Nine times out of ten a bride brings me her magazine cut out filled with delicate and classic white flowers. Usually stephanotis, lily of the valley and gardenia are somewhere on the list. Don't get me wrong I love the flowers, what I don't love is the price tag of these items and that I can't guarantee the quality (if the wholesaler doesn't guarantee I won't guarantee). And living in Michigan mother nature doesn't always work with me to use the "home grown" version. I have my pic of flowers that I recommend, freesia being my favorite choice. What are some of the flowers you substitute with?

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You have made a great point...lily of the valley out of season is over the top expensive, stephanotis is a wild card, and just forget gardenias...they turn black when touched...The magazines, we explain are for "effect" not 4 or more hours of bone crushing hugs, variety of photo locations, weird weather conditions of extreme hot and cold and the list goes on...

As Professionals in the Wedding Industry it is our responsibility gently educate and help guide Clients to the best choices of floral choices for their day as they will be in pictures for the next 50 years!

We are in a "Commodities Market", there never is a guarantee with any crop. Roses, some of the new varieties look just like a peony, and price points are good. If you can get a bride to choose a carnation the new color varieties are amazing and you can not beat the price...but that will never happen in my life time am pretty sure...We use fresh, seasonal and local as much as possible. But feel that some flowers just can not be changed out for less value and get the same "look".
My advise to my brides on those type of flowers "We can make it out of silk, but we cannot make them fresh because you will be very disappointed with them after a very short time because they are so delicate they damage with the slightest touch and your bouquet will look like you pulled it out of the trashcan". Then we tell them if they insist, we are happy to get them prices and to see if they are available, by the time we price them the Bride changes her mind because of the cost. We then proceed and ask them what other flowers they might like, take them into the cooler or even meet them at the warehouse to show them what is available. We educate our Brides on year round availability by showing them some books we have which show us when certain flowers are in season. Most Brides understand that we can't get it if it does not grow. Gardenias are one of the very few flowers that I do not offer in my shop because of their delicate nature and how fragile they are.
Of course, being in Southern California, I have access to so many wonderful flowers. Besides working with
all manner of roses, I do a lot of successful work with gerberas, mini-callas, chrysanthemums, lizianthus,
waxflower, stock and freesias.I also shy away from using Gardenias because of their delicate nature and
Hydrangeas are beautiful, but need to be pre-dunked in water to insure constant hydration, which can
be challenging.
This may sound obvious, but a great way to approach making substitutions is to just ask the bride to explain exactly why she likes this particular flower. The answer may surprise you. You may get something like "I like how simple and elegant it looks" or a similar answer where you could list a dozen other flowers that might achieve the same effect she's looking for. Say a bride is looking for Lily of the Valley. If she says she likes it because its small and smells nice, in this case, Freesia would be a nice sub. If a girl likes Gardenias because she wants a pure white flower that can stand on its own in a bouquet AND work well as a corsage/boutonniere too, I would suggest mini Callas.
good answer. Ranunculas also hold up out of water for a day or more (untouched by sealants) and kalanchoes last a week!
Hi Ladies,
I've been poking posies a long time and worked with what you consider delicate blooms. I've never had problems with steph or gardenias.....but I do believe in hydration & surface sealers. Upon arrival the first thing I do is open the box and pretend I'm a honey bee. After that intoxicating inhalation, I bring myself back to Earth and begin the process to make them last. Crowning Glory is my friend! First thing is to spray the surfaces & undersides of the blossoms well. Next I snip the stems & put them in a small amount of water mixed with the recommended concentration of Floralife; for steph this is right into the covered plastic box mine come in, for gardenias it's a cleaned salad tray. Next I cover the gardenias with a moistened paper towel. Then both get popped into the cooler until needed for use.

When I'm ready to use them, I use the cotton water-wick stems for the steph and a wood pick to lengthen the gardenias. Everything gets sprayed with Crowning Glory again.

As far as brides with pics go, I tell them the price and let them decide...."basically stephanotis added to your wedding is a minimum of $100 extra" and "gardenias come in 3s and walk in the door at $16.50 each...and that's before I touch them". "Yes that is a beautiful bo-k, has about 200 stems of lily of the valley, would run you about $600"

I've only used lily of the valley in the spring when it's blooming in my yard and haven't had any issues with it holding up.

I use hydrangea like like most shops usecarnations! Love them and love the money I make on them.....give me a hydrangea bo-k any day of the week! Hydration solution (Pokon 1), then Floralife if I hold them over 3 days, and Crowning Glory before they go out the door. I've put them in a caged foam sitting in a field in the sun all afternoon & had them look fine when I went to pick up the wedding the next morning.

We are so lucky to live in a time with so many amazing products to help our flowers last and look great. I believe it's unprofessional for any florist not to use these products. If you don't, you do yourself and your clients a dis-service.


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