Choosing local flowers for your wedding is all about what is in season and making a conscious choice about where your flowers come from. In the same manner that strawberries are not available in Western New York in January, neither are Peonies. You have to think, where did my food come from….Mexico? Or, where did my peonies come from….? Peonies are spring flowers, usually in season in May, and possibly June. Shipped in flowers, use a tremendous amount of waste in packaging and are often of poor quality, producing even more waste.
Making a conscious choice to use local flowers involves awareness of what is in season. See our seasonal chart for what to expect. Remember, however, that weather influences how early or late a crop may be, and although there can be no guarantee regarding the availability of a certain flower, there is always something beautiful growing in the color, texture, or shape you desire.
Some guidance regarding choosing your wedding flowers involves first deciding what level of service you require. Will you be “doing it all yourself” and require only buckets of flowers, or some combination, as having our farm make and design your bouquets, boutineers, etc., and you make the table arrangements? Or would you rather have full service?
Flowers are sold by the stem, the bunch (usually 10 stems), a growers bunch (usually a good handful of smaller, wispier flowers), or the bucket (depending on the flowers, 60-80). Certain specialty flowers as dahlias, sunflowers, peonies, lisianthus, and hydrangeas are sold by the stem, may cost more than other flowers. Don’t assume that because you are purchasing your flowers from a farm that they are “cheap” or “cheaper”. Each flower is cultivated over time from seed to plant, then harvested at the correct time, conditioned according to the particular needs of the plant, and then held for you at the correct temperature. Our flowers are as fresh as possible.
Deciding how many flowers you will need for your event requires some planning, and it is helpful to experiment ahead of time with vases and trial bouquets if you plan to do it yourself. To get a full, abundant look generally requires more flowers than you would think. Expect to use at least 40-50 stems of focal flowers, textural flowers, and foliage for a bridal bouquet, and about 30 stems for a smaller, maids bouquet. Certain flowers take up more “bulk” as hydrangeas, and smaller, textural flowers as feverfew, cosmos, or bachelor buttons, less. Tall, slender flowers as tulips and daffodils, will require more flowers to make a full arrangement. In the same manner, the number of flowers you require for a table arrangement depends on the vessel you are using. A wide mouthed vessel requires more flowers than a bud vase or small bottle. A large mason jar may need 20-30 stems to look full, while a pint jar will require less. Boutineers and corsages may require 3-5 or more flowers, depending on the design. Floral crowns require 20-30 stems, again depending on the design, and type of flower. Remember to overestimate your needs by about 20%, as things don’t always go as planned, and you may have some damage to your flowers during transit or design. Better to have more than not enough.
In the same manner, if you are designing your flowers yourself, don’t underestimate the time required for this. Boutineers, corsages, and floral crowns are time intensive and require fine manipulation of small florals without damage. Creating the bridal bouquet is probably the most time intensive, as you’ll want to get the look just right. Although groups of small mouthed bottles and bud vases look lovely on a table, arranging flowers in these small diameter vessels is actually a more tedious process than it looks. Plan to arrange your flowers no more than two days before your event. Remember, that your flowers must be kept cool, during this time. This can be a great time to bond with family and friends, if you plan on including them in the designing process. Don’t try to arrange your flowers on the day of your wedding!
Do it yourself flowers, are just that, and do not come with additional advice on arranging or design. We would never have time to grow our flowers unless we used our time efficiently. Full service arrangements, however, are billed accordingly.
Hopefully, this has started you in the right direction, thinking about your wedding flowers and making a local choice. I’ll discuss preparation, holding, and transporting your flowers in a separate blog, in the future.