On your big day, everything has to be just right — from the venue all the way to your bridal bouquet. Just like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, it can't be too big or too small, too fancy or too basic.
Al Wilhelmy of Al Wilhelmy Flowers in Cleveland's Kamm's Corners understands this notion firsthand. His family has been designing wedding bouquets for more than 130 years, and considers elements beyond just the wedding theme and season to craft a masterpiece that is just as unique as the bride.
The shop has floral designers on staff ready to assist and a database full of hundreds of pictures of floral bouquets and arrangements they've created and designed for past occasions. Plus, floral designers will build brides a sample bouquet so there will be no surprises the day of the wedding — because when you're spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on flowers, the final product has to be just right.
But Al Wilhelmy Flowers doesn't stop at building bouquets and floral arrangements.
"One of the strong aspects of our business is we service weddings," says Al Wilhelmy, co-owner of the flower shop that was founded by his father on the first floor of their Clark Avenue and West 25th Street home. "We don't just drop them in the back of the pew and let [the bridal party] guess. We pin the corsages on. We pin the boutonnieres on."
We sit down with Al Wilhelmy designers to find out the steps to consider when designing a one-of-a-kind bridal bouquet.
Begin with your wedding colors, specifically those of the bridesmaid dresses. You can match colors exactly to the dresses or choose complementary shades, a trend Al Wilhelmy floral designers are seeing more and more. For spring weddings, greens, pinks and lighter pastels tend to be popular. It isn't until summer and fall that the brighter, bolder colors seem to appear, such as purples, oranges, yellows and reds, says Albert Wilhelmy, Al's son and third-generation co-owner.
Here, floral designers start with soft pinks as the main color, with a pastel green to accent the gerbera daises.
2: Focal and Accent Flowers
Pick out your favorite flowers. They should complement the season, your gown, color scheme, and the style and formality of your wedding. Debbie Mazurowski, a floral designer at Al Wilhelmy for 10 years, says ranunculus flowers are big this year, in addition to hydrangeas and mini calla lilies because they come in a variety of colors. For accent flowers, many brides are using freesia, lisianthus and roses, she says.
For budget-conscious brides, choose flowers in season. However, if your favorite flower is out of season, don't fret. You can still use it in your floral bouquet, just use in-season accent flowers to keep costs low.
Floral designers used gerbera daisies as the focal flower and added varying shades of roses to complement and blend the bouquet. Then, they included hydrangeas as the base, or accent flower.
Determine the size of the bouquet that's just right for you. Though Mazurowski is seeing a trend of smaller bouquets that don't cover up the bride's gown, be sure the bouquet is proportionate to your body type. So for petite brides, a large bouquet could overwhelm her while small bouquets could get lost against a taller bride.
Choose the shape of the bouquet. There are many shapes from which to choose, including round, cone-shaped and free form. Mazurowski is building many bouquets that are sleek and simple with a round shape, almost like a ball of flowers.
In addition, many brides want the long stems to be seen, instead of cascading bouquets.
"Nine out of 10 of them are long-stem bouquets," says Al Wilhelmy. "It's a different feeling with colors and the types of flowers, but it's still stems."
Lastly, it's time to pick the ribbon color. Select a color that aligns with your color scheme, or you can choose a shade that's complementary. The ribbon and greenery are an important last step because they hide the wires and other mechanics used to build your bridal bouquet.
But whatever you choose, be sure the details match your sense of style and personality, and just like Goldilocks, you'll find the one that's just right for you.