How do outdoor weddings differ from indoor?
Significantly, if you’re planning and installing the wedding flowers. Unlike indoors, of course, there’s sun, heat, rain and wind!
While not every backyard is perfect for a wedding, the option is increasingly popular. Last year on Pinterest, searches for backyard weddings increased 441 percent!
Which makes it safe to say you’ll see outdoor weddings—with their floral design challenges—continue to trend in 2019.
This week, we share outdoor wedding floral mechanic and design tips from Smithers-Oasis Design Director Frank Feysa AIFD, PFCI. With photos of his arrangements from a 2018 midwestern outdoor ceremony and reception, you’ll get ideas for planning the floral arrangements for the outdoor weddings on your schedule this year.
What’s special outdoors?
Events planned at home can be especially warm and inviting. Some families choose to celebrate at home for sentimental reasons. The backyard can be a spacious place for guests to gather.
To decorate this lakeside gazebo, Frank filled a series of large floral cages with fresh white and blush roses, white and green hydrangea and salal zip-tied to the existing structure. He added white lisianthus and dahlias to the fresh flower mix to fill two garden urns in front.
Having a backyard ceremony, rather than paying a facility fee elsewhere, helps the budget. In addition to backyards, natural settings, outdoor venues and public spaces are being secured for informal weddings.
A local setting that accommodates only smaller guest lists can help with budgets. Any savings enable a couple to enjoy more flowers in strategic places like atop this barrel at the altar.
Frank used a corso zip-tied in place to add flowers to the corners of the wooden arbor entrance.
Use a water source with bouquets
Water-saturated floral-foam bouquet holders were used as the base of the bridesmaids’ bouquets to keep them fresh in the outdoor heat.
Frank cut the excess flower stems into individual pieces the same length as the bouquet handle.
He encircled the handle by pressing the stems into the applied adhesive and covering it. Leaving the ends of the stems exposed, he wrapped and covered the tape in concentric circles of brown rustic wire.
He attached a rustic wire to a green hydrangea to create a flower girl kissing ball pomander, then used floral adhesive to glue fresh flowers and foliage in the center of the hydrangea.
The wedding aisle
The wedding aisle was marked by guest’s chairs adorned with flower arrangements.
More attention to details
Planning an outdoor event requires more attention to logistics and flower care details than indoors, with uncertainties like temperature, direct sun, wind and rain.
“It was so hot,” says Frank, “that we didn’t place the flowers onsite until about an hour before the ceremony.”
Michelle Perry-White AIFD shares how she and her team beat the heat one extremely hot wedding day – Don’t Wilt! How Fresh Flowers Can Survive Hot Wedding Days
As it really can rain on your parade, create a backup plan with the couple. Planning to serve food indoors helps avoid possible last-minute chaos and battles with uninvited insects.
Floral cages for placement flexibility
Inside the barn at the Reed wedding, the same casual theme was continued in the reception area.
“We used lots of floral cages to make the designs,” says Frank. “We weren’t sure exactly where we were going to place the arrangements so using the forms (with their plastic bases) gave us a lot of flexibility.”
Frank used a series of flower-filled raquettes running down the head table. Raquettes come in 18, 27 and 36-inch lengths, which can be mixed to adjust the centerpiece to the table length.
To create the evening’s starlight effect, “we strung a lot of fairy lights and used a bucketload of batteries,” says Frank.
The bride and groom’s chairs were decorated with flowers for their place of honor at the reception table.
Frank enjoyed filling a collection of wood crates and tin pots with fresh flowers and grasses. He used these arrangements to mix and match with lanterns, wooden table markers and votives for the round guest tables.
Consider flowers in their season and climate
Flowers in their natural season and climate are often better prepared for the location than those naturally from another season, locale or climate.
For example, delicate spring flowers grown from bulbs are less prepared for surviving intense heat than perennial wildflowers blooming in deep summer. Using readily available seasonal flowers can also be less expensive than imported flowers.
Plan for outdoor wedding requests
To catch the eye of wedding couples in your area, visit each local site. Video a walk-through explaining how flowers can be used to highlight the area. Post it on your social media pages and website. Encourage each venue you visit to repost it on their site as well.
Create menus of wedding designs that accommodate each site so you’ll be ready to propose new ideas when a potential client arrives for consultation.
“The bride and her bridesmaids spent the day with us at the lake,” says Frank. “They were there to have fun, see how the décor was coming along and spend time with their family. It was a relaxed and casual day.”
How can you plan, design and implement fabulous floral designs for backyard, garden and outdoor weddings?