WEDDINGS: TRENDS IN BRIDAL BOUQUETS

Today almost anything goes when it comes to wedding flowers, but we are seeing some definite trends emerge. Consider your own personal style when selecting your bouquet. Are you a larger-than-life personality? If so, a tiny little bouquet is not for you. Go for something big and bold in texture, color or size. Love feminine details? How about some pearl sprays or clusters of beads to add a delicate difference? From traditional bouquets with stylish flair to wildly exotic flourishes- consider these fresh ideas:

Soft pastels like blush and coral are showing up in bridal bouquets again; big blooms like these peonies are a showy way to express your style. PHOTO:  ARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Soft pastels like blush and coral are showing up in bridal bouquets again; big blooms like these peonies are a showy way to express your style. PHOTO: ARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY

WHITE IS THE NEW WHITE

Well, for quite a while white bouquets were out. Now they are back and better than ever. Consider using roses, gardenias, and calla lilies for a traditional style or orchids, hyacinth, and cattleya for something more exotic. White freesia is very fragrant as is jasmine. Adding a little pop of color as in the bouquet below adds texture and depth.

An all white bouquet looks fresh and modern, not dated when you use different blooms to add depth and texture.  Photo: Arden Photography

An all white bouquet looks fresh and modern, not dated when you use different blooms to add depth and texture. Photo: Arden Photography

BIG BLOOMS

Big bouquets of big flowers are back. We are seeing lots of large bouquets of one type of flower massed into an extravagant look. Your best bets are masses of peonies, hybrid Catalaya orchids, and mini calla lilies in cream or colors like apricot. Also try cymbidium orchids, or any rose, along with the stunning European fringed roses. These are simply smashing because even when fresh they have the look of an opened rose.

Massive bouquets of one type of flower make an impressive statement. These blush peonies are so fragile against the bride's gown, a perfect compliment. Photo: Arden Photography

Massive bouquets of one type of flower make an impressive statement. These blush peonies are so fragile against the bride's gown, a perfect compliment. Photo: Arden Photography

RIBBONS ARE BIG

Use ribbons to make a big statement. The wider the ribbon, the better, in fact! Make sure to use a great quality ribbon for your bridal bouquet because all eyes will be on you! Polka dots or patterned ribbon to pick up or set a theme, sheer organza, embroidered ribbons, lush satins and combinations of these will certainly make a simple bouquet more lavish and stylish, too. Using a scrap of lace from your mother or grandmother's gown along with a satin backed ribbon is a beautiful, sentimental detail.

Lace from mom's wedding gown adds an elegantly sentimental detail. Photo: Robin Proctor Photography

Lace from mom's wedding gown adds an elegantly sentimental detail. Photo: Robin Proctor Photography

COLORS WITH CHARISMA

Bold colors are really popular right now. Many brides are foregoing the iconic white bouquet and blooms and opting for striking masses of blazing color.

Apricot, cream, peach, and coral are the big colors of the moment. They look strikingly beautiful against a cream or ivory gown. My sweet friend Jenna's wedding flowers were by my other precious friend Corey Hults of  Corey Daniels Design for the Sonnet House in Leeds, Alabama. Stunning. (Photo: AppearPhotography.com)

Apricot, cream, peach, and coral are the big colors of the moment. They look strikingly beautiful against a cream or ivory gown. My sweet friend Jenna's wedding flowers were by my other precious friend Corey Hults of  Corey Daniels Design for the Sonnet House in Leeds, Alabama. Stunning. (Photo: AppearPhotography.com)

TAKE FLIGHT

Feathers? Yes, feathers! We are seeing lots of pheasant feathers in bridal bouquets. They add an exotic touch to a typical bouquet.

SOMETHING BLUE THAT IS NEW

Rather than the traditional garter or hankie, stylish brides are more creative than ever when it comes to something blue. Why not an all blue bouquet? Hydrangea, delphinium, bluebells, grape hyacinth and blue iris are perfect hues of blue for your own signature bouquet.

Adding a touch of blue to your bouquet is the new "something blue". Photo: Arden Photography

Adding a touch of blue to your bouquet is the new "something blue". Photo: Arden Photography

BREAKAWAY BOUQUETS

This trend isn’t exactly new, but it is making a comeback. Three or four mini-bouquets are composed into one large bouquet that the bride can break into parts to give to those closest to her so that all may have a keepsake from the day. Instead of the traditional single rose presentation to each mother or grandmother, why not breakaway a small nosegay that each can have preserved as a keepsake after the wedding?

