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Frank Amodo PhotographyPhoto Credit: Frank Amodo Photography

Flowers for Your Same-Sex Wedding

You’ve selected the perfect future spouse, the ideal date and venue, and confirmed many of the industry’s top LGBT-friendly pros to serve your planning, catering, and music needs. Now it’s time to add the icing to your proverbial wedding cake: it’s time to choose your flowers.

Getting Started: Selecting a Gay-Friendly Florist

Generally, couples select florists three-to-six months prior to a wedding. Most floral designers can legitimately service more than one wedding each day, so there is less pressure to be the first to take a date off the books. Start by screening for a professional who is committed to serving gay and lesbian couples with respect and enthusiasm. Use a resource, like GayWeddings.com, to find wedding professionals who are ready, willing and able to serve same-sex couples.

Schedule in-person consultations if possible–or a SKYPE session if you are planning a destination wedding–and get to know your candidates. It is wise to attend your screening interviews with a general idea of your budget and where you are hoping to feature flowers, along with some inspiration photos (obtained from a website like Pinterest, a favorite blog, or from magazines), to demonstrate to the designer the style of blooms you each love most. If you have chosen “wedding colors,” bring swatches or paint chips to help the florist accurately visualize your palette. If you provide enough information, a designer should be able to generate an estimate for you to compare to your other candidates, and, once you make a decision, you can generally reserve services with a reasonable, non-refundable retainer.

Cakes & Kisses kPhoto credit: Cakes and Kisses

One Bouquet or Two? Boutonnieres or Pocket Squares? Personal Flowers and Your Same-Sex Wedding

The unique dynamics of same-sex weddings demand a little extra thought when ordering your personal flowers, such as bouquets, boutonnieres, nosegays, and corsages. Lesbian couples are free to decide if one, both, or neither will carry a bouquet or wear a boutonniere. Men may choose matching or complementary boutonnieres, or forgo them in lieu of pocket squares or colorful ties. You may decide that female attendants will carry bouquets, small nosegays, or no flowers at all. The emerging etiquette of gay weddings allows flexibility when considering personal flower options. Bottom line: each individual and every couple can decide what will work best for them.

Are other people playing important roles in your wedding? Parent hosts, guest book attendants, ring bearers, flowers girls, ushers, and program attendants are all candidates for boutonnieres, corsages, and other floral pieces, but these are completely optional. The scale and formality of your event, along with your personal vision should dictate who will–and who won’t–receive these accouterments.

When confirming your personal flowers, determine what time you want them delivered, and be explicit about the locations in the delivery instructions. While taking photos before the wedding is an increasingly popular alternative to handling formals during the cocktail period, florists are likely to caution you to take many of these without your bouquet. Cut flowers cannot endure sun, wind, rain, or other harsh conditions indefinitely, and you don’t want to take the risk of walking down the aisle with a wilting bouquet! Encourage your photographer to be creative, and plan to have photos taken with your flowers in hand during and after the ceremony.

And, while we’re at it: don’t neglect your other ceremony décor. You may need altar arrangements, flowers to decorate an arbor or chuppah, rose petals, or aisle markers. Make a “dream” list of all of the décor elements you wish you could include, and ask your florist to begin with an inclusive quote. You always have the option of changing your order to better reflect your budget or style, as long as you adhere to order cutoff dates established by your florist.

Reception Flowers and Décor

There are many options for reception centerpieces. Do you envision something grand and tall, or understated and rustic? Your venue and your overall design vision will influence the look of your reception flowers. If your budget is restricted, concentrate on single stunning blooms in small, or bud, vases. It is perfectly acceptable and visually appealing to mix tall and short arrangements on different guest tables, to give your dining room a dynamic, textured look. Check with your venue before your finalize your floral décor order to make sure you comply with site policies and procedures. For example, don’t plan to use votives throughout your ceremony or reception only to find out at the last minute that open flame is prohibited. Make sure you understand your venue’s acceptable delivery window and communicate expected setup and breakdown restrictions to your florist in writing.

Floral designers often offer specialty lighting as well, or work closely with a lighting design company. If you are interested in up-lighting a space with simple par cans and tinted gels, ask if your florist is able to assist with the equipment rental, set up, and take down. If you envision something substantially more elaborate, it may be worth consulting with an event and lighting design company that specializes in grand-scale décor to address your floral and lighting concerns.

Our best advice to couples choosing flowers for their wedding day is to screen and select a floral designer who you trust implicitly, who accepts and respects your relationship, who comes with excellent references, and who understands your personal vision of your day. Start at GayWeddings.com to find some of the most highly regarded professionals who are ready, willing, able and eager to serve the LGBTQ community.