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A cluster of flowers holds the focus on the bride's bouquet. "As the complete look of the wedding flowers is pulled together, the season of the wedding is certainly a consideration," designer Julia Cain said. Photo by Nicole Isaacson Photography
Chelsi Straughn (left) and Amy Carboni pose in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Granville, after a July 21, 2012, ceremony. Amy kept a budget in mind when choosing flowers. She chose bright, seasonal flowers and wanted a bit of purple. Photography by Lauren VanKeulen of Capture by Lauren
Brides like online resources
Mary Mecum was driving home from her son’s home inWheaton, saw a sign and was inspired. It said e-weddings. “I have a website, am on the Knot and have done a few of the wedding shows,” she said. And she had been doing some of her business through e-mail, so the transition just made sense. “It all kind of started with brides coming from out of the area,” Mecum said of clients who often are getting married at Starved Rock. “They like the convenience of planning their wedding on the Internet. “They will send me an e-mail of pictures they like. I quote them a price and then we go from there,” she said. “It has really worked out well. You can give them a little better price point and then they have faith in me. “People are busy and the mature, savvy bride loves doing it this way.” Her website, www.marysspecialtouch.com, is a resource for local brides who walk into Mary’s Special Touch Floral inLa Salle and for those e-brides, too. Mecum calls herself an event florist — meaning she just does weddings and parties — and feels that helps her give more attention to her brides. “I tend to do more for them,” she said, “because they have faith in me.
While reciting your wedding vows may be the most important part of your wedding, the flowers around you certainly will help set the mood of your special day. This was the case of Amy Darrah for her July 2012 marriage to Jimmy Carboni in Granville. “The most important thing for me when it came to choosing my flowers would be that I wanted bright colors,” Amy said. “I wanted yellow, orange and green with a little purple. I didn’t care what kind of flowers, but the dresses were clover green and I wanted them to be bright against the dresses. And being that the wedding was in July, I wanted seasonal flowers.” The seasonal look of flowers for a wedding was echoed by Julia Cain, owner of Flowers by Julia inPrinceton. “As the complete look of the wedding flowers is pulled together, the season of the wedding is certainly a consideration,” Cain said. “A fall wedding could include hypericum berries, fall foliage, wheat or similar dried grasses. Spring seasonal flowers include tulips, iris, daffodils and fill flowers.” Cain said a large variety of fresh-cut flowers are available yearround. But if you have a budget in mind, sticking with seasonal flowers may be the way to go. Verna Irwin, manager of The Flower Mart inLa Salle, said budgeting for flowers is a hard thing to do. Brides often come in with an idea of what they want and then she and her staff work with them to get it all right. “We do a lot of assisting, suggestions of the ways to coordinate,” Irwin said. “Brides are not so traditional today, they like unusual things and they like a lot of color.” Flowers by Julia schedules wedding appointments and a floral designer meets with the bride to assist with the floral selections. “Many of the brides do have ideas and pictures to share,” Cain said. “We suggest that brides make a list of the number of corsages and boutonnieres needed. Often we can show the floral product at the time of the interview or at a follow-up appointment.” Amy Carboni was lucky. She once worked for Toni’s Flowers in summer and on vacation. Toni in turn was willing to work within a $900 budget. “I think choosing my colors and not getting specific with flowers was what helped me stay on the cheaper side,” Carboni said. “We got a ton of compliments on the bright colors.” Both Irwin and Cain advised saving a date with their floral shops as soon as possible and then all the details can be completed closer to the wedding. Cain said most couples she works with have decided six months before the ceremony on their flowers. Irwin said they generally will finalize flowers about one month prior. And who gets all these beautiful flowers? “Anyone participating in the ceremony in some way,” Irwin said. Both our experts agreed this should include the entire bridal party, parents and grandparents and other individuals assisting with the wedding, such as the organist, hostess, personal attendant(s) and readers. Couples are encouraged to bring in pictures of what they like, fabric swatches, pictures of the altar or specific details of the ceremony. Books of arrangements also are available. Carboni said she spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking to see what looked nice together. “I looked at what was in season,” Carboni said. “Toni is different than most; she likes to focus on one bride at a time. “So I talked to her at Christmas to save the date but didn’t finalize it until about a month before because she had another wedding.” Flowers used at the church also can be used for another purpose at the reception. Irwin remembered days when the church wanted the flowers to be left for Sunday services. “Church decorations can be used as centerpieces at the reception,” she said. “Every bride has an idea of what they like. Everybody wants to individualize. It’s changed a lot over the years.” Cain advised using a unity candle arrangement for the reception bridal table. And Carboni did a little do-it-yourself work. “I bought cheap vases and then the bridesmaids’ bouquets went in them on the head table,” she said. “We had a memorial board at the wedding that honored our relatives that had passed away, and we used those on the greeter’s table.” Advice from our experts? “Do not complicate the planning process with unnecessary details,” Cain said. “Keep smiling and remember to enjoy the planning process.” She also said it is helpful on the wedding day to have an assistant who can help locate the guests who should receive flowers. Flowers by Julia labels corsages and boutonnieres with names to help make distribution easier. Carboni said to “Be open to color; choose colors that look nice together.” “The main thing is to allow enough time to get everything coordinated,” Irwin at The Flower Mart said. “You can always tell a well planned wedding.”
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