February is flying by, and spring is in the air... and with spring comes beautiful weather and gorgeous flowers! With flowers on the brain, we thought we'd spotlight one of our favorite DC florists, Sidra Forman of Flowers by Sidra. We hope you enjoy her insight and expertise!
Sidra Forman: The first question I always ask is for the couple to give me a few words to describe the vision for the wedding. The bride that I met with this morning said "Polka dance party!" No matter what the vision may be, this seems like a good place to start. Other good descriptions I have recently heard are: welcoming, comfortably elegant, old Hollywood, organic, and lush.
SF: To answer your question I just googled, "seasonal wedding flowers" and found several good sights. I would say that these are helpful starting places, but it's really best to talk with your florist to find out about seasonal local flowers and the florist's specific resources near and far.
SF: Growing up, there were often fresh flowers in my house-- we picked them from the garden, foraged for them in the woods and occasionally bought bunches to bring home and arrange. My mother was comfortable arranging flowers and it never seemed intimidating. When I moved away from home, fresh cut flowers were something I often indulged in. However, I started arranging flowers much more often (and in greater quantity) when we opened our restaurant Rupperts in DC. From day one, and for the following 8 years that we were open, in addition to my duties as pastry and sous chef, I became the florist. We always had at least two very large arrangements and several smaller ones and I started to explore and discover sources for flowers, giving me the chance to make a whole lot of flower arrangements. The first several weddings I did flowers for were a result of people coming to eat, seeing the flowers and asking me to do flowers for their weddings.
SF: I think one of the things I like about flowers is that the best ones depend on the season, which keeps it interesting and always new. Every season something surprises me and that might be what I enjoy the most! In the spring, summer and fall, many flowers come from local growers and my own urban garden. In the winter and for flowers that are not grown around here, I rely heavily on the Dutch auction. I have a broker in Holland who I order from on Tuesday morning and the flowers are on my doorstep by Thursday morning when I wake up. I also have excellent sources throughout the US and the world. I make an effort to ensure that the flowers I use leave as little negative environmental impact as possible and are raised and processed using fair labor practices.
A few of my favorite things, though? In the spring– sweet peas, peonies, white forsythia, herbs. In the summer– chocolate vine, sunflowers, garden roses, zinnia, cosmos. In the fall– rose hips, dahlias, hydrangeas, salvia. In the winter– Dutch tulips, New York State anemones, French ranunculus, local forced quince.
SF: More flowers in fewer spots. Determine what is important to you-- it is not necessary to put flowers everywhere, but make an impact where you do decide to put them. For example, maybe just put votives on cocktail tables and skip the flowers, but put more of your budget into the centerpieces. I also find that grouping small vases for a single centerpiece uses less flowers than one large centerpiece, while still giving a fairly abundant feeling. Often I also loan empty vases so the bridesmaids bouquets can be reused in various spots during the reception. If a bride has a budget in mind I am always happy to explore ways to make the most of it.
SF: I always encourage brides to bring any photos of flower arrangements and other inspiration that they do or do not like. But if they don't have photos, we can usually figure it out during the first meeting. After looking at photos together of my previous work, it is always easy to determine likes and dislikes and come up with a vision. This is the fun part! My favorite part about doing wedding flowers is the collaboration-- determining a plan while taking into account seasonal availability and feasibility. I also like to see images of the bride's gown and bridesmaid dresses if they have been chosen, as well as any other visual elements that have already been determined-- because in my mind these tell more about the wedding that words can.
Thanks so much to Sidra for all these helpful hints on an often-overlooked wedding topic! Any other vendors you'd like to see us feature on our blog? Shoot us an email to email@example.com.