Flowers are as much a part of weddings as white dresses and cringey dance moves from your uncle.
Think about it: flowers can influence the graphics on your invitations, what colour scheme you use and the styling at your reception. Heck, a bunch of blooms can even dictate when and where you tie the knot! But before you start tossing up between wild flowers and David Austin roses, tight posies or free-form bouquets, you need to ask yourself one question: fresh or faux? For some couples, fresh flowers is the automatic (and potentially only) answer, but for others artificial blooms are a super tempting alternative. So which option is best? That's what this Bride Battle will decide...
Round one: longevity
Flowers don't last forever. Flowers are plants, living plants, so they will (eventually) die. Your florist or stylist will do their best to make sure your blooms look on point all day, but some things are beyond anyone’s control. The most uncontrollable factor is the weather. Some of the most popular wedding flowers – peonies, tulips, garden roses – don’t hold up well in humidity and hot weather. All it takes is a couple of hours in warm temperatures and you can say hello to wilted blooms and fallen petals. To keep your blooms looking fresh, a water-spray bottle is your secret weapon.
No watering, no wilting, zero brown blooms and falling petals: once your bouquet or posy of faux flowers is in place, it’s not going anywhere. It’ll also require next to no maintenance and won’t go limp in humid or hot conditions. Did we mention that silk or paper flowers can also handle chillier weather and even rain? Artificial blooms will keep their shape after being handled too (just be careful of grubby hands that could mark the petals). When stored properly, faux flowers will last a lifetime, so those who feel particularly sentimental about their blooms can stash their bouquet or table centrepieces and break them out for future generations.
THIS ROUND GOES TO: Faux flowers.
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Which one is best? We find out.
Round two: cost
More fresh flowers at your wedding equals a higher bill from your florist. And that’s especially true if you have your heart set on out-of-season blooms, swanky floral installations and tables laden with spectacular centrepieces. Whenever there's talk of importing flowers and dozens of hours of floristry work, the costs can add up (and quickly). Cue budget blow-out. On the other hand, if you keep your flowers simple and stick to local, seasonal blooms, your costs will be much lower – even more so if you keep your styling flower-free. To keep your spend to a minimum, you could even try your hand at making your own bouquet (book in for a flower arranging workshop before the big day) or buying your flowers direct from a wholesaler or market.
Though silk or paper flowers might seem to be a cheaper alternative, it’s not always the case. While faux flowers don’t have to be grown and harvested, they still have to be made, usually by hand. Those extra hours can mean an extra zero on your final bill. To get a true cost comparison between fresh and faux, you would have to pit the same quantity and quality of real flowers against the faux counterpart. Because just like real flowers, the final cost of faux blooms will depend on how many you’re after and the work involved to pull it all together.
THIS ROUND GOES TO: It's a tie – there are too many variables.
Round three: stigma
There’s a reason finding a florist tops a couple's wedding to-do list. Fresh flowers are often considered a must-have, and countless hours go into research and repinning, finding the right florist and perfecting the final product. However, there is an automatic assumption that flowers at a wedding will be fresh blooms; it's a stereotype from way back.
The thought of a vase of fake flowers once conjured up images of cheap hotels, office buildings and your grandmother’s house. That’s no longer the case though, thanks to silk-flower walls, innovative brides and talented artisans, who make blooms so realistic it can take you a moment to tell the faux and fresh flowers apart. But there is still a stigma swirling around fake flowers. Some of the misconceptions include fake flowers are cheap, look too artificial and (obviously) don’t have the same scent or feel as fresh flowers. These assumptions are on the way out though.
THIS ROUND GOES TO: Fresh flowers.
Round four: practicality
We briefly touched on this in round one, but the practicality of arranging, transporting and maintaining flowers is such a big consideration, it deserves its own round. Unlike artificial flowers, fresh blooms can’t be prepared too far in advance (there’s that whole wilting thing) and have to be transported and installed in fairly quick succession. Those who’ve enlisted a florist are also unlikely to see the final product until the day before or the day of your nuptials. If you’re doing your own flowers, be sure to leave plenty of time for practice runs.
Have guests prone to allergies or hay fever? Ditching the pollen and swapping fresh flowers for artificial arrangements will make sure your guests’ sneezes and itchy eyes are kept to a minimum – a plus for them and you. DIYers will have time to practice the art of silk or paper flowers too, and so can create a bouquet or posy that kicks major flower goals. On the flip side, styling artificial flower arrangements can take just as long as fresh flowers, but if you’re able to access your venue a day or two before the wedding, you can bump in (an industry term for setting up) and make sure everything is on point. This also gives you time for a plan B if something goes wrong.
THIS ROUND GOES TO: Faux flowers.
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Think broccoli and berries.
Round five: look
Take one look on Pinterest and you’ll understand the styling opportunities that come with fresh flowers. Suspended installations, free-form centrepieces, towering vases, tight posies and OTT garlands: all are gorgeous and sure to impress. You can mix wild and native blooms, farmed flowers and fruiting vines. You can also use foliage in your styling, something that's harder to create with silk or paper.
Because you’re not limited by seasons or availability, the sky's the limit with artificial flower designs. The blooms can be incredibly intricate, detailed with extra embellishments or kept simple and realistic-looking. Get creative with different sized flowers, colours and shapes. You can arrange your blooms pretty much anyway you like. You do need to be careful of the quality of silk or paper used however, as less expensive materials might compromise the final look.
THIS ROUND GOES TO: Fresh flowers, but only by a smidge.
And the winner is...
We can't split it! This Bride Battle is a draw.
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