BEJEWELED BOUQUETS

We love the way our designers are using pearls, beads and jewels to accent their floral creations. A strand of glass beads can add elegance to a simple arrangement and sprays of beads add a hint of sparkle. 

COLLARS ARE NOT JUST FOR SHIRTS

A collar of big leafy greens to surround your delicate blooms will show them off to their best advantage. Use tulip leaves or another long, slim leaf and gather them into ribbon-like loops and nestle the bouquet inside. Again, bigger is better. Large leaves, like hostas or galax, really make a bold statement. Lately, we have seen beautiful pearl or beaded floral collars that can be passed down from bride to bride, too. These collars have an antique look and feel. We have seen woven pearls, beaded handles, silver holders and silver collars that are not only stunning, but a beautiful keepsake. Ask your florist for ideas.

COORDINATING STYLES

Right now, letting bridesmaids select their own style gown is very big. Brides select the designer, the color and the fabric and let the bridesmaid select the gown style that she feels most confident wearing. Why not carry that theme over to the bouquets? Select a different coordinating flower from the bridal bouquet for each attendant’s bouquet using a common element to tie all of them together.

PLANNING ADVICE: HOW TO BUY WINE FOR A PARTY OR WEDDING

Every savvy host knows that almost half of their overall party budget will be directed to food and beverages and wine can be a significant part of that expense. Wine is not only expensive, it is intimidating. There are thousands of choices and so many new labels; it is easy to make a mistake or worry you are going to make a mistake when selecting wine and champagne for a large crowd. Even experienced party-givers and industry professionals are a little intimidated when it comes to selecting wine. I don’t pretend to be an expert in this area. I know a little, but I prefer to rely on the real experts to guide me. It’s their job to be up on the latest, best, and best priced wines in the market so I go to them for help. Any large wine seller will have an in-house expert. Give them a budget and they should be able to recommend several wines to meet your needs.

how to buy wine for a party or wedding Martie Duncan

Here are the most questions I am most frequently asked about wine:  

How much wine do I need for my party?

The basic rule of thumb for calculating consumption is 5 glasses per standard 750 milliliter bottle of wine. Many glasses are oversized but don’t be tempted to over-pour. Five ounces is considered the correct amount per glass no matter how large the glass.

Dinner Party: Estimate four glasses per guest for a four hour dinner party or about one glass per hour. For example, if you have ten guests for four hours, you’d serve forty glasses of wine which would be about 8 bottles. You’ll have to determine the ratio of white to red based on your menu and guest list. (Add 20% extra like the caterers do, especially if you have some heavy drinkers on your guest list.)

Cocktail Party: Estimate three glasses per guest every two hours. For example, if you have ten guests for 2 hours that would be thirty glasses of wine which would be six bottles of wine. Determine your ratio of white to red wine based on the time of year, the time of your party, your menu, and your guest list. Why? Because women will usually drink more white wine than red and men have a tendency to drink more red wine. In summer, typically more people will drink white wine than red. For a party in the afternoon, more people will drink white than red to keep things light. At an evening affair, red is almost always the more popular choice but that could vary depending on the menu. If your guests list includes more women than men and your party is on a summer afternoon, you’ll need a greater percentage of white wine than red. If your party is in the fall, most of your guests are men, and the guests arrive at seven in the evening, you’ll likely serve more red wine than white. Are you completely confused? 

How much should I spend on wine for my party?

There are so many good wines available in every price range you can find something to serve that is easy to drink and easy on your pocket, too. I have no trouble finding good wines under $15 per bottle. A few good ones are listed below.  

Do I need to rent or buy special glasses?

Anything goes, but if you are having a large party, renting glassware is an easy solution. You can mix and match, too, but that isn’t what wine snobs would tell you. For a large event, you aren’t likely serving high value wines so you don’t have to use the perfect wine glass. Champagne, however, is best served in a flute. Target, Pottery Barn, and Pier 1 all have boxed sets of affordable wine glasses that come in a sturdy box for storage. Buy several of these and you won’t have to worry about renting. I don’t like serving wine in plastic but will occasionally use it for the right occasion—like at the beach where glass is prohibited, for example. 

What wines do you recommend?

