If you are planning a wedding, and you aren’t sure what wedding flowers you’ll need, or where to start and how to ask your florist for a quote, this simple and easy to follow wedding flower guide will help get you started. We’ve listed all the most important floral requirements (plus a few extras) that you should consider when planning your perfect wedding, and advise you on how to save money by making the right flower choices.
First and foremost, you need to decide on a colour scheme and theme for your wedding, as this will help determine the type of flowers, colour and style of arrangements you’ll need. We've also put together a list of flowers with their available colours and meanings to help you choose the right flowers to match your wedding's colour scheme.
Flowers for the Wedding Party
Decide on the style of your bridal bouquet. Popular options are posy style, arm sheaf and cascading, but there are many others as well. You’ll also need to decide if you want flowers for your hair.
An optional second bouquet to throw to all the single ladies so you can keep your main bridal bouquet.
Bridesmaids & Maid of Honour
Bouquets and flowers for their hair.
A clip with flowers for her hair, a coronet or halo, pomanders (a ball of flowers to carry) or a basket with flowers.
An orchid, roses, mini carnations or any flower of your choice pinned on the shoulder or made up as a wrist corsage for the bride and grooms mothers and grandmothers (optional).
A single rose or small flower of your choice pinned to the lapel or shoulder for the groom, best man, groomsmen, page boy (ring bearer), bride and grooms fathers and grandfathers (optional), minister/pastor, master of ceremonies and driver.
The Church or Chapel
One or two large flower arrangements in front of the church or chapel, or at the entrance. These can be moved and used at the reception venue as well.
Flowers for the Pews
Normally just one flower on every second pew or chair, or scattered rose petals down the aisle. Other options include pomanders, small mixed bouquets, vases of gyp and garlands etc.
Flowers for the Registry Table
These are optional, as placing the bridal bouquet on the table while signing is just as beautiful.
Fresh Rose Petals for Confetti
Find out if this is allowed at the church or chapel before the time.
The Wedding Reception
The type of flower arrangement will depend on whether you want vases, special dishes/containers, bird cages, candelabra or lanterns. If it’s an evening wedding you might need candles, or flowers and candles. The number of centrepieces will depend on how many guests you are inviting and how many tables there will be. Just remember, the more guests you invite, the more tables you’ll need, which means more centrepieces... and more expensive!
Main Table Arrangement
This is traditionally a long flat flower arrangement in the middle and to the front of the table or flower edging. For a more modern look, consider various smaller votives, vases and dishes with a variety of flowers.
A flower, garlands, ribbons or mini bouquets at the back of every second chair (optional).
Flowers can be moved from the church/chapel and placed on the food tables, or optionally, use simple tall glass vases with flowers.
Flowers for the Wedding Cake
Let your florist know if you’d like fresh flowers on your wedding cake so she can advise you on the options available.
Thank You Flowers
Bouquets of flowers to show your appreciation and to acknowledge those who played a role in making your day extra special, such as your parents, friends and family.
Choosing your Wedding Flowers
We often receive enquiries from couples wanting extravagant arrangements that they’ve seen in magazines and on the internet, but when they see the costs, they are shocked. Here’s an explanation of the costs, and a few alternative substitutions that are more affordable.
Roses, Lilies (St. Joseph, Casablanca, Stargazer), Gerbera Daisies or Barberton Daisy, Carnations, Lisianthus, Proteas and Gladiolus.
Check availability with your wedding florist first to avoid disappointment. Tulips, Peonies, Calla or Arum lilies, Orchids, Hydrangea and Frangipani are only available at certain times of the year in South Africa. Also, seasonal flowers may be more expensive at certain times of the year, and flowers are generally more expensive around flower holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Most Popular Flower Choices & Costs Explained
Roses are usually the first choice for most brides, but are unfortunately also an expensive option in certain kinds of arrangements. As an example: Rose Ball Centrepieces require around 30-40 roses to fill one ball because rose buds are quite small and don’t cover a large area of the arrangement. So to save money, we need to use fewer flowers. This doesn’t mean you can’t use roses, it just means we need to add or use flowers with large petals and buds that cover a greater area. Lilies and gerberas, or even King Proteas will work well.
Lilies are also quite pricey, however open lilies are quite big, especially Casablanca lilies. Since they take up more space than roses, you would need fewer lilies to fill the same sized arrangement, and it will cost you less. Brides are often reluctant to use lilies because they are scared the pollen will stain their white table cloths and dresses. Since florists remove all pollen from the lilies for this exact reason, rest assured you have nothing to worry about.
Gerberas are similar to lilies in that they work out to be less costly since they are quite big and take up around the same amount of space as three roses would. This means you only pay for one flower instead of three in the same style of arrangement.
If you are looking for inspiration and ideas for your wedding flowers, take a look at our Wedding Flower Ideas Board on Pinterest. We regularly update this board with all our favourites from around the world, so feel free to follow it.
Extra Bits & Pieces
A few extras you might forget or haven’t given any thought to are overlays, runners, chair tie backs and wedding favours. They are available in any colour to match your colour scheme and definitely something to consider since most venues only supply white tablecloths, chair covers and serviettes.
A square piece of material that can be scrunched up in the middle of the table with the centrepiece on top, or laid out flat over the white table cloth.
A long rectangular strip of material that runs across the table and down both sides.
Chair Tie Backs
Long strips of material tied around the back of the chairs. This is the perfect place to put your flowers.
Little thank you gifts and treats placed on the tables at the reception for your guests. You can either do one gift per couple, or gifts for men and ladies. These don’t have to be expensive; they can be as simple as boxes or containers with sweets, chocolates, cupcakes and handmade beaded key rings, or go green with a lovely potted herb or flower.
We hope these ideas will help you plan the perfect flowers for your wedding and that it will make communicating with your local wedding florist or event co-ordinator a little easier. If you are looking for flowers for a wedding in Durban, visit our weddings page and send us an enquiry. If you feel we’ve missed anything, or you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below.
If you would like a printable PDF version of this guide to take with you, let us know in the comments and we will gladly send you a copy.
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