Dos and don’ts for wedding flowers

Flowers are one of the most beautiful and visually appealing part of any wedding. From bouquets to centrepieces and beyond, they bring a sense of style, scent and sophistication to a theme and colour scheme. That said, they can be tricky to pull off. So with this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of dos and don’ts to help you plan a blooming lovely celebration.

DO…

Give your florist a colour palette to work with, rather than insisting on specific flowers. This will allow them to create a stunning design that falls within your budget, since they know how to work around factors such as the time of year and the season, both of which play a key role in the availability, and thus price, of certain blooms.

DON’T…

Use floral displays to cover up less polished-looking parts of the venue, such as the fire exit. All you’ll really do is make sure they draw the eye of your guests. Instead, use your flowers to draw attention to the breathtaking parts of the room, such as the tables, the cake or even the dance floor.

DO…

Make sure your bouquet is manageable. Larger bouquets look absolutely stunning in photos, but so do smaller ones. So be realistic about your capabilities. If you don’t have the upper arm strength to go heavy, go petite, and remember – all eyes will be on you anyway.

DON’T…

DIY your flowers if you can help it. Thinking practically, your blooms will need to be purchased and arranged the morning of the big day, which is a big job all on its own. And honestly, it’s the last thing you need to be worried about when there’s thing like hair and make-up going on. So leave it to a pro and focus on getting ready yourself.

DO…

Incorporate non-floral elements in your ceremony and reception displays. Everything from your bouquets to your reception table centrepieces can be jazzed up with non-floral elements such as lights, candles, jewellery, candy and even grasses. Alternatively, use your flowers in unexpected ways, such as to decorate a gorgeous getaway car.

DON’T…

Choose flowers that are sensitive to heat if you are having a summer wedding. We all know how warm Aussie days can get, and there’s a chance they will start to wilt and lose appeal before your ceremony is even over.

DO…

Invite your florist – if they’re not already familiar with them – to make a personal inspection of your wedding venues. This will give them a better idea of what you need to bring your vision to life and will greatly aid their creative process by giving a sense of scope, dimension, ceiling heights and more.

DON’T…

Choose flowers with a strong perfume for your table centrepieces as the scent will overpower your food. And with the care – and dollars! – that went into picking your menu, you don’t want attention turning anywhere else.

DO…

Tell your florist if there are any particular flowers that mean something to you. For example, if your dad grew roses or your grandmother wore gardenia scent, they may be able to incorporate them in your blooms for a lovely sentimental tribute.

DON’T…

Be obvious. Brides can sometimes feel hemmed in by tradition and the need to go with what’s in fashion or on trend. But it’s better to think outside the box and ask for what you really want, rather than what you think you should want. Remember the golden rule of wedding planning – it’s your day so plan it your way.

Wedding colour themes

The colour scheme of your wedding will be one of the earliest decisions you make as it will influence the overall feel of your big day. Bold colours have been a key wedding trend in recent years and making sure you select the right combination is crucial to the overall look of your wedding. Many brides already have a couple of possible wedding colour themes in mind.

Here are a few of the ways to choose your wedding colours:

Check out your wedding venue

If you have a dream wedding venue in mind, the decor might influence your choice of colour. If the venue is decorated in bright strong colours, you might want to choose very simple colours such as white or cream to tone it down, or you may want to pick lighter shades of the venue colours. If, on the other hand, you know you want bold bright wedding colours, you should consider a plain and simple venue such as a pure white marquee.

The style of your venue might also influence the wedding colour scheme. If you have chosen a rural setting with garden views, fresh floral wedding colours would be an obvious choice. If, however, your venue is a chic hotel in the city centre, a dramatic black and white scheme, or urban colours like pewter or taupe can be very elegant.

Start with one wedding element

If you don’t have a particular colour scheme in mind, just start with one element of your wedding and take it from there. Are there any flowers you really love, and if so what colours can you order them in? Take your chief bridesmaid shopping and see what dresses look good on her and use that colour in your wedding scheme. Take a look at a few wedding cake designs, and if you find one you love take your colour scheme from that.

