The Wedding Season
As we have all been told to stay at home, I will be using this time to try and sort out my farm planning for next year. Buying seeds, time planning and ordering perennials and shrubs that should hopefully arrive after the lock down and give me more work for winter months to come. However I would like to dedicate this article to what kept me very busy in 2019/2020 growing season and that is “The Wedding Season”.
Central Otago is one of the biggest and most popular wedding spots for New Zealand. Couples all over the world fly here to elope or to have a big wedding with their friends and family. New Zealand couples are no exception! This stunning region of New Zealand is popular for its views, wine and big open spaces perfect for a great big party! There are only 2 florist shops in Wanaka but there are about 9 actual wedding florists in Wanaka alone. I am not even sure how many there are in Queenstown and surrounding areas. This says something. All these lovely and very hard working ladies are quite often booked out for the entire season and brides get some amazing flowers for their big days! I would love to personally thank Blooms of Barker, Bespoke Weddings and Events, The Green Room Flower Company, Studio 24, Alpine Flowers Wanaka and Rosie Flowers NZ for working with us and creating some stunning weddings for all the couples. I can’t wait to work with all of these businesses and others in the coming year!
So how do weddings in the area work for us? Or let’s rephrase… How can a lucky couple get their flowers sorted and ready for their Central Otago wedding? Alpine Blooms Farm works with both florists and straight with the client depending on what they would like. If the couple prefers everything done and dusted and ready to go on their big day, your best bet will be to talk to the local florist. Businesses I listed above are only a few, those I have worked with so far and you can find them all on Instagram and other social media to have a chat to them about what you want and how you see your big day. These ladies are the best at bringing your dream into reality. I can supply specific flowers to them if you have your heart set on something you saw on our website or Instagram, or I can supply them the mix of flowers in your chosen colour palette.
For me, the way it works is the florist usually contacts me about 2 weeks prior to wedding asking for availability of certain flowers or colour mix. Then we refine the order in a few messages backwards and forwards and allow for the best result for you and I deliver the order about 1-2 days prior to the big event. I don’t package my flowers into plastic or boxes. I just put them in a bucket and deliver them to the florist’s door step. They usually have buckets ready for me to transfer my flowers into or just swap them around if practical. Florists are the ones dealing with orders and colours and other nuances of the event, while I just get to deliver happiness to them in a form of flowers.
Other option is for the florist to come and collect what they want straight from the farm with me present there to help. This has happened twice in 2019/2020 season and I loved this option, however this is not as practical for the florist as they are generally quite busy and don’t have time to chat and go picking. So these were exceptional cases.
I guess another option will be for you to come and collect the flowers and deliver them to your florist; however this may not be very practical.
A couple of things to remember about working with florists in Central Otago area: please start talking to them now! If you are engaged and you are planning to have a wedding next spring or summer, email your chosen florist now! They are looking for something to do right now J But seriously if you email a florist in the middle of the wedding season (November – March) you are most likely to not get response in time, or alternatively you are likely to be turned down as they are booked out. They are not rude, they just literally have 2-3 weddings a day including on Mondays and they simply can’t take any more new clients. And another thing to remember: the more visuals you can provide the better. Quite often the florist will send me a photo of what the bride pinned on Pinterest and we will work together to create something similar or same. With wild and cottage flowers you have so many options and colours out there we can make it work for any occasion. And last thing be brave, have some colour in your wedding! Florists and growers love working with colour! White weddings are classic and romantic but rainbow weddings are just so much fun to create!
Now! Let’s say you don’t want to work with the florist or want to save money so you can invite a few more friends to the wedding! We got you! There are a couple of options for you out there as well.
First option is getting the bridal bouquet and bridal parties bouquets done by a florist and then decorating ceremony space and reception yourself. This will save you tons of money especially if you have access to some wire and heaps of greenery. Florists really know what they are doing with delicate and beautiful bouquets and I would totally trust them to do it right. But your ceremony space can be created with a couple of wine barrels and big bunches of wild flowers on top of them, or greenery draping down.
If you are getting married at the winery they will provide a couple of barrels. Or just do what my friend did and have nothing as your background apart from the beautiful mountains and valleys of Central Otago! The breath-taking landscape of these areas will not need more. Just pick a good spot for it! And decorating your venue will not take much. You just have to be organised and make sure you don’t panic a day before your wedding. Contact us a few months in advance to see if we have availability and stock for the day you would like. Most likely we will say yes at this stage as we had a year to learn from. Then a couple of weeks out we will contact you to lock in the day and time of delivery as well as the first payment. In the time between first contact and pre-order you are totally welcome to keep chatting to us and adding colours or ideas into the mix. After the confirmation and last order we will reserve these flowers on our farm specifically for you and will make sure they are the freshest on the day! Then a day prior to the agreed day of delivery we will go and cut the flowers and show you the photo of all the buckets ready to go for you. If at this stage you have a realisation that you would like more we will try and accommodate for this but this depends on the availability. We will try our hardest. And in the end we will deliver all the buckets to your door step on the day that you require them (usually a day before the wedding or if you are super organised on the morning of the wedding). Please note that we can deliver to the venue but we won’t be able to help you set up.
Second option is doing everything yourself – bouquets and all! This is totally doable and I honestly think that it will be the cheapest option possible out there but most stressful as well. So if you are a very organised person and if you find flower arranging fun and a good destress for yourself maybe this is the way for you! The process is about the same as the first option for us. We would like initial contact to be as early as possible and keep chatting to us if anything is going to change. Formal order confirmation around 2-3 weeks prior to the event with the 50% deposit due at that stage, and then delivery 1-2 days prior to the even with the final payment due on the delivery.
We also would love to see your photos from your weddings and if possible display them on our social media and website. However if you don’t want us to display them please let us know.
In terms of flowers please be assured that we will deliver the freshest flowers possible and best quality possible! You might however find a bug or two in our flowers as we don’t spray them and keep it as natural as possible to help the bees. If you have serious hay fever please let us know as well as some flowers can trigger it to come out. My partner has it pretty good in summer when I test all the flowers on him, poor guy, but at least I know the biggest culprits for sneezing and coughing. And last thing we would like to know is kids and pets. If you have pets as part of your big day please be assured that if they chew some of your flowers they will be fine! I grow mine in the middle of the sheep and beef farm and have a doggo roaming around and so far we had no problems with either of them munching on my flowers. Kids are usually pretty good as well but we will advise if there is anything lightly poisonous in the bouquet or just let us know that you are worried about this.
This turned out to be a huge article! Almost as big as the season we had! Thank you for all the florists that worked with us, thank you for brides that ordered from us directly and congratulations to anybody who has just got engaged and is looking at this article to see what your options are! We would love to have a chat with you this winter and see what suits you best. For now, keep dreaming and coming up with good ideas, who knows you might be able to plant it so well right now that you will be able to do it all yourself and save heaps of money in a long run.