Guest Blog: Karen Roa on Wedding Floral Tips

I started my wedding weekly series to pass along tips and advice to my brides. I want to share things that I learned as a bride and things that I've learned as a wedding photographer. I want to help them plan the perfect wedding day, enjoy it to the fullest, and have a beautiful collection of images to treasure for years to come.

But there are topics that I don't have the knowledge to cover. And florals is one of them. So today I would like to introduce you to Karen Roa of Aleen Floral Design.

Photo credit: Leah Kraus Photography

Karen got her start in San Diego working as a floral assistant for her aunt. In 2007 she started Aleen Design, which is named after her grandmother and located in Williamsburg, Virginia. In the past few years her business has bloomed (horrible pun intended) and she brought her mother on to help with the workload.

Karen has graciously agreed to guest blog for me today and give you all some floral tips for your big day. (And check out this gorgeous bouquet she made for our stylized shoot!)

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Caitlin Gerres while working on a stylized elopement shoot. I instantly liked her and knew future collaborations would be in store. Little did I expect a package to arrive a few weeks later of classy postcards displaying her beautiful images of my floral designs from the shoot. She is talented and amazingly thoughtful. So, of course I quickly said yes to her request to give you all some floral design tips for your weddings.

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially since you don’t do it often! Tapping into your vendors’ knowledge and experience will be the best way to avoid bumps, ease your stress, and make for a memorable day. We do weddings all the time, so let us guide you.

When you sit down with your floral designer, there are several details he/she will want to know. Come prepared to your first consultation with the time and location of your ceremony and reception. Know if the location allows open flame or if candles need to be enclosed in glass.... or if battery operated candles required. Explain the overall feel, color scheme, and atmosphere you envision before the meeting. Personally, I love knowing a couple’s story and vision before our first meeting. It gives me a chance to come prepared with ideas that reflect their relationship and style.

Sharing your desired budget as you start conversing with your florist is VERY helpful. Your budget acts as a boundary that determines flower types and styles that are possible versus those that could break the bank. Unlike the packages photographers offer, floral design is completely dependent on the flower types and styles chosen for a wedding. Being aware of your budget upfront allows your florist to steer you towards flower varieties that are cost effective and reflect your theme. Here are a few ideas that can aid the budget:

1. Pick flowers that will be in peak season the month of your wedding. Kale for winter, ranunculus and peonies for spring, sunflowers and gerbera daisies for summer, and dahlias for fall make wonderful feature flowers for any arrangement. 

2. Reuse the bridesmaid’s bouquets for table decor. If you choose to have all of your pictures taken before the ceremony, the bouquets can be used on some of the guest tables for centerpieces. An event coordinator can collect them from your girls after the ceremony to discreetly place them in vases before the guests are seated. Or if you are having pictures taken after the ceremony, ask your florist to place vases of water along the head table interspersed with votive candles. As your bridal party is announced into the reception, the bridesmaids can place their bouquets in the waiting vases. Reusing the bouquets cuts down on the number of centerpieces you will need.

3. Repurpose aisle and alter arrangements to brighten miscellaneous reception tables. Moving decor from the ceremony to the reception may incur an extra fee, so make sure to ask your florist. If not, aisle markers and alter arrangements are great to use on the gift table, guest book table, bar, etc. to warm up the room. 

This is your day. You want to enjoy it to the full. Ask lots of questions of your florist so you have peace of mind and fully understand the process. I’d be happy to help you in any way as you plan your big day. Just hop on over to Aleen Floral Design for more ideas.