Wedding Flowers 101: Expert Advice to Wow Your Guests

Welcome to wedding flowers 101; part 4 in this blog series. In case you missed out on the first parts, I asked a pretty incredible group of wedding vendors some of the questions I hear most often from brides.

Today I’m sharing what Travis Mills, owner and designer of Calyx Floral Design had to say. Every single piece I see from Calyx makes me literally stop and smell the roses… or hydrangea… or peonies… The sweet smell of the flowers and the luxury of the design makes me rethink everything I thought I knew about wedding flowers. She creates extraordinary pieces using combinations that are unique and modern.

Let’s just talk about these flowers for a sec. Have you ever seen a nude coloured rose? Yeah… me either. When I asked Travis if she wanted to be involved with this collaboration I described the theme and she created these incredible pieces on an already extremely busy wedding week.  The bouquet and centrepiece feature white astilbe, succulents, Juliet garden roses, white peonies, Queen Anne’s lace, quicksand roses, blush sweet peas, silver dollar eucalyptus and feather eucalyptus (my absolute favourite shade of green in the entire world.)


Follow this advice and you’re sure to make a lasting impression on your wedding guests.

Real Flowers vs. Silk

“Always real!  Fresh flowers have so much more to them; the vibrancy, the smell, the way they move in the breeze.  The feeling you get from a bouquet of fresh flowers is one of wonder at the beauty of nature; unfortunately artificial flowers just don’t give that same feeling…. although that being said; I’m never opposed to tucking a few artificial blooms into your bouquet when your favourite flower is out of season.”

Where do you start when designing wedding flowers?

“It’s best to have a general colour scheme and theme in mind before choosing your flowers.  There are so many style options available and that’s a great way to narrow down the choices.   Pinterest is great source for flower ideas too, just remember that a lot of the photos have been retouched and you may not be seeing the true colours of the flowers in the photos.  Decide how important flowers are to you for your wedding, and budget accordingly; wedding planners will suggest that approximately 10% of your budget should go to flowers….however, if they really aren’t your thing there is no need to spend that much.  Flowers are a luxury and often come with a luxury price tag.”

Where should I include flowers on my wedding day?

“I think the place that flowers are most often enjoyed  (and often overlooked during planning) is during the ceremony.  A lot of brides choose not to decorate the ceremony site, as they feel guests spend a minimal amount of time there.  I personally think that is the time to wow the guests.  They often arrive early and sit patiently awaiting the bride, looking around at your decor.  Give them something amazing to look at!  Go all out on your ceremony space and you will definitely create a memorable experience for your guests.”

“A lot of your ceremony flowers can be reused as well…. archway garland can be re-purposed for your head table; aisle markers can add decor to your tables, and other arrangements placed throughout the receptions space.”

A word from your photographer… your bouquet is probably the most important place to consider when designing your florals. If you are planning to splurge anywhere this is the place to do it. The bridal bouquet is a huge feature in most of the wedding portraits. It will be photographed more than any other flowers and, the bouquet is likely be in more wedding photos than any other decoration. A stunning bouquet is a beautiful compliment to your wedding gown, and will help set the tone for your wedding portraits. 

How do I handle the flowers?

In general… handle them as little as possible. This will prevent bruising and wilting (especially with white flowers).  All of our flowers are sent out packed, and ready for travel.  Our bouquets are in water and should be left in their vases until ready for pictures, or to carry down the aisle.  (Remember to dry the stems off when you take them out of the water; no one wants a water stain on their dress!)  Boutonnieres and corsages can be kept in the fridge until ready to be worn.  If no fridge is available, a cool dark place is best to keep them lasting as long as possible.

Do you deliver or set up?

“I sure do!  I actually prefer when brides choose this option; this way I know that the flowers are looking perfect for your wedding and there is no chance that your great-aunt who was left in charge of placing the flowers didn’t accidentally put the altar arrangements backwards (no offence to all great-aunts out there!  We love you!)”

I have to stop here and add a little behind the scenes about this shoot. While these flowers are definitely built to last, I highly suggest delivery and set up to ensure peace of mind.  How exactly do I know this?

The centrepiece was put to the test when Tracy (Sugar by Tracy) and I both accidentally sent it sailing across the room, not once, but twice before we even had the linens on the table. The blooms weren’t disturbed at all… but seriously, ensure yourself a little piece of mind. While the flowers are clearly indestructible, I don’t recommend testing this on your own wedding day.


Can I preserve my bouquet? Do I need a tossing bouquet?

“There are lots of ways to preserve your bouquet, some work better than others; from hanging it upside down in silica gel, to taking it apart and individually pressing each of the blooms within the pages of a book. Your bouquet can also be freeze-dried and preserved to look exactly the same as it did on the day of your wedding.  Check out Shared Seasons Floral Design for more info on this!
“A toss bouquet is a great idea!  Your bridal bouquet is often quite heavy and, the sentimental part of you really might not want to throw it away at the end of the evening.  Use your toss bouquet as a decoration on your guest book table until you are ready to throw it!”

What are your predictions for 2017 trends

“I see lots of greenery becoming an integral part of wedding florals.  As the days of the compact bouquets with no greenery pass, and hand tied continuing in popularity, wedding flowers are becoming much more free form. I expect to see more boho feeling florals with trailing greens and the return of bright colours.  Peonies and hydrangeas will continue to be first picks for florals with less structured table arrangements taking precedence.”

Do you have any other advice for brides?

“Booking your florist early is key!  Do not wait until the prescribed 6 months before the wedding date to set up your consultation.  There is nothing I dislike more than having to turn a bride away because I am full for her weekend.  Even if you are not sure on colours, meeting for an initial consultation to get the ball rolling is a great idea.”

Follow this advice and you’re well on your way to having THE wedding of the summer. Give Travis a call and set up a consultation… not only will you get some jaw dropping flowers for you wedding day, she’s pretty fun to hang out with. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Travis has invited me to her studio for one of her busiest wedding weekends. I’ll be posting sneak peeks of a day in the life of a flower ninja extraordinaire (I’m pretty sure that should be her new title… it’s got a bit of a ring to it). You’ll get an insider look her design process, the studio and all of her amazing floral creations.

If you haven’t seen the rest of this romantic bridal shoot check it out here and learn how we did it here. Up next, I will be sharing what your wedding hair stylist wants you to know.

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