When you’re scrolling Pinterest for “elopement flowers”, you pin a bunch of super gorgeous bouquets, boutonnieres (’bout for short), and other florals, but there’s some things you need to consider before sending over that Pinterest board to your florist. After all, this is probably your first elopement rodeo!
That’s why I reached out to elopement floral expert, Afton Johnson, from Fern and Curl Designs, a Florida-based floral design studio with a flare for the unique. We ran around downtown Melbourne stopping at murals and chatting about how couples can ensure they get the florals of their elopement dreams.
When clients think about elopement flowers, the two things that come to mind are bouquet and bout. What else is out there?
“[You’re] not limited to just a bouquet and a bout. If your parents are coming, we can include them. If you happen to have a bridesmaid or groomsman, we can get them situated too. Heck, if you have a dinner party planned afterwards, we can do a few arrangements on the table at the restaurant! Also – we can do hotel flower explosion. My favorite. Which is where I come in to wherever you’re staying and throw up rose petals everywhere. E v e r y w h e r e.”
Fun fact – she did this for my Colorado elopement. It’s true and totally gorgeous. Some other fun ideas include a floral crown, floral hair pin, flower arch or stands, whatever you want! The day is your oyster!
Many times couples are hiking or doing something out of the ordinary for their elopement. They won’t be in the air-conditioned comfort of a venue. What are your favorite/recommended floral arrangements for an elopement?
When it comes to elopement florals, the bouquet is queen. Afton believes you can do whatever you want when it comes to the flowers, but she has some advice. “Please stick to color when thinking of your flowers. Different areas can get different [flowers] but also if you’re in love with something that is a spring-only flower but [you’re] eloping in the fall, that don’t jive turkey.”
Moral of the story – understanding the time of year you’re eloping, as well as the location will impact your selections. It’s best to consult with your elopement florist before setting your heart on those peonies for a winter elopement.
On top of the time of year and the location, take into account what you’re doing during your elopement. The type of flower you’ll want depends on if you’re braving the winds and water of the ocean or the heat of hiking. Afton tells us “for a boat [elopement], I would say something heat/wind tolerant, nothing super fragile, but sturdy. For hiking – something that can stay out of water for a bit [with] hearty stems! I do have a fun little mechanism that I use for hand tied bouquets so that it can still somewhat drink.”
Regardless of what type of adventure you’re having, it’s best to connect with your florist and let them guide you based on the season and what you’re planning!
Are there ways to preserve my bouquet after the wedding?
“Yes! I have a resin friend – Rejoice and Blossom – that you absolutely NEED to holler at as soon as you start this whole planning process.” There are so many options for preserving your petals from making an epoxy cast keepsake to pressing flowers!
Pinterest is overflowing with huge, gorgeous bouquets with all the latest trends. If I want a big beautiful Pin-worthy bouquet, what should I be budgeting?
Many couples believe that anything elopement-related should cost less than a wedding; however, that’s not the case. A good rule of thumb is to spend the same amount per piece that you would for a wedding. Afton suggests planning around $250+ for one of those Pin-worthy bouquets. Keep in mind that this is season and location-dependent. If you’re going to a location that’s costly to ship florals (say Hawaii or Breckenridge), you’re going to pay a premium.
If I give you a picture of a bouquet that I like, can you recreate it?
This depends on the florist. Afton’s approach is collaborative and original. “I call my process a collaboration because I ask for reference photos, but I’m going to put my own spin on it. Think of it like we’re back in high school, no plagiarizing allowed. I’m an artist! I’m not going to copy exactly someone else’s work and ideas.”
This is why it is so important to review your florist’s work and make sure that you’re loving their style. Not only that, but you should vibe with your florist. Since it is a collaborative effort, you want to make sure that you both are on the same page.
What makes an elopement bouquet epic?
“I surprise myself all the time I feel like, ha. It’s really when Mother Nature cooperates and everything is as gorgeous as possible. Even an all white bouquet can be a stunner when the ranunculus is giant, the spray roses are all open, the stock flower is fluffy. Ugh. But fun color combinations can really be fun too. I did one for a photoshoot that I was like, my career is done. This is the bouquet I die on. It was like desert colors – cactus green, salmon, yellow, orange. UGH…”
How far in advance should I book a florist for my elopement?
“As far as humanly possible. I book out a year myself…so…as soon as you even think I want to go to *blank*, holllerrr! And even if it might be 3 months out because you’re like, to HECK with a full wedding, still holler. There may be the off chance something cancelled and maybe they wanted to take the weekend off, but an epic travel wedding would be just as peachy.”
How do you recommend I transport my flowers if I’m adventuring around?
“I always try to provide a vase, even when traveling around. So you can leave the vase in the vehicle and take the bouquet to whatever scenic view you’re trying to capture. And even if you get to a restaurant or something later, you can just ask for some water for the vase (if any spills) and have it as table display too!”
What’s the benefit of hiring a traveling florist for my elopement?
It’s all about the connection for Afton. “If you’re up for adventure, shouldn’t your vendors be too? I get the sense of adventure and new places, new things, new memories! As someone who has been to a few different places, we get to build a relationship with folks when we come back! I’ve used the same folks in Colorado and North Carolina and it’s neat to be like, hey I’m back!”
What’s most important when hiring a florist for my elopement?
“Communication! For the expectations (on both sides), understand travel costs, making sure we have a timeline (just like on any other wedding day). If we’re both in a new area, we both need to know alllll of the things happening.”
What’s your favorite flower and why?
“That is too hard. I grew up loving sunflowers, but then I got into the flower world and discovered ranunculus. The coral ranunculus is my absolute fave…or maybe the Hanoi…they produce colors where no two stems are the same color. The coral you get like a sherbet effect with yellows, pinks, oranges but the hanoi is a super, delicate, soft pinkish almost white color and the heads are absolutely massive. Peony when she cooperates. I like the weird things too like the blushing bride protea, lotus (do not look like this up if you don’t like holes), love/hate relationship with king protea (she’s so pretty but heavy and expensiveee). And duh, what my business is named after – fern curls!”
What’s one thing you wish brides/grooms knew about elopement flowers?
“We can make it as simple or as extravagant as you’d like. This is all about y’all. If you have the budget for it and love flowers, I say do it up! I’ve known some couples to do the elopement and then scrap the whole wedding but wished they’d actually used their flower budget.”
There’s tons to consider when planning your elopement flowers. Your pieces need to be able to withstand whatever adventure you’re going on and still look good for photos. Consulting with a professional helps smooth the entire process. If you’d like to reach out to Afton to learn more about how she can help you plan your elopement florals, reach out to her through her website or email!