Your wedding flowers are going to be one of the most important aesthetic investments in your wedding. Gorgeous floral designs not only bring in color and texture to your wedding style, but they also add life and energy to spaces. It’s understandable after months of planning, the costs involved, and how fabulous your florals are going to look, that many couples want to get the most use out of their wedding flowers.
I often get asked about the possibility of repurposing ceremony flowers to the reception. This idea is seemingly straightforward and practical, and has grown in popularity in the wedding world by respected online wedding sites. But repurposing ceremony flowers is often deemed as “simple” and doesn’t take into consideration true considerations of feasibility.
While I am definitely an advocate for showcasing those beautiful blooms as long as possible, I am an advocate for repurposing wedding flowers if conditions allow and in the right situations. Yes, there are many circumstances where ceremony flowers can be repurposed to the reception with just a little bit of planning and a bit of effort. Sometimes, though, there are just too many logistical challenges. Other times, there might even be reasons why you may not want to repurpose your ceremony flowers.
Here are some considerations to make when discussing the possibility of repurposing wedding flowers, so you can make the best decisions for your big day and the best decisions for your gorgeous wedding flowers!
WEDDING LOCATION & TIMELINE
Where your wedding ceremony and reception will be held can affect how easy or difficult it would be to repurpose your ceremony flowers and whether it makes the most sense to repurpose. If your ceremony and reception are in two different locations you might be more inclined to think about repurposing your ceremony florals, especially if you have a short ceremony. This can work well if you have a cocktail hour in a separate location, so there is time and space for the florals to come down from one location and then go up in another location. But if your guests will be immediately going to the reception following your ceremony and you want the floral arrangements to wow your guests as they walk in, repurposing might not make the most sense. If your ceremony is in the same relative area as your reception or you and your guests can easily access the ceremony area during your reception, your arch or other ceremony florals can act as a backdrop for photos. Just like that your ceremony site automatically becomes a selfie station for your guests!
MECHANICS & TRANSPORTABILITY
Florists have so many ways of constructing floral arrangements, especially big statement pieces, like floral columns and arbor designs. These mechanics are often the combination between industry standard techniques and unique tricks that each particular florist has picked up along the way. Some floral arrangement can be made in advance, especially those that are fully contained. Other floral designs, however, can only be assembled on-site. These designs are often made up of multiple pieces, sometimes use delicate flowers, and can be intricate, lush, and heavy. Many of these on-site installations cannot be moved, especially if taken down from the structure they are on, without coming apart and/or losing their shape. Mechanics for an arbor spray are not always the same as a table floral arrangement, and the two, if designed separately, would have completely different water sources. Other floral arrangements can be too heavy to be safely transported to another location, especially if a set of stairs is involved.
DESIGNATED PERSON TO REPURPOSE
You will also need to have someone (or more than one person) designated to actually do the repurposing of your ceremony florals to your reception. Be cognizant when speaking with your florist about the possibility of repurposing flowers. It can mean that the florist has to wait around until your ceremony is finished and until you are done taking pictures. If the florist is at a different location from your ceremony site they might not physically be able to repurpose your ceremony flowers. Then there is the labor of moving and reassembling everything, which sometimes can take as much time as it did during set-up. If you hired a wedding planner for your event, he or she might be comfortable with repurposing your ceremony flowers to your reception. But again, be considerate and always check with your wedding vendors to see what their services include. Time, labor, and expertise is valuable and always needs to be accounted for.
The final thing to consider with regard to repurposing your ceremony flowers is weather. Florists work in all kinds of weather conditions, but the flowers themselves can not always withstand certain elements, whether that is extreme heat, extreme cold, or lots and lots and LOTS of wind. (As I write this blog post I am having vivid flashbacks from a wedding in 2016 of attaching flowers to an arch on a ranch in Colorado while getting beaten by the wind. Me and the flowers both.). Your florist will do everything in their power to hydrate and care for your blooms, so they can look their best for your event. Your florist will also choose the most appropriate blooms for certain designs with different water sources and specific blooms for particular environments, but sometimes, unfortunately, the weather wins. Let’s say your wedding falls during a freak heat wave and your ceremony is in full sun for 30 minutes. Your arbor floral spray, realistically, might not last much longer after you say your vows. If you are then counting on that arch piece to do double duty as a sweetheart table arrangement, you might not end up with the floral piece you had envisioned. So think about what the weather conditions will be and if there could be any extreme conditions that need to factor in to your repurposing decisions.