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Wedding Flowers by Sharon Maggs

In the last hundred years the wedding ceremony and bridal clothes have crystallized into a set of formal conventions, but within these limitations there are still changes in fashion. The most popular colours for a wedding dress still remain white, cream or ivory whilst the bride’s attendants are often dressed in shades of pink, blue, green yellow and peach. Over the last century the style of bridal bouquets have mirrored the era, varying from the large Edwardian bouquets to sheaves of lilies carried over the arm in the 1930’s to the small stiff bouquets of the 60’s. These days however, anything goes and your choice of flowers presents a wonderful opportunity to express your personal style and individuality. When it comes to planning your wedding flowers there are many things that the bride must take into consideration. It might be a good idea to at least start thinking about this important element nine months before your wedding day, however, brides have been known to call into their local florists the day before or on the morning of the wedding to grab their wedding bouquet!!!! You will have to consider many things such as budget, fragrance, design, “wow factor”, availability, etc. Does your bouquet compliment your skin and hair colouring. For example, if you are naturally pale the archetypal English Rose, a pure white bouquet teamed with a white dress can have a draining effect leaving you looking washed out. If you do have a pale complexion a bouquet with a hint of colour and a splash of foliage will have a more flattering effect. Every bride wants her day to be perfect and your bouquet and wedding flowers act as a joyous reminder of your special day and will be an everlasting memory of one of the most important events in your life.

The Bouquet


When considering your bouquet you might like to consider a “floral theme”, which is based around a favourite flower or foliage. This is a good starting point if you have absolutely no idea about what you have in mind. As a rule of thumb most bouquets, arrangements etc consist of three main ingredients and each play an important role within the composition, these are;

· Foliage – Foliage comes in an amazing array of colours such as rich purples, pinks, chocolate brown, silver grey and of course green!
· Filler – A filer helps to harmonise the bouquet and provides detail and contrast
· Focus – The focal point of the bouquet, the dominate flower draws the eye into the bouquet

Bridesmaids, Best Man, etc

Budgets vary, but an easy way to estimate your costs is to ask your florist to tell you which flowers are in season at the time of your wedding, then work your flower arrangements around these.

· Bridesmaids – These bouquets are traditionally smaller, less complicated and can be a mini interpretation of the brides bouquet, however different colours can be introduced or an alternative bouquet such as a handbag filled with flowers is a modern and refreshing alternative
· Buttonholes – These normally consist of a single flower sometimes two these can compliment the bridal bouquet or follow a theme totally different from the bridal bouquet.

Thank you Bouquets

You might want to thank your aunty Joan for making the Wedding cake!!

The Church

One pedestal arrangement is the minimum for a church, but two are better. They can be placed side by side to create a balance or one can be positioned at the entrance and one at the alter, this gives the impression that the church is full of flowers. Additional arrangements can be placed at the pew ends, entrances, windowsills, font etc.

The Civil Ceremony

Essential flowers

· Registrar’s table – either side creates a balance and forms a focal point for the proceedings
· Entrances, Window sills, or shelves, hung from the backs of chairs

The wedding reception (venue)

· Top Table – There are no rules, consider the shape of the table, linen, cutlery, space available etc (less is more). Trailing displays work well on long tables. Round tables might require low, wide tall, or thin displays. The flowers should not be too high otherwise your guests won’t be able to see you!!! Candles compliment flowers perfectly and create a really special mood.
· Tables - To create that special ambiance arrangements are usually placed on the reception tables. Arrangements should not be too high as this permits the guests to talk to one another or they should tower above the heads of the guests so that their views are not obstructed. Spend as much as you can afford and consider the containers because these create interest. Also consider the style of the venue is it traditional or contemporary, a museum or a modern restaurant will also dictate the type of flowers etc that you can use effectively.