Since wines are always changing, it is difficult to recommend one. It seems as if every time I go to my favorite wine store, I don’t recognize half of the brands on the shelves. I do have a few “go-to” favorites for different occasions. What I buy depends on the size of the crowd. For small, intimate gatherings, I tend to spend more per bottle than I do when there is a large crowd. Also, I will spend more on wine if the emphasis of the party is on the food. If we’re having a big party with lots of beverage options, I don’t spend a lot on the wine; I like to keep the price around $12 per bottle.

If I have a party coming up and want to be sure of what I’m buying, I will stop into Whole Foods or a wine shop where they have wine tastings to sample wines that will work for my event. They typically have a price break during these events so I try to stock up.

Print Friendly and PDF

TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR PARTY, EVENT OR WEDDING

A good rule of thumb to follow when setting a budget for your party is to estimate what you think you’re going to spend, double that number and you’ll have a more realistic figure.

Parties always cost more than you think they will. As you begin to budget, decide what you can’t live without—your “must-have” items. Put those items at the top of your budget knowing you may have to compromise on other things. You need a party plan and a shopping list to keep you from going over budget. You know how it goes—you head to the store and think to yourself--- “I think I have the right tablecloth, but I should get this one just in case. I can always take it back later.” Then you don’t use it or take it back. In fact, I’ll bet it is in the closet with the price tag still on it. So the best tip for saving money on your next party is to stick to a list when shopping for your party. Don’t pick up any “I might need this” items that aren’t on your list and you’ll keep your budget intact. You can also shave a little off the top with these tips.  

1. GET SOME HELP

Many people don’t hire planners because they think it adds to the bottom line. In fact, a planner can make suggestions and recommendations that will actually save money, time, and mistakes so they are well worth the cost. My good friend Lori Stephenson at LOLA Event Productions in Chicago always comes up with clever, unique ideas that are extremely cost effective. It’s her job. If it’s not your job, get someone like her (or me) to help you and you’ll save yourself money and headaches.

2, PLAN AHEAD

The more time you have to plan, the more time you can take to source the items you need. If you allow time to compare prices and quality, you’ll be less likely to make impulsive decisions which could add to the bottom line.

3. CUT DOWN ON THE NUMBERS

Think about it this way, for every guest you have to eliminate, you save money. Suddenly, the chore of cutting down the guests list just got easier. Cut ten guests at $25 per person and you’ve saved $250.  

4. THE RIGHT PLACE

No matter if you are renting a venue or have the party at home, you need to think about what you’ll need to pull off the party in terms of space, kitchen, and cooking facilities. If you have to bring in tents, ovens, refrigeration units, etc., the costs can explode and kill your budget. Check with the caterer before booking a venue to determine the additional rental supplies required.  

5. TAKE THE DAY OFF

Book your party on an “off day” for caterers, venues, florists, etc. You’ll be able to negotiate better if you book your party on any day other than Saturday. 

6. BAR NONE

Serving a signature cocktail rather than having an open bar looks festive and will save some dollars. You can squeeze 20+ drinks (depending on recipe and serving size) from one large bottle of premium vodka. This is also a an easy way to monitor and control the amount of alcohol served.

7, START THINGS OFF RIGHT

Guests are always hungry when they arrive at a party or event. By serving several inexpensive appetizers as guests arrive, you’ll curb their appetite and can lighten up on the main menu.

8. DON'T DO ME ANY FAVORS

Every magazine shows pictures of celebrity parties with loads of swag. Your guests don’t expect to go home with favors. It’s a nice touch, but certainly something you can eliminate if your budget is already strained.

9. MAKE SOME MUSIC

If you have a good selection of tunes on your MP3, make a mix to last the length of your party and pass on hiring a DJ or band. You’ll never get the impact you would have with live entertainment, but if your budget is tight it is a viable alternative.

10. USE WHAT YOU HAVE

If you look at my various party profiles, you’ll see that I often use both food and beverages as décor. Brightly colored and filled glasses stacked on trays are not only welcoming to a party guest, they are pretty, too. Use lemons, limes, apples, or other food items like tiers of cupcakes as decorations. Just about any type of food or beverage can be creatively presented using unique vessels and lighting so that your food doubles as your décor. All of the top caterers use food to make a statement. You can easily accomplish the same thing by thinking creatively about presentation and display of your food and beverages.