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Ceremony Flowers: Part 2

Repurposing ceremony flowers at the reception

Listen, we are well aware of the cost of flowers! So, when it comes to repurposing your ceremony flowers at your reception, we are all for it! Below we’ve given a couple of examples of how we’ve made the most out of the blooms during the “I Do’s” to enhance the reception space. Typically, the sweetheart and bridal tables, though not always!

But first- few important things to keep in mind if you’d like to repurpose your ceremony flowers:

  1. This is much easier if your ceremony and reception are at the same location. Floral transportation in a vehicle after the ceremony is best left to the professionals. We can make sure the pieces stay in tact. Sometimes the extra cost of paying a professional to stay and do the transport is higher than simply creating new pieces for the reception. Additionally, some churches require the altar flowers be left as a donation, so check your contract!
  2. Moving large structures is difficult! Sometimes, the space layout makes it impossible to move a chuppah, arch, etc from one space to another safely. You must also consider where your guests are going to be for cocktail hour. The ceremony to reception transformation should be like changing scenes in a play. Everyone knows something amazing happened, but no one sees the stage crew making it happen (take it from this former high school stage manager). No one wants to see a sweaty floral crew schlepping a heavy structure through your cocktail hour. Not to mention, we must consider the safety of your guests when moving and building structures.
  3. Remember the timeline. If you plan to take photos in front of your ceremony space where the flowers are, mind that your florist team only has a limited amount of time to perform the flip. It can be easy to forget this in the moment when you are taking photographs. It’s best to alert your photographer in advance that your florist needs to remove the flowers so they can plan accordingly. Your photographer should be able to choose an alternate location for these photographs or take them before the ceremony.
  4. Don’t force it. It may seem like a great idea to use your tall centerpieces down the aisle and then move them to the tables after. But sometimes the elevated centerpieces are too tall to go down the aisle. Now, Aunt Millie is sitting behind a lovely floral arrangement but can’t see her dear niece say her vows. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it.
  5. Trust your florist. Listen to their advice. This is where hiring a florist with lots of experience is key.

Now, on to the success stories!

Shannon & Jay

Shannon and Jay were married at Slate Studio. Their relatively small guest count allowed them to utilize the amazing industrial-modern space for the ceremony. Then, transform it to a family-style celebration while cocktails were served in the next room. EF Lighting hung a wooden structure from the ceiling with dangling Edison bulbs which played beautifully with the design of the space. Our team came in and added florals on top and dripping down from the structure, creating the perfect frame for Shannon and Jay. The floor arrangement provided some asymmetry and grounding. What you can’t see in the photos is the Church Stand designs, which were the reception table centerpieces. We placed them along the back walls where the guests entered the room to fill the space with flowers.

During the flip, the team at Slate removed the chairs and brought in their signature farm tables. Chairs went back for dinner seating. The Church stands lined the center of the tables. Our Neeta Vases designed in lush white, ivory, nude, and deep red with lots of candlelight complimented the taller designs. For the sweetheart table, the Slate team placed a shorter farm table under the hanging installation. The floor arrangement slid in front of the table. The aisle candles surrounded the base, making an intimate sweetheart table design for the couple. The Slate team and Madeline Kelly events completed this flip in under an hour!

Diana & Michael

Diana and Michael were married at The Fairmont in downtown Pittsburgh. We’ve worked at The Fairmont many times now. We are always impressed with the speed and precision of their team during ceremony to reception flips! For this wedding, we had an extra 30 minutes because they utilized about 75% of the ballroom for the ceremony. Typically, the room is split in half by a soundproof divider so we can set about half of the tables before the ceremony. Then, we set the second half during cocktail hour. Because of the extra time needed to set more tables, it was imperative that we kept the transition simple.

Diana and Michael opted for a multi-level design of modern stands to frame their ceremony space. The two floor designs were later placed on pedestals and used among the tall centerpieces. This allowed them to stretch their budget and get more impact in their ceremony. To create a more intimate space, the floral stands were slid behind the sweetheart table. This, coupled with their monogram on the wall, was especially impactful in their photos during toasts and speeches.

