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January 29, 2014

A bouquet of questions

Once you answer with ‘yes,’ experts say you should know what to ask when planning your wedding flowers

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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A bouquet of questions
Lisa Edwards creates an arrangement with pink flowers — roses, alstromeria and mums — at Tiffany Florist in downtown Birmingham.

Cascade or hand-tie bouquet? Lilies or freesia for scent? Salal or bakers fern?

There are thousands of decisions a bride has to make during her wedding-planning process. Go ahead and tack on another dozen, because choosing the perfect flowers for a bridal bouquet can be just as tricky as netting the guy of your dreams.

Bob Kupfer, owner of Tiffany Florist in downtown Birmingham, has helped plenty of engaged couples select the flowers and décor scheme for their big day. He said many brides may think choosing the right bouquet is easy to do, but with so many elements to think about, the task can quickly become overwhelming.

His advice? Get a few of your wedding day ducks in a row before you make an appointment for a consultation with a floral designer. Details, such as the date of your event, will give your florist a good idea of where to start with floral design ideas.

“The date is really important,” said Kupfer. “The designer will take into consideration what flowers are available that season. As for the venue, that doesn’t really matter too much. We’ve got to do whatever you like and make it work, regardless of the venue.”

But to Kay Kiekbusch, instructor with Macomb Community College’s Floral Design program, the venue should really be used as an asset to accentuate your floralscape.

“If it’s an outdoor wedding, you could do something very natural or woodsy,” Kiekbusch said. “I just did a wedding at a very high-end country club, and the bride wanted lots of pearls. So that really went with the venue. And I did one that was outside at an apple orchard and it was beautiful — gorgeous. It had a vintage feel, with wine bottles filled with baby’s breath.”

Kiekbusch went on to say that a color is also a big dictator of what flowers can and should be used in wedding designs.

“I would say 99 percent of the time, it all starts with color,” she said of wedding planning in general. “If the girl’s favorite color is red, then red roses fall right into that category.”

Oftentimes, brides will select their color scheme based on which colors they’ve loved for years or the time of year the wedding will be held.

“Right now, we’re seeing a lot of very natural colors, ivories and creams and whites combined with a pale pink or blush. It’s a seasonal thing,” she said, saying that spring weddings prompt many brides to select pastel colors, particularly Tiffany blue, which she said is trendy right now.

“We also have to decide how we’re going to use that color. Not every flower comes in every color. Some brides will come in and say, ‘I want an orange hydrangea.’ Well, they’re not grown that way,” she said.

Kupfer added that the season and color could also dictate a certain bloom’s availability. For instance, if you’ve got your heart set on peonies or lily of the valley, you better be sure your wedding is at a time when those species are in season, since they’re both only available for a few weeks each year.

Lastly, Kupfer said, when you sit down with your floral consultant, you’ll want to be honest about what you want to spend. Every bride has a budget, and there’s no point in keeping that figure to yourself if you want the designer to create something that you love — and can actually afford.

“We try and talk to every bride and ascertain her wishes, but it’s really easier when she’s honest about what she wants to spend and is flexible,” she said. “When she really leaves it to us to choose the flowers, we can really give her more bang for her buck.”

Here’s a quick list of tips to keep in mind when you meet with a wedding floral designer:

• Have colors chosen. That will decide which flowers can be used and which will be available for the look you want on your big day.

• Know what you like and what you don’t. If you’ve got your heart set on roses, great! Hate carnations? That’s helpful, too. But let your florist know so they can create something you love.

• Bring in examples, but not too many. Clip photos of bouquets you love, but don’t spend too much time on Pinterest, florist Bob Kupfer says. Make sure you’re choosing designs you truly like and not just designs that are trending.

• Bring in color. OK, so you’re not likely to find a Tiffany blue rose. But you can certainly find that color in a ribbon, material or even flower tint.
Did you know flowers can sometimes be painted the color you want? Just ask.

• Consider being flexible. Sure, you might hate carnations, but they’re relatively inexpensive and might not look as bad as you think when included in an arrangement. The more open-minded you are, the more likely it is that your designer will be able to blow your mind on a budget.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.