The Women's Journal

A Bouquet Is More Than . . .

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By Barbara P.G. Williams, Co-owner of Belak Flowers


A bouquet is more than ~ . . . an assortment of flowers tied with a ribbon or plunked in a vase.

The creation of a bouquet combines the art of composition and the principles of engineering. The finished product has to appeal to  the eye as well as remain intact over several hours [or in the case of a bridge, for many decades!].

If a bride decides to have her wedding flowers preserved the matter of having every bloom at its peak and every adornment firmly attached and every ribbon securely wrapped is doubly important. The bride and her florist are an artistic team. Most often a bride has a vision in her mind accompanied by a picture from a magazine or a photo from a friend’s wedding or an image from an online site of a particular style of bouquet, and she may have a very specific list of flowers that she loves and are meaningful to her. Enter the floral designer who knows what flowers on the bride’s list are available in the season when the wedding will take place. Lilies of the valley, tulips, peonies, & dahlias are not available year round making it necessary to suggest an alternative for a bride who has her heart set on any of these. Just as an artist selects various objects for a still-life painting, a floral designer must select flower forms which compliment each other when the bouquet is assembled. One would not want flowers of all one size like football mums and peonies and sunflowers in a single bouquet! Nor would daisies, alstromeria and minicarnations create an eye-popping composition. If we think of a bouquet as a theatrical production, flowers such as peonies, hydrangeas and dahlias are “the stars of the cast” and the sweetheart roses, stephanotis, ranunculus and perhaps Queen Anne’s lace take on the roll of a supporting cast! The greens and filler flowers, such as heather, limonium, wax flower or babies breath carry out the part of the “extras”. Yet all are integral to the entire production or composition or bouquet.

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The creation of a bouquet, like the main course at a gourmet dinner, is a combination of art and science. The entree is equivalent to the bouquet; each individual flower in the bouquet is an ingredient in the dish. It includes a featured item, a number of secondary ingredients, an assortment of spices and herbs and perhaps a garnish. When the floral designer meets with a bride there some essential questions that have to be answered:

  • What is the date of the wedding?
  • How many attendants have you chosen?
  • What color are the attendants’ dresses?
  • Will the ceremony and reception be in the same place?

The color of the attendants’ dresses will partially dictate the variety of flowers to choose from. The date of the wedding will dictate what seasonal flowers will be available. The number of attendants, the number of guests and whether arrangements will be needed at a ceremony site as well as a reception site will dictate how much of the overall budget is available for flowers.

The creation of a bouquet is the product of a bride’s vision and the floral designer’s expertise. Once the bride and her florist have decided on the specific flowers to be used, the bride steps out of the picture. Even though the wedding may be scheduled for a year in the future a floral designer makes her “shopping list” of the flowers that will need to be ordered 3 – 4 weeks before the actual delivery date. She will have to be certain to have ribbon and other adornments, that have been selected by the bride, on hand prior to the week of the wedding. If the hem or sleeve of a grandmother’s wedding dress is to be used to wrap the bouquet, or if a sentimental item such as a locket is to be intertwined with the flowers, these items must be brought to the designer in advance of the wedding week.

The creation of a bouquet when the floral designer sits down to put it together is much like manufacturing a car on an “assembly line”! First, all of the flowers have to be prepped. Having arrived at the flower shop early in the week, all stems have to be cut and hydrated and the flowers of each variety have to be counted and set aside in the cooler. At assembly time it is critical that the designer does not discover that she is 5 stems short of the roses or hydrangeas or whatever flowers are “the Stars” in the wedding party’s bouquets!

A day or two prior to the wedding date containers of flowers are lined up at the designer’s workplace; the ribbon is cut, the seed pearls or beads are at hand, the lace or linen wrap has been ironed: the designer is ready to work her Magic! After the bouquets are completed they are set in vases of water to keep them at the height of freshness until delivery time. Boxes of  bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, pew bows, ceremony and reception arrangements have been labelled along with every item that must arrive at its destination on time. Logistics are just as critical as artistry when preparing for a bride’s special day. At last the van is loaded and the driver with delivery slip and map in hand transports it all to another happy Belak’s bride.

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Where Your Vision Comes Into Bloom

Belak Flowers

Where Your Vision Comes Into Bloom

since 1954



832 Philadelphia Pike

Wilmington,  DE  19809

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