church wedding flower arrangements

Church wedding flower arrangements need to be large to overcome the vast open spaces of most churches.  Many DIY brides are intimidated by the thought of creating large floral sprays for their wedding ceremony.  They really are easier than they look.

The key is to think BIG and to think ECONOMICAL.  Typical guests sit ten feet or farther away from the flower sprays on the altar or on a church stand.  So concentrate on long, linear (and affordable!) flowers.

Affordable linear flowers with long stems include gladiolushydrangeas, chrysanthemums (daisies and pomps), carnationsliatrisasiatic liliessnapdragonsstock, and agapanthus

The larger headed flowers fill in the design and can be seen from a farther distance.  Stay away from expensive flowers like standard callas and garden roses.  Lovely as they are, they will quickly drive up the final cost of your altar flowers.  

Keep in mind that florists sometimes charge up to $200 for one arrangement.  You can get a lot more for the amount you spend if you invest in affordable greenery (meaning you need less flowers) and go for size that will make a bigger impact.

Don't feel that the tutorial below means you have to use exactly the same flowers or colors.  Instead, substitute the flowers and color scheme that works best for YOUR own wedding palette.

You'll need the following supplies:

Depending on the size of your container, you have two sizes of Oasis florist foam to choose from.  For very large containers, block foam is equal to 6 regular sized brick foam.

Whichever foam size you choose, you must first float soak it in water to which florist food has been added.  I like to prepare several buckets of water ahead of time and add flower food as directed on the label.

Mache containers are made out of pressed paper products.  It is a good disposable container for large flower arrangements.  You can also purchase large containers made of hard impact plastic.  These can be discarded after use or recycled and used again many times.

Blocking in the foam means cutting and fitting the foam into your large floral container.  Be sure the foam does rise above the rim of the container.

This will allow you to insert flowers straight in from the sides as well as from the top.

Once the container is blocked in with florist foam, add more treated water until almost up to the edge.  Flowers draw a lot of water from the foam, so you want to be sure the foam never goes dry.

If needed, you can secure the foam into the container using waterproof tape.  Make sure the sides of your container are dry before strapping the block foam into place.

Pull the tape taut, letting it come down over the edges of the container.  This tape will later be concealed by the greenery draped over the edge of the container.

For large altar sprays (standing or in a container) florists usually begin by greening the arrangement in with a large palm leaf of some kind.

For this tutorial, I've used Jade palm.  Other varieties that work well are TeePee or Emerald.  

Remember this is a fresh product.  Not every leaf is going to be perfect.  If the jade has brown tips, florists usually trim the edges of the leaves before inserting into the design.

Once the leaf has been trimmed with scissors, I insert the first palm into the side of the arrangement.  Now you can see why the foam needs to be raised above the rim of the container.

Without that extra couple inches of foam, your greenery and flowers will look like every stem is sticking straight up.  You want the final arrangement to be attractive from at least a 3/4 view including the sides.

The greenery is going to be the framework of your design, establishing how large the final arrangement will be.  Typically the flower heads will extend just a bit beyond the longest greens.

Now in insert a trimmed palm directly out the back of the design, pointing slightly upward.  Whether or not you completely finish the back with flowers depends on how the floral is viewed.  I typically finish off the back with mixed greenery, but place all the flowers so the are seen from the sides and front of the arrangement.

I now insert a jade leaf inbetween  the back palm and the right side palm.  You'll notice that the leaves are angled towards the center.

The idea is to mimic the look of a real palm plant, where the leaves stems are inserted close to the center and work their way out and upward.

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