My favorite wedding detail is the flowers - those perfect bouquets that complete a bride’s look. They have the ability to tie in colors and themes and add a lovely touch to your wedding ceremony and reception.
After seeing a gorgeous bouquet made by Allison at Garden Gate Florist in Woodstock, Connecticut - I thought she would be the perfect person to meet to talk flowers and how to maximize your budget.
Allison grew up in Woodstock and graduated from Woodstock Academy. She was very interested in art and spent a year at Art School, then began working at Garden Gate. Her mother and partner Alyson Hebert opened the shop in 1988. She found that working with flowers satisfied her creative side and has been designing since 1995. She now lives in Putnam with her husband and two children.
1. What recommendations can you give to maximize a bride’s budget?
- choose in season flowers
- concentrate on bouquets and boutonnieres
- even a few flowers on your tables will be welcoming to guests
My advice for bride’s looking to maximize their budget’s would be to order flowers that are in season. Out of season flowers can be found on the flower market, because flowers are grown all over the world, but they can be pricey. Another way to make the most of a tight budget is to concentrate on the pieces that will be seen the most and/ or the longest. Having a beautiful bouquet for the bride and nice bouquets and boutonnieres for the bridal party will be seen by everyone and will make your pictures look beautiful. Placing flowers, even a few, on the dining tables will soften the room and make a welcoming space for guests.
2. How far in advance do you recommend a bride place her order?
- after choosing a venue and color scheme
Once a bride has her venue chosen for the ceremony and reception, the attire is decided for the bridal party and she has her list of who she would like flowers for and where she would like to decorate with flowers, then it is a good time to meet with a florist. Planning in advance, even up to year ahead is always a good idea, but if there isn’t that much time available, I have taken weddings even a couple weeks before the wedding date.
3. Do your wedding floral services include delivery? Set up? Break down? Do you provide any other accessories? (candles, decorations, etc)
We are a full service florist meaning we offer design services, delivery and set up of all items ordered. We can travel to areas outside of our local area. We offer rentals such as lanterns, vases, candles and arbor decorations. Our consultations are free of charge and a customized quote is provided after I meet with the bride.
4. Weddings usually take place in the summer, and I’ve seen some sad looking bouquets. Which are the most “durable”? Most delicate?
- proper storage is key
- water tubes can be added and hidden
Summer weddings can be a challenge! No one wants to see wilty flowers. I have found if the flowers are treated with care right up until delivery and stored in a cool spot out of the direct sun until they are to be used for the wedding and pictures, the flowers hold up well. If I am concerned about a type of flower dehydrating I will put a “water tube” on it and wrap the ribbon around the tube so it cannot be seen. It is pretty rare that I discourage a bride from a certain type of flower, I instead plan to treat the flowers with the care they need to stay hydrated throughout the wedding day.
5. What happens to the flowers after the wedding?
- They’re yours to keep
- nursing home and group homes are great places to donate
The flowers that bride’s and groom order are theirs to keep. Most couples gift them to guests at their wedding. I am seeing more couples lately who are interested in donating their flowers. Nursing homes or group homes are a great place to donate the flowers
6. Is there something you wish all brides knew/did when it comes to your services?
- bulk flowers
One of the services we offer that couples may not know about is selling flowers in bulk for those interested in making their own flower arrangements. Some brides and grooms may be very crafty and enjoy being more hands on with their floral arrangements. In this case, we offer large quantity of stems at a good price. We receive the flowers, cut them and give them food treatment and store them in our cooler. The couples pick up the flowers a few days before the wedding and design the arrangements themselves. Sometimes a bride will have me design her bouquets and boutonnieres and chose to design her table centerpieces herself. I am happy to assist brides with ideas on how to maximize their budget and still enjoy their wedding planning and wedding day by not taking on too much work!
“The brides and grooms I get to work with are fantastic, creative and so excited about beginning their lives together with a celebration filled with family, friends and love! I thrive off their excitement and do all I can to make the flowers reflect their vision. I work with couples who have all different types of budgets and priorities. I love to look back on the last year’s weddings and see all the different types of weddings I was able to be a part of. Being a floral designer has it challenges but the rewards are so much greater.” - Allison Britt, Garden Gate