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Zebulon, NC Wedding Flowers, Choosing a Wedding Florist, Decorating a Wedding

Zebulon, NC Wedding Guide

Flowers and Decorations
Florist; Wedding Florist; Silk Flowers; Party Supplies-Decorations; Party Planning/Event Consultants

Flowers are an integral part of any wedding and have the ability to set the mood for any feeling you are trying to create.  Their natural beauty and elegance brings warmth to the heart and their opulent fragrance can call up the fondest of memories.  The options with flowers and decorating are endless, but stay in control. It is very easy to exceed your budget by going too extravagant.

Flowers and Decorations

Choosing the Right Flowers
Florist; Wedding Florist; Silk Flowers

In order to start selecting flowers make sure the color palette and style of the wedding is determined.  These are integral to selecting the final flowers.  When the palette is determined, decide how color and texture relate to the flowers.

Determine the Color: A single flower cannot be chosen before the color palette is determined.  The bridesmaids' dresses also have a crucial influence on what flowers will be used.  Whether you have created a monochromatic style or incorporated a few colors, this will need to be determined before choosing flowers.

Determine the Budget: Begin by establishing a budget for flowers and decorations.  Monitor spending and stay within the budget.  It will be tempting to go over, but with the number of options available, it is also easy to find a low cost alternative that is just as beautiful and elegant.  Just to be safe, see if the budget can be padded by an extra 10 or 15%.

Create a Vision: Most likely, you have an idea about what the wedding will look like. If you don’t, you know what you like and what you don’t like.  Look through magazines, websites and design books to determine the look you want.  Cut out pictures out and use them to set the mood for the decorative look you are trying to achieve.

Create a Style: Are you picturing a romantic, traditional or formal style or more of a contemporary, informal, casual style?  Do you like the grandeur of large centerpieces and cascading bouquets or are you looking for more of the unique minimal centerpiece and the nosegay bouquet?  These answers will be critical in determining the amount and size of flowers and decorations you will need.

smelling flowersStick to the Season: Based on the time of year, keep the flower choices to those that are in bloom.  This will save you headaches as well as money.  There may be one or two flowers you want to fly in if they are an absolute must, but bringing in too many really sends the budget soaring.  Along with keeping flowers in season, keep the look in season as well.  Staying within the season will increase your choices and create a mood that is inexpensive and blends with the time of year. This will make your wedding more memorable.  Going outside the season may mean your flowers won’t hold up as well.  Some flowers don’t do well in heat and others don’t do well in cold.

Consider the Site: The location of the ceremony and reception has a big impact on the flowers and decorations.  Some major colors or major space at the location will need to be blended or hid.  Take pictures of the site and keep in mind how your style and look can be incorporated into the landscape.  The florist or caterer will have ideas on how to help with this.

What Will You Need?

Along with choosing the right flowers and decorations, you also need to determine how much of them you need.  The size of the wedding affects how extravagant you can get in making a flower choice.  If the wedding is smaller, more budget is available for that unique orchid to be flown in.  If a number of centerpieces are required, the type of flowers used may have to be smaller.  Consider the following with a florist and/or caterer to help with decisions.

Size of the Guest List: The size of the guest list determines how many tables are needed for the reception.  This also determines the number of centerpieces required. 

Size of the Wedding Party:: How many attendants and groomsmen do you have?  Do you have a flower girl and/or a ring bearer?  Do you want to include someone sitting at the signing table, those taking gifts, etc., to make them feel a part of the wedding?  These counts determine how many bouquets and boutonnieres you will need. Remember to include both sets of parents as well as any other significant family members you want to recognize such as grandparents or step parents.

Wedding Center PieceDecorative Elements: How many tables need to be decorated (guest book, cake table, buffet table, bar, etc.)?  Do you want yours cake decorated with flowers?  How much decorating of the ceremony and reception areas will you need (church pews, alter, additional arrangements standing or hanging, balloons, aisle runners, etc.)?

