Planning an event can be a big & often overwhelming task, but the idea of creating an atmosphere & setting the tone with unique flower arrangements can be one of the most exciting parts! & so it should be – flowers are a major element of the event décor & if done right, it will make your guests gasp when they step into the space.
We caught up with the lovely Beth Abood, Founder of Dandy Flora to take us through the A-Z of floral arrangements, from estimating budgets to colours, themes & how to re-purpose flowers post-event.
Generally, you will hire a florist to work their magic, but you can also be highly involved in creating the design concept. So, when you’re communicating your flower needs to the florist, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the job.
Here’s what you need to know about floral design to nail it at your next event:
If there's already a budget allocated to flowers, great! Go full steam ahead & brief in your florist. If not, try not to pick a number out of thin air. Instead, start by figuring out how crucial flowers will be to the success of the event. For example, if you need to impress a special group of clients it will be important to wow them with the finer details. After all, it’s the detail that they can appreciate firsthand that will have the most impact on their overall experience, so try not to overlook them.
Or, if it’s social media influencers that you’re hosting, the flower arrangements can go a very long way in helping to get people posting & sharing. Making people go WOW is key in getting the most out of your flower budget, and these days, when social media sharing is such a hugely important part of events, you won’t regret investing in a florist whose work is the right fit.
So, reach out to your top one, two or three florists with a rough idea of where you’ll need flowers, & they’ll be able to give you a feel for prices so you can see where the budget’s headed.
Choosing colours & styles
Once the florist is locked in, get their advice on what to do about the colour scheme. It’s tempting to go for the obvious choices – brand colours, or whatever the theme for the day is, but if you want to bring the space to life it’s a good idea to consider a) the venue itself & b) the atmosphere you’re trying to create first (sometimes brand colours don’t translate well into flower colours or just aren’t the best fit for the venue).
For example, if the room is very dark, you can add lightness through the flowers. Or if there’s say pink in the room's decor, consider bringing a similar shade of pink into the flowers to tie it all together. For an eccentric feel, a mix of bright colours might be the way to go. If it’s an outdoor green setting, you might create a garden party feeling with gardeny florals. Or, if the brand is slightly more edgy & progressive, then artistic & sculptural arrangements in one tone might be the right choice.
Your florist’s expertise will be so helpful in this area as they'll be able to tell you what can be executed well based on the flowers around during that season.
Choosing flower placement
The reality is that most events are organised within a limited budget, so it’s important to choose places where flowers will have the most impact.
I often advise my clients to “go big” in fewer areas, rather than spread the budget too thinly. For instance, if guests won’t spend much time seated at dining tables, it’s probably not worth investing lots in the table flowers. Instead, you might consider spending the most on a big or sculptural, Insta-worthy feature in a significant part of the room that your guests will want to take pics of or in front of.
When it comes to banquet tables, the actual size & format of the table is the most important consideration here. For example, if the table is narrow and guests are seated closely, once the plates, cutlery & glasses are set there won't be much room left for a large flower arrangement. So in this case, smaller, individual bud vases might be the best option. On the flip side, if your venue has very wide or round tables, a big, sculptural centrepiece is a great way to fill the space in the centre.
When to purchase flowers for optimal beauty
In many cases, your florist will need to purchase the flowers a few days in advance (especially in Winter) so they can reach their peak beauty on the event day. For instance, roses are tightly closed the first one or two days after buying, so I like to get them about four days in advance - during that time they can almost triple in size! This is where your florist's expertise & detailed knowledge of each flower’s needs comes in handy, so again, it’s worth the extra $$ to engage a really good one & make sure you've finalised the details with them a few weeks in advance to allow time for ordering and processing.
It’s common to think that given flowers are a part of the natural world that the sustainability element would be taken care of. Unfortunately, this is not the case! If not handled carefully event flowers can be a really wasteful & environmentally harmful exercise.
The easiest way to avoid this and limit your event’s environmental impact is to engage an environmentally conscious florist who has built sustainability into all their processes. But, if you’re already committed to a florist who doesn’t work this way then you can ask them to do the following:
Use Australian grown, or even better locally grown flowers (for more on this, here is an article on reasons for avoiding imported flowers)
Avoid the use of floral foam (single-use product made from plastic, for more on floral foam)
Consider incorporating plants with the arrangements, which can be re-purposed
Steer clear of bleached and chemically preserved florals, not to be confused with naturally dried flowers (for more on preserved flowers)
Assist with repurposing your flowers after the event
Repurposing your flowers after the event
This is such a brilliant way to give the flowers a purpose beyond the usually short life of your event. Most florists will be happy to return toward the end and wrap the flowers for the guests to take home (normally for a small fee but worth it for the added gift to your guests). Or, if you think logistically that might inconvenience the guests, consider whether there’s a local nursing home or hospital that would be happy to accept & distribute them to their residents or patients (best to check in advance as not all accept this).