It’s Spring, so for the floral world that means that there is an abundance of gorgeous fresh flowers. Spring also marks the start of wedding season; and whilst you can get married at any time of year, the busiest time for nuptials generally spans from September through til March.
Especially popular wedding blooms such as garden roses, David Austin roses, Peonies, Lily of the Valley, Lilac and Hydrangea can be temperamental blooms, and as they are often grown outdoors, and influenced by the weather, sometimes a contingency plan is best to discuss long before the wedding day to make sure everyone is on the same page.
That contingency plan will differ between clients, what flowers that have chosen, and what their expectations are. For some, a simple tweak is all that will be required. For example, let’s say you had a pale blush pink and white wedding bouquet ordered, made up from a combination of white Peonies and pale pink David Austin roses, with mid pink lisianthus and white lilac. As the wedding day approaches, the growers communicate that they are unable to supply white Peonies or pink David Austins Due to various issues. Provided that the bouquet can still be made in the colour blend discussed, and in the right combination to give you the ideal colour weighting, swapping a white peony for a pale pink one, and a pink rose for a white rose, may be a relatively easy fix.
Sometimes however, quite a different approach may be required…So today, my question is: If you had your heart set on a particular combination of blooms for your wedding bouquet, would you consider using some artificial or ‘silk’ blooms to achieve the look?
Some years ago….in maybe 2008, shock jock Kyle Sandilands married aspiring pop star Tamara Jaber in an extravagant affair. From memory, her bouquets contained clusters of artificial Hydrangea, intricately woven between the other featured fresh blooms. Hydrangea is one of those flowers that is extremely popular, but can be extremely delicate in our Australian weather. In a hot and dry environment, it is quite possible to dry hydrangea, and for it retain most of its colour. The problem is often our weather is humid, and therefore the hydrangea can not dry, but rather wilts leaving the blooms shrivelled, soft and unrecognisable. Hydrangea requires a lot of water and therefore can be a tricky bloom to work with particularly in summer.
Another bloom which is extremely popular for weddings is the gorgeous peony. Peonies usually have a local season of about 6 -8 weeks. Peony lovers will know that the bloom starts out as a round ball, pretty much unrecognisable as a peony. Slowly the petals unravel revealing a fluffy, ruffle of frilly petals. As you can appreciate, florists buy fresh flowers in advance for weddings so that they are at the ideal stage of development for the wedding. But, if they are not ready to be cut when you need them, there is little sense cutting a bunch of blooms, which when cut prematurely, will never open. Would you consider the silk equivalent?
Or what about Frangipanis? I suppose you think it would be easy enough just to pick them from some random tree and whip up a bouquet with a luscious summery scent. Frangipanis have to be picked very early in the morning before the sun has really warmed them up or you risk them all browning and wilting. Frangipani blooms are short and closely clustered together. To use them, each flower must be carefully removed and individually wired to create an artificial stem. When flowers are used in this way, they are removed from their water source, and therefore this must be done as close as possible to the time when the bouquets will be used. For this reason, some florists will decline taking on work that requires fresh Frangipanis, or will suggest using artificial or latex versions of the bloom. The clear downside in this case is that artificial blooms will not have the sedeuctive fragrance that Frangipanis are so famous for.
For me, an artificial substitute just will not do if I have to forgo what I love most about a bloom, like it’s fragrance. BUT, I do think that sometimes small quantities of artificial flowers carefully used in combination with some fresh blooms can be a great back up plan when needed….how about you?