Once you have determined what elements of the wedding require flowers, consult the budget to see how elaborate you can go with each element. Costs can really skyrocket based on the type of centerpiece you choose. If considering a special orchid for the wedding party, requiring 10 to 20 of them can significantly increase the costs. Large archways and table decorations can also really start adding up. Consult with the florist to determine what is most important and what make the greatest impact within your space. They will be a great guide for helping to keep costs down, while creating an impressive and beautiful look.

Choosing a Florist

FloristUnless you are a florist yourself or have experience in floral arrangements, this is one area you want to leave to the experts.  Even if you are a florist yourself, the time required for this type of decoration is more than you can dedicate.

A good florist is a life saver in helping to design the decorative look that matches your dreams, and is a one stop shop for all you need to create it.  The key is choosing the right one.

While flowers don’t need to be ordered until a few months before the wedding, don't wait too long before choosing a florist.  The more experienced florists need to be booked a year ahead.

How to Find One: A number of sources are available for finding a great florist. has a number of local florists in Zebulon, NC that are professional and ready to help. Friends and family are also a good source referral source.

Make an Appointment: Schedule an appointment to meet with a few florists to find one that has the expertise and experience you need.  Ask a ton of questions.  Their answers will give you a feel for who is better suited for you.

  • How long have they been a florist?
  • How long have they been arranging flowers for weddings?  Do they specialize specifically in weddings?
  • How many people work on their staff?
  • Will they personally be doing the floral arranging?
  • How many weddings do they have planned that month?  How many have they planned in the past year?
  • Are there any other weddings scheduled on your day?

Check out the Shop: When attend the appointment, look around at the shop.  Go over to the display case and look at the arrangements?  Do they appeal to you?  Are they fresh?  This will give you a good indication of their style and quality.

View Their Portfolio: Ask to see samples of their work.  Make sure they show you actual weddings they have arranged not stock photography.  As you view the portfolio, is the level of quality something you are looking for?  Is the style what you are looking for?  Do you think they have the skill to create your vision?

Ask for References: Request a list of a few references for weddings that they have recentlyflorist smelling flowers planned.  Call the references and ask them if they received the service and attention they needed.  Was the overall look what they hoped for?  Did the florist listen to their requests?  Would they recommend them again?

Make It Personal: Choose a florist that fits your personality.  It is critical you find someone that will implement your vision and dream.  While they may be an expert and have ideas of their own, your wants and wishes are the only ones that count.  Choose a florist that has one goal, and that is to make your dream look come true.

Do They Deliver: To the actual wedding that is.  Some florists don’t deliver the flowers to the site, they hire a delivery service.  This will be critical to know and determine in advance.  You don’t want to be surprised on the wedding day when arrangements fall during delivery and they have no idea how to put them back together.

Will They Handle Arrangements: Will the florist be arranging the decorations themselves or will they only deliver them to the site?  Again, it is critical to find someone to arrange them once they arrive. Or choose a florist that will decorate and arrange at the location.

Finding the right florist will save you time and money. Use their experience to create the vision of your dreams. Flowers have a powerful affect to induce emotion and will take your breath away when planned correctly. Take the time to find the florist that is right for you and create a lasting memory of your wedding day.

muticolored roses

Getting Started

When you find the florist you need begin to describe your vision and get started on making it become a reality.

Bring Pictures: 

  • Vision: Share with the florist the pictures you selected from magazines and websites, demonstrating what moves you.  Run through what you like and may not like in each photo.  Leave them with the florist to reminded of the of the look you hope to achieve.
  • Location: Show the florist the space they will be decorating and discuss the elements you want to include.  Discuss the layout and vision.  A good florist will take the time to see the location, especially if they have never been there.  Choosing a florist recommended by the location staff can ensure they are already familiar with the space and how to decorate it.
  • Bridal Gown: Discuss with them the style you have chosen and the flowers that will most complement the dress.
  • Bridesmaid's Dress: Bring a picture, or a swatch of the dress is more ideal.  This way, they see the true color and texture to determine what flowers work best with the dress.

Bridal Bouquet
Florist; Wedding Florist; Silk Flowers

You thought the hardest task was finding the dress.  Now that you found it, the next task is to find the perfect bouquet to complement it. It may seem daunting based on the number of choices and designs to choose from.

