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Planning Your Wedding: Selecting a Florist

January 25th, 2017

Posted by Kimberly Wallner

It’s the time of year for engagements, and wedding sites are posting their lists of tips, trends, and “things you must do after getting engaged”. There is certainly no shortage of information out there, but I’ve found very little that specifically talks about a major element of most weddings: flowers!

I’ve been in the wedding industry for seven years (as an event planner and then a venue manager), but until I started with Belli Fiori my flower knowledge was limited, as I’m sure is the case with almost all of our couples. Most have a few favorite flowers and a Pinterest board full of inspiration, but they don’t always know what is available for their wedding date or a realistic idea of what wedding flowers cost… so let’s talk flowers and remove some of the mystery of this part of the planning process!

 

Timeline
Most of our clients book with us 8 months to one year out from their wedding date. This of course is not a hard and fast rule (we are still getting inquiries for this spring, for example). The most important thing is to have your venue selected and locked in when you begin to talk with florists, since that will determine the overall style of your wedding, your guest count (and therefore number of tables) and the style of centerpieces (tall arrangements work best in venues with high ceilings, low arrangements work well outdoors where wind can be an issue). Since the cost of flowers can change drastically, we try not to book more than a year and a half in advance.

Budget
Generally speaking, floral will account for 10% of your overall wedding budget. This is not a hard and fast rule either, but for the average wedding incorporating personal flowers, floral centerpieces and some floral at the ceremony, this is a good place to start. Some things that will increase the amount you will spend on flowers includes a large bridal party, wanting mostly tall centerpieces, and expensive flower choices (orchids and peonies cost more than most roses, for example). It’s important to at least have a rough budget in mind before you start meeting with florists, so they can give you realistic ideas to fit within your price point. Also keep in mind that most florists have a minimum, which may vary depending on the time of year.

Everyday vs. Wedding Florists
Everyday Florists are the shops you see around town where you can pop in and pick up a bouquet of roses or call to have an arrangement sent to your mom for Mother’s Day. Most of these shops are best equipped to handle smaller weddings or bouquet orders, since they generally do not have a large inventory of rental items. Wedding florists (like us) specialize specifically in weddings and special events. We only have flowers in our cooler if we have events taking place and we own an extensive collection of rental items that our couples can select from when designing their weddings.

 

Making a Selection
Selecting the right florist is a personal thing… You want someone you connect with, someone who is professional and someone who understands what you’re looking for. You need to be able to go in with inspiration photos and trust that you’re getting something similar. Begin your search on sites like The Knot, where you can quickly and easily find several florists in your city. Also talk with friends who have recently been married, as well as vendors you’ve already selected. (Wedding vendors are an amazing resource since we work with other vendors every weekend!) From there, visit florists’ websites to get a better idea of their style. Once you have narrowed your options to three or four, schedule consultations so you can meet, chat and really get a sense of who you’d be working with.

The Floral Proposal
Once you’ve met with each florist, you’ll begin receiving proposals from each one outlining the style, types of flowers and greenery, rental items and labor costs. While there might be some wiggle-room for negotiation, keep in mind that you are contracting a custom service and it takes a team to make it happen. From the floral designers to the setup and breakdown crews, some weddings require a small army to bring the vision to life! Proposals not only include these labor costs and the costs of the flowers, but also rental items, taxes and delivery fees.

The Wedding Day
On the day of your wedding, your floral team is running around behind the scenes delivering bouquets, pinning boutonnieres and setting up the ceremony and reception. If your wedding day includes a room flip, the floral team is waiting in the wings to help transform the space quickly before your guests have finished cocktail hour. If your contract includes breakdown, the team will return to strike the room and take all the rental items at the end of the night.

Most importantly, remember that choosing a great team of vendors means you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your wedding day!

