When fresh flowers aren’t so fresh what do you do?

Ask any wedding florist or even a brick-and-mortar florist that works with fresh flowers: “what is your biggest complaint about fresh flowers?” You’ll find most florists will tell you “they’re too delicate” or “don’t last long”  or “prices are unpredictable so I gotta charge a really high margin just incase”.

It’s a topic that is often raised online and a quick Google brings up literally hundreds of articles in forums and florists website dedicated to “how best to keep fresh flowers alive” so why do we all keep using them? Let’s go through the pros because yes fresh flowers are pretty and smell great.

Well that’s it, the pros are they:

  • Smell great so fragrance a space beautifully.

  • A girl’s second best friend, after her diamond. Yes they’re so pretty and perfect...when they are grown and delivered perfectly.

  • Flowers are Mother Nature’s best produce while artificial flowers aren’t organic.

  • Biodegradable so is environmentally friendly and ethical.

These are the main factors that make fresh flowers so attractive to use in any scenario like a centrepiece for a wedding reception or christening decorations, and I admit they are profound reasons. Simply scenting the air is enough of a reason and I would say it is the foremost sole purpose of a fresh flower. But their biggest gripe is they aren’t perfect. 

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Yes life is organic and Mother Nature isn’t about delivering perfection every single stem grown naturally or at a green house farm. But we’re talking about when they need to be perfectly delivered for some of the most important, emotionally driven and memorable times in a person’s life, so they better be perfect everytime.

For the sake of comparisons lets look at the cons of using fresh flowers at a special event:

  • Farmers can’t guarantee they will last for x hours or days because farming is a nauseating algebratic equation of numerous alphabet letters and calculations.

  • They were living once while still in the soil, but once cut they degrade like any living thing.

  • Point 1 dictates their daily fluctuating costs once stock availability is factored in, so projecting ahead of time is as much of a game as weather forecasting.

  • Treat them like a highly allergic and haemophiliac child that needs to be bubble wrapped or risk bruising.

  • “Box, package, shelf, fridgerate and deliver with care. Be warned.” Every stem of flower should have this tag on them.

  • Clients expect them to last a long time because they’ve paid a lot of money. Except they don’t last forever, or even that long. So someone’s bound to get upset!

  • Allergies and hayfever are rising in the population and it’s serious business that can be fatal or outright annoying.

They’re some of the cons that come up a lot while using fresh flowers and certainly I find brides and grooms are raising the topic more often lately. So it is an important topic to kick off the new year with. 

What then should one do when fresh flowers aren’t so fresh? Simple answer “just avoid them” when there are perfectly wonderful alternatives available. 

Artificial flowers used to be horrid and some still look better suited to great grandma’s bathroom bouquet, or novelty decor you find at 2 dollar stores as shelf fillers. But they’ve come a long way with the advancements of polymer and materials research and manufacturing techniques. In a follow up blog I’ll go through the processes of design and manufacturing artificial flowers to point where some are “real touch” and look far more perfect and “fresh” than what Mother Nature produces. For now let’s continue with how to deal with non-fresh fresh flowers.

The humble florists often go through bunches of flowers that aren’t ideal for a number of reasons that include:

  • Growing conditions have been poor.

  • Budgetary stress & considerations at the time of ordering said flowers.

Yes I am oversimplying it and florists out there reading will both agree as well as jump up and down about my view in this article. They’ll say “look after them better” or “you don’t know how to handle them”, and I have been accussed of this in the past. But don’t dorget I started as a self-trained florist for over a decade before I even started to touch a single stem of artificial flowers so I know a thing or two about pros and cons of using fresh flowers.

Back to my point. Florists have to deal with a produce quality that is often out of their hands and on top of dealing with usual business and staff madness. There’ll be fire sales, throwaways, donations and short cuttings (execuse the pun) that are within our arsenal to deal with unhappy flowers that don’t have the good grace to remain perfect like they should. 

Imagine what an event stylist or wedding florist goes through when fresh roses, or any flowers for that matter, doesn’t behave? Often these events are one time only deals and can’t be repeated, nor is it possible to do a swap over of the floral arrangements during an event. So it is imperative that flowers are at their best and most amazing to avoid unhappt customers (and brand).  

Don’t get me wrong I’m like any other girl that adores fresh flowers because they hit the right spot of the touch, sight and smell senses. Maybe it has to do with the fond memories of receiving yor very first bouquet or stem of flower from a dotting boy? Whatever the reason; fresh flowers are amazing. But they’re not always perfect and so why not have alternatives in your arsenal as an event florist or wedding stylist? 

Being of both persuation of fresh flowers and artificial flowers, as well as constantly working with both products, I see there is a lot to offer with artificial flowers when fresh flowers are simply not providing the expectations for an event. 

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With that in mind I will go through the pros and cons with my couples and offer both as an option that they get to choose rather than pigeon hole them into either one. The conversation is about what is suitable for the brief of the event rather than “how much margin or money can I make more on because there’s a lot of markup in fresh flowers”.  

So when you are ready to talk to your wedding florist, the stylist of your event or wedding decorator - ask them to go through the options because there are really great alternatives when fresh flowers aren’t so fresh anymore.

By the way, in a follow up article I will go through in detail the benefits for fresh flowers or artificial flowers.

Which one would you prefer? Artificial or fresh flowers
— let me know your thoughts in the comments below