|Floral Designs by Heather Hendrickson
was featured in
"Mazel Tov! The complete Book of Jewish
Weddings" by Lea Bayers Rapp
Insider's Interview: Floral Designer
Background: Heather provides wedding flowers
in the wine country, Sonoma county, and San
Francisco's North Bay area, in California.
"When I first consult with brides, I begin
by asking the wedding date." Says
Hendrickson. "Although most flowers are
available year-round, if you know the date
right away you can work with the
availability of the product. Before meeting
with the florist the bride should have the
location set, and an idea of the number of
guests coming to determine the number of
centerpieces needed. The bride should also
have some idea of the color of the
bridesmaids dresses. We take it from there."
"Since this area-the wine country- is a
destination site for weddings, brides come
for a day and have to meet several vendors.
So I like either to meet them at their hotel
lobby or at the site and we can do a walk
through it together. This helps with the
placement of arrangements along with colors
and sizes that will work."
"There are two kinds of brides: one who
knows nothing about flowers so I guide her
and show pictures, and the bride who has
some clear ideas that I fine tune.
If the bride has one favorite color we work
on a selection of flowers and availability.
I always explain to a bride flowers are
subject to seasonal color variations. If we
can't get exactly what she wants then she'll
have to leave it to my discretion as a
professional to find a substitute."
"The whole wedding starts with the bridal
bouquet. The bride decides on the style she
wants and the types of flowers to be
included. Does she want a cascading bouquet
or a hand tied bouquet? In a hand tied
bouquet the stems are cut short and the
flowers are bound together with ribbons or
wire: it has a round effect rather than a
cascading effect. The round hand tied
bouquets are very popular now. If the bride
wants a natural look in her flowers, I use
blooms from my garden. If she doesn't know
what type of bouquet to select, she can look
at pictures of previous weddings I have done
to help her make a decision."
"Some brides want an all white bouquet, but
if she wants color, it should compliment or
work with the bridesmaids' dresses. The
groom's boutonniere usually compliments the
bridal bouquet. For example, if the bride
carries white roses then the groom wears one
or two white roses."
"When planning flowers for the bridesmaids,
the color of their dresses often determines
the shades of flowers used. Do they have
pastel or jewel tones? Does the bride want
to use contrasting colors or colors to blend
with the dresses? Again, the groomsmen's
flowers usually match a flower used in the
"Flowers for the fathers should match those
of the groomsmen. For the mothers, I
recommend something in a neutral tone in a
pin on corsage that will compliment whatever
shade dress they may wear that day."
"I like to ask the bride if she would like a
toss bouquet. Most brides want a toss
bouquet that is a scaled down version of
their bouquet. The throwaway bouquet can
either be kept in the refrigerator on site
or can be placed on the cake table."
"When planning an outdoor wedding the most
important aspect in setting up the chuppah
is to make sure it is tightly secured to
prevent it from being blown over in the
wind. For an August wedding I did at a
winery, it took two assistants and myself
several hours to set up the chuppa and
decorate it. We did garlands of greenery and
roses on the posts and along the top and
sides of the chuppah. We used four shades of
roses, placed in vials to keep them fresh in
the late afternoon sun, and a light fern for
the greenery. We added a decorative carpet
of rose petals for the bride and groom to
stand on. Although it could not be seen,
tallitot were placed on top of the chuppah
as a symbolic gesture."
"To decorate the aisle, we tied tulle to the
chairs and the first two rows on either side
had roses in the four shades and greenery.
Flower decorations were then placed on every
second row. At the reception, we had
two sets of floral centerpieces. The tables
for the hors d'oeuvre hour consisted of
edible fruits and flowers. On each table I
first placed a living doily of grapevine
leaves, then a grapevine wreath. Inside the
wreath I was a selection of red apples,
green pears and ruby grapes. Edible organic
flowers, pansies, roses and nasturtiums were
then scattered on top of the fruit. The
effect was very natural and fitting for the
"For the indoor reception we had seventeen
round tables and each was decorated with a
platinum (to tie in with the bridesmaids?
dresses) container filled with green
hydrangeas and roses in the four shades.
Votives were placed around the centerpieces
to offer a soft and romantic touch. Rose
petals were placed between the votives.
Since guests like to take the centerpieces
home, I try to always use containers that do
not have to be returned to me at the end of
"Other flowers brides should consider when
planning the wedding include flower girl
baskets and hair wreaths, cake flowers,
guest check in arrangements. Planning a
wedding takes time. The sooner you begin
talking to the florist and making decisions
the better. Enjoy your day!"