Earlier this week I introduced you to San Francisco-based event and floral designer, Michael Daigian, from Michael Daigian Design. Today, Michael will be answering your questions and giving us the scoop on seasonal blooms, budgets, and more.
Q: Fall is just around the corner. What blooms are best for the season?
A: For fall events, I envision strong colors and textures. Golden yellow, orange, red, and burgundy is my ideal color palette, and great fall flowers include dahlias, multi-colored hydrangea, hypericum berries, and any type of fruiting branches, like bittersweet, persimmons, and pomegranates. Stay away from tulips, freesia, and daisies that feel more spring-like. Fall arrangements should represent warmth and texture to symbolize the changing color tones of the leaves.
Q: And speaking of seasons, what about winter? Any favorites?
A: For winter, I like to use whites and silvers in softer textures, and flowers like peonies, hydrangea, anemonies, tulips, and dusty miller. Unless the theme is Christmas, I try and stay away from the traditional red, white, and green color palette for weddings.
Q: What do you suggest to brides on a floral budget?
A: There are plenty of ways to cut costs without cutting the ambiance. Use locally grown and seasonal flowers to avoid the extra charges associated with importing other blooms. And re-use arrangements from the ceremony for accent décor around the reception. Pew decorations can be placed on the chairs for the bridal party. After all, it’s the age of recycling.
Q: What are your favorite non-floral details to include?
A: Non-floral details give arrangements more dimension and visual interest. I like to use crystals, specialty ribbons, antique accessories of any kind, fruits, wire detailing, and succulents -- really anything that makes the arrangements more personal and unique for the client.
Q: Are there rules about using certain flowers on the table?
A: Since smell impacts our taste mechanism, it's better not to use fragrant flowers, like oriental lilies, gardenias, and tuberose, at the dinner table. Use those fragrant flowers at the ceremony instead.
Q: Is there anything to keep in mind when mixing textures, colors, and sizes of flowers?
A: Opposites attract in texture and size, but not so well in colors. Different textures, like smooth and rough, complement each other without looking too busy. Mixing different colors works beautifully if you're using different tints and shades in those particular colors. The goal is to stay away from the polka dot effect, i.e. white flowers with touches of red; it's too much of a contrast.
Read on for answers to reader's questions.
Question from a reader: How can I design an event that will be both casual and elegant? I want to retain the relaxed atmosphere but still look chic, and most of the ideas I've come across for relaxed, casual weddings look a bit underdone and "country cute." -Lauren
A: Hi, Lauren. The beach and ocean are both blank canvases and what you chose for décor will dictate the style. Strong statements are the key. Accomplish this by using elegant treatments of flowing fabric and incorporate modern lounge-style seating. Comfort is an important factor. And use large-scale accessories. Instead of a pile of small seashells, use one large conch shell. Regarding the flowers, tropical flowers and foliage, like exotic bird-of-paradise and protea, work well in a beach setting -- they're both bold and hardy.
Question from a reader: I'm planning a spring wedding on the water in the Hamptons. Despite the snazzy locale, we don't have a limitless budget. What flowers would be beautiful, affordable, and seasonal from late April to mid-May? We're partial to white and French blue. -Sara C
A: Sara, flowering branches (cherry blossoms) work well for large displays. For smaller arrangements, white peonies are wonderful. They can be expensive, but their size and stunning beauty means you'll have to order fewer of them than smaller flowers, and they'll make a nice statement. Combine them with blue delphinium and you’ll have a winner.
Question from a reader: What are your thoughts on the bride ordering her flowers wholesale, and assembling them the day of? I'm fairly certain I could tie together some hydrangeas, but I'm afraid of the condition they'll come in after being shipped, and how they'll hold up during the wedding. -Melissa
A: Hi, Melissa. It's your wedding day, so why add such a stressful situation. Hydrangeas require special care and handling. Add to this the stress of assembly day-of and you have a recipe for disaster. If you must do it yourself, pick hardy flowers, such as campanula and lisianthus, and assemble everything the day before and store in a cool place.
Question from a reader: I'm having my wedding reception in a large industrial space in Toronto. I really want to use florals to soften the concrete and steel and add some height, but I don't have a huge budget. The wedding is in September, and I'd like to use seasonal flowers in a soft (think white, peach and gray) color palette. Michael, can you give me some suggestions? -Sacha
A: Hi, Sacha. To start, rental trees and uplighting do wonders to soften large spaces. Think scale: fewer large arrangements with branches, foliage and some well-placed flowers make more of an impact than many small pieces. And remember, flowers always look better bathed in light. For seasonal flowers in a soft color palette, roses and amaryllis are both beautiful in white and peach. Lillies and delphinium can also be found in this soft palette and are great for creating tall arrangements with a dramatic effect.