10 Tips to Pick Your Wedding Flowers

Being flower-obsessed, I looked forward to planning my wedding flowers. As I started into the planning, though, I realized how many things there were to consider. I learned a lot along the way, so I thought I'd share it with you! Disclaimer: I'm not a wedding florist or floral designer, so some of this information might vary based on where you live and who you work with.

When you start considering your wedding details, flowers can be incorporated in a number of areas. They can make a big difference in the overall feel of your day, which is all the more reason to get clear on how you want to use them and how they should look.

Here are 10 tips to consider when making plans for your wedding flowers--I'll sprinkle in some photos from my wedding too ;) :

+ What's your budget? This is a big one, I know! The Knot estimates that couples spend an average of 8% of their budget on flowers. Obviously, each couples' priorities are different, so the following tips should help you narrow down what this could look like.

+ How do you want to use flowers? Here are some ways couples incorporate flowers into their day (click on each for ideas, and remember, these are only options!):

We decided to order flowers for everyone who walked down the aisle--our siblings (11 in total!) plus our parents and our officiant. It was pricey, so we decided to save money by creating our own table arrangements--keep reading to see what we did! Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

We decided to order flowers for everyone who walked down the aisle--our siblings (11 in total!) plus our parents and our officiant. It was pricey, so we decided to save money by creating our own table arrangements--keep reading to see what we did! Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ What are your wedding colors? Even if you have specific flowers in mind, it’s helpful to have a color palette so that your florist can incorporate other flowers within your aesthetic. Sometimes this can help lower the cost, especially if your favorite flower is pricey or hard to find.

+ What problem do the flowers solve? A neutral or dim venue might call for large, colorful flowers to brighten up the space; whereas, small, subdued arrangements will complement an already-ornate setting. An indoor summer wedding might benefit from large, wild arrangements to invoke the nature outside. And for a fancy affair, consider elevating the glam with tight, formal or elegant, cascading arrangements.

+ Are there flowers you don't want? Now, I'm a flower freak, but when my floral designer asked me this question, I knew that I didn’t want roses in my arrangements--I thought they looked too formal for my outdoor, garden wedding. She prompted me about spray or garden roses and I decided that they would work--to me, they had a more wild and loose feeling. I’m so glad she did because they were a beautiful addition to my bouquets. Roses can be a great option because they come in so many colors and varieties. Fragrance and meaning is another reason some couples exclude certain flowers from their arrangements.

+ What is your arrangement style? The way your flowers are arranged can convey a lot about your aesthetic--tight and formal, big and bold, colorful and fun, loose and ethereal, green and woodsy, cascading and romantic. Here's a visual guide to the most common bouquet shapes. 

For my bridal bouquet, I chose a cascading style with coral, peach, and succulent greens, including eucalyptus, dahlias, roses, and passion vine wrapped in natural burlap. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

For my bridal bouquet, I chose a cascading style with coral, peach, and succulent greens, including eucalyptus, dahlias, roses, and passion vine wrapped in natural burlap. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ How do you want them wrapped? For bouquets and boutonnières, you can choose how they are wrapped. Traditionally, bouquets are wrapped with ribbon and pearl pins down the stems, which leaves you to choose the ribbon color. There are so many other options, though, so it's worth spending a little time on this. Burlap-wrapped bouquets have become very popular and complement summer, boho-chic, and outdoor weddings. An option that I totally love is minimal, leaving the stems long and natural with a simple twine wrap--fyi, this option doesn't always work, especially if you have a large arrangement or varying stem lengths. Typically, the boutonnières will be wrapped to match the bouquets, but you can also make specific choices for them.

+ Are you open to what's in season? Using local, seasonal flowers is a sustainable option and can be more affordable. This can also be an easy way to leave many of the choices up to your florist--give her some parameters and she'll fill your floral needs with seasonal blooms. If you're interested in learning more about what's in season during your wedding in your location, there are lots of resources online. For my local California folks, Gorgeous & Green (my wedding flower designer!) and Farmgirl Flowers are great resources. If you want specific flowers and they're not in season, keep in mind that they can be pricey.

+ What containers do you want to hold your table arrangements? Many floral designers will provide options for containers, typically glass vases, but you can also get creative and DIY your own--think: jars, baskets, jugs, bottles, tubs, hanging pots. For my wedding, we collected nearly 100 glass bottles and jars for table arrangements. We wanted a natural, flower field look, so the organic arrangements in different containers worked well. You might even skip the traditional container altogether and go with table wreaths or garlands instead. $ Money-saving tip: Get bulk flowers at your local wholesale flower market and fill your own containers. Keep in mind that this will require extra hands and space to store the flowers the night before (ideally in a refrigerator).

We wanted casual centerpieces that were inexpensive and had a wild look. We collected dozens of different bottles and jars (check your local bar/restaurant!) and filled them with small collections of bulk flowers in our wedding colors--coral, peach, and succulent greens. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

We wanted casual centerpieces that were inexpensive and had a wild look. We collected dozens of different bottles and jars (check your local bar/restaurant!) and filled them with small collections of bulk flowers in our wedding colors--coral, peach, and succulent greens. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ Are you looking for alternatives to cut flowers? There are plenty of alternatives to cut flowers that can be affordable and complementary to your aesthetic. Living plants are a great option and can double as living mementos of your special day. A friend of mine had a tree at her wedding that guests hung messages on--the tree is now thriving in their yard. My husband and I planted the succulents from my bouquet and his boutonnière in a beautiful planter that lives on our front porch. You might even incorporate living plants into your wedding favors. Dried flowers are also an option that can replace many of the traditional flower uses. Lavender, thistle, hydrangea, flax, billy balls, sea oats, poppy pods, yarrow, and globe amaranth are some of my favorites. Be careful using dried flowers in bouquets and boutonnières as they can be very delicate. A final alternative to cut flowers is to go with fake flowers. There are some artists out there creating A-mazing floral representations in paper and felt. Here are some of my favorites: Fiber Florist (felt), The Cobra Lily (paper), Tiffanie Turner/Papel SF (paper). It looks like these paper flower-making ladies aren't taking custom orders right now, but Lia Griffith provides great options for DIY paper flowers.

Did I miss something? Feel free to add a tip in the comments!