How to arrange wedding flowers

Many people who arrange lovely flowers in their own houses are terrified if it is suggested to them that they arrange wedding flowers.

The most important point is to realize why we want flowers for wedding and in churches. One reason is that flowers give an added dimension to the building. They provide a way of expressing our gratitude for all that the Church stands for. Furthermore, flowers can be used to accentuate certain architectural features. For instance, if there is a beautiful ceiling, flower balls hung at a height make the visitor look up. Attention can be drawn to beautiful carvings by placing a flower arrangement nearby.

There may be another, quite different, reason. The building may be hideous. Alas! Some are. In that case huge bowls of flowers can be used to hide the worst features. So before you make any plan decide what your flowers are to do. Are they to enhance or to hide? If they are to enhance, make sure that you do not get so carried away that you end by hiding!


To decide what is the purpose of your particular wedding flower arrangement go to the church and look at the background. When I am working in a church which I do not know I spend time walking round the whole building and soaking up the atmosphere and character. Then when I know the exact area which my flowers will decorate I sit down and study it from all angles. In the case of a cathedral or large church with great soaring arches the flower material will have to be sufficiently substantial and important to balance these features, and the arrangement must include flowers which will be visible from a distance. A small country church, on the other hand, can be enhanced by small garden flowers combined with hedgerow material.

Then think about colour, particularly if the background is a wall. For instance, grey stone soaks up colour more than stone of a pinkish hue. Screens and panelling of wood provide a good background for strong oranges and yellows, or an all-white group. If the colour chosen is white, make sure that you choose a variety of flowers to give different shades and textures. It is surprising how varied ‘white’ can be. Remove some of the foliage from white shrubs, for example philadelphus. Lilac lasts better if all the leaves are stripped. Many churches have brightly coloured curtains and carpets, or even decorative tiles. If the flower arrangement is near any of these, pick up the predominant colour. This helps to make the arrangement part of the building as a whole rather than a separate decoration. When these details areclear in your mind, you can begin to think about other aspects of your decorating.

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