Wedding Flower Checklists: Are They Useful?

Last Updated on April 1, 2023

From bridal party flowers to centerpieces, use a checklist like this, and you won't forget any flowers for your big day.

Bridal bouquet with pink and white flowers

Why You Should Use A Checklist When Planning The Flowers For Your Wedding

Whether working with a florist, using a wedding planner, or planning a DIY event, it’s a good idea to use a checklist when planning your wedding flowers.

Some couples I work with are planning lavish events and want flowers everywhere. Some couples only want minimal flowers, like simple bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and maybe a few arrangements for the ceremony or reception.

According to several sources, most couples plan to allocate 10-15 percent of their wedding budget toward their flowers, up from the 8-10 percent level before the pandemic.

No matter where you fall in this spectrum, a solid floral checklist will help keep your planning and timeline on track.

Floral checklists for weddings are easy to find online and are an easy way to get started. They list all the essential flowers you need for your wedding and some ideas you probably have never considered. Printable checklists are also easy to find and download online.

This article aims to show why I believe using a floral checklist is valuable and why you should use one. I will show you how it will help you think about the different possibilities flowers can provide to enhance your wedding.

I will also show you how they can give you insights on maximizing every dollar you spend on your wedding flowers.

Let’s get started.

Personal Wedding Flowers

Personal flowers are an essential part of a wedding. Defined as any flowers carried or worn, they include bouquets, floral headpieces, crowns, corsages, and boutonnieres.

Your choice of personal flowers is essential for several reasons.

  • Their color and style set the tone for your event.
  • Often, they will be the first impression that your guests will have of your wedding.
  • They are the most-photographed flowers of your wedding, so they provide a lasting memory of your special day.

Whenever I consult with a bride, I emphasize the importance of making proper choices with personal flowers. A checklist is a good idea, especially before an initial consultation.

If you are a DIY bride, following a checklist will help avoid overlooking details about the personal flowers you might need for your wedding.

personal wedding flowers

Bridal Bouquet

Your bridal bouquet is easily the number one floral arrangement in your wedding to consider. Not only is it the most photographed bouquet in your whole wedding, but your bridal bouquet also showcases your style and taste.

I like to think of bridal bouquets as jewelry. If you want to splurge a little more to get what you want, this is where I would do it.

Remember that a more expensive bouquet doesn’t always mean a bigger one. The value of the flowers, not the size, determines the cost.

Floral Headpiece, Flower Crown, or Other Hair Flowers

If you wear fresh flowers in your hair, take extra care to ensure they look great. Whether you choose a flower crown, headpiece, or simple individual flowers, be sure you get this right.

Select a style of floral headpiece that compliments your look and reflects your taste. Remember, your headpiece will appear in your photographs as much, if not more, than your bridal bouquet.

Here’s an example of a flower crown we did for a recent wedding.

flower crown

Attendant’s and Bridesmaid’s Bouquets

After selecting your bridal bouquet, the bridesmaid’s bouquets are the next personal flowers you need to choose.

I usually recommend using flowers that complement the style of the wedding. Your color choices play a significant role in the color palette used throughout the wedding.

Although brides mostly choose handheld bouquets for bridesmaids, you don’t have to. You can also decide upon arm bouquets, single flowers, or wrist corsages.

Flower Girl’s Bouquet

Flower girl(s) usually carry a basket of petals or a small nosegay. Because of their young age, I advise keeping this one small and simple. If your flower girl is sprinkling petals (or anything else), check with the venue beforehand to see what’s allowed.

Floral Collar

A floral collar will add a special touch if any furry friends are a part of your wedding plans. Collars can be decorated with simple flowers, a small corsage, or an entire flower collar.

Groom’s Boutonniere

Boutonnieres serve as a way to match the groom with the bride on their wedding day. A flower or two chosen from the bridal bouquet will do nicely.
The groom’s boutonniere should not be optional unless the groom wears a military uniform.

grooms boutonniere

Groomsmen’s Boutonnieres

Almost any flower will work for boutonnieres, but I recommend using blooms that you will include in the bridesmaid’s bouquet. The flowers serve as a way to match the groomsmen with the bridesmaids.

Like the groom’s boutonniere, it should not be optional unless any groomsman wears a military uniform.

If you have a ring bearer, he should also have a boutonniere. You can pin his boutonniere to his jacket lapel or attach it to the ring bearer’s pillow.

Miscellaneous Corsages and Boutonnieres

Proper wedding etiquette suggests corsages or boutonnieres for the ushers, and especially for the bride or groom’s parents and grandparents if they attend. While not required, there are other important guests, including godparents, readers, soloists, musicians, personal attendants, and the officiant you might consider.

As you can see, there are a lot of details planning for the flowers that will be carried or worn on your wedding day. That’s the reason I advise couples to use a checklist for their wedding flowers.

Ceremony Flowers

Fresh flowers are an attractive option when considering decor for your wedding ceremony. While using floral decor is not required or sometimes even necessary, following this checklist will show you areas where you can cost-effectively use flowers. Many of these flowers can be repurposed for later use at your reception.

ceremony flowers for an outdoor wedding

Entryway Arrangements

Floral arrangements at the ceremony entrance or welcoming table will give your guests a warm, welcoming first impression. If you choose to use entryway arrangements like this, I suggest looking for ways to repurpose these arrangements for use at the reception. Repurposing is a great way to add value for little or no additional cost.

Altar Arrangements

While floral arrangements for the altar (or chuppah) are not required, they will provide the backdrop for most of your ceremony photos.

I suggest using a couple of larger-sized, more impressive floral arrangements rather than several smaller ones because larger-sized arrangements make a much bolder statement.