Special thanks to the amazing photographers featured in this post, who always capture our clients so beautifully! White-Clump Photography | Mike Cassimatis Photography | Image Clarity Switzerfilm | Zoe Life Photography 

Seasonal Blooms for Crisp Autumn

September 30th, 2015

Posted by Laura Katherine Smith

School has started, the weather is showing signs of changes, September is here… Our last breath of summer is this coming Labor Day weekend. www.ask . As much as some of us want to hold on to summer, the masses of us are quickly anticipating all that comes with fall; crisp air, rusted and rich colors, sweaters and pumpkin everything.air track tumbling

What all of us botanical lovers get excited about is the change in flower availability and all around palettes we get to play with! Good go to seasonal blooms are dahlias, garden roses (juliet’s our favorite), wax flower, succulents, cosmos (chocolate – yes please), astrantia, coxcom, and many more! Here is a round up of some of our most inspiring fall wedding florals and designs curated from Pinterest and inspired by Pantone’s Fashion Color Report Fall 2015:

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Check out some of our go-to Pinterest pages for seasonal inspiration and visual impact when working with brides and design clients:

Style Me Pretty

Martha Stewart Weddings

BRIDES 

Flower Magazine

 

A Sunday Afternoon Young, Wild + Free Styled Shoot

July 27th, 2015

Posted by Laura Katherine Smith

A few weeks ago Heather Roth sent us a note asking if we would provide some awesome floral details for an upcoming styled shoot. Of course we said YES- absolutely, we just adore Heather and her incredible photography skills!! She sent along her ideas and inspiration of what she was looking for… she would be shooting her best friend from growing up, with her family in a really fun and different kind of shoot. Not your traditional matching outfits set in an ethereal scene, rather a sassy and current look set in the woods! We love every bit of this shoot (these kids are beyond ADORABLE), and can not resist sharing… Should also take time to check out Heather Roth Photography blog where she shares super helpful tips on managing your kiddos during a styled shoot as well as even more really great snaps from this Young, Wild and Free day.

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Photographer – Heather Roth Photography

Tent – B. E. Little you and me, Etsy

Black tank – Diane Von Furstenburg

Skirt – Chelsea & Violet

Shoes – Christian Louboutin

Necklace – Stella & dot

Bracelet – Cartier

Tux – Hemrajani, custom

Shoes – Farragamo

Animal top, tulle skirt with stars  – Zara kids

Black boots – Jelly beans

Feather headband – A tiny arrow, Etsy

Polka-dot top – Zara kids

Gold Boots – Dr. Martens

Feather Bloomers – Million Polkadots

Animal Felt Masks – Magical Attic, Etsy

Star top – Nununu baby

Camo pants – Marloe Jr.

Black kicks – Nike low dunks

Corals and Pinks for a Spring Wedding

June 1st, 2015

Posted by Laura Katherine Smith

What a gorgeous day for this stunning couple… Felise + Doug! The couple wed on April 25 of this year and Spring showers definitely did not scare them away from taking the opportunity for some beautiful outdoor shots in Forest Park after their first look at The Chase Park Plaza. How can you resist the park for your wedding portraits?! Mike Cassimatis of MNC Photography had the pleasure of shooting the bride + groom along with family and their wedding party…

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We have to share all the little details because they are simply stunning, and as wedding designers we get excited seeing it all come together, especially from the photographers perspective! How pretty, romantic and perfect!

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After their outdoor shoot, the couple and the wedding party headed over to  The Coronado for their ceremony. The Coronado is complimented by lovely details since the space is timeless and beautiful to begin with, we always enjoy working with the awesome staff there and they do a phenomenal job every step of the way.

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And then on to the party!

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And then on to the party!

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Vendor Love…

Photographer: MNC Photography

Florist: Belli Fiori

Decor / Lighting: Table 10 Event Design

Venue: The Coronado

Band: The Charles Glenn Group

Cake: Sugaree 

About Town: Orchid Evenings at The New York Botanical Garden

March 22nd, 2015

Posted by Laura Katherine Smith

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Let us start by saying how in awe we are of the work that goes in to creating such undeniable beauty. Knowing what it takes to conceptually design an idea, prepare all the details, bring it to life with perfect execution and then maintain it. And when we say “maintain” in this case it means for a solid two months. Granted, orchids are a tad more resilient that the cut flowers we typically work with, but they still need to be nurtured in all shapes and forms.

