Interviewed by Natasha Larsen
When I asked Gather Design Company‘s creative director Amy Kunzel-Patterson what she wants clients to understand about her craft and business, she had 7 enlightening tidbits every couple should keep in mind.
1. Don’t determine a floral budget until you understand what you want.
Are flowers something that you want because you’re just supposed to have flowers at a wedding? Or will flowers be the main decor component that will set the mood and feel for the entire day? Did you book a venue that needs a lot of decor and florals to make it what you want? Or is the venue pretty perfect already, and you just need to add in a few select floral pieces as the finishing touches? Once you know the importance of flowers in your overall wedding scheme, have your coordinator or florist guide you on what you should expect to spend.
2. Venue access time affects our estimate.
If your venue allows us to get in early and get everything set up over several hours, we’ll have to bring fewer staff, saving you on setup costs. But if we only have an hour or two to get both the ceremony and reception areas set up, we’ll need a lot more hands to make it happen in a tight time frame.
3. We have an opinion about table linens.
Florists have a good eye for color, texture, and detail and love to think about how our designs will fit into the overall design scheme. We’re always excited to help make the whole wedding look cohesive and beautiful.
4. Greenery isn’t cheap.
Seattle couples embraced the greenery trend long before Pantone announced is as the 2017 color of the year. Vines all over the ceiling? Yes please! Garlands down the aisle? Of course! All greenery bouquets? Bring it on! But the surprise here is that greenery, especially in large quantities, can be as expensive or (gasp!), even more expensive than a healthy mix of greenery and seasonal flowers.
5. We want to pick out the vessels.
Florists know what size and shape vases that will work to build your particular floral design. We love it when you trust us to pick the right vessel instead of asking us to use the (wrong size, wrong shape, wrong material) vases from your cousin’s wedding for your centerpieces. In almost all cases, your florist can get a better deal on hard goods than you can (thank you wholesale permit!), so before you go crazy on Etsy or Amazon getting the ‘best deal’ on lanterns, votive holders, or ribbon, check with us first.
6. Embrace the season.
Seasonal blooms will (almost) always be more beautiful. Here’s the thing: most Seattle couples want to get married when it’s likely to be summer (hello August!) but really love spring blooms (yes, peonies are still queen). What’s to be done? You can often get those beautiful spring blooms in the height of summer but will pay a pretty penny for them and risk having those flown-in flowers not look as fresh and perky as you want them to be. What I suggest to my couples is to embrace seasonality. If peonies aren’t available in August, you can get a similar look and feel with soft, full garden roses or fluffy cafe au lait dahlias. And those blooms are likely to be grown within an hour of Seattle by small local farms, making them not only fresher but also benefiting our local farming economy.
7. Florists cannot match Farmer Market prices.
A bridal bouquet and a market bouquet are like apples and oranges (or really like apples and carrots? Or potato chips? You get the idea.). Market bouquets are beautiful (I buy them!) and so fun to bring home and plop into a pitcher of water. Bridal bouquets are so much more than this. Your florist spends a good deal of time figuring out where to source the most beautiful blooms, and then when they arrive, they choose the prettiest of each of the bunches to set aside for your bouquet. The flowers in your bridal bouquet are often premium blooms – fragrant garden roses, fluffy peonies, trailing jasmine, dancing scabiosa, which means they cost more than flowers from the market. And there are often three, four, or five times as many stems in a bridal bouquet as there are in a market bouquet. Finally, your florist likely spends an hour or two just on this one special bouquet, thinking about how each stem fits in and making adjustments to deliver you the showstopping bouquet you have your heart set on.