Browse through wedding magazines and see if any particular items or themes stand out; what colour are they? Your invitation is the first impression your guests will get of your wedding so if you are having a definite colour scheme, this should be incorporated into your invites.

Be inspired by the season

When are you getting married? Colour schemes that work well for a spring wedding could look entirely out of place in mid winter. If you are having a spring wedding consider fresh greens and yellows, and perhaps look at pinks and pastels for a summer occasion. Warm earthy tones such as chocolate brown or burnt orange are perfect for an autumn wedding. Sparkling white with blue or silver can help you create a winter wonderland, or red and gold can add a touch of warmth to the winter chill.

Choose more than one colour

You may love hot pink, but if you use this colour for your bridesmaids’ dresses, your flowers, your bomboniere, your car, your linen, your candles and your invitations, it might be a little overpowering. Deciding on an accent colour, and then combining it with another milder colour can be very effective. Metallics are very fashionable at the moment, and most accent colours work well with gold, silver or even bronze. You could also combine a bold colour with grey, white, cream, or a pale shade of the same colour.

Alternatively, look for a colour that complements your accent colour. Aqua or lime green can be effective with pink. If you choose purple as your accent colour various shades of yellow or lemon can set if off beautifully. Yellow can also complement blues, but for a warmer effect try peach or subtle oranges.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour. Although classic white is making a comeback you can have absolutely any colour combination you like for your wedding scheme.

Creating a mood board incorporating photos of your venue, pictures of flowers you like, material samples from the bridesmaids’ dresses, and card samples from your invitations will give you an overall feel for your colour scheme and will help you to see how your colours will work together.

Choosing the right wedding decorations

Couples are becoming ever more creative with their wedding decorations in order to create a wedding reception design that is personal, unique and memorable. Before you decide on the type of decorations you would like, you will need to determine a theme or colour scheme for your wedding.

Whether you have a beach wedding, a winter wonderland theme, a vintage style reception, or a pink polka scheme, there are bound to be decorations available to complement your choice.

The extent of your wedding decorations will depend largely on what you can afford. If you are on a tight budget, it might be wise to stick to one type of decoration, such as table centrepieces, and make sure these create an impact, rather than spending money on lots of smaller decorations that might get lost in your venue.

The style of your wedding venue will also influence your decorations. If you are hiring an elaborately decorated room, you should keep your decorations simple, but if you are using a plain marquee or function room, you can afford to go overboard on the decorations.

Here are some of the elements of your wedding to incorporate into your decorative scheme:

  • Wedding flowers
  • Table centrepieces
  • Bomboniere
  • Wedding cake
  • Table linen including napkins and rings
  • Chair covers and sashes
  • Place names and table plans

You can tie all these elements together by using a consistent colour scheme or material. A simple way to create a unified look is to use the same ribbon in all of these elements, as well as using it in the bridesmaids’ outfits and the bride’s bouquet. Beads and jewels such as crystals are becoming popular for wedding decorations, and these can also be added to table linen, bombonieres, place names and centrepieces.

Ways to use flowers

Ordering floral arrangements that you can use for the ceremony and then transfer to the reception to use as table centrepieces is a great way to use flowers, and is also cost effective.

However, there are many other ways to use flowers in your wedding decorations. Garlands of fresh flowers hanging from the ceiling, or wrapped around beams and pillars can be very dramatic, and flowered archways can add interest to your wedding venue. Try placing a fresh flower in each place setting, or scattering rose petals on the tables.

Other popular wedding decorations

Candles are a popular addition to wedding decorations, from simple tea lights to towering candelabras. They are available in a wide variety of colours and can add romantic lighting as well as subtle scents to your reception. Another way to create warm lighting is to use lanterns, either traditional metal or Chinese style paper lanterns.

Contemporary decorations include decorative birdcages, sparkling costume jewellery, metallic balloons, and bold coloured and patterned fabrics. Another trend in wedding decoration is to use topiary, or indoor trees decorated with lights or ornaments reflecting your wedding theme.

Some of the more unusual trends in wedding decoration to crop up in the last year include using outdoor furniture such as wrought iron tables and benches in an indoor venue, and having uniquely designed and frequently changing wallpaper projected onto plain walls or the inside of a marquee.

