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On the Level with Neville

On the Level with Neville

Falling for the Winter Theme

Don’t you just LOVE an autumn or winter wedding? Depending on where you live in the world, one can look forward to the autumn’s cooler nights and brightly colored leaves or the crisp romance of a snow-covered field with frosty sparkles everywhere. That’s all well and good for those of us who get this change of weather, but for those who don’t, well, hopefully, you’ll get a few incoming weddings from your frozen neighbors.

What a crock that opening paragraph is! Autumn weddings equal the very real possibility of a nasty hurricane, early frost or sudden heat wave—and sometimes all three! Winter weddings are a worry, too, because of the weather: It could be a big ol’ storm or, worse yet, a slushy rainy thaw. Oh, and that’s just what the wedding party has to deal with, but what about us poor florists having to try and get product in to work with? Let me tell you, the pain is real.

I had a lovely (thank goodness!) couple a few years ago who got married despite being in the middle of a pretty big hurricane. I had advance warning that this was on the way, so I got the flowers in a couple days earlier than usual (as I suggest we all do!) so that when the power went out and the roads were shut down, the show could still go on. I asked if the bride was stressed; she was thrilled! They had an at-home wedding, so she opened the windows and let it blow—no worries about cleaning and tidying. she said!

This isn’t often the case when weather issues are looming. I find that when things are out of a bride’s control (I say “bride,” but, honestly, many grooms are the same), they tend to reach for what they can control, which is often the florist’s neck! I remember a real piece of work who called after a hurricane had hit: She was telling me how she was going after the caterer who couldn’t cook her meal now due to the power being out but could do cold plates, and now the flowers had better be perfect—or else!

I, of course, asked “Or else what, my dear?” I let her know that her flowers were in stock and good to go—and also that many people died during this storm, so not having a hot turkey dinner shouldn’t be that high on her list of upsets. Honestly, I have no time for that nonsense, so when they come for us—and they sometimes do—they’d better beware!

Winter weddings, unless using permanent flowers, are often an issue up here (Nova Scotia, Canada) in January. For some reason, people get a romantic image of an “ice princess” and want photos taken out in the elements; by the water or beside a snow-covered tree. And for some reason, they don’t realize that because it’s below freezing outside, their flowers won’t survive.

I once had a very upset young “lady” bring in a pictures of her wedding flowers that I had done the previous weekend. The first picture showed the bouquet placed on the icy rocks of the ocean shoreline (this was a February wedding; it’s frigid here then!). Great photo!” I said—because it was. The second photo was a snotty mess of wilted blooms and leaves. Well, this nitwit had her photos taken before her wedding so the light would be better and so she wouldn’t have to go back out in the cold. She demanded her money back—all of it, including the church and reception flowers. I nearly fell over laughing! Honestly, I hope she married rich.

Have the conversations with your couples and develop with them a Plan A and B (and C, if need be!) because when you go into the day prepared, you won’t stress as much. I get a lot of “The day will be ruined if such and such happens!” and I remind them that weather and seasons should never be what ruins a wedding, short of someone dying because of it (which happened once at a wedding I did). Planning is so important, and when you plan for the possibilities, they will not become an issue.

I had this talk with a bride (I feel like “Man Landers” with an advice column) and suggested that she have an alternative plan for her small autumn garden wedding. Well, it was a real whirlwind of a mess outside all that week, but they had a barn with no animals in it, so they had it de- pooped and de-bugged—just in case. They added lots of candles, plants and mini—I mean fairy—lights (girl, please!) then called everyone and had their barn- dance wedding!

Now, like the seasons, flowers can be unpredictable, so when I say to have an alternate plan, I mean with flowers, too. Choose flowers that suit the season, and let your clients know that quality is your first commitment, so if one thing isn’t up to snuff, then you will sub with something else to ensure the best of the best for their day. I even go so far as to call the client a few days ahead to surprise them with another cool choice that I thought probably wasn’t available. Let’s face it, after the months of nasty we’ve been going through, I should think a substitution or two would be the least of a wedding couple’s worries!

Celebrate every season, and share love through the beauty of flowers

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