Reminder: My Top 10 Flower Dos and Don’t

flower market in Hong Kong

(Image via maureen lunn )

I frequently mention how much I’ve learned from my many mistakes in these Wednesday Reminder posts. However, now that the wedding season is near and spring is officially upon us – even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet, I’d like to dedicate today’s post to all of my flower aficionados:

1. If you’re using clear glass flower vases, nothing looks worse than dirty water.  Solution: Add a few drops of Clorox to the water.
2. Magazines love to feature beautiful images of ceremony aisles decorated with petals. In real life, however, this isn’t very practical. Most of the time the bride’s train drags the petals down the aisle, creating a visual mess along the way.

3. Speaking of ceremony aisles, have you ever unrolled an aisle runner without it looking like a wrinkled mess? Solution: Tape it down before the processional and hope for the best.

4. The one thing that most brides love more than anything is candles, especially tall tapered candles. Unfortunately, I have ruined more than one table setting with dripping wax – even when I used drip-less candles. The biggest problem is when you turn on an air-conditioner and the air blows across your beautifully decorated table, creating a disaster. Solution: The wonderful and tall LED tapers. I suggest these in my book as well, because they will give you the gorgeous effect you want without the mess.

5. On a similar note, never, and I mean NEVER, line a ceremony aisle with candles unless you properly enclose them first. I learned this one the hard way. Years ago I made this mistake, and the candles dripped on the father-of-the-bride’s tuxedo. NOT a smooth move, especially since he was the man paying for everything.

6. Many of you are not going to agree with me on this one, but that’s alright. I DO NOT LOVE LILIES, which is why you seldom see them in my work. I only use them when a client requests them – and even then I do so kicking and screaming. I think they’re best when used with the pollen in the middle. Unfortunately, the few times I have left the middles intact, they have messed up some of the guests’ outfits.

7. Often rental companies don’t offer the table shape or size you need, and I get many questions about creating different sized tables. Solution: This is simple! Buy plywood in the sizes you prefer, and set them on top of smaller tables.

8. Let’s talk about setting up. Be very cautious about accepting a job that limits the amount of time you’ll have to set-up. I have also done this many times and have been so late that I crossed paths with arriving guests. Suggestion: Depending on the size of the event, aim to have at least 10 hours of set-up time. Also, it’s worth asking the venue if you can start setting up at midnight the night before. Most venues are very accommodating.

9. Lots of people ask me what happens to all of the flowers after an event. Suggestions: Freshen up a few of the larger arrangements and drop them off at your client’s home the next day. You can also donate the flowers to a local nursing home; I cannot tell you the joy you’ll bring to the residents.

10. If you’re setting up a ceremony and you know there’s an event scheduled right after or before yours, you might want to reach out to them. See if there’s any way you can share flowers, which will make both events more lavish as well as cost effective.

This is by no means a completed list. In the spirit of sharing and helping each other, please chime in with any tips or lessons you’ve learned. Have you also had bad experiences with candles?

Lastly, planners, I have not forgotten about you! Next Wednesday’s Reminder post I will list my top 10 planning tips for the forthcoming season.