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Bridal Club Magazine

Flowers and Candles

Flowers and candles are an integral part of every wedding, though the types and amounts used will vary depending on the formality and size of the wedding and reception, the time of year, the time of day, and whether the event is held indoors or out.

Flowers: The following flowers are needed, even at small weddings:

• bouquet for the bride
• bouquets for the bride's attendants
• boutonnières for the groom and his attendants, including ushers*
• corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
• boutonnières for the fathers, grandfathers, and ring bearer, if a boy
• corsage for the guest book attendant

* If the groom or any of his attendants wear military uniforms, it is a violation of military protocol to wear a boutonniere on the uniform.

You may need the following additional flowers, depending on the size of the wedding and the facility where the ceremony and reception will be held:
• boutonnière for the minister or officiant, unless he or she wears a robe
• corsages for female candle lighters and female ring bearers
• corsage for the wedding coordinator
• petals for the flower girl's basket/baskets unless your facility doesn't allow them
• corsages for those serving at the reception if friends or family members serve
• centerpiece or large arrangements for the front of the sanctuary or the altar
• centerpieces for one or more of the serving tables at the reception
• centerpieces for the guest tables at the reception
• a toss bouquet for the bride

Whether you use fresh or silk flowers is a matter of choice. If members of the wedding party are allergic to pollen, silk flowers may be the better choice. However, if a florist arranges the flowers, silk ones often cost as much as real flowers because they are labor-intensive. When choosing fresh flowers, those that are in season will be less expensive than those that have to be imported.

When choosing flowers, consider the size and lighting of the rooms where the wedding and reception will be held. If the wedding will be held at night or in low light, pale-colored flowers such as pinks, lavenders, and yellows, may not show up well, or may look gray, including in your wedding photos. If the room is large, centerpieces or standing arrangements should also be large and contain larger flowers, such as lilies, so that the arrangements are clearly visible from the back of the sanctuary or room.

Many brides choose to use fresh flowers on the wedding cake. Your florist can provide loose flowers that the baker will use on the cake, or the florist and baker might work together to decorate the cake.

Candles: Candles can add elegance to an evening wedding or a church wedding. For weddings held earlier in the day, the amount and type of candles used will vary. The amount of candles needed will also vary with the season and with the location of the ceremony. Generally, more candles are used at winter weddings than at summer ones and more are used in churches than other locations. If an outdoor wedding is planned, you may choose to forgo the use of candles, particularly if the location is prone to be windy. If candles are used at an outdoor event, they should not be tall and they should be surrounded by a glass enclosure.

The following candles are often used at indoor weddings:

• candelabra in the front of the church or place where the ceremony will be held
• a unity candle to be lighted by the bride and groom
• side candles that the bride and groom use to light the unity candle
• candles on the guest tables at the reception

Many event centers no longer allow candles to be used unless they are surrounded by a glass enclosure (you don't want to set off the fire sprinklers). Therefore, if you want to use candelabra for the ceremony, be sure to ask if it is permissible. Churches are usually more relaxed about the use of candles with open flames.

Most churches have candelabras. If yours doesn't, you can rent them at most rental centers. You can also rent votive candleholders and tabletop candelabras.

Incorporating flowers and candles into your decorations will add a special touch to your wedding. With a bit of creativity, you can add elegance without spending a lot of money and transform your wedding location from ordinary to extraordinary.

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