I’m a photographer based in Houston, TX that specializes in sophisticated wedding and high school senior photography.
So, you have the color palette, a carefully organized Pinterest board for your bouquet, ceremony and centerpiece inspiration, maybe even a few flower names you have seen and loved, but how do you make it yours? I’m talking the kind that people walk in to and say, “Oh this is so THEM!” or leave saying, “that was the most intentional wedding I’ve ever been to”. My name is Hannah Jones, owner and lead designer for Cali and Bloom here in Houston, Texas and I’m going to let you in on a few florist secrets you need to hear to level up your wedding flower design.
Think of this as a bonus wedding souvenir and thank you for those friends and family who stay until the very end. A simple way to let them keep remembering the beauty of your wedding for several days. Although most florist rent out their centerpiece vases, I always give suggestions on slightly cheaper vases that will still uphold the vision for my couples who are wanting to give the flowers as gifts. With the right flowers and design, no one notices the vase anyway! Bonus Tip: talk to your florist about donating the flowers to a local woman’s shelter, hospital or other non-profit organization in exchange for a tax deduction receipt. I can tell you firsthand, this simple act of kindness brightens up spirits more than words could ever describe.
Repurposing your bridesmaid’s bouquet might sound like a turn-off, especially when you have seen the Pinterest pictures of tightly wrapped bouquets stuck down in a glass vase with the ribbon and pins exposed. Instead of using the same glass vases the bouquets came in, have the florist source a unique vase within your color palette that will not show the stems. Your florist will know how tall to get the vase so that after the ceremony pictures are done and your bridesmaids are ready to set their flowers down (usually somewhere random if not repurposed, might I add), they have a beautiful spot to place them. Add a collection of taper candles around them and you have the looks of a carefully curated centerpiece.
I get a lot of brides in the planning process that want to focus all their attention and money on this grand head table design. Now, I am not telling you it is a bad idea, grand designs are never a bad idea! However, after years of getting photo galleries back I can tell you that the dance floor is where it is at. Aside from the monumental ceremony photos you will keep for a lifetime, the next best pictures you have are surrounded by your people on the dance floor singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ to the top of your lungs. Whether you have a band with a stage, a DJ with a booth or just a backdrop wall next to the dance floor, flower it! The idea I always share with my clients is create floral arrangements to be used as aisle runners that can then be repurposed together in the reception space.
Here’s the thing, you can buy silk flowers at a lower price than the real deal (looking at you hobby lobby). But only if you are willing to buy a low quality, silk flower. Surprisingly, most high-quality silks carry a price tag that is equal to or more expensive than a natural flower! If you are wanting your bouquet to last forever, we can definitely invest in the higher quality silks, just know that they will not necessarily save a ton of money. Your wedding photos are going to highlight every detail of your wedding day, and while you may be willing to invest in silk flowers because they do not look too bad from a distance, I guarantee they will be front + center in your wedding photos. My suggestion, invest in real flowers for your bouquet and centerpieces, since they get all the attention, and then talk to your florist about options for silk florals in the ceremony floral or overhead installation.
Have you ever seen a ceremony arch or centerpiece stand and thought “wow, I’ve never seen anything like that”? That is because somewhere, a bride suggested this wild idea to a wedding vendor, and they went with it! You do not have to settle for what everyone else has done. Find a florist whose work is different with every wedding and there you will find someone who truly embraces your unique personality and infuses it into your design. I create something one of a kind for each of my couples and adore seeing their faces when they walk into the space to see their very own ideas in real life!
Reed Gallagher is a Houston photographer for the elegant bride + chic senior, an educator for the driven photographer, and queso obsessed biz owner.