Chances are, you’re well aware of the myriad of circumstances that have made planning a wedding right now incredibly challenging—both for the couple getting married and for their hard-working team of vendors. While it’s undoubtedly a huge plus that weddings can actually happen to a greater degree of normal than we’ve seen in the last year-and-a-half, it’s certainly not without strife.
This is especially true when it comes to your wedding-day blooms. Though the pandemic had a lasting effect on so many industries, the flower world is one of the slowest to recover. “When the world shut down last March, the borders to many countries closed, which left growers with nowhere to ship all their product,” explains Kimberly Sisti is a San Diego-based wedding planner and owner and designer of Sisti & Co. “As a result, many went out of business without any way to keep themselves afloat, and the farms that were able to stay in business had no idea what or how much to plant.”
What the majority of these flower farms wound up doing was scaling back significantly by planting less. Not only did this help ensure that product wouldn’t go to waste, but it also was an only choice for some farmers who were left without employees due to lockdowns.
Now, in light of the recent wedding boom, events are coming back with full force. However, there is a massive flower shortage. “No one was sure how much to plant six months ago, so the quantities of flowers available for purchase now for the huge influx of weddings remains low,” says Sisti. “This leaves many without the flowers they were planning on for their wedding.”
On top of the shortage caused by the pandemic, there is also the stark reality that certain flowers are simply unavailable outside of their natural season. “It’s not that the farms are choosing to not make more money but not planting them for purchase, but simply because they won’t grow, or produce enough to make it worth the space, time, and cost of planting out of season,” explains Sisti. “This can make it challenging when clients come to florists asking for a specific bloom when it’s not available.”
Luckily, florists are generally creative people and have mastered the skill of going above and beyond, and thinking outside the box to deliver their clients’ wedding-day dreams no matter what. Whether you’re currently working with a florist or in search of one for your special day, here are some florist hacks that may help you pull off your dream wedding.
Recommending Look-Alike Blooms
The easiest alternative for a flower that can’t be received in time for a wedding is to request that your florist recommend look-alike blooms. “Filling an arrangement or installation with greenery or dried grasses can pair beautifully with any flowers that you choose,” says Bron Hansboro, florist and owner of The Flower Guy Bron in Richmond, Virginia. “Most couples will be open to the idea, and you can even suggest florals that can be locally sourced, as many are also looking to prioritize sustainability and supporting small businesses.”
Dyeing Petals a Custom Hue
If a couple is over the moon for a certain flower because its color fits in with their wedding palette, Hansboro uses this clever trick. “Instead of going after a colored flower that’s scarce, we can enhance the petals of a similar flower by dyeing them a custom hue,” he says. “As long as the alternate florals have the same composition and full blooms, dried and preserved elements can be equally helpful in adding an extra touch of variety.”
Turning Garden Roses Into “Peonies”
One of the most popular and in-demand flowers for weddings nowadays is the peony. But unfortunately, this bloom has a very small window of availability. This is when Christy "CeCe" Todd of CeCe Designs and Events in Birmingham, Alabama, and her team start getting creative with altering the look of similar blooms such as garden roses. “One of my favorite hacks for this is to pull the head off of a garden rose and then re-tape it or attach it upside down to an old stem,” she says. “The only issue with this is that the freshness doesn’t last very long, since there isn’t a water source to revive the petals.” If you go this route, make sure your florist only does this the day-of to prevent the flowers from rotting.
Fluffing the Petals
If your desired flower isn’t available, Todd recommends taking a similar flower and opening up the petals to make it look like the bloom you want. “Every flower blooms in its own way, but fluffing the petals so that it becomes a lush, open flower is the perfect alternative,” she says. “An example of this would be panda anemones, which look black and white at first glance, but the center is actually a very dark navy blue.” To pull this transformation off, Todd takes a white lisianthus, pulls the center out, and takes a blue thistle, which she floral-sprays with a dark navy. “From there, I’ll actually insert the blue thistle through the center of the white lisianthus and tape it to the stem,” she says. “Now, to the average eye, it looks like a panda anemone.”
Using Silk Flowers
Although they’re not live, silk flowers can make a great stand-in for large installations that need a huge amount of blooms, according to Sisti, especially if the piece will only be seen from a distance. “High-quality silks can fool the best of eyes, and no one will be the wiser!” she says. The key to pulling off this hack, however, is to not use silk stand-ins for your entire floral arrangement. “The whole idea is to make the flower look real, so using too many silks might make it look unbelievable,” she says. “For example, an amaryllis (typically used in late fall and winter) featured in a July wedding is unusual, so using hints of the amaryllis here and there will make it look more believable that they are real to begin with.” Bottom line: Less is more with silk flowers.