Planning their wedding reception is likely to be the biggest sit down event many brides have ever organised. Take your average dinner party planning, times by roughly a thousand and you might start to get close to the time and stress it takes to plan a wedding reception.

Your wedding flowers will transform your reception venue so it’s important you choose the right look for your day. Rather than tell you a list of things you ‘should’ do, here are some of my big no-nos to remember as you plan your wedding reception flowers. Avoiding these mistakes could save you a lot of time, stress and money.

Don’t Ignore the Pitfalls of DIY Flowers

For starters, never plan to completely ‘do-it-yourself’ with your wedding flowers. The DIY wedding trend exploded in the last few years, and there are definitely areas where you can save your budget by turning your hand to a bit of DIY. However, there are also some instances where it’s much less hassle and stress (and sometimes expense) by leaving it to the professionals.

Floristry is a skill that we trained hard for and there is a reason why we have hands that resemble chicken’s feet; it’s hard graft. If I were a bride I would rather not have broken, muddy fingernails, a ruined manicure and a stress vein pumping through my forehead because the hydrangea has started to wilt and it’s not even 9am yet! (FYI, to revive a wilting hydrangea, cut the stem and dip into boiling water for 30 seconds, and then place into room temperature water. Did you know that? Florists do.)

Simple Table Flowers

As well as being a messy, stressy job, it’s also extremely time-consuming because you have to do it at the last minute. Most couples will have 10-12+ tables to decorate. Add this to additional flowers for the room and you are mounting up hours of work using flowers that may not have a very long life once created into an arrangement. We normally estimate 40 minutes per table, and then another 10 for dressing, and we are professionals. So for the average Jo this could triple in time.

Even if you can drum up some help from your bridal party, you also need to allow time to buy the flowers. I would recommend buying fresh the day before, and you’ll have to go early – 3.30am early. This isn’t great for headaches and eye bags for the biggest party you’ve planned to date.

As florists we also understand what it takes for each flower to look its best. We know how long it will take a rose to open and when it will be at its most beautiful for your wedding day. There is also a skill to knowing which flowers will last well without water and are perfect for bouquets, and which blooms will flourish and look great all day in a marquee.

Don’t Hide Your Budget

Another mistake is to avoid being upfront about your budget for your flowers. It’s much easier for florists to create ideas that are realistic to you if we have a clear understanding of how much money you want to spend on your reception flowers.

Hanging Floral Arrangements

If you have budget concerns then there are easier ways of reducing your costs than DIY. I created an ethos where our team want to make sure your day is just right for you and we are always happy to offer our advice. So, if you have any queries or concerns then always ask.

Don’t Miss An Opportunity for Professional Advice

Another big no-no is to go into your first florist appointment with completely fixed ideas. It’s great to come prepared with what flowers you like, centrepiece ideas and colour schemes, but take advantage of the fact you are about to have a meeting with a professional; it’s our job.

Floral Wedding Table Centrepiece

Ask all the questions you can and don’t feel like you need to know all the flower names. We try really hard to make our appointments personal and listen hard. You are going to have a ‘wish list’, but be prepared that you might not be able to afford it all in the incarnation you dreamt.

To Summarise

So, the key mistakes you need to avoid when planning your wedding reception flowers are…

  • Don’t take on DIY projects that are too challenging.
  • Don’t shy away from admitting how much you are hoping to spend. You and your florist can then come up with some fun and cool ideas within your budget that will look stunning.
  • Don’t miss your chance to get all the expert knowledge and advice you can get from your florist. They’ll know which flowers can withstand a sweltering marquee in the summer vs an archaic radiator in a historic building that’s pumping out heat in the middle of winter.

Planning your reception flowers is one of the most fun parts of your wedding planning. You can completely transform the look and style of your venue, so get creative and enjoy it!

Guest post by Sarah Loughrey-Jennings of Hiding in the City Flowers

Images from…

Simple Table Flowers: Jayne W Photography

Hanging Arrangements: Georgina Harrison Photography

Table Centrepiece: Rebecca Goddard Photography