When it comes to wedding flowers and design, brides and grooms can have very specific ideas of what they want. Sometimes they have favorite flowers or sometimes they find pictures on Pinterest of ideas they want to incorporate into their wedding design. Depending on seasonality, these ideas may be easier or more expensive to execute and today our friends Gerry and Rebecca over at Petal's Edge Floral Design are breaking down for our readers what "seasonal flowers" are and how seasonality could affect your floral design.
Check out their advice below!
Before we answer the question of whether you should or shouldn’t use seasonal flowers, we need to first unpack what seasonal flowers are.
Some flowers require very precise growing conditions to bloom. For example, spring bulb flowers, like tulips, need to lay dormant as bulbs in cold weather (or a cooler) for many weeks before they can be planted and forced to bloom. Other flowers and plants need daylight to be a specific length for a specific period of time before they can bloom. (You should see what they have to do in northern greenhouses in the time leading up to Christmas to get the poinsettias to all bloom in time!). Some flowers, like peonies, have a very short flowering season or simply cannot be grown in certain parts of the world because of the climate. These kinds of flowers are what people typically mean when they refer to “seasonal flowers”.
You have probably heard that using seasonal blooms may help you save money on your wedding flowers. We see this advice in magazines all the time, and then hear it from clients when we first meet with them. With rare exception, seasonality has very little to do with the price of flowers. What does impact the price of flowers is transportation costs, or more specifically, the cost of gas.
While seasonality might mean something if you live in Florida or California (where many of the greenhouses are only a couple of towns over and it doesn't cost much to move to your area), if you don't live in a region where cut flowers are grown, the growing season has very little effect on the price tag as flowers all have to be shipped in anyways.
The other factor in flower costs is labor. Sadly, it is often cheaper to grow your flowers in another country and buy them a plane ticket.
What seasonality does impact is availability and quality. Flowers grown in their ideal growing conditions look great! This is why we will happily recommend tulips in the spring, but are hesitant to do so in September or October - they just don’t look that great at that time of year. This why you simply can’t get dahlia in the winter or early spring months as well, no matter how gorgeous those dinner plate varieties look.
The less distance the flower has to travel, the better the quality. You would not believe what many flowers go through to get to their destination - from being cut early in the growing process to be pre-cooled, to careful packaging for shipment, flights, customs inspections and more – all before they get to your florist.
So, what happens when you have your heart set on a particular flower even if it’s not the ideal growing time? There are many things that modern technology can do, but do keep in mind there is only so much we can do to fight nature. Some seasonal growing conditions can be overcome with the creative use of thermostats, freezers, grow lights and greenhouses. You can skirt around your local growing conditions by the fact that flowers are a global trade. You may not have peonies in your back yard in December, but they are growing in Chile!
To complicate matters though, when we can fight nature, there is the not-so simple matter of economics – does the cost to create the necessary environment in a greenhouse to get flowers to bloom out of season balance out with how much the customer is willing to pay for them?
There are indeed gaps, though, where you simply can’t get certain flowers. If the flowers aren't currently being grown anywhere in the world at a given time, then we can't get them for you, regardless of how much you are willing to pay for them. It is the same in reverse: just because tulips are growing outside in your garden does not mean that they are going to be cheaper than any other flower choice, unless, of course, you live in Holland where the bulk of them are grown.
In the many years we’ve been in business, we have definitely seen changes in flower availability. That most likely means that as the flower industry becomes more global, and the customer base gets larger, that it has become more economical to produce these crops out of season (we can leave the environmental impact debate that brings up for other posts!).
So what does all this mean with respect to whether you should use seasonal blooms or not? Well, if your primary concern is cost, then have a different conversation with your florist about what will save you money. Don’t worry so much about whether the flowers are seasonal or not. Your florist will naturally recommend flowers that look best at the time of your wedding. We all want your flowers to look great! And finally, if you want to be eco-conscious in your flower choices, by all means, put your focus on seasonal flowers, just don’t expect it to come without a price tag.
Petal’s Edge is a custom floral design company specializing in weddings and events. Gerry and Rebecca are the creative masterminds behind the business, bringing diverse backgrounds in art, horticulture and design to our work with flowers.
As a partner-based business, couple’s automatically get twice the brain power - two for the price of one! We work very much in a collaborative, workshop-oriented environment. We each maintain a high degree of personal involvement in the business, meaning that not only do we interface with clients and handle the books, but we maintain hands-on involvement in making the arrangements ourselves, delivering the floral designs ourselves, and setting them up ourselves with the assistance of our staff. Sometimes, as companies get bigger, the owner is stuck doing the “business side” only and less of the creative. By maintaining a small company overall, we’ve been able to preserve what brought us into the business in the first place - working with flowers and design.
Want to design a gorgeous wedding but unsure where to start? Schedule a complimentary call to discuss how we can help!
About Sincerely Pete
Sincerely Pete is a full service wedding planning and design company in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA with over 13 years of experience. We believe in a personal, curated & customized approach to each wedding couple we work with taking their values & personalities into account and keeping the relationship as the focus of the wedding. We plan Washington DC weddings, Virginia weddings, Maryland weddings and destination weddings all over the world.
Contact us today for more information!