Your big day has finally come and gone. All the planning, all the time, all the money and energy you spent getting things ready have paid off and it's time to enjoy married life! But as you're walking out of your wedding venue you look around at all your gorgeous flower and wonder what to do with all that beauty - just let them die?!

The unfortunate truth is that your florist provides you with flowers at their peak bloom, so they will begin to look really sad within a day or two. That being said, there are a few options for ways to spread a little extra joy with your floral arrangements.

Send Them Home With Guests
Often times, guests are just as sad to see flowers go to the trash can as you are. Our dear friend, Patricia Clark suggests that if you'd like to give guests the option to take centerpieces or bouquets home after your wedding, stash some ziploc bags under the table cloths at each table. At the end of the night, have your DJ announce that guests are welcome to take arrangements home and where they can find the ziplocs. The flowers will only last them another day or two, but they will be able relive the joy and memories from your wedding while they take the flowers home - plus, less flowers equal a little less clean up for your wedding planner or your venue.

Donate Them
Even though your flowers may not have much life left in them, there may still be enough to bring some light to someone else's day. If you know of a nearby hospital or senior living home, they are great places to take your remaining flowers. You'll feel better about them going to a good cause and hopefully they can bring a smile to a few other faces. If you're going this route, plan ahead of time where you'd like to take the flowers and contact the facility to make sure it's ok and arrange a drop off time. Designate someone from your wedding party or a friend or family member to be in charge of collecting the arrangements after the wedding and keeping them in water so they can stay alive as long as possible after drop off. 

Create Your Own Keepsake
If you loved your bouquet and want to keep it as a memento of your big day, consider drying your flowers after your wedding is over. There are many tutorials out there for how to preserve your bouquet, this one from The Knot offers a quick overview of a few different options. If your bouquet consists of mostly hearty flowers that won't lose their petals easily, you can always opt to hang your bouquet upside down in a cool, dry place for at least a week to dry them yourself. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If none of the above ideas sound appealing to you and you're planning to just toss your flowers at the end of the night, consider asking your venue if they have a compost area that the flowers could be tossed into. This way, you know your flowers are being used to create compost that will eventually be used to help something beautiful (or nutritional) grow again. It can give you just a little peace of mind that your special day is helping to better the environment instead of ending up in the trash.

No matter what you decide to do with your flowers after your wedding day, don't let yourself feel sad about losing your flowers at the end of the night. They served their purpose and their beauty will live on in your photos and memories of the day. How did you use your flowers after your wedding day? Share with us in the comments!


PicturePhoto by David Clumpner
We couldn't think of a more fabulous way to kick off Wedding Season 2016 than with this gorgeous celebration of Starr + Matt. 

Held at a private ranch outside of Helena, their nuptials were an incredible combination of Montana charm, lush garden flowers and handpicked Americana antiques that came together to create a setting that left all the guests feeling wow-ed, and yet right at home.

Almost a full year previously, Starr contacted us (not yet The Flower Hat) about her Memorial Day wedding. She showed up to the studio toting a massive binder overflowing with wedding plans and ideas and we knew right away this was going to be a fun bride! She pulled out one specific page out of a magazine that she had been holding on to for exactly that moment and, voila! The entire floral theme of her wedding was born. 

Starr wanted a vintage English garden feel for her flowers, with lots of rich blue, purple and pink tones. In staying with the garden theme, we went heavy on the flowers using garden roses, dutch hydrangeas, lilacs and some beautiful pink peonies with a little less foliage - and the results were oh, so amazing! Equally gorgeous were the bridal bouquets: simple, elegant and timeless white arrangements.  

 Not only did Starr know exactly what flowers and colors she wanted, she  even handpicked every single container for every single table from antique shops around the country. Each guest table was adorned with individual pieces, from a birdcage to a typewriter to glass, antique pewter and vintage china, each with a special connection to the bride and groom. 

After a mock set-up of each table design and a few tweaks to the floral order, we were able to collaborate with Starr to create one of the most unique and personalized wedding designs to date. We are so proud of the finished product! It's pretty much impossible not to feel the time, effort and love that the couple poured into making their day a special experience for themselves and their guests. We are so honored to have been trusted to help Starr + Matt's dreams become a reality!


P.S. If you are loving the photos from Starr + Matt's wedding venue, it's now available for future weddings! Click here for more information!

Photos courtesy of David Clumpner
As you may have discovered, researching vendors to help orchestrate your wedding day can be an exhausting task. There are endless options for all the services you may, or may not, be using and each vendor brings their own sense of style to help make your day special. So once you have narrowed down the list to a few possible vendor options, how do you decide which one is the best fit for you? 

Match Your Sense Of Style
This applies to any vendor you might be looking at, but especially florists, bakeries and photographers. If you look through the portfolio of a florist in your area and you only see a few designs that are appealing to you, that probably isn't the florist for you. Even though these people are professionals who will do their best to make your vision come to life, they have designs and aesthetics that come more naturally to them than others. It will be much easier to work with a vendor who is putting together a design that comes naturally rather than trying to force a design they aren't as comfortable with. Because of this, it is important for you to do your research and investigate the previous work of the vendor to make sure their style is in line with your style before you contact them. Save both of you some time and energy and only reach out to those vendors that feel right!

Do Your Research
This is the age of technology and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to find at least a few reviews about your vendors online. Good or bad, reviews from past brides should act as guide posts to help you find a good, reliable vendor. Wedding sites like WeddingWire and The Knot have become amazing resources for brides to share about their experiences and for vendors to make themselves accessible during the research process. If you research a vendor and can't find any reviews or brides who have used them in the past... proceed with caution. The vendor is either very new to the wedding game, or brides are choosing not to leave reviews because they were not favorable - either way, you should keep your guard up. If you can't find reviews online and are still interested in a vendor, we recommend asking vendors you have booked what they may know about the vendor in question. At the very least, it doesn't take much time to pop a vendor name into Google and see what comes up and you will be happy you did!

