Hydrangeas and dahlias and orchids, oh my! With so many dreamy blooms to choose from, it’s no wonder you’re overwhelmed with wedding flowers. Luckily, Jennifer and Gerry Gaudet are happy to help. They’re the owners of A Beautiful Bouquet in Leicester, MA, and as their name suggests, they make some beautiful arrangements. We got the inside scoop on how they got started, all the styles to look out for, and what to keep in mind when deciding on flowers—from centerpieces to bouquets and beyond.
How did you get into the flower business?
Flowers have always been a love of mine. I went to agricultural school in Danvers for floriculture and worked in flower shops for years. But about seven years ago, it was time to be on my own. There was certainly a learning curve—I only took one business course in college! But with the help of my husband and the Internet, we figured it out.
What’s it like working side by side creating arrangements for other couples?
For the most part, I’m the creative force, but Gerry’s there running vases to the table—and he always has to make sure everything is perfectly centered! We balance each other out in a yin-and-yang way. For example, I’ll say, “That needs to go up a little,” when decorating an arbor, and he’ll say, “It looks fine.” Gerry also takes care of most of the back-end stuff while I do the pricing and design.
Do you have a certain style you’re partial to, or do you always customize your designs?
We always want to make sure we do whatever the bride is looking for, and I always like to add in her favorite flower, if she has one. (I always ask at the beginning of each appointment.) Contemporary style (something modern and minimalist) is a little difficult—I’m more comfortable with a “natural garden style,” as I like to call it. If I’m giving my free hand, I usually go with whatever’s trending at the moment.
So what is trending right now?
Lots of natural elements! Things like greenery, berries, and pods. Nowadays, I get so many requests for trailing greens or all garland and no flowers—the look is beautifully natural and neutral. Also, bouquets and boutonnieres have become much more refined. They used to be very one-dimensional and now people like them more layered.
What steps can couples take to ensure they choose the right flowers?
Pinterest is a fabulous resource—but it’s important to remember it’s global. You can bring in a pin that’ll say something is a “fall flower,” but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a fall flower available in New England—maybe in California or Europe! It’s always helpful to do your research beforehand. Nevertheless, pictures definitely help so I can get an idea of the style the bride is looking for.
How much money do you recommend a couple put towards flowers?
A typical recommendation is about 10% of the budget, but it varies. For example, if you’re having a rustic wedding in a barn, you’ll likely be spending less than a wedding at a high-end hotel with ceilings 15 feet high. Typically, flowers are geared towards the theme of the wedding. And always get a few quotes from more than one florist. An average bouquet cost might be $200 at one place and $100 at another!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I had a bride last summer who I remember was waving her hand in front of her eyes, teary-eyed when the flowers were brought in, and her mom was gushing, saying that they were perfect. Everyone was oohing and ahhing. That’s how I want to end my day every day. That’s my favorite part.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with couples choosing their wedding flowers?
Go with your heart. Find what makes you happy. I sat with a girl the other day who brought three people with her—and I don’t think any of them had the same opinion as her. Bring someone who’s the same style level as you. Essentially, if you don’t agree on styles with your mom, don’t bring your mom to the flower shop!
Written by Diana Whelan