Wedding rose petals

Rose petals are becoming an increasingly popular wedding decoration, and with roses symbolising love, joy, and beauty, it is hardly surprising that brides want to include them in their weddings. There are plenty of companies that specialise in preserved or freeze dried rose petals that can be used on your big day without losing their colour or shape.

Here are the answers to four of the questions that are commonly asked about wedding rose petals:

What are rose petals used for?

Wedding rose petals have a wide variety of uses, but their main function is a natural alternative to paper confetti. Many venues no longer allow traditional rice or confetti, so brides are choosing rose petals instead, which are completely biodegradable. Petals can be placed in attractive envelopes, bags or cones, and handed out to guests as they arrive at the ceremony.

Another possible use for rose petals is to create a petal strewn aisle for your processional. The rose petals can be arranged in advance of the wedding, or a flower girl can be the first down the aisle with a basket of rose petals, scattering them as she goes.

Finally rose petals can be used to decorate the tables for the wedding reception. A sprinkling of rose petals on crisp white linen can create a romantic effect, especially when candle lit. Rose petals can also be used to create simple table centres. An oversized martini glass full of rose petals that are overflowing onto the table makes an elegant centrepiece.

How much will I need?

The volume of rose petals that you will need depends on how you are using them. One litre of rose petals will provide throwing confetti for around twenty guests. If you are creating a rose petal aisle, 2.5 litres will cover about 2 square metres of floor space. If you want to decorate your tables, 2.5 litres will provide a sprinkling for ten average sized tables.

How should I store the rose petals?

Freeze dried or preserved rose petals will last longer than you think, and as long as they are stored properly, they can be kept for up to four months. Rose petals need to be stored at room temperature, in a dark place, away from any form of moisture. Your rose petals will be delivered in specialised containers, and it is best to leave it as late as possible to remove them from these and place them in bags and cones, or on tables.

What colour rose petals can I have?

If you want naturally coloured rose petals you may be limited to reds, yellows, pinks, and whites, and your supplier may not be able to guarantee the exact shade you will receive. However, preserved rose petals can also be colour enhanced, so you can choose almost any shade to complement your wedding colour scheme.

Don’t forget to think about the significance of your rose petal colours. White roses signify innocence, while ivory roses indicate fidelity. Bright red roses symbolise passion, while darker reds mean gratitude. Be careful with yellow roses which symbolise jealousy.

White themed weddings

As if to offset the growing trend for bright, bold wedding colour schemes, pure white weddings are big news this season. White is a great wedding theme at any time of year, and can create a fresh and classic overall look.

White outfits for the bridal party

Although tradition says that brides should marry in white, most actually wear a shade of ivory or cream on their wedding day. A pure white dress can be very striking, especially when accessorised with silver or black, but be careful if you want to wear pure white as it can be a little stark against some complexions. If your skin has cool undertones, meaning you generally look better in silver than gold, and you look great in colours like blue purple and hot pink, you should be able to pull off a pure white dress.

There are a number of ways your groom can dress in white. He could go the whole hog and hire a white morning suit, or wear a white tuxedo for ultimate sophistication. If you are looking for a more subtle outfit, a grey morning suit with white accessories and a white buttonhole is an elegant look.

It may not be conventional, but it’s fine for your bridesmaids to wear white dresses. Just make sure the skirts aren’t floor length to prevent them looking too bridal; white cocktail dresses are a great option. The current trend for metallic accessories works beautifully with white bridesmaid dresses.

Complete the look by hiring white vehicles to transport your bridal party. Whether you choose a white limousine, a classic white Bentley, or fairytale horse drawn carriage, your wedding car will be in a lot of your photos and should match your wedding theme.

Decorate your venue in white

White flowers are not hard to come by, and white roses, paperwhites, and gypsophilia make beautiful wedding arrangements. If you have a large budget for wedding flowers, orchids and calla lilies are fashionable options.

It may be hard to find a venue with predominantly white decor, but some modern restaurants are decorated in this way. Holding your reception in a marquee is perhaps the easiest way to achieve an overall white look, but whatever colour your venue is you can add white table cloths, chairs and candles. More unusual white accessories could include white birdcages, lanterns, or spray painted tree branches decorated with white ornaments.

