Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wedding Q&A Thursday: Re-Purposing Ceremony Flowers

Q: Is it possible to re-purpose the flowers from my ceremony (pew markers, altar arrangements, etc.) at my reception. I'd like to save some money and don't want those flowers - that were only really in use for 20 minutes - to go to waste.

A: Waste not, want not. I hear you loud and clear. The value per time used is always a consideration when deciding whether or not you should have elaborate ceremony decorations at all. The answer about whether or not you can re-purpose is also not a simple yes/no.

Yes if...

...there is, logistically, the time and staff available to disassemble, transport and re-purpose/re-assemble those flowers at the reception site between the time your guests leave the ceremony area and enter the reception. You don't want your guests to see the seams of the event - the work behind it. So you can't, for example, expect your ceremony flowers to adorn high-boys during your cocktail hour if it immediately follows. It's also probably not a good idea to attempt this if there is not separation of space between your cocktail hour and reception. Consider your guests arriving to empty vases and unadorned tables, then seeing your coordinator and staff scrambling to get this set - it's not the effect you were hoping for, right? And if you don't have a coordinator, it's not something you want to ask friends and family to do. They may be willing, but do you want to put them to work on the wedding day?

...the flowers are hearty enough to handle the move. If your ceremony was outdoors, on a hot day, chances are that your florist strategically timed set-up to give the flowers enough life to look great through your ceremony before wilting - especially the arrangements without water like your pew markers. However, after that, these tired blooms could end up looking worse for wear after the move and, once again, not have the intended effect.

Otherwise, it's not something to count on. When breaking down a ceremony site, we always keep as many of the flowers as time and transport permit, and bring them along to the reception site. If there's time and a place for them, we will use them to spruce up bars, cake tables, gift tables - anywhere there may not already be a lot of decoration. But it's not something that we like to be a major project. The time between the ceremony and reception is often a busy time for your planner and event staff, as it's the last chance to make everything is set and perfect for your reception.

If you are concerned with your floral budget, talk to your planner and florist about finding a balance between the ceremony decor and your reception. Less is often more, and your florist probably knows how to get the most "bang for your buck," (sorry, I don't like that's all I could come up with) in a particular venue. For example, things that will and will not show in photographs.

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