Once in a while, I’ll read complaints on a Facebook group or something of the like of wedding flowers not lasting throughout a wedding day. So, here are some tips on how to take the BEST care of your wedding flowers!
Before I get too far into this, it really comes down to using common sense: remember that flowers are live things, and treat them as such. If you throw your bouquet around, the delicate petals will be damaged. If you leave it out of water on a hot day, it will wilt. If you leave it in an unheated car when it’s below zero, it will freeze. Think of flowers like skin, except those petals are even more delicate and they don’t have the ability to regenerate themselves!
Keep The Flowers Hydrated
After delivery or pick up of flowers, it is the client’s responsibility to keep flowers hydrated throughout the day to maintain freshness. Place bouquets into their water sources throughout the day to allow for hydration (I always deliver my bouquets in vases to give them the best chance). In hot weather, flowers should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible, which will cause them to wilt. Some flower varieties are more prone to wilting than others, and if you’re getting married in the heat of summer, there’s just honestly very little that we can do to protect those fragile blooms. Generally, keeping them in water and out of heat will be your best bet!
Think About The Temperature
In cold temperatures, flowers should not be exposed to air below or around freezing. Flowers will be delivered with a plastic covering; keep this closed over the flowers any time they are outside. Do not leave flowers in an unheated vehicle. Flowers will freeze and brown when exposed to freezing air - and note that this includes air conditioners! Last year I had a photographer friend text me a photo of a bouquet (not one of mine) to ask what happened to it, so she could try to help the bride. The white flowers had completely browned and gone mushy. I asked where it was placed - the photographer told me that the couple had picked up the flowers from their florist the night previous to the wedding, and they had left them right in front of the air conditioner. As much as we do want to keep the flowers cool, the air coming out of an air conditioner is often too cold when it’s directly on the flowers, and that poor bouquet froze. Once a flower is frozen, there is no going back!
One bummer about temperature is that we can rarely control it. This includes your venue! The first week that the heat goes on in the fall often ends up with the venue being SUPER hot. I hate to say it, but there’s just nothing I can do to combat the inevitable wilt of some of your flowers under that blowing heat. A few years ago, I had a winter wedding where the ballroom must have been at least 26 degrees Celcius - in other words, it was smoking hot. I think their plan was to warm up the room quickly so that they could turn down the heat once guests arrived, but of course that plays a major impact on the flowers. I was running around the room making sure that every stem was in water and replacing some stems that had already started wilting, but there was nothing beyond that that I could do. Tent weddings often have a similar situation - I would recommend that if you’re having a tent wedding, ask your venue coordinator or wedding coordinator to open up the side panels to allow for as much air flow as possible. There’s nothing like a dank heat settling in a tent to create that oppressive greenhouse effect that cut flowers do not often thrive in.
One of the weirdest wedding mornings I’ve ever had was when the bride’s father came to pick up her bridal party flowers…with a full car. And it wasn’t just that there were dress bags or something in the backseat - it was full of PEOPLE. Like, there was literally no room in the car for the flowers. I asked him what his plan was, and he promptly popped the trunk. PEOPLE. Trunks are not air-conditioned, nor are they safe for something fragile to be bouncing around in. Please, please, please do not put your flowers in your trunk if you care about them at all! I told him there was no way he could do this and I suggested the people in the backseat hold the flowers on their laps (luckily, it was a very small order of just bridal party bouquets).
Now I know that on a wedding day, you’re rarely staying in one place all day long. You’re probably hopping into a limo to go off-site for photos at some point, and that’s perfectly fine! I deliver my bouquets in long cardboard boxes that are quite sturdy, and then packed really well with tons of paper in between the vases. The easiest thing you can do it just pop the bouquets back into their vases, have one person pick up each end of the box, and slide it into the vehicle. No trunks :) Do not leave flowers in a closed, un-air-conditioned vehicle.
Minimize The Flower Timeline
That’s a weird way of wording it, but if you’re facing a really hot day or you’re just worried about the longevity of the flowers, don’t have me deliver your bouquets at 8 am. If all of your pictures are taking place between the ceremony and reception, I can deliver your bouquets to you shortly before you leave for the ceremony location, which means that they’ll be able to stay in my cooler for longer! Most photographers don’t care to have the flowers in every photo, anyways, so you won’t need them all day long.
Similarly, opt to have the flowers picked up or delivered on the day of the wedding as much as possible, and not the day before. Rarely does this happen in my business, and usually only when the wedding is out of town so I understand that sometimes we need to make an exception and have the flowers picked up the day before. But generally, I do my very best to avoid this! Again, the longer they can stay in my cooler, the better for the flowers.
Keep Flowers Out Of Harm’s Way
What is in “harm’s way,” you might ask? Pets, curious little kids, overbearing mothers or wedding coordinators... Some pets will have a tendency to sniff a little too closely or even try to take a bite out of a bouquet. Little kids might tear through the getting ready space and knock a bouquet down, or get their hands right into the flowers and rip apart those fragile petals (though I will say, the ring bearer at one of my weddings this year tried to eat a flower out of his mom’s bouquet while she carried him down the aisle, and it was adorable). The occasional mom or wedding coordinator will think they know best and attempt to “perfect” the piece that’s already been perfected by your designer. At the shop I used to work at, we once had a wedding coordinator (truth be told, she was NOT a professional wedding coordinator, but someone the family knew who was a little overly bossy and wanted to be involved) who called us to re-make a bouquet 3 times on the morning of the wedding. Why? Because she thought that the petals weren’t perfect enough, and picked off all of the “damaged” petals - aka she made the bouquet bald, twice, before learning her lesson. Luckily, a retail shop often has enough leftovers to re-make a bouquet and we made it work for that bride but we had to tell the coordinator HANDS OFF!
The most important thing to me is that your flowers look beautiful on the day of the wedding. My job is to make sure each bloom is at it’s very peak on the day of, and in most flower varieties, they look their absolute best shortly before they die. Of course I would LOVE for your flowers to last a week after your wedding, and very often they do - but the after isn’t what matters the most.
Looking for a Wedding Floral and Event Designer in Winnipeg?
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All photos in this post by Charmaine Mallari Photography.