If you are aiming for a totally white theme you may need to add interest by including a variety of textures such as glass, ribbon and feathers. Alternatively you could use an accent colour that won’t detract from the pure white look; silver is a good option.

Bring white into all elements of your wedding

With a little creativity you can use white for every aspect of your wedding day. You can liven up white invitations with engraved silver text, or laser cut lace edging, and you can create simple yet beautiful bomboniere with plain boxes of white sweets tied with silver ribbon. You could consider serving a milk-based signature cocktail, similar to a White Russian, or could only serve clear drinks such as Martini. Having a white theme to your wedding can provide a clean, refreshing atmosphere, perfect for any season.

Wedding table decorations

The dining tables are often the first place to start when you’re choosing your wedding decorations, and you want to make a spectacular impression on your guests as they arrive for the wedding reception. There are many individual elements that work together to make beautiful wedding table decorations and here are four of them

A dramatic centrepiece

If you have a traditional table layout, with multiple tables of eight to ten guests, each one should have some sort of focal point or centrepiece. For a contemporary look, many couples are choosing centrepieces that don’t all match, but that follow a similar theme. Perhaps they are all the same colour but made of different materials, or they are made from the same flowers but are of different heights.

The most popular form of centrepiece is a flower arrangement, either fresh or artificial, but there are plenty of other options to consider. Candles make superb table centres, especially when you group a few of different heights, or float some in a bowl of water. A group of helium balloons, a decorative stand of cupcakes, a lamp to match your theme, or a miniature tree adorned with ornaments are all good choices.

Luxurious table linen

Traditionally wedding table linen is simple white or ivory to provide a contrast to the colourful flowers and decorations. However, highly patterned table linen in bold colours is becoming more common, with simple accessories placed on top.

If you have several tables, try to find different coloured table cloths in various shades of your wedding colour for a warmer effect than pure white. If an entire table of colour is too much for you, look for table runners in you wedding colour, or make them out of the same material as your bridesmaids’ dresses.

Shimmering table confetti

Using confetti to finish off your decorations adds a touch of magic to your tables. You can use traditional paper confetti, but this can get messy if drinks are spilt. Try metallic confetti instead, with horse shoes, stars and hearts to make your tables shimmer.

There is a current trend for using crystals in every aspect of your wedding, and sprinkling a few crystals on each table will really add sparkle to your wedding breakfast. A more romantic option is to scatter freeze dried rose petals on the tables to complement your wedding flowers and colour scheme.

Personal place settings

There are various elements that can be combined to create a decorative place setting and these include place names, bomboniere, disposable cameras, serviette rings, and unusual glassware. Think about the style, colours, and overall effect that you want to create with your place settings before you start to order them.

Would you like a motif, such as a particular flower or symbol, or your initials, to run through the place setting? Do you want the setting to have a modern or vintage feel? Do you want to totally personalise the setting using photos of your guests on place names and bombonieres or do you want all the place settings to look the same?

Wedding centrepiece trends

Assuming you are having a sit down wedding breakfast, your guests will spend at least a couple of hours at the table, so why not give them something unusual to look at? Modern table centrepieces have moved on from simple flower arrangements, and are designed to truly reflect the style and tastes of the newly married couple.

Individual wedding cakes

Rather than having a single, multi-tiered wedding cake displayed on its own table, many couples are choosing to have a number of smaller cakes made, and to place one on each table as a centrepiece. The cakes might all be the same, but this trend is usually most effective when the either the colour or the design is varied, and the other element remains the same.

Making a feature of the table number

Creating a decorative 3D table number and standing it in a simple flower arrangement is a very fashionable table centre option. Brides are making table numbers out of a range of materials from twisted wire and beads to painted foam. Making your table numbers clear and easy to read will help guests find their seats as well as looking great.

Choosing quirky containers

While flowers are still the main feature of most table centrepieces, the container that they are placed in is gaining importance. Couples are looking for quirky containers for their flowers, such as white roses placed in a giant pink tea cup, or flowers and vines twisted around a vintage musical instrument like a French horn.

