One of the first details to work out as you begin planning your wedding is, of course, the flowers. You’ll need arrangements for the altar, for the aisle, for your wedding party, for the tables, for the cake… The list goes on and on.
But savvy couples know there’s more than one way to sneak beautiful blooms into your big day—from the dress to the dinner menu.
Butter, sugar, flower
Flowers have been part of cooking since the beginning of time—bitter herbs feature in the Bible, while people in the Middle East have been using rose and orange blossoms to enhance libations and cuisine for centuries. In our area, plenty of caterers incorporate the local flora into dishes for your big day for both visuals and flavor.
Says chef Walter Slawski, “The Catering Outfit uses edible flowers, blossoms, shoots, and microgreens to enhance both the look and taste of our dishes.”
As an example, a recent dish of seared chili-crusted Ahi tuna tostada with avocado salad and mango featured cucumber blossom, “for a crisp, bright green punch against the richness of the Ahi and avocado.”
Slawski says different edible flowers add different flavors. Chive blossoms, with their oniony bite, harmonize with an heirloom tomato and burrata caprese with smoked salt and white balsamic reduction. Marigold flowers’ hint of saffron work perfectly sprinkled on mixed mushroom risotto with grana padana and truffle butter.
And, he says, he uses one edible flower for its peppery flavor—and its sentimental significance.
“Nasturtiums,” Slawski says. “My grandmother grew these in her garden and they were the first edible flower I encountered. I was captivated by the way water forms little silver pearls on their leaves.”
Pro tip: Choose a venue with a lot of natural beauty, and you won’t have to worry so much about adding extras. Enter The Market at Grelen. You’ll get full use of the Somerset property, including a reception tent, hill overlook, greenhouse, back garden, stone patio, and outdoor walkways (a popular portrait spot). Each setting is filled to the brim with greenery, potted plants, and hanging arrangements, making your big day feel just that much more magical.
In our area, a bridal bouquet can run anywhere from $100-350, which gives you a good jumping-off point for budgeting the rest
of your arrangements. Here are a few tips to keep costs down.
Stay in season. “People ask for peonies in fall and winter, and they can be as much as $200 for 10 stems,” says Hedge Fine Blooms’ Karen Walker. Some popular flowers that are accessible all year? Roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus, and lisianthus.
Do double-duty. Instead of paying for bouquets and table arrangements, toss the bridesmaids’ bouquets into vases at the reception tables. Two blooms, one stone, so to speak.
Ask your florist. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re budget-conscious. Your florist will be able to make suggestions based on your needs. If you want a greenery table garland, for instance, your florist might clue you in to a less-expensive option: Instead of constructing a garland ahead of time, the florist lays greenery on the table the day-of. “This can save you $200 a table,” Walker says.
Here’s a thought, too: Fiori Floral Studio offers a DIY wholesale package: All buckets come prepped and hydrated, ready for the couple (and friends and family) to put the arrangements together. Bonus: Each package includes a hand-tied bridal bouquet.
Roses are a great, always available choice, if you’re keeping an eye on price-per-stem.
The perfect dress
Unlike many brides, Melissa Ogden wasn’t looking forward to dress shopping after she got engaged. She and her future husband, Baris Yildirim, weren’t planning a church wedding, and, in general, traditional weddings include a lot of anti-feminist rituals that made her uncomfortable. Plus, bucking trends runs in her family: “My mom got married in a blue dress,” Ogden says. “They eloped to St. Thomas!”
But when her college friends came to town insisting on “a big day of mimosas and trying on princess gowns,” she went along for the ride.
“I just went into the process with an open mind hoping to find a dress that fit my personality and the nontraditional wedding we had planned,” Ogden says. “I tried on a ton of Cinderella gowns and mermaid lace dresses and everything in between.”
Ultimately, she found her floral Paula Varsalona dress at Sealed With A Kiss on the Downtown Mall. So many brides had tried it on before her, but asked if they could order it in plain white or ivory. Because of that, the sample sat on the shelf for a few years. For Ogden, it was already perfect. In fact, the only alteration she made was removing the train, which SWAK used a swatch from to create a pocket square for Yildirim.
Speaking of which, did her husband-to-be still like the dress, even though it wasn’t traditionally “bridal”?
“When I asked him on our wedding day, after he saw it,” Ogden says, “he said it still looked like a white dress to him!”
Flower-covered arbors are getting a lot of play in the pages right now, but we asked a few local florists to tell us what’s popping up in our area. These are their picks for blossoming trends.
We’re not saying flower crowns are out (blasphemy!), but a few blooms in an updo can be a nice touch. “We always love doing hair flowers,” say Hedge Fine Blooms’ Karen Walker.
Keep looking up
Hanging structures—think grids, ladders, and wreaths—that can be hung over head tables or dance floors, says Southern Blooms’ Sherry Spencer, are gaining popularity. They’re a great way to bring the outdoors in, and add an unexpected detail.
Take it to go
Jenn Finazzo of Fiori Floral Studio recommends giving away potted plants and herbs as wedding favors. “They’re great way to decorate out of the box,” she says.