Flips are almost always necessary in a space like The Fairmont. Typically, the ceremony is in one part of the ballroom. While guests were at cocktail hour, the divider was opened and the ballroom converted to the reception. Don’t forget to factor this into the cost of your wedding florals when booking a venue with this circumstance. Cost can vary depending on the difficulty of the flip. Expect a minimum cost of $300 since our team will be on site for the duration of your ceremony and cocktail hour.

Haley & James

Haley and James used their ceremony decor in an especially unique way at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh. They flipped the ceremony space to create an amazing lounge space for their guests to hang out and take photos. Haley and James said their vows on a platform in Monaco’s Sofia Ballroom backed by Marbella’s Palmer Gold Barback. We draped the Palmers in hot pink florals and candles. During cocktail hour, All Occasions Party Rental brought in sofas and matching pillows and placed them on the stage. Guests enjoyed taking a break from dancing and snapping selfies in the transformed space well into the night!

Using your ceremony floral in a unique and unexpected way enhances your guests’ experience! Plus, you get the most out of your venue rental. It is a wise use of your floral budget as well. Since we didn’t need to move the floral, that saved some budget on labor. The Burnside Group knows how important creating memories at an event can be- especially at a wedding! In this case, it was easier to move in sofas than to transport the heavy shelves. The couple was able to utilize all of the rented space for the entire evening. Win-win!

Maura & Alex

This next example is the easiest way to reuse florals in your reception decor. Your bridesmaid’s bouquets need a home during the reception so why not use them as a part of the decor? I can’t think of a wedding where we don’t use the bouquets in some way to enhance the reception site. In the case of Maura and Alex’s outdoor reception, they had an extraordinarily long head table in the middle of their tent. We simply ran a floral garland down the length, popped in some candles and bouquet vases and voila! Instant King’s Table decor! This was especially effective for Maura and Alex who had amazingly colorful florals so the bouquets really popped amongst the greenery. On a hot day, the bouquets were kept fresh in water so the ‘maids could take them home and enjoy them after the wedding as well!

Not having a head table or king’s table? There are plenty of other places to use your bridal party bouquets in the reception space. Think about your Pittsburgh Cookie Table, fireplace mantles, window ledges, etc. The bridal bouquet almost always goes where the bride is sitting.

Pro Tip: I do not suggest repurposing your bridal party bouquets anywhere at cocktail hour. Places like: gift table, guestbook table, escort card table, etc. More than likely, you and your attendants will be out taking photographs during cocktail hour, or resting in a private room, refreshing make up, etc. You wouldn’t want an empty vase just hanging out on one of these important tables should the bouquets not make it back in time for cocktail hour!

In conclusion, there are some considerations to weigh when deciding to repurpose your ceremony flowers later in your wedding day. Bottom line: it is 100% worth exploring. Logistically, it is important to get the input of your florist and the venue to make sure that it is feasible. Weigh the costs and the benefits and make the decision that works best for you and your wedding budget!

Vendor Credits

Shannon & Jay’s wedding:

Event Planner: Madeline Kelly Events | Venue: Slate Studio | Photography: Lex King | Floral Design: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Linens: Mosaic | Stationery: Paper Refinery | Catering: Big Burrito Group | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Lighting: EF Lighting

Diana & Michael’s wedding:

Design and Planning: Reverie Events | Venue: Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh | Photography: Ashley Sara | Floral Design: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Stationery and Signage: Golden Moments LA | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental, Brittany Anne’s Events | Linens: Mosaic | Entertainment and Lighting: Loyalty Entertainment

Haley & James’s wedding:

Event Planning: Burnside Group | Venue: Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh | Photography: Lex King | Floral Design: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Rentals: Marbella Event Rental and All Occasions Party Rental | Lighting: Media Quest

Maura & Alex’s wedding:

Photography: Dawn Derbyshire | Venue: Private Residence | Floral Design: The Blue Daisy Floral Designs | Catering and Cake: All in Good Taste Productions

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