We had the pleasure of enjoying a Saturday evening at the world renowned New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY for The Orchid Show: Chandeliers, Orchid Evenings. The trek to the 250 acres grounds smack in the middle of the upper borough of NYC was not an easy one from Manhattan, but was well worth the journey! Upon arrival through the grand front gates, we got a bit giddy knowing we were experiencing this gorgeous horticultural escape- after hours- under the evening moon. The viewing takes place in NYBG Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which is a grand glimpse on the outside to what is expected within.

After being greeted by the ever so kind staff at NYBG, we immersed ourselves among the humid setting surrounded by the year round existing plant life. Touring half of the upper level of the Conservatory, you immediately have to look up to discover the vast spanning Oncidium Orchids dangling above your head, shooting out in all directions and illuminated from colored lighting directly placed throughout the space. Impressive for sure, but nothing immediately shocking to the eye… at least not yet. More just a pleasurable moment walking through mossy caskets of Orchid species resolutely placed.

Much easier to view during the day as the sunlight penetrates through the glass panels of the space, evening calls for a more intimate setting with LED lighting from all angles- and in the case of our Orchid Evening, orchid inspired libations and trendy music streaming throughout. Scores of regular species we are so familiar with, to ones we have never heard of were present in making this show an utter success. Various varieties and even cross bred and hybrids made this all so very impressive.

The moment of impact happened once we experienced about two-thirds of the exhibition, where upon returning upstairs and entering the center of the conservatory, we were greeted by a massive (likely 12′ in diameter) three-tiered Living Orchid Chandelier made up of Phalaenopsis Orchids and mosses. It is pure beauty, in your face… and even more exciting, you can walk underneath it and view from all exterior angles on ground level. The amazement of what can be done with orchids is perhaps infinite, but this display is rather breathtaking and will not be forgotten!! -LKS

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#InstaGlam STL Bride Style – Classic Elegance

March 21st, 2015

Posted by Laura Katherine Smith

We all know everyone loves a good Instagram photo… and as floral and event designers, we love (even more) professional snaps to grace the cubed spaces of our company profile pages to reach the masses! Belli Fiori had the pleasure of being featured in Saint Louis Bride’s Spring/Summer 2015 – Instaglam issue! And what a treat it was to work with the incredible people at Saint Louis Bride, L Photographie, Simcha’s Events and Boda Film, along with all the venues and vendors we adore working with time and time again.

“Three days, three shoots” exclaims the magazine with their style feature for this wedding seasons issue. The magazine flawlessly executed not just our shoot, but two more, all over town! Classic elegance, that look that never goes out of style and is never a miss, was the tone set for our shoot. We are extremely proud of all our creative achievements, but there is something to say about sticking with what will never go out of style or touch when looking back at photos of your special day.

Speaking of days… our shoot started on a crisp fall morning in November at the Magnolia Hotel, the chic new boutique hotel downtown (that we are totally enamored with) like any true wedding would. Florals already designed and prepped to be installed at the Magnolia for the reception shoot and then on to the Little Flower Catholic Church for ceremony shots. We had such a fun day shooting with everyone, as well as all that went in to designing and such leading up to that day. And we are beyond thrilled with the results- we hope you love them as much as we do!

 

Photo by L Photographie for Saint Louis Bride

Photo by L Photographie for Saint Louis Bride

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Photo by L Photographie for Saint Louis Bride

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Featured Wedding – Amy & Drew

August 22nd, 2014

Posted by Lisa Molitor

I loved this couple since the moment we Skyped for our consultation.  Amy and Drew live in Texas and this was a great way to meet Amy “in person” to talk about flowers.  From the beginning, we really hit it off and had many a conversation that lasted forever because we were gabbing about all of her wedding planning.  Her mom, Debbie, was just as amazing.  We got to work together trying to figure out which linens Amy would like for the reception.  Finally, meeting Drew at a linen meeting (I’m sure he was thrilled to be there!), I could see that they made a lovely couple. I didn’t want the wedding day to come because then working with them would be over…they would be out of my life forever (*sigh*).  Thank goodness for Facebook.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from Amy & Drew’s wedding.  Special thanks to another of my favorite people…Liz Sloan from L Photographie for taking some lovely photos as always and so glad that you referred me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vendor Love:

