It’s hard to imagine a wedding without flowers.
That’s probably because there aren’t many weddings sans posies, though a ceremony featuring primarily greenery can be attractive. And at least one new trend features non-floral items.
But for nearly all weddings, several Grays Harbor florists agreed recently that brides have consistently not only chosen flowers for their special day, but roses have always been the hands-down favorite.
“Roses are always forever,” said Julieann Bailey, who, with her husband, Luke, has owned Image Flowers & Fine Chocolates in Elma since 1997.
“Roses have always been pretty popular,” agreed Marni Sandifur, who’s been involved in the floral business for 18 years and partner with her husband, Don, of Marni’s Petal Pushers in the Montesano Square the past year and a half.
“Roses in any colors are a traditional standby in any design,” concurred Ann Galland, who owns Montesano’s Pick-Rite Thriftway with her husband, Marc. The grocery store also features a “real qualified floral department,” which she has also managed since the store was expanded in 1993, Galland said.
Trends and choices
Though roses are usually a given for weddings, that doesn’t mean other flowers haven’t been especially popular in recent years. “The trends change all the time,” said Bailey, a 1982 Elma High School graduate who’s worked in the floral business most of her life.
“My aunt had a flower shop in McCleary,” she said. “My mom had a flower shop in McCleary; my aunt had a flower shop in Hoquiam. I worked at all of them.”
Asked about modern favorites, “so far it’s been daisies” recently, said Bailey, adding that she’s seen “a lot of country weddings,” including outdoor ceremonies, for which daisies are especially appropriate.
Sandifur said she’s also seen daisies selected for weddings lately, including the lovely Gerbera variety, which comes in oranges, pinks and other colors. For a while, alstrolmeria, another bright-hued flower, was also popular, “but a lot of kids have gotten away from that,” she said. The many-petaled ranunculus and hydrangeas are being planned for a wedding coming up in March that her shop’s involved in, Sandifur said.
Five or 10 years ago, lilies were popular, especially stargazer lilies, Bailey said, and for a while, stephanotis, a white fragrant star-shaped flower was favored. It’s called “the wedding plant” on Martha Stewart’s Blog and a flower that’s “generally tied to weddings,” according to the Canadian Flower Delivery website.
Lilies, including stargazers and other Orientals, still are popular and are used in a “little more dramatic statements in bouquets,” Galland said.
But more than the kind of flower, the styles of bouquet, including those of the brides, have changed in recent years, Bailey and Galland said. “Where they used to be cascading, now they’re hand-tied,” Bailey said, referring to those in which flowers (and accompanying foliage) are grouped with the stems are gathered together and secured, often with ribbon.
In her experience, Galland said, “the flower choices have stayed the same, though the style of bouquet has evolved.” Where a teardrop in a holder was popular in the past, now flowers with most of the stems wrapped with a ribbon with a cascading bow is more “dramatic,” she said.
Asked about unusual wedding flowers she’s seen, Bailey immediately thought of her own. “Actually, I had ribbons; they weren’t actual flowers,” Bailey said. “They were ribbon flowers.” A close family friend made them for her 1985 wedding in her red and white theme, she said. “I still have them, too.”
Though silks seem not to be used as much now as in the past, Sandifur showed a hand-tied bouquet she’d created of dark teal silks with another unusual aspect that appears to be emerging in wedding bouquets, a number of silver-colored brooches.
Family keepsakes can be a poignant addition to wedding bouquets, Sandifur said, and can also adorn live flowers.
“We’ve done a family handkerchief with the ribbon in bride’s bouquet,” Galland said. “We’ve also done a family antique pin in the bridal bouquet.”
Similarly, some bridal bouquets in more recent days have contained gems, Bailey noted.
Another unusual element Sandifur was asked to use in a bridal bouquet last year was a succulent, “kind of like the hen and chicks type that you see outside,” she said. Succulents, some of which have a sort of rose shape, generally have thick fleshy leaves or stems that store water.
Both Galland and Sandifur pointed out that carnations are an economic and still popular choice for weddings. “Carnations are a good budget flower,” Sandifur said.
Carnations and mini carnations in a variety of colors are also “very effective,” Galland said. They can “carry out the bridal color scheme with a combination of flowers and coordinating ribbons,” as well as being “the most economical.”
For some of Pick-Rite’s earliest weddings, the floral department used lilies, roses and carnations, Galland said. And two decades later, “those are our staples,” she said. Customers can also bring pictures from online sites to show their florists what they would like, Galland said.
How soon to order?
It’s best to contact a florist six months before the wedding, Sandifur said, otherwise, “that florist might be already booked” for the date. Moreover, “there are so many variables,” she said.
Wedding flowers can actually be prepared “within a couple of weeks, depending on the type of flower,” Sandifur said. But it is risky to wait, especially if it involves a special kind of flower. At times, her shop has had to let its growers know of an order six months in advance, “so they’re prepared for us,” she added.
Galland said it’s best for those planning weddings to start working with a florist “as soon as they have some idea of what they want.” However, the floral department inside Pick-Rite has also accommodated “walk-ins who just wanted a hand-held bouquet and a boutonniere.”
“And we have people do that on Fridays and Saturdays sometimes, just walk in and take whatever we can do fairly quickly,” Galland said. “And then it’s nice to have at least three months if they want to have specific colors and specific flowers.”
Bailey said it’s best to start working with a florist at least two months in advance of the wedding, but six months is better. “I like to have (the order) finalized two months before the wedding,” she said.
And, “if you start a year in advance to plan the wedding, then you’re doing good.”