Today we have a very special guest expert here at Bridal Musings.
She's one of the most renowned luxury florists in Manhattan, she was schooled in both the elite L'Ecole des Fleurs in Paris' Hôtel de Crillon and at the New York Botanical Gardens, and she's so acclaimed she's been lauded with the title of “The Rose Queen of New York”.
It's Alix Astir of Trellis Fine Florals. A lady with impeccable tastes, discerning standards, and serious know-how when it comes to creating epic floristry for weddings.
As something of an icon among florists, we were just delighted to get a chance to grill Alix on her top tips for creating an event to remember, and her predictions for the biggest trends in 2015.
Known for her perfectionism, The Rose Queen also told us why couples should think twice about DIYing their big day blooms, and why doing your homework on your florist can save you from a wedding day disaster…
1. What are your top tips for somebody looking to create a day that's visually unique, and wants their flowers to set them apart?
Perfectly executed floral arrangements alone are enough to set you apart, as I have seen so many badly done ones.
However, if you want to make a splash, bold colors or the strong use of natural elements such as driftwood, moss, leaves etc. are always great.
Also, using lots of candlelight is always a big crowd pleaser and will always get noticed. Never overlook the power of lighting, blue and/or pink lighting is very flattering to everyone.
Photo via Love My Dress Poland
2. What are the biggest trends you're noticing in flowers for 2015?
Orchids are a strong trend.
Bold jewel tones continue to be the go-to for brides who want to be in-vogue, and purple roses are getting a lot of love right now.
Peonies are the traditional favorite, but they are also stratospherically expensive.
3. What are the lesser known flowers that brides should be looking to, both for Winter and Summer?
When planning a summer wedding, I suggest using Cymbidium orchids – I love them in décor and bouquets. Many brides are unaware that they are not very expensive and they stand up to heat incredibly well.
Winter brides continually overlook Amaryllis for reception flowers. I don't know why, as they provide such a “wow” factor!
Also, winter is such an amazing time for incorporating natural elements like branches with berries into your wedding decor.
If you want drama, the use of branches cannot be overlooked!
4. You've worked in both Paris and New York. Are there differences in floristry in European and US weddings?
In Europe, things are more pared down and tight which I love. There is definitely a place for that – in fact, many of the daily compositions that I create for individual orders in Manhattan are tight and compact in Manhattan because they seem “modern” and everyone loves modern here.
However, here in the United States we tend to go all out when it comes to reception floristry. We go so Texas-size over the top and I love that exuberance.
There is a lot of creativity, expansiveness and decadence in American wedding receptions that you will not find anywhere else in the world.
As an artist, I love that because it’s reflective of my own personality.
5. Is it possible for a couple to do their own wedding flowers, what should they know beforehand?
I would not recommend it unless you are having a super small and intimate wedding, because you need to plan it down to the hour.
Some points to consider are as follows: you need to clean the flowers days ahead of time, you need to blow open the flowers as well as refrigerate them and treat them.
Also, how are you going to transport all of the arrangements? I would not recommend doing your own wedding flowers as it is far more complicated than anyone really realizes.
Why would you want to do that to yourself on your wedding day?
6. What are your biggest tips for maintaining your own blooms?
Make sure you clean the stems, clip off two inches on the bottom and refresh your flowers with cold water every two days to make them last.
The bacteria that grow in the water are what kills your flowers.
7. Are there any big trends in boutonnieres and corsages?
Orchids, orchids, orchids!
Branches, berries or shells are some other emerging trends I have noticed recently as well.
Photo via Hammer & Grain
8. What should a bride consider when choosing her bouquet?
The size and shape of a bride’s bouquet is very important – you cannot have a massive bouquet if you are wearing an informal white slip on a beach, for instance.
Tall, lean mermaid silhouettes demand a lean modern bouquet of one flower such as calla lilies.
Mariah Carey famously had a large cascading bouquet for her Princess Diana inspired gown.
9. What are the top questions every couple should ask their florist?
My top questions would be as follows: What is their experience? Where did they study? How long have they been in business?
Ask potential florists for a sample contract to take home with you. Read it several times to make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions and really read the fine print.
Make sure you know who will be held legally responsible if there is a disaster. Ask them what their contingency plan is if the truck breaks down or if the refrigerator goes out overnight.
Better yet, ask if they have ever dealt with an emergency and if so, what did they do?
The best thing you can do is call their referrals and get past clients’ opinions. Always look beyond their price point because anyone can give you a cheaper price.
However, what you might be sacrificing for a cheaper price is better service, more knowledgeable staff and/or less artistry.
You get what you pay for in life, across the board.
10. Where should a couple start when it comes to choosing the style, colors, and varieties of their flowers?
Think about the theme you want for your wedding. The month your wedding is scheduled for is extremely important as it will affect the price of your preferred flowers.
Let your flowers be one of the first things you plan – do NOT leave the flowers to the bitter end.
If you are going for a more traditional look, find a floral designer that specializes in that. All floral designers specialize in a genre: some of us are better at “modern” while others are best at “traditional.”
Look at their book and see what styles jump out at you and speak to you.
This is a very personal decision, so you need to focus on the look you want and find the floral designer that can breathe life into your vision.
Then, once you find that person, trust them to do a good job and do not micromanage them. Give them some direction, but really allow them to use their artistic license to wow you.
They are experts in their field, and if they are good they will know what you want before you even know you want it.
Sit back, relax and let them do the job they were hired to do and enjoy yourself!
Thanks so much to Alix Astir for sharing her nuggets of wisdom. For more information on Alix and her fabulous designs, visit the Trellis Fine Florals website.