flowers by Petal's Edge; photo by Holland Photo Arts
Much of the wedding planning process focuses on the fun elements of the reception: food, music, decor… In the excitement of thinking through those items, it can be easy to overlook some of the necessary logistical plans, like where should the bride and groom’s personal items (e.g. gifts, candles, guest book…) should be packed or taken to at the end of the evening? Another important thing to think through is what the bride and groom would like to do with the flowers at the end of the evening.
Reception flowers are generally a fairly significant chunk of the wedding budget and, for most brides, it seems wasteful to not do anything with them once the party is over. Brides can think through some of the following things when figuring out their flower plans:
1) What is the tradition among your guests regarding flowers? For example, in some communities women “elders” feel the right to take the flowers at the end of the night — sometimes without asking. If you suspect your guests fall into that category, plan for that.
2) Are any of your vessels rentals belonging to your florist? Make sure that guests do not walk off with those rented vases, but only the flowers. Depending on the arrangement and flowers, you might want to have plastic floral bags for guests to use when taking home the loose flowers.
3) Think of local friends or family that would enjoy the flowers. Obviously, out-of-town guests would have difficulty taking them with them.
4) Provide a list to your planner of whom you would like to receive the flowers at the end of the night. He or she can help ensure that the right people receive the flowers.
5) Consider what the flowers could be used for the day after your wedding. Should some of them be brought to an after-party? Are you having a post-wedding brunch? Are family members getting together for a party that weekend? Maybe you know of a friend who is hosting a personal party at their home the next day?
6) Some brides wish to donate flowers to nursing homes or women’s shelters. This is a fabulous idea but needs to be well-thought out and organized.
Contact the organization well in advance and ask them if they have a need for the flowers. Determine when and where the flowers can be dropped off. How many would they like? What size arrangements can they accommodate? Let them know if the flowers will be in vessels or if they need to have their own on hand.
Then consider who will take the flowers, how they will transport them, where they will store them overnight, and how they will be dropped off the following day. Ask your florist the “shelf-life” of your flowers as some last longer than others, especially depending on how they are arranged. You wouldn’t want to donate flowers that were wilted and quickly dying.
7) Know that even if you do not have a plan to give the flowers away or re-use them, they will not go to waste. Catering staff often appreciate being able to take an arrangement home and it is another way to thank them for their hard work. Not once have I seen flowers go in the trash so trust that they will be enjoyed and not wasted.