Like all decisions made thus far, it should be based on what you like and what fits the color and style of the wedding.  If you've chosen a florist, you have a resource to help find the bouquet that you’ve always dreamed of.

Bridal Party

Color and Style: Like other choices, this one should also be based on the color palette and style of the wedding.  How will you incorporate your wedding colors?  Should they complement or contrast to add a dramatic effect?  Is your style formal or casual?  These answers affect the final design and size of the bouquet.

Silk or Real: This is an individual preference.  For some, the thought of silk flowers is just not an option.  There are pros and cons to both and you need to decide what is best for you.  With silk flowers you don’t have to worry about climate, travel or wilting and they can be purchased well before the wedding. However, you lose the fragrance and elegance only real flowers bring.  Some costs are minimized but large silk arrangements can also be quite pricy.

Size of Gown: The size of the gown impacts the size of the bouquet.  Shy away from a large cascading bouquet when your dress is slender and simple. The bouquet will dwarf the dress.  The same is true for a big ball gown. A single flower bouquet or a modest nosegay will get lost.  The general rule is the larger the dress, the larger the bouquet.

Size of the Bride: A petite bride should not carry a bouquet that is twice her size or makes her look smaller.  A scaled-back bouquet or single flower bouquet ensures the bride is seen first and remains the primary focus.  The same is true for a plus sized bride.  A smaller bouquet enhances size and gets buried by the dress.  Choose something that stands out, like a round bouquet.  This works best.

Adorned Gowns: If the gown has beautiful bead work or intricate lace patterns, especially around the waist, make sure they are not hidden by the bouquet.  A smaller, simpler bouquet works better in this situation.  A larger, more ornate bouquet makes the overall Bride and Groom Dancinglook too busy.

Size of the Location: Depending on the location of the ceremony and reception, a larger or smaller venue has an impact on the bouquet.  If the bouquet is smaller, it could get even smaller when dwarfed by a large church or ballroom.  The same is true if the wedding is in a small church or small courtyard; a larger bouquet can overpower the area.

If you are outdoors in a flowery garden, the bouquet can be as simple as a hand picked selection of flowers from the surrounding area, this is ideal for this setting.

Second Bouquet: If looking to preserve the bouquet or you want it to look good at the end of the night, consider having a second bouquet.  It should be a scaled down, smaller version of the first.  It does not need to be a replica, but it will be the one you toss while you keep the original.

Specific Flowers: The choices of flowers are endless.  Consider a little nostalgia or sentiment to help make some tough choices and make the day a little more personal. Keep in mind that some flowers are considered more formal than others. For formal weddings, roses, calla lilies, and orchids are most often used and traditionally white in color. For informal weddings, standard flowers include tulips, daisies, sunflowers, and irises.

Special Meaning: Each flower symbolizes a special meaning.  Red roses symbolize love and passion and lilacs symbolize the first feelings of love.  Perhaps these have long term meanings beyond their traditional symbol, and you want to include them in the wedding.  Maybe the first flowers your fiancé ever gave you were red tulips and they now hold a soft spot in your heart.

Consider Sentiment: When thinking about what flowers to include look to those who have gone before.  Ask your mom, grandma or aunt what flowers they included in their bouquets.  This adds a special sentimental feel to the wedding and brings you closer to family.

Look Beyond Just Flowers: There is no rule that states a bouquet must only include flowers.  A number of beautiful gems, ornate pins, pearls, etc, can be added to enhance the elegance and beauty of any bouquet.

Get It in Writing

Before signing anything, make sure a detailed contract is developed that includes everything you need and incorporates protection for you to eliminate errors or any hidden fees.

Vendors often have a standard contract they use which may include everything you'll need to protect your investment. Take the time to review it and add anything they may not have specified. An addendum can always be added to ensure every detail you need is included.

  • Make sure to include names, dates, times, locations and specific pricing.
  • Outline how many bouquets will be created, centerpieces, boutonnieres, vases, trellises, and accessories.
  • Indicate the exact flowers and how many will be included for each arrangement.
  • Specify how they will be delivered and who will set them up.
  • Detail specific times the flowers should arrive and pricing associated. Make sure they know what time the flowers need to arrive for pictures.
  • List the name of the individual who will specifically handle the wedding and be in charge of the design and decorations.
  • Determine if any alternative flowers are needed, what they are and what they should replace.
  • Detail the final costs and payment schedule.
  • Stipulate what overtime charges will be and when they could go into affect.
  • Note any deposits that have already been paid.
  • Identify the cancellation policy and what refund would be available.

