The Women's Journal

The Flowers In The Wedding

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


A very good friend called me to get started on planning her son’s wedding.  As I was emailing her my guidelines, I realized how important these points are and that a lot of moms and brides would like to hear from a wedding professional, especially from someone who has had a child go through the wedding process.

My email was brief.  Before I could even estimate her expenses, the following items needed to be decided:

The amount of guests coming will really determine where the wedding can be as not all venues can accommodate 250 guests and some locations have a minimum.

What is the date of the wedding? What season? Autumn, Spring, Christmas?  Is it a holiday weekend? Is it in the busiest wedding months? May, June, September or October?

The vision of the wedding: Is it going to be black tie, rustic, or somewhere in between?

Themes and designs make a difference in the quality and quantity of everything.

What are the priorities? The music, the flowers, the cake, the photograph settings, the food and drink, the wedding dress?  Everyone has something that is extremely important and therefor becomes the focus.


The colors of the wedding, what are the bridesmaids’ dress colors?  That alone can help determine the flower colors. What color are the groom and groomsmen wearing? Are metallic colors important? Silver? Gold? Can a soft color of gray foliage be added? Although you might not think of the metallics as “colors” adding a flash of silver or a warm neutral shade of foliage can make whites or even brighter colors just pop!

What does the bride’s dress look like? A tailored or plain design of dress can have a more elaborate floral bouquet. A heavily beaded and detailed gown needs a simpler bouquet, one that does not fight with the dress and distracts from the bride herself. The quality of the dress makes a difference too. Does the gown, need the formality of orchids and callas or are common and traditional flowers a better match? And don’t forget scale, a smaller clutch or larger?

This is when I realized how complicated my email to my friend, the Mother of the Groom, was going to be. I carried on…

The total count of bride and bridesmaids’ bouquets added to the boutonniere and corsage counts constitute a large percentage of the floral total: the People Flowers.

Are we doing flowers for all the parents, or just the bridal party? I always recommend that anyone important enough to be in the formal pictures is important enough to be given a corsage or boutonniere.

Is the wedding ceremony going to be celebrated in a church or at a reception venue? Is it a priority to decorate the ceremony area? Will the church be decorated already for a holiday? Is the church ornate, possibly making additional color distracting? Is the ceremony going to be in a beautiful garden or tent? Always remember the length of the ceremony.  If the exchange of vows is intended to last about 20 minutes then a giant amount of flowers for a short ceremony is really not needed.

Are any other flowers needed for the ceremony? A token flower offering for the Blessed Mother? Have you decided to present your Mothers, Grandmothers or others dear to you with peace flowers after the ceremony?

Then we need to consider the possibility of moving flowers to the reception.  Does your venue supply the centerpieces in a package and do you like the design and size options?  The table count determines your centerpiece count and the number on the guest list is the start of all your organizing. How many guests can comfortably fit at a table and how many tables are going to be needed?

Perhaps you’ve found your dream centerpiece on Pinterest.  Are the flowers and foliage the most important part, or perhaps the colors or even the container design caught your eye? See what the florist suggests for your venue.  For instance, an outdoor ceremony does not call for a tall centerpiece as weather, winds and even un-level terrain may endanger an easily tipped container.  On the other hand, a hotel with 40-foot ceilings would be a lovely space to fill with high centerpieces.  To save money with centerpieces needed on many tables, perhaps ask for half to be decorated with tall designs and the other half with the same flowers in a shorter but coordinating container.

Always make sure the floral centerpieces blend with the bouquet flowers and the colors you have already used for the bridal party.  The reception should reflect your taste and all floral designs should relate and look like they belong at the same event.

Will something be needed to adorn the seating card table?  With all your guests’ name cards laid out, how much room is actually left for an arrangement?  A large table with a mere 85 guests will have more room than a smaller table with 200 guests.

And finally, are you planning the traditional throw-away the bouquet ceremony?  Do you want a smaller, inexpensive version of your bouquet, or are you planning on throwing your original bouquet?

After the event is over, what flowers will be remembered?

The beautiful and complimentary blooms you chose to reflect your taste and theme. How will you remember them? They’ll be the forms and colors that complete your gowns and dresses and suits and they’ll all be there in your photographs. Remember to decorate the people and coordinate with the church and venue. It’s your wonderful day to share with your partner, family and friends.

Congratulations on needing to start this process!

Where Your Vision Comes Into Bloom

Belak Flowers

Where Your Vision Comes Into Bloom

since 1954



832 Philadelphia Pike

Wilmington,  DE  19809

[email protected]

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