The florist’s paramount concern is, of course, the happiness of the wedding party. As the desires and requests made by many brides have increasingly become multifaceted and non-traditional, creativity and a willingness to think outside the box are key. The stories are abundant and diverse: There was the woman who asked to have her grandmother’s brooch incorporated into her bouquet, and the purple-haired bride who asked for all black calla lilies.There was the bride who wanted nothing besides a bundle of peacock feathers, and the same sex couple on their way to the justice of the peace who asked for a multihued rainbow bouquet. And the couple that got married on Halloween, when the woman — dressed as the bride of Frankenstein — insisted on having red roses spray- painted black. Wedding trends have never been more fluid or versatile than they are right now. Bridal magazines, once the go-to for brides looking for inspiration, are no longer the standard. Today, brides-to-be are more likely to get inspiration from social media sites like Pinterest or by searching for a creative concept in the river of photos posted by friends and relatives on Facebook and Instagram. A couple of years ago, the all-natural, barn-house wedding trend included bouquets wrapped in burlap; before that, an all-white approach dominated the matrimonial sphere, with brides often asking for baby’s breath bouquets and simple, hand-picked floral arrangements. The long-running trend of all-white weddings — really, for all memorable events — recently has shifted to a much louder palette, demonstrated by big splashes of color and an emphasis on bold blooms, textures, fillers and greenery. No trendsetter has embodied this more than Beyoncé, whose pregnancy announcement last year showed the superstar dressed in a pale green veil in front of a multicolored floral backdrop. Wedding planners everywhere took note, and a notable shift was felt in the industry. In this spirit-of-the-new, couples are now embracing large-scale floral installations, often interspersed with balloons, with many brides seeking “Instagrammable” moments for their engagement parties and bridal showers, said Jack Kane, a New Orleans-based wedding planner and the chief operations officer at Sapphire Events. “Trees are really in, and treelike arrangements,” Kane said. “People are really loving that look also for weddings in a ballroom (setting), where they want to bring the outside in.” “I’m also seeing a lot of people who are really into bold colors — in particular, a deep red.That used to not be the case; it was all white, for everything,” Kane said. Arguably the biggest trendsetters for the industry are celebrities and their widely publicized nuptials. In the aftermath of Kate Middleton’s royal wedding, brides everywhere began requesting lily of the valley bouquets at their own celebrations. The trend continues with the most recent royal nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: When Markle walked down the aisle carrying a petite selection of flowers handpicked by the groom from their private garden at Kensington Palace, prospective brides-to-be once again paid close attention. Markle’s bouquet, a modest assembly of sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and sprigs of myrtle, came bundled together with a

simple raw silk ribbon. The bouquet’s tour de force, however, were the forget-me-nots, which were Princess Diana’s favorite bloom. Since the wedding, Kane said he has already received several requests from clients looking to replicate Markle’s wedding style. No demand is too big or too small, and the floral teams often pitch in with a lot of the delivery, display and decorating at the events. At a wedding inThibodaux,which was held in an upstairs space with a large open balcony, greenery ruled; the bride wanted the mostly concrete exterior to look like a backyard, so the floral department got to work, transforming the area into a lush, outdoor oasis. “I had to go select these 50-gallon trees from a nursery and have them delivered — big, spiky trees to make it look like a garden,” Sistrunk recalled. “It was in the middle of the fall but (the bride) didn’t want any fall colors. Just because it’s the season doesn’t mean those are the colors that the bride wants. So you’re always chasing around, trying to find the colors that they want.” Paula Pizzitola, who works in the Mandeville store’s floral department, fondly recalled a wedding at Benedict’s Plantation where the bride didn’t shy away from color: “She wanted all fall colors — red, bronze, orange, yellow, purple and a touch of blue with some gold accents,” Pizzitola said. “At first, we were worried that all of the colors would be too much, but once we put the bridal bouquet together — along with the bridal party’s bouquets — we were very pleased with the end results.”So was the bride, who called to gush and lavish praise on the florists after the wedding. Weddings in different areas tend to follow their own set of trends. The florist at the Mandeville store handles most of the North Shore weddings, which often include a lot of garlands and more classic settings, while the Baronne Street store in New Orleans’Warehouse District often handles nuptials on the cruise ships docked nearby on the Mississippi River. Though floral trends are eternally in flux, roses always seem to be the flower of choice for a marriage at sea, Sistrunk says. “Nothing stays the same, but roses are always there. It’s a timeless flower.”



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