Wedding 101: Why the Florist is Your Best Friend

Before we met Amy, we had three colors, a caterer, a cake, a DJ, no clothes for our bridal party, and an empty theater. After we met Amy, things started coming together. We saw what colors went where. I was able to visualize the space with our things in it. We could finally begin to see how we wanted the bridal party to be dressed.  All thanks to our florist!

We set our budget, did our research, and Amy at Blue Ridge Floral came out on top – not only from our perspective, but also from the perspective of our other vendors, so we knew we were making a good choice!

A florist is really an invaluable tool in the planning process. The arrangements are what bring everything together and add personality to your venue. Within a few short minutes of meeting, Amy had laid out a plan for the Jefferson that she thought worked with our colors and our style. Some of the things she emphasized were:

  • Variety. The arrangements are going to vary from table to table, and the bridal party will have different bouquets/boutonnieres, all tied together by our colors.
  • Surprise.* We [tentatively] decided on a “main” flower that will be absent from the decorations until the reception. Amy promised us the spotlights in the Jefferson will really make these beauties glow.
  • Depth. We opted for a “fresh from the garden” look rather than individual stems by adding some greens and creating bigger, bushier arrangements that will spill over the vases.
  • Details. From the color/size of the vases to ribbons to “Hey, what about some bows on the chairs,” Amy had it all covered, providing ideas for what colors worked best in what places.
  • Versatility. Ceremony flowers and decorations will “break down” and be put together in different ways for the reception. This also helps to cut costs.
  • Going Local. After a meeting in January when we finalize the tiny details, some of the flowers for our arrangements are going to be grown on Amy’s premises. Right up my alley.

In the winter [once C’Ville’s 2011 wedding season dies down], we’ll meet with Amy in the Jefferson and really hash out the details. The best thing about Amy is that she’s friends with our site coordinator, our caterer, and the company making our cake – so we’re confident they will all work well together!


Pro-tip about your wedding, generally: DON’T GIVE IT ALL AWAY. We’re providing the broad structure of the wedding and details about our research and thought processes, but don’t expect to see any specifics! We want to give advice but we want to save the surprises for the actual day 🙂

  • Start researching florists early. This meeting was truly one of the more exciting ones, because the puzzle pieces started to fit together. Florists can also book quickly, especially during “wedding season” [roughly May-October]. Another Charlottesville flower company recommended that contracts be signed one year in advance.
  • Set a budget and stick to it – flowers can get expensive.
  • Going along with tip 2, be flexible. Believe it or not, you don’t need 25 centerpieces filled with orchids. There are local, gorgeous stems in every area that pack the same color punch and may better fill a vase.
  • Trust your florist, they’ve done this one billion times more than you have. If they don’t think a flower or color will work, they’re probably right.**
** This is how my request for live bumblebees pollinating the flowers during dinner got shot down.

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Categories: Wedding


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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