Wedding Receptions: Love’s Blooms -- Flowers
Flowers will typically play a bigger role in the ceremony part of the wedding than in the reception. If both are held at the same venue, bring some of the flowers used in the ceremony into the banquet hall. Of course, if you hold the reception outdoors where there is a lot of greenery, and especially if there are natural gardens, flowers take on even less importance. A good florist who has worked weddings before will have photos of receptions the company has decorated before. At the reception, these can include the head table, the gift table, the cake table, centerpieces of guests’ tables, and even a flowered arch at the entrance and/or behind the bride and groom at the main table.
(Make sure the flowers on tables where people are seated do not obstruct anybody’s view.)
In a sense, a florist has a similar responsibility to that of the baker: the flowers should reflect the tastes of the bride and groom, and they should be delivered fresh and set up properly.
Typically, flowers take on a starring role towards the end of the reception, if there is a bouquet toss by the bride. It might be more convenient for all assembled (and especially for the jobs to be carried out by the emcee and the photographer) if the toss comes right before the cake is cut. This is especially the case if there is to be a garter toss as well. The other traditional spot for a bouquet toss is as the bride and groom make their final getaway.
The origin of the bouquet toss is said to come from the folklore that certain herbs were deemed to be lucky. Hence, the lucky single woman who catches the bride’s bouquet would receive the blessing of being the next one to be married.
Today, the bride has a variety of ways to perform the toss: backwards over her head so she does not see what is happening; straight ahead and forward; from a height, like on stairs; or, she may announce that she has given the bouquet in private to a special friend.
Most often, the bouquet that is tossed is smaller than the one carried by the bride down the aisle. It may be a portion of the original bouquet, detached at some point, or a separate one prepared by the florist beforehand.
If you want to save money by not using a florist, find out whether a wholesaler will sell to you. If you go to your city’s flower mart at 5:00 a.m., you are likely to find one or two suppliers who will sell to people not in the trade or possessing reseller’s licenses. If you live in the country, you should be able to find a flower grower. Bonus: If you go to these places, you will probably be able to pick up lots of free (or almost free) flower petals, useful for throwing at the bride and groom instead of rice, or to strew on their path as they enter the reception. (Rice is out of favor anyway; some places forbid it, and it could result in a horrendous cleanup fee.)
Similarly, depending on where you live and the season, you can get orange, apple, cherry or peach blossoms from orchard owners.
For freshness as well as the best price, pick flowers that are in season. Another money saver is to use potted flower plants wherever you can get away with them; some nurseries may even let you borrow (or rent) them.