Meet and Greet
Just because we live in the age of technology doesn't mean you should forgo meeting with your vendor in person! Unless distance is a factor (hello Skype and Facetime) you should make an effort to meet with your vendor in person to be sure your personalities mesh. The last thing you want is for the two of you to have any sort of tension or misunderstanding because one of you sees the world in black and white while the other one loves shades of grey. Just like with any other human interaction, you will get along with some people better than others. This especially applies to vendors you will need to work more closely with - namely your wedding planner, day of coordinator and photographer. Most vendors prefer to put a name to a face before the wedding day as well, so reach out to your top picks and see if you can set up a time to meet.

Be Honest
This goes for any and all aspects of your wedding day. You must find a way to be honest (not rude) with all your vendors to make sure YOUR day turns out YOUR way. If they show you something you don't really like and you fib saying "oh I looveeee that!" just to be nice... guess what? You're going to end up with designs and items you don't really like! Your vendors are not mind readers and while they will do everything they can to make your dreams come true, they can't do that unless you are clear with them about you do and do not want. If, for any reason, you don't think a vendor will be a good fit for you On the flip side, being honest doesn't mean you need to be rude or bossy (nobody likes a bridezilla) so make sure you find a way to keep your wants/needs clear without forgetting your manners! Everyone will thank you in the end - including yourself!

Your vendors make your day happen - quite literally - and are some of the biggest and most important decisions you'll make regarding your big day.  Choose carefully, follow your heart and your day is sure to be a success!


Do you have any advice for picking a wedding vendor? Share with us in the comments!

You found the one​, got the ring and set the date. ​T​he excitement of the proposal​l is just beginning, but​ it’s​ already​ time to start planning your wedding! 

For those brides looking to maximize their budget in every category, we have put together a list of ways to help stretch your flower dollars to get the most bang for your buck on your big day.  

Be Flexible! 
It's safe to say this is probably a good tip for all aspects of your wedding day, but it's always a great idea when it comes to your flowers. Unless you are dead set on using a certain type of flower for some special reason, understand that some flowers are more expensive than others. It will be beneficial to your wallet if you're willing to to allow substitutions. Trust your florist, this is not their first rodeo. Ask for recommendations on flowers that are more affordable so you can get more bang for your buck! As long as they match the color scheme and feel of your wedding, why not save a few bucks by going with the flower flow?? 

Understand the Reason for the Season 
Just like fruit and vegetables have certain seasons they are more easily found in the grocery store, flowers have seasons and times they will be more easily accessible for your wedding. For example,​ i​f you​ are ​getting married in August and peonies bloom in spring, guess who's going to have to get really expensive peonies shipped in from another location? YOU! If you aren't sure what flowers will be in season on your wedding date, check with your florist. If you can work in-season (or locally grown!) flowers into your floral scheme, your wallet will thank you.

Utilize Your Florist! 
The first two tips are much easier to follow if you have an expert on your side to help guide you. A florist works with flowers all day, every day. They know which flowers look best in which colors and which flowers complement one another.​ Florists also order flowers from vendors (some even grow them, themselves) so they understand which time of year certain blooms are the cheapest. If you're only using your florist to deliver flowers to your wedding, you're not using them to their full potential! You're paying for their service you may as well get the most bang for your buck and use them as a sounding board for ​ways to get the most beautiful arrangements your budget allows. It’s always beneficial to give ​your florist a price​ range, so they can​ do the work to​
maximize your budget for you. When you don’t give them a budget and your florist has to rework your quote, it is not uncommon for them to charge an hourly fee to do so. ​T​here are many extremely talented florists out there​ - ​make sure to research the ones that have a style that match what you’re looking for​ to eliminate any issues with a florist not feeling comfortable creating an arrangement you love.​

Watch Out for DIY
We know what you're thinking, we are a floral shop so why wouldn't we try to steer you away from doing flowers yourself?! Our business aside, the truth is, DIYing flowers at your wedding can end up costing you more than if you'd hired a florist and here's why: florists know what they are doing! Your florist will know exactly how many flowers to order, when to order them, where to order them from, how to make them last AND how to get them at their best stage for your wedding day. If you (or a friend or family member) order too many flowers, your budget was wasted on extra blooms. If they order too few flowers, you'll spend extra time and money scrambling to get more. Not to mention, the care and attention that is needed to keep flowers looking their best is not something you want to be spending your energy on in the final hours before you say 'I do'. Leave the stressing to the professionals... you have enough to worry about (like when your Great Uncle Larry heads out on to the dance floor to show everyone his impressive chicken dance). This tip will not only help you save money, but it will help save you stress, which should be even more valuable!

Pick a Focal Point 
Whether you decide to utilize a florist or DIY, this tip is super important to understand and accept early on in your planning process. When you're trying to stretch your budget you need to prioritize your floral focal points. If bouquets that look amazing for your photos is important to you, then maybe it's time to find a different type of decor for your aisle. Or, maybe you fell in love with a gorgeous floral archway for your ceremony (thanks a lot, Pinterest), so you choose to keep your centerpieces more simple. Most brides ​choose to have​ their bouquet be the center of the attention​, but no matter where you want your flowers to go, decide on one or two focal points and decide on them early! Wouldn't you rather be THRILLED with the outcome of a floral focal point than be disappointed that all your flowers are underwhelming? We'd rather have that, too. 

Now, stop stressing over your wedding plans and go enjoy your love​, your ring and your sanity​ ... ​Take a deep breath and have fun planning your special day!​​