Wedding Flower School V.1 - The Thing about Pinterest

In the past two years, we've had the wonderful opportunity to work with a wide range of couples on their dream wedding days. Something we hear from almost every planning couple is the phrase, "We've never done this before!" and it almost always makes me laugh a bit because if your marriage goes as you hope it will on your wedding day, then once should be plenty. And if you are on a second or third wedding, it doesn't necessarily make you a professional at planning. The good news is that we do this all the time, and we're here to help you.

Something we find all over the internet and in bridal magazines is a misconception that florists are the "bad guys" of the wedding world. I've read countless articles that detail the ways you can negotiate with your florist (to get the REAL price) and how wedding and event florists charge a higher premium and ignore budgets because we're out to get your money. I've read countless articles that talk about how to DIY your wedding flowers because hiring a professional is a scam. I've seen hundreds of images on Pinterest labeled as "DIY" wedding flower projects that I know were created by a trained professional and would be incredibly difficult for the average person to recreate (let alone to recreate on their wedding day with no prior floral experience).

So, I'm starting a new column here all about education. My team and I take pride in creating original designs for each of our couples and honestly, we are pretty offended at the barrage of bad press concerning the floral industry. This column will address many of the floral myths out on the internet, discuss seasonality of flowers, explain why those peonies you want are so expensive, and to dispel some of the bad information you may have come across in your wedding planning.

photo by  Galaxie Andrews

For our first installment, I want to discuss the good and bad of Pinterest.

  1. Many of the images you find on Pinterest are not from real weddings

    In the wedding industry, we are always at odds with our clients wishes and our own creativity. At Hoot & Holler, we're incredibly lucky to work with clients that trust our vision and allow us the freedom to create what we think will be best. However, many companies create styled photoshoots to showcase certain designs they haven't been able to create for a real client or they are used as a way to try new things with minimal risk (aka, we practice there so we aren't practicing on your wedding day).

    This is such a wonderful way to expand our creative horizons, work with new vendors, and create inspiration; but it also creates an unrealistic standard for our clients. Styled shoots typically feature a couple (usually paid models) and one tablescape. Floral design for these shoots can be much more robust because the only designs used are a centerpiece, one bouquet, and one boutonniere. To expand the same look and blend of flowers to a full wedding (Adding the bridal party, many reception tables, etc.) would be incredibly costly. Many styled shoots are intended to be interpreted as one would take in a couture fashion show. The show is dramatized and certain details are pulled from the show as inspiration for more of a realistic approach to daily fashion. When you meet with your florist, they should be able to find a trend in your inspiration photos to create a gorgeous wedding day for you.
  2. The DIY's on Pinterest are created by professionals

    When we were new to the wedding world, we were blown away by the images pinned as "DIY" projects that were created by professional florists. This is really frustrating in a few different ways.

    First, the term "DIY" also seems to imply "inexpensive" which is not always the case. I was an avid crafter from the earliest age I can remember and more often than not, creating your own version of something costs much more than paying for a pre-made version of it. Take a knit blanket, for example. To buy enough yarn to create a full sized knit blanket could easily run you hundreds of dollars and take hundreds of hours to complete, but a quick trip to target and $25 later you can have a very similar textile in your home without any of the extra work. The same applies to flowers. Keep in mind that the money you save by doing it yourself is going to be spent in the hours needed to create your floral arrangements.

    Second, MANY of those "DIY" arrangements are incredibly difficult to create with no prior floral experience. Underneath that dreamy, draped garland spanning the wall behind your sweetheart table are water pics, wires, foam, and tape. There are techniques we learn as florists that keep your flowers looking fresh through your whole wedding day and other techniques that help us create designs without damaging your venue.

    Have you ever read an old school cookbook that seems to skip a bunch of really important steps? Step one might be "get out your ingredients" and step two would be "bake the pie". I find that floral DIY's created by florists go this same way. When you're a professional you tend to take certain steps as common knowledge when writing a how-to. When I teach workshops it's always so great to hear directly from students what information I might have left out simply because at this point it's second nature for me and my team. Be aware that the DIY you've found might not have complete information and if it does, it still might be tricky to recreate the design you see in the photo. We'll dive deeper into DIY wedding flowers in a later post.
  3. The floral designs you see on Pinterest are typically very expensive

    Let's jump back to the first discussion point here for a moment and remember that many of the images floating around on Pinterest are from styled photoshoots. As a result, many of the arrangements on your board that are giving you life are incredibly costly. The reason we create unrealistic arrangements for photoshoots is because they're inspirational and they make our portfolio look amazing. To be completely honest, we create those arrangements because it's really fun to just run away with our creativity from time to time.

    Unfortunately, there are so many of these images floating around in the world (many labeled as "DIY" projects) that we've created an incredibly unrealistic standard. Using the expensive blooms such as peonies, poppies, ranunculus, anemone, and dahlia with little foliage adds up fast. In addition, most of those blooms are incredibly delicate and hyper-seasonal so they're only available for a short time during each year and they wilt quickly after being cut. When in doubt, give your florist the freedom to use alternate blooms that better fit your budget, the season, and the application (ex: you don't want to have an anemone as a boutonniere because they die quickly out of water).
  4. Pinterest helps you and your florist get on the same page

    Part of our wedding questionnaire asks our couples to include a link to their Pinterest board for their wedding. Many people don't know what kinds of flowers they like or have a difficult time explaining what kind of look they're going for on their wedding day. We find that when you can't articulate what you're looking for, the images you've chosen as inspiration speak volumes. It's a wonderful tool to help us communicate visually and we can't imagine how tough wedding planning was before it. At the end of the day, we're really big fans of Pinterest.

We absolutely love what we do and creating your floral arrangements for your wedding day is not something we take lightly. We want to help explain some of the complexities of this industry so if you have any specific questions, please leave them in the comments for a future column!