Personalised for your guests

Designing the table centres after you have finalised your seating plan allows you to personalise your centrepiece to the guests at each table. Try creating a black and white photo strip featuring all the guests on one table, and use it to create a simple shade to place on a lamp at the centre of the table

Adding movement to your centrepieces

Static formal centrepieces are being replaced by arrangements with flow and movement. Floral centrepieces are being designed to cascade across the table, and down onto the floor, and tall arrangements are constructed to allow the tallest parts to sway if there is a breeze. Asymmetric centrepieces are currently very popular.

Maintaining sight lines

‘Sight lines’ is currently a buzz word in the world of wedding design, meaning that centrepieces are arranged so guests can still see and speak to each other across the table. This can mean choosing low arrangements, or very tall ones with narrow vases. Transparent containers are used to allow light to pass through, and some brides choose to suspend arrangements from the ceiling to allow the conversation to carry on underneath.

Replacing centrepieces with food

With wedding catering becoming more sociable, and banquet style wedding breakfasts coming back into fashion, many couples are choosing to forego centrepieces altogether to make room for food. Platters, sharing plates, and containers for dips and sauces all need to be placed in the centre of the table. For those that still want a table centre, a tower of cup cakes, a mountain of cookies, or a bowl of chocolates can all make great centrepieces.

Wedding theme ideas

You know you want your wedding reception to be truly unique, personal, and memorable, but you just don’t know where to start. You have so many ideas running around your head, but none of them seem to work together. Finding a starting point for your wedding decorations is often all you need to do for all your wedding theme ideas to fall neatly into place.

Your wedding season

The time of year you have chosen for your wedding can have a big impact on your decorations, especially the colour. Spring weddings tend to feature pastel colours and light unstructured flower arrangements, while summer weddings work well with brighter, more tropical colours and a fruity theme. Autumn wedding are a perfect time for rich oranges, yellows and bronzes, as well as velvety fabrics and harvest styles, while winter weddings are a great time for gold, silver, and deep red, and heavier, cosier decorations.

Your wedding venue

Basing your wedding decorations around the style of your venue is guaranteed to create a seamless effect. An outdoor garden wedding requires minimal decoration, but unstructured flower arrangements and rustic objects such as metal watering cans can work a treat. A historic house will require classical or vintage decorations, while a minimalist modern hotel or gallery provides a blank canvas for a funky contemporary scheme.

Check out the interior of your wedding venue before you decide on your colour scheme. If there are elements you can’t change such as paint, wallpaper, or carpet, you will have to work with these and find wedding colours that complement them. If you are getting married outside, find out which plants and flowers will be in bloom on your wedding date and build your colour scheme around those.

The formality of your wedding

Before you determine your wedding decorations, think about how formal you want your wedding to be. For a very formal event, only floral table centres will do. If you are having a casual affair, on the other hand, a mini cup cake tower or a bowl of floating candles can make a perfect centrepiece.

The same goes for your table stationery. If you are having a formal wedding, traditional escort cards, a printed seating plan, and neat place names are all necessary, but if you are having an informal wedding you can peg escort cards to a clothes line, telling your guests which table they are on, and let them decide for themselves where to sit.

A single wedding object

Often it only takes one object to inspire your entire wedding decoration theme. Try shopping for your bridal gown and then using its colour, decorative features, and style to determine your wedding decorations. Alternatively have a look at wedding cakes, wedding flowers, or even wedding rings, and take inspiration from one of these.

Your personal style

Nothing makes a wedding memorable like adding your own personality to it, so sit down and brainstorm the things you like to see if they could be used in your wedding decorations. Do you love a certain country, or a type of animal? Do you have an obsession the music, fashion, or movies of a particular decade? Even a favourite colour can be the inspiration you need for your wedding decorations.

Once you have found a starting point for your wedding decorations, make a scrapbook or a mood board and collect anything you come across that reflects that theme. Wedding magazines are a good place to start, but home and fashion magazines can be just as effective. Look for fabric samples and types of flowers that work well with the idea you have chosen.