While this list seems extensive, the more detail you include, the more protection you will have.  This is your day and flowers are a crucial element.  The contract is your written agreement which should include all floral details and expectations. Determining the specifics up front will provide peace on mind during planning and elation the day of the wedding as your vision becomes a reality.

As you work out the contract with the florist, they may show some frustration, but work through it.  This is not a deal breaker, but it will save you headaches and money in the end.

Keeping Costs Down
Florist; Wedding Florist; Silk Flowers; Party Supplies-Decorations; Party Planning/Event Consultants

Flowers are one area where the budget can get out of control quickly. You might think adding a little more color won’t cost much or one additional centerpiece won’t hurt, but before long, you are 40% over budget. Don’t panic! There are some lower cost ideas that help conserve dollars, while ensuring the beauty and elegance of the wedding.

Stay in the Season: Choosing flowers that are currently in bloom is the easiest way to ensure a lower budget. Special orders impact the budget significantly.

Recycle: Use the same flowers from the ceremony at the reception. Choose flowers that look good in both venues. Standing arrangements are easily moved and you’ll enjoy them longer.

Smaller Bouquets: While ornate and elaborate bouquets are beautiful, smaller flower bouquets can be just as beautiful and easier on the budget. Keep bouquets simple and small, and the budget will thank you.

Consider Plants and Stuff: Instead of using flowers exclusively, consider elegant plants as part of the centerpieces and decorations. Use candles in the centerpieces with smaller flowers surrounding. These work just as hard as flowers and are softer on the budget.

Keep It Simple: Eliminate extravagant centerpieces, archways, etc. Replace them with elegant toned down alternatives that keep labor costs more in check, and add elegance to the décor.

Limit the Number of Vendors: Today, florists are also party planners . Choose a florist that can design and decorate from start to finish. This will make planning, and the budget, a little lighter.

Utilize What You’ve Been Given: If the wedding is outdoors, see what Mother Nature has provided and supplement with additional flowers and decorations as needed. Often times the setting already supplies a good deal of decoration and there is little to add.

Preserving Your Bouquet
Floral Preservation

If you want to have this done, let your florist know prior to designing the bouquet.  Preserving the bouquet holds this moment in time and provides a lasting memory of your wedding day.

There are four methods to choose from:

  • Silica Gel: This method immerses the bouquet in silica gel, absorbing moisture from the flowers immediately.  On average, this method will take 6-8 weeks to complete..
  • Air Drying: This is the most popular method and allows the florist to dry slowly by hanging upside down.  It may take two to three weeks,  depending on the type of flowers
  • Pressing: With this method, flowers in the bouquet are taken apart and each petal and leaf is dried individually.  They are pressed between silicone sheets to dry and when the process is completed, the bouquet is recreated in a flat, one dimensional form.  It generally takes 6-8 weeks to complete the process.
  • Freeze-Drying: The bouquet is freeze dried, or baked, to remove the moisture and then sealed to keep the petals from rehydrating.  This procedure usually takes 8 to 12 weeks.  Once it is completed, the bouquet looks almost as fresh as it did on the wedding day.  This is the only method that does not require an air tight container after it is done.

Once flowers are dried (with the exception of freeze drying) they need to be displayed in an airtight shadow box or domed display.  Check with the company preserving your flowers for additional options.  The final cost depends on the method selected, and how you choose to display it.  Expect to pay $100 to 300 for the final product. 

The flowers need to be delivered as soon as possible after the wedding to begin the process.  The bouquet stems should immediately be placed in water and kept cool until delivery.  The more time that elapses, the more damaged and wilted the flowers will appear and your final preservation may not look as good.  In some cases, if too much time or damage has occurred, they may not be able to preserve the bouquet.

Certain flowers dry better than others and there will be some fading once they are preserved.  The end result, however, will allow you to hold and cherish this memory for a lifetime.

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