Saturday, December 7, 2013

Style or Theme for Reception Decor and Theme Weddings, 10 Ways to Cut the Cost of Flowers, DIY Professional Looking Florals


Defining the Style of Your Reception Décor

Does the décor in the pictures of some wedding receptions look absolutely over the top?  Is there is so much going on that everything runs together.  You don't notice a single element.    Are these arrangements  meant to provide a "wow" when people first walk into the room (at a huge expense) and then they fade into the background. Or, are the decorations designed to set a mood that reflect the interests and personalities of the bride and groom?
1.  What do you want your guests to experience during the reception?  And, more importantly....what do you want to remember about your reception.
2.  What is the tone?  Outdoor casual or black tie and tails formal? 

3.  Is there a special interest that you share that you would like to be reflected in the decorations? 
     Yes, it can be a football or baseball team, motorcycles, a shared sport or hobby.  While this might not appeal to some, to others it might feel like the right thing to do.  My brother and his wife had a mutual passion for cycling; the wedding was very formal but all the groomsmen put on their cycling shorts for the receiving line.  It lent such an authentic feeling to the reception; tux shirts and jackets, multicolored cummerbunds and cycling shorts.  Every guest broke into a smile when they reached that point in the line where they could see the biking attire.   Now you might see bridesmaids in cowgirl boots, or multi-colored rain boots.  Individualism has made its way to the reception.  In earlier generations there were no deviation from the "rules", thankfully that is no longer the case.

      One of my clients (the bride) was a heavy equipment operator.  She ordered her wedding cake with a cake topper consisting of a miniature bulldozer pushing autumn leaves over the side of the cake.  Both of her parents were professors at a local university and the wedding and reception were quite formal (for a DIY).  And there was that little yellow bulldozer sitting on top of the cake.  But was authentic and she was so excited about it. It was an important part of the day for her. 

4.  What do the two of you want to feel when you walk into that room as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time? 

5.  Are there natural elements that you can utilize?  Sometimes  rental venues provide elements so outstanding minimal additional decorations will be necessary.  A garden, or a picture widow overlooking a scenic view?
Or, does your rental venue have 4 bare walls?  It is amazing how the atmosphere of such a room can be changed with the lights dimmed, perhaps some tulle with miniature lights draped from the ceiling, with a pop of color from the flowers and  candles placed on the guest tables. 

I have watched the TV shows where the bride has always dreamt of having her fairly tale reception - which usually costs an obscene amount of money.
But, because you are reading this, I am going to assume that you might have other priorities for that bundle of money.   The average cost of weddings held during 2012 in the United States was $26,000.   But, you don't plan on spending anywhere close to that amount.  Is your special day still going to be everything that you have dreamt about since you were a little girl?

So, let me share this with you.

The comments overheard at the functions I coordinated were focused on the experience;

How gorgeous the bride looked
How happy the couple were
The wording of the vows that the bride and groom recited to each other
How good the food looked and tasted
How much fun everyone was having

Some of the receptions I coordinated did have professional floral arrangements, but that was not what the guests paid attention to over the course of the evening.

If you are considering a themed wedding Pinterest has so many resources for ideas it will make your head spin.  Here are two more;

So, lets start to talk about the different aspects of decorations and how you can trim the budget.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Flower Arrangements.

1)  Forget huge towering forests on each table.  Because - and I am going to repeat something I recently wrote about what my clients wanted for their day - these towering concoctions do nothing to increase your guests' enjoyment of the day.  They are going to interfere with the guests seeing each other across the table, on the dance floor, or across the room.  Rather than a huge tall bouquet, you can scale down the size of the flowers, placing two or three smaller arrangements on longer tables,  and scatter votive candles  around the arrangements.  If you have your heart set on the huge towering arrangements place them on every 3rd table, with the smaller arrangements on the other tables.

2)  Re-purpose containers to use as vases.  If you haven't done so already, explore Pinterest for ideas and "how to" instructions.  Or, consider renting vases from your local florists.  When the economy went south several years ago many floral design centers became willing to work with the DIY market; not only selling the flowers directly to the customer, but also renting cases for the arrangements.  One of the large florists in my city even provided classes for the DIY bride for a minimal charge.    

3) Use flowers that are in-season at the time of your wedding.  The expense of obtaining out-of-season flowers can increase the cost significantly.
Use unique flowers that are not usually seen in wedding arrangements.  Your guests will think that the flowers are more expensive because they are not familiar.  Talk to the person in charge of the flowers at your local "box store"; you can probably pre-order exactly what you need. 

4)  Use lots of greens for filler with your flowers.  Coordinated greens will make a smaller number of blooms seem to "pop".

5)  The use of a range of colored blooms in your center pieces will make more of an impact for less money.  It takes more of a monochromatic colored flower to make the same impact, which means more dollars.

6.)  Use flowering branches, the differences in texture and height combined with smaller lower budget flowers can create a very dynamic centerpiece.

7.)  Use plain tree branches - they can be seen as stand alone centerpieces with a few crystals draped from their branches, or submerged in a tall glass cylinder anchored by colored stones.

8.)  Use moss to add texture and filler to your arrangements

9.)  Use real flowers for the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages but
consider other options for the table decorations.   My next blog will feature instructions for a whimsical DIY ribbon topiary which uses a Styrofoam ball, a dowel, patterned and opaque wired ribbons and a solid white ribbon.  You could select ribbon to match your bouquet colors, would have one less thing to worry about on the day of your wedding and would save a bunch of money. 

10.)  If you want more elaborate DIY arrangements, bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, cake flowers etc.  please check out Angie Zimmerman's site; she offers an instructional package which was the foundation for the course she developed for Preston Bailey Floral Designs in New York City.  There are several You Tube videos where Angie is very up front about what it takes to make the more elaborate types of  DIY arrangements.

Here is an stunning example of one of Angie's creations.  In January she will be teaching more advanced floral techniques during a seminar in Las Vegas.  I want to be a floral designer in my next life!


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