Finding the perfect Florist

Your flowers are the last thing that you should be thinking about on your wedding day, so when you decide which florist to work with you will need to have total confidence in the florist. It is essential to find someone with whom you connect with and trust. They should be someone who is creative, who will listen to you and interpret all of your ideas and come up with a realistic solution for this important day. Your florist should be approachable, friendly and on the same par as your favourite hairdresser or beautician. You will need to provide as much information as possible about yourself your likes, dislikes, you might have to tell your whole life story! Make at least three appointments with different florists before selecting the one with whom you would like to work with, but try and do this on a weekday because the florist will have more time to discuss your ideas with you. The more information you provide the better and the more likely that you will get what you want for this important day. Draw up a storyboard by using magazine cuttings, old photographs, colour swatches, pictures of flowers, fabric swatches, use descriptive words etc. once you have found a florist that you would like to work with make two further appointments before the wedding day to discuss and play around with ideas, this should be a fun experience and an opportunity to establish a great working relationship with your florist. You can ask to see recent examples of the florists work and many will have a portfolio which can act as a useful starting point for discussion. Look at the layout of the shop - is it appealing, the shop itself is an extension of the florists personality and reflects their style taste, range and creativity. Is the florist professional, look at the flowers on display, how does the florist conduct themselves when they are talking to you, are they attentive, interested. These are all serious considerations and will help you to make that final decision.

The budget

Set a clear budget, but be prepared to be slightly flexible, however, make sure that you are not pushed into anything you don’t want. A good florist should be able to work within any budget and suggest ideas to suit your price range. Compare prices and services with other florists and beware of hidden extras for example does the final bill include transporting the flowers as well as the cost of the arrangements themselves. If you have a limited budget just cover the essentials for example if you are decorating a venue a good rule of thumb is to position yourself at the door and consider where your eyes go to first - that is where you should place your flower designs. Anything else is considered an extra. Make sure the flowers are in keeping with the surroundings, but a good florist can adapt any flower to any commission. The average spend is around 500 euros or if all else fails equate your floral expenditure to the cost of your wedding dress!!!!

Bouquet Shape

The florist will talk you through the options available when it comes to your bouquet. They style of bouquet is really a question of personal taste, wired, garden posy, loose hand tied, over the arm bouquet. Consider the shape of your dress for example a full skirted dress suits a tear drop or waterfall bouquet, a sleek dress can accommodate a neat little posy as well as a large bold bouquet. Consider proportions, If you are petite avoid long trailing bouquets and if you are broad balance your shape with a larger arrangement.


Flowers can echo the bride’s bouquet, this helps create continuity.


Talk to your florist about what is in season. Exotic flowers and flowers which are out of season can add up to 50 per cent to your overall costs. However, if you really want exotic flowers use them sparingly. If your budget is restricted don’t underestimate the impact of foliage, it creates interest and can be a cheaper and a cost effective way of decorating a large venue, bouquets and buttonholes.

Special touches

Perhaps you want to have a special touch for the groom, best man, mother of the bride etc. A special feature not only makes the person wearing the buttonhole feel special, but also sets them that VIP status setting them apart from your guests. The starting point for a buttonhole or corsage should be around 7,00€

Alters, Pew Ends, windowsills, tables etc

Measurements are essential, they need to accommodate the arrangements and enhance the look and feel of the venue. You might need to consider potential problems like guests brushing up against the compositions or knocking them over, especially when the party is in full swing!! You can reuse ceremony flowers for the reception try and use
hardy flowers which will last the day, the general rule is the more scented the flower the more delicate it is, this includes flowers with soft and thin stems such as freesias, sweetpeas and stocks

Don’t forget Allergies

Make sure that members of your wedding party do not have any allergies, typical culprits include lilies, peonies, hyacinths and summer grasses, alternatives may include pansies, begonias, daffodils, daisies, roses, sunflowers and tulips.

Finally, it is your day, a day to remember by you, and all of those that celebrate this very important moment with you, so remember, when deciding upon your wedding flowers do only what you want to do and don’t be pushed into buying anything or doing anything that you don’t to!!!!

Flower Tick List

o Reception Flowers – Hall Ways, Stairways, Rest Rooms, Window Sills, Table Arrangements/decoration, Napkin Decorations, Chair Backs, Entrances, etc
o Wedding Transport
o Church Flowers – Alter, Entrance, Window Sills, Pew Ends, Chair Backs etc
o Bride’s Bouquet
o Bridesmaids bouquet
o Mothers, Grandmothers corsages
o Buttonholes
o Thank you bouquets
o Cake Decoration
o Headdress

You can visit Sharon at her boutique 'Creatif', in Antibes, 26 Rue Lacan at the Gallerie du Port.
Tel: 0033(0)4 93 74 99 30 email: