Wedding bouquets should be perfect! The flowers should be in their most beautiful state. All the flowers should be either fully open, but not too open that they are actually finished and could very well fall apart, Flowers that open quickly should be ready to fly open and show all their beauty an hour after you take them out of the cooler and deliver to the bride. Lilies should be sturdy, open and free of pollen stains,and delicate flowers should be tucked in a bit for protection or their stems wired to prevent drooping. All of this takes time. There are a lot of steps to making sure bridal flowers are handled properly. There are buckets filled with fresh water and hydrating solution mixed in. The flowers have to be taken out of boxes, their wrappings carefully removed, leaves stripped from the bottoms of the stems, the flowers cut and dipped into a quick hydration solution to clear out clogged stems so they can drink fresh water and replenish the moisture they lose in the shipping process. They have to be quickly put in the buckets of water and allowed to drink for a bit then carried into the floral cooler to suspend their growth. Your florist has to monitor your flowers daily, if the roses aren't opening properly they have to be brought into the warmth to start the process, same for lilies, they are notorious for being stubborn when you most need them to open. And those darned hydrangeas! If there is anyone out there that can guarantee a hydrangea won't wilt I want to hear from you. You can take 10 hydrangeas from the same batch, process them, and I promise you one or more will wilt. I watch every wedding show imaginable and I've seen huge glorious hydrangea bouquets and if you look, there are always some wilted ones! David Tutera, my hero, Preston Bailey,Martha - you all know what I'm talking about! Oddly enough you can get antique hydrangeas and they will NOT wilt! They are really expensive though and most brides don't want to pay the cost. There is stress involved, a lot of stress! Wedding flowers cannot be just thrown into a vase and sent out the door. Florists also cannot buy just what they need for your wedding. Flowers are sold in bunches and no smart florist is going to pre-sell specially ordered wedding flowers to fill an order thinking they have plenty left or can get more - so those flowers are inventory sitting in your cooler until they are arranged. We have to charge more for wedding flowers because in most cases there are flowers leftover that have been held for 3-5 days for a wedding and cannot be sold for an order after the wedding weekend, they are past their prime at that point. Wedding bouquets are time consuming because we have to make sure every flower is in the proper place and at the proper state of beauty. The stems have to be secured with floral tape, your best ribbons are used to cover the floral tape and more times than not, the stems have accoutrements added to them, like beads,pearls,rhinestones or antique keepsake broaches. They have to be handled carefully so that the stems stay hydrated, the ribbons clean, etc. If you have chosen a formal cascade it doubles the time and care to design a cascade bouquet. Corsages and boutonnieres are the most time consuming and tedious of them all. In most cases they have to be wired, taped, ribbons added and they are usually smaller flowers so you are wiring and taping a lot! Wrist corsages triple the time involved so we have to charge a lot more for those. You cannot do a bridal bouquet, or you certainly shouldn't, a week in advance, sometimes you can get a way with certain aspects of a wedding,like centerpieces, a few days early but you pretty much only have a couple days. This means more labor, and even more labor to go to the venue and set everything up, delivery vehicles , schedules to be met, and never deal with anyone who is known for being late for events! Never! Always ask this question when you are talking to vendors!
Coming up next: I want an exact shade in a flower.