Depending on the background you want or need, a floral arch, floral hoops, flower wall, or flower curtain are other floral options to consider for your ceremony decor.

If your budget allows, all these ideas are cost-effective since you can repurpose them at your reception.

Pew End Arrangements And Aisle Decor

Whether your guests will be seated in traditional church pews or rows of chairs, pew end arrangements will add a beautiful finishing touch to your wedding aisle.

You could also opt for using a couple of “statement-type” arrangements. You can place these on either side of the aisle, at the beginning or end (or both). They will nicely frame it without using smaller pew markers or arrangements.

Aisle decor makes an impact without you spending a fortune. It’s a good investment because you can easily reuse it as reception decor.

Petals for Tossing

Because it’s a great photo op, tossing flower petals as the bride and groom exit the ceremony or reception is still a popular tradition.

Fresh rose petals are primarily used for tossing, but freeze-dried rose petals, leaves, herbs, or eco-friendly confetti are good alternatives. 

Reception Flowers

One area where you can let your creativity shine is your wedding reception. This checklist section will give you ideas to decorate your reception venue and more possibilities to stretch your floral budget.

Remember, wherever you want to draw attention to something at your reception venue, that’s a great place to add flowers. 

reception flowers

Cocktail Table Arrangements

If your reception venue has cocktail tables, adding a small bud vase with a flower or two is an option to consider. It’s a nice finishing touch that’s often overlooked.

Bar Arrangements

The bar area is not a space I would design an arrangement to specifically be placed in. Still, it’s an excellent opportunity for repurposing a statement arrangement or two from your ceremony.

Guest Book Table

A guest book table is usually near the reception entrance and is an excellent spot to highlight with a floral arrangement. Since they often go unnoticed, I like placing a couple of votive candles along with the arrangement to draw attention. This is another area where your ceremony flowers can be reused.

Escort Card Table Arrangements

There are many ways to display escort cards, so you may not need a floral arrangement here. However, it is something to consider if you want to highlight this area. If you used a welcoming table arrangement at your ceremony, you could repurpose that arrangement here.

Head Table or Sweetheart Table Centerpiece

Expect that there will be a lot of focus on the bridal or sweetheart table from the people in attendance, so you will need to allocate some of your budget toward flowers to decorate here.

No matter the style of head table you choose, you will have plenty of decor options, from garlands and floral table runners to using vases for the bridesmaid bouquets to repurpose them as bridal table decor.

Guest Table Centerpieces

Regarding reception flowers, your centerpieces are the show’s star. Your guests will be seated by and looking at these throughout your reception.

They will be the flowers your guests will remember most and those that will appear in photographs the most from your reception.

Your wedding centerpieces are the area I suggest you should allocate a little more of your flower budget.

Bride and Groom’s Chair Decor

This is an optional idea, depending on the type of table setup you’re using. Sweetheart and King’s tables are where we often see chair decorations used.

You don’t have to use anything fancy here. Small bouquets or garlands work well.

Wedding Cake Flowers

If you plan to use flowers to decorate your wedding cake or cake table, you can do it yourself or have your baker or florist handle it. Whatever type of cake table arrangements you choose, be sure they’re included in your flower budget.

wedding cake flowers

Buffet Table Arrangements

There’s not usually a lot of extra space on the buffet or food station tables, so any floral decor you’re using should be kept on the smaller side.

You might consider using eucalyptus or greenery garlands combined with a few loose flowers or small arrangements.

Depending on your budget, you could consider using “Eiffel tower” vases with flowers or a hanging installation to save table space.

If you have a dessert table, consider adding a small arrangement or a few extra flowers to add a pop of color.

Bouquet To Toss

In the past, a bride used her bouquet for the traditional bouquet toss. Today, many brides want to preserve their bouquets, so they purchase a separate, simple flower bouquet to toss.

If you don’t want to spend the money, you could use one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets (with their permission, of course).

Lounge Area Arrangements

lounge area flowers

If your venue has a lounge area or you are creating one, you can fill it with as little or as many flowers as possible, ranging from simple bud vases to extravagant floral installations.

Lounge areas are designed Using smaller arrangements or bud vases with flowers will provide a more intimate setting and mood, which is my preference for a lounge area. Larger statement arrangements can effectively draw attention to the lounge area space.

Adding floral arrangements throughout this space is another excellent opportunity to decorate with flowers repurposed from the ceremony, an opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Powder Room Arrangements

powder room flowers

Don’t forget the powder room if you’re looking for another area to repurpose flowers from your ceremony.

Adding a small floral arrangement or a bud vase with a few flowers to the restrooms is often overlooked but is one of those little details that will not go unnoticed by your guests, especially the ladies.

I suggest this to every bride I work with and have had many of them tell me about the positive comments they received from their guests.

Getaway Car Arrangements

While not completely necessary, flowers are an excellent touch to add to the standard “Just Married” signs on your getaway car if you want to ride away in style.

Adding a lush garland or wreath will push things over the top if you’ve got the budget.

One Final Tip

I suggest planning your reception flowers before your ceremony flowers. Your guests will spend more time at your reception than at the ceremony, so I usually design arrangements to fit the spaces of the reception venue but use them first for the ceremony.

I think of it as the inverse repurposing of the flowers. In my experience, it’s been more cost-effective to do it this way.

Final Thoughts

Checklists like this are helpful tools when initially planning your wedding flowers. They will ensure you don’t overlook something when meeting with your florist or wedding planner. Remember, you can add or subtract items on your list of wedding flowers as needed.

If you are a DIY bride, checklists aren’t just practical but essential. They are not only a tool for improving productivity but can also help you remember information better, organize tasks, and even boost creativity.

So go ahead and add a few items to your wedding flowers checklist!

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Til next time,

Greg Johnson
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