Pick your flowers carefully

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Whether designing flowers for a traditional wedding or an out-of-the-ordinary wedding, two local florists want their clients to use a generous dose of imagination and think outside of the box.

“I encourage the bride to be creative,” said Carmen Jones with Prairie Flower & Garden Shop of Hillsboro.

“You don’t have to fall into the norm of ‘I just want a little bouquet of roses’ if you don’t want to. It’s your day, and you can do anything you want.”

Forget-Me-Not Flower Shop owner Jan Frantz said she tells her clients, “There is no traditional wedding-anything is OK. They should focus on what they like, not what other people think they should have.”

Frantz discourages falling into the trap of right vs. wrong in flower-arrangement choices.

“If you have a formal wedding, it used to be you had to have certain flowers,” she said. “And now, it’s just whatever-make it yours.”

Jones and Frantz encourage making contact with florists six months before the actual wedding to arrange an appointment for a consultation and to book a confirmed date.

“Typically, I make an appointment, and I make it after hours, so I can devote the time to the customer,” Jones said. “It usually takes about 11/2 hours to have a consultation and go through everything from the bride’s bouquet through the reception or the rehearsal-dinner flower arrangement.”

The most frequent trio attending the initial consultation is the bride, groom and mother of the bride, Jones said.

Frantz said she does not charge for the initial consultation but requires a $25 deposit to book the date of the wedding. That deposit is applied to the total flower package.

Jones asks for a $25 deposit for the consultation, and that deposit is applied toward the cost of the flowers if the couple chooses her as their florist.

“It covers me for my time and ideas I might come up with for their wedding,” Jones said. “And a quote usually takes me a little while to figure out-probably about two to three hours to figure a typical-size wedding.”

About half her clients come in with preconceived ideas of the flowers they want, and the other half “have no idea, and they just want to come in and look,” Jones said. “And they find something in the books they like.”

For those unsure of what they want after the first visit, Frantz allows her clients to take a set of informational books home to help organize their thoughts.

“A lot of times during the first visit, they’re just shooting in the dark,” Frantz said. “There’s a series of four books-one for flowers that you wear, flowers for the ceremony, flowers for the bridal bouquets and another one for the reception. So, there’s lots of different ideas in these books for them.”

A typical floral-arrangement check list can be discussed during a consultation or sent home to be filled in and returned during the next visit.

The list can include any of the following, and final choices will depend on the size of the wedding and the budget:

— Rehearsal dinner-bride’s corsage, groom’s boutonniere and table centerpieces.

— Ceremony bouquets and baskets-bride’s bouquet, bride’s toss bouquet, maid of honor’s bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, junior bridesmaids’ bouquets and flower girls’ baskets.

— Ceremony boutonnieres and corsages-groom’s boutonniere, best man’s boutonniere, groomsmen’s boutonnieres, junior groomsmen’s boutonnieres, mothers’ corsages, fathers’ boutonnieres, grandmothers’ corsages, grandfathers’ boutonnieres, ring bearer’s boutonniere and ushers’ boutonnieres.

— Ceremony flower arrangements-altar appointments, aisle arrangements, pew appointments, staircase decorations, wall decorations and window appointments.

— Reception flower arrangements-head-table centerpiece, guest-table centerpieces, gift-table centerpiece, buffet-table centerpiece, bar centerpiece, cake-top flowers and cake-table arrangement.

After the first or second appointments, the local florists present a total-package quote to the couple.

“They can go over why things are the way they are and if they want to change things,” Jones said. “They can see where the pricier spots are or where they would like to spend more money or less money. And I can adjust it from there.”

Working with the couple’s budget, both florists stressed the importance of the bridal bouquet as the place not to cut costs.

“If she wants to have a special flower, but it gets too expensive for the whole wedding party to have, then I suggest maybe she wants it for her bouquet,” Jones said. “Because that’s the most special thing for her to have.”

The exotic flowers, such as the calla lilies and orchids, are typically the most expensive flowers to choose for a wedding.

The traditional wedding flower, the rose, is still requested by brides in the area but is not considered an excessive-expenditure flower unless used exclusively throughout the wedding.

“There are so many options out there with roses any more,” Frantz said. “You can combine regular roses with the small-head roses, which are called spray roses. They come with a whole bunch on one stem.”

Encouraging their clients to think beyond the traditional, both florists said the wedding color palettes to choose from can range from bright jewel tones, such as ruby and sapphire, to monochromatic and elegant light colors.

“Monochromatic means the same color but different tones of that same color,” Jones said. “You might go from a dark pink to a light pink and hit all kinds of color in between there. So it stays in the same color family.”

Platinum and champagne colors are popular choices for her clients who are planning spring and summer weddings, Frantz said.

“And greens, all greens, there are beautiful arrangements done with green, like green calla lilies,” she added.

Four weeks before the wedding, Jones requires half of the total payment. The remaining amount is to be paid in full two weeks before the special day.

“Because that’s when I have to pay for the flowers,” she said.

Frantz asks for half the total package paid by six weeks before the wedding and the remaining to be paid prior to the delivery of the flowers.

“I like to book my flowers six weeks ahead of time, because that’s when you can get the best prices for the kids,” Frantz said.

Relying on their experience in the floral industry, the two florists offered the following tips for couples planning the flower portion of their special day:

— Consider preserving the bridal bouquet and boutonniere after the wedding.

“I don’t do that here,” Jones said. “But I can find somebody who would be very trustworthy to do that.”

— Visualize what the wedding pictures will look like with all the final flower arrangements.

“Most importantly, it’s the whole package-from the tuxes to the flowers they’re wearing to the dresses they buy,” Frantz said. “When you see something you like, you have to visualize what it will all look like when everybody’s standing up there, and you want it to be a really, really pretty picture.”

— Research ideas for floral arrangements from such sources as bridal magazines, the Internet and bridal fairs.

“I think it’s really important for them to go to bridal shows because magazines are just pictures,” Frantz said. “But when you go to these bridal shows, they have tons of arrangements made, and it lets you know what the flowers really look like-the depth and color.”

— Consider adding fresh flowers to decorate a wedding cake.

“You can make a very blah cake into something completely memorable,” Jones said. “There are some flowers, like roses, nasturtiums and carnations, that are edible. And others, I would protect from being directly against a cake.”

— Keep a notebook of ideas, including photos and information about the floral arrangements.

“Typically around here, a lot of girls compile a notebook, and they bring in the notebook,” Frantz said. “When you see something, if it’s dresses, flowers or a cake, keep it organized, and it becomes your brain.”

— Choose flower arrangements to meet the wishes and personalities of the couple and not the needs of others.

From lavender tones for a couple who both graduated from Kansas State University to orange daisies for a spring wedding, Frantz said she will be happy to accommodate the traditional to the non-traditional.

Jones also stressed there is no limit to the imagination in designing flowers for weddings.

“If you want something a little different and you want somebody to be creative for you, that just opens my doors,” she said. “That just thrills me because I have some wonderful ideas and some really neat things that can be done to make your day very unique.”

(For more information, Jones can be reached at 947-5455 and Frantz is available at 947-2270.)

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