A wedding day is the ceremonial and celebratory beginning of a marriage yet, at the same time, it is also a welcome finale to an organising feat which may have been years in the making. I can sometimes almost hear the sigh of relief as I arrive on the big day from couples!
There will be no further requirement for witty yet moving speeches (unless you are called upon at a future date to be a best man), there will be a little less calorie counting to fit into the “to die for dress” and the politics of which family member will sit on what table, will be consigned to the annals of history (or so you hope)!
Then there are the flowers...
These will have been considered, discussed and planned months if not years in advance, lists of varieties will have been drawn up, acquired and lovingly arranged to be at the point of perfection for the wedding day. For my part, lilies may have been standing in buckets, opening for days if not weeks, gently unfurling. Open too soon and into the cool darkness of my garage they'll go; should they steadfastly refuse to open, into my kitchen they come, nestling close by the Aga. On occasion I've been known to gently tease them open by hand. Oh the love that goes into those blooming gorgeous displays. Blood sweat and on occasion, even tears!
What to do with the flowers afterwards?
Often due to the warmth and light of the day itself, heat from candles, tea lights and a throbbing party, once wet oasis, will soon begin to dry out and the flowers may be in need of a little T.L.C the following morning. More often, they are easily revived with a spritz and a drink of water. If they have been arranged in vases, they will definitely have plenty of life still in them - days even a week or more.
Two things to consider:
I don’t want them back! Bought and paid for, they are no longer mine or indeed my responsibility. Secondly, with a much needed honeymoon to look forward to, it's often the last thing a newly married couple will want to deal with when there is a suitcase to pack and a plane to catch..
Calling all friends, family, guests and even helpers.
This is the time to share in the floral love! I often suggest using the flowers as thank you gifts for those friends and a family who have helped put the day together. If thank you bouquets are requested for the mothers, I might suggest giving flowering bulbs or plants such as orchids and rose bush in lieu of a hand tied bouquet. This way the mothers will be more inclined to take home some of the display flowers to enjoy in the days following a wedding and, in the weeks or months to come, enjoy that longer term 'planted' thank you gift.
In my experience friends and family are always more than willing to take some of the flowers at the end of the night or even the following morning. I've known couples to leave a note on the tables inviting guests to help themselves, or the groom mentioning the flowers in his speech. I have also known couples to generously share them with a local home or lay a bouquet on a special grave.
Very often I often leave vases for the bridal party bouquets to go into, this way the bridesmaids can enjoy their flowers rather than find them shrivelled and beyond reviving on a table the following morning. It is heart breaking when you've planned, nurtured, lovingly transported and delivered them at the point of perfection to see them the following morning lying on a radiator fit for the bin.
Whatever their fate, simply binning them seems such a terrible waste - as a florist, I along with the couple, have spent months planning and bringing this floral vision to life, and we’ve not even mentioned the expense; surely it’s only fitting for the beauty of these flowers to be extended for as long as possible by those who have shared in the big day or perhaps even by those who have not?