castle needs in the ballroom or which pews at the church need arrangements - they have done the research, use their knowledge!
A good florist should be able to work to any budget, but as a guideline think about using 10-20% of your total wedding budget for flowers. Of course, it all depends on priorities too. Jolene suggests being completely upfront about your budget from the very first meeting. If you are honest and the florist knows the limit, you have absolutely nothing to worry about! They can suggest ideas and flowers to meet your needs and priorities while keeping it individual.
Seasons can play a big part in the type of flowers you can have, especially in our beautiful Dunedin city. This doesn't mean you can't get the colour palette and style you want, just that you have to keep an open mind and be flexible. While some flowers are artificially grown to be available out of season, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to flowers so it's sensible to be flexible and avoids potential disappointment.
As soon as you and your partner are excited about planning your big day and have ideas, start your search for a florist. The sooner the better goes without saying in the wedding industry, but there is also no reason to panic a year out (unlike booking a venue or photographer). Start your search when you are ready, happy and relaxed.
Have ideas about the style you want, your setting, a budget limit and be aware of the season your wedding falls in. Do a little research and go florist hunting. Then let them do the rest - trust them and their creativity and knowledge.
"Combine flowers, seasonal foliage, texture, fragrance and you've got a timeless, winning combination."
See? Jolene knows what she's talking about.
Iris my case.