Photography:  L Photographie

Ceremony:  Shrine of St Joseph

Reception:  Kemolls

Floral:  Belli Fiori

Linens:  Belli Fiori

Cake:  The Cakery Bakery

Favor:  Gooey Louie

A Hindu / Christian Wedding Celebration

July 5th, 2014

Posted by Lisa Molitor

This beautiful day of combined ceremonies and receptions were a mix of Hindu and Christian ideas and it was a day that was quite a whirlwind.  The morning began with the Hindu Wedding Ceremony and then a cultural luncheon on the stage of the Peabody.  It was very dramatic with the rich tones of red and gold. The afternoon shifted into a new color palette and a new ceremony / reception.  The design went from warm and rich, to cool and extravagant with shades of purple, lavenders and whites complemented by silver and crystal to add some shine. This was a truly exhausting day for the team at Belli Fiori but so much fun and some amazing designs!

Here is a list of the fabulous vendors that made the day run so smooth:

Event Style and Coordination:  Lacy Branch Events  |  Photography / Videography:  Switzerfilm  |  Venue:  Peabody Opera House  |  Reception Caterer:  Levy Restaurants  |  Cake:  Sarah’s Cake Shop  |  Lighting / Décor:  Parties & Props  |  Rentals (Ghost Chairs):  Millennium Productions  |  Transportation:  JED Transportation  |  Horse for Barat:  St Louis Carriage Company  |  Rentals (Silver Chameleon Chairs/Tables):  Weinhardt Party Rentals  |  Candy / Dessert Station:  Creative Stations

 

 

Featured Wedding – Lauren and Bennett

March 21st, 2014

Posted by Lisa Molitor

September has become such a popular month in the “Lou” and it can definitely be attributed to the amazing weather.  It was not a surprise that the wedding day for Lauren and Ben was truly spectacular. I had worked with the bride’s sister on previous projects so I was honored they asked me to work with them on Lauren and Ben’s wedding.  We did a lot of preliminary planning between her mom and her sister because Lauren was living in Australia at the time.  When they moved back to the States, we were finally able to meet in person a few months before the wedding and work out all of the final details. The colors were soft blush with accents of gold except for a little pop of color in the bridal bouquet.  Lauren and Ben’s ceremony and reception were held at the St Louis Zoo and it was a perfect day for a wedding!

Vendor Love:

Photography:  Heather Roth Photography  |  Day of Coordination:  Proposing Dreams  |  Venue:  St Louis Zoo  |  Lighting and Decor:  Exclusive Events  |   Stationary:  Courtney Winet Designs  |  Cake:  Sugaree  |  Videography:  Love Bird Studios  |  DJ:  CJ’s Disc Jockey Service

And the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year is…

January 22nd, 2014

Radiant Orchid!

Whether you love it or hate it, it is here.  I’ve heard people gasp, “Oh my, it’s the color of Barney” or other people who have embraced it.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® had this to say, “While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination.  An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.  An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Purple tones have been a huge trend in weddings for the past few years, especially in 2010 – 2011.  But this orchid color is definitely different – it’s not eggplant, it’s not regal purple and it’s not lavender.  It is a very warm tone of purple that will bring freshness to the color palette for spring.  I think this color plays well with the warm blush tones that are so popular right now because of the pink undertones.  This color would fit in well with the vintage palettes currently in vogue.

Be Ready to embrace the orchid palette, I think this one will be around for a while!

 

Bride's Choice 2010
Bride's Choice 2011
Bride's Choice 2012
Bride's Choice 2013
Bride's Choice 2014
Bride's Choice 2015
Bride's Choice 2016
The Knot Best of Weddings 2010
The Knot Best of Weddings 2011
The Knot Best of Weddings 2012
The Knot Best of Weddings 2013
The Knot Best of Weddings 2014
The Knot Best of Weddings 2015
The Knot Best of Weddings 2016