Friday, June 06, 2014

Wedding flowers

When Brad and I started planning our wedding, we'd decided that wow-factor food, an open bar and good photography were areas where we wanted to splurge. We knew we'd have to trim costs elsewhere in order to stay on budget.


Where we went to the pros
We decided to buy our bouquets and boutonnières from a wholesale distributor, Valley Flowers, which supplies the Costco stores in our region, and stick to blooms that were in season. 

The bouquets had regular roses (amelia, vendella and bridal akito), garden roses (juliet peony), and peonies (bowl of cream). They were pillowy and soft and GORGEOUS. The filler was velvety dusty miller, which complemented our colour scheme but went limp before the wedding. I'm not sure whether this is typical of the filler, but we didn't spend long worrying about it. 

{my bouquet}

{one of the bridemaids' bouquets}

The boutonnières had roses and dusty miller to match our bouquets, with eucalyptus added to Brad's. 

We also ordered bulk loose blooms (vendella roses, seeded and unseeded eucalyptus, dusty miller) for DIY decor. 

Where we skimped and scavenged (literally)
I was biking to work last summer when I passed an art gallery piling junk on the curb for garbage pickup. I spotted a cluster of faux but realistic-looking gladiolus stems in an ivory colour peeking out. I hesitated for half a second, then circled back to pick them up. We hosed them off, and placed them in two tall glass pillar vases as church and reception hall decor. I don't have any good pictures of them from the wedding, but here they are at my parents' house:

Where we DIY'd
I have the privilege of having parents who are awesome gardeners AND super-organized. The summer before our wedding, my parents cut over 100 branches of fresh hydrangeas from their garden, and strung them from the ceiling in their basement to dry. We used them to make the pew bows and to fill out the table centrepieces. 

{Packed up and ready to be brought to the church}

After seeing a decorative wreath of faux flowers and greenery at Value Village, I decided to try my hand at making boutonnières for our ushers, for a quarter of the price we'd pay to buy them. I took the wreath apart and used individual pieces to create boutonnières for our ushers, securing them with floral tape. After I took this photo, I wrapped them with grey ribbon. I found straight pins with pearl heads at Walmart. 

Vendor Review: 
Valley Flowers offered the level of customer service you'd expect of a no-frills wholesaler. However, we appreciated that they honoured their booking with us even though prospective wedding clients are usually turned down over the Mother's Day weekend (it was a clerical error). Our consultant Adele was superb. She was knowledgeable and provided thoughtful advice and feedback without being pushy. She asked for photos of the bridesmaids'  dresses so she could match each girl's bouquet to the specific hue of her dress. When Valley Flowers ordered in the completely wrong colour of roses three days before the wedding, she was open with us and worked behind the scenes to resolve the issue. We were a little anxious for a day but in exchange for the trouble, she provided a free tossing bouquet and swapped in pricier garden roses for some of the regular roses - all without us asking for anything. I found out later she had a serious arm injury to boot, and had started work on our order at 7am to be sure it got to us on time!!  

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