When Loraine Cook entered the $1,500 Tiger Lily Weddings floral giveaway, she shared why she wanted to win straight from the heart. “Our financial budget is very tight due to the fact that my parents are unable to contribute financially or physically to our wedding,” she wrote of her planned fall day with Kris Holcombe. “My father was diagnosed in July 2012 with multiple myeloma, a plasma-based cancer that causes anemia and severe bone lesions,” she continued, “so all of my parents’ time, money, and energy has been put towards saving his life. Given that, approximately 75 percent of our budget will be provided by Kris and I, and the other 25 percent is a wedding gift from my soon-to-be father-in-law.”
Loraine, who lives in Goose Creek with Kris, went on to share their dreams for the reception. The vintage and Southern-styled event was to be held at Creekside cottage in McClellanville, where burlap runners and Mason jars would dress tables alongside copious blooms, and where guests would enjoy barbecue from Nick’s on King Street, traditional side fixings, plus lemonade, sweet tea, and Jack Daniels. In lieu of a formal wedding cake, Saffron Bakery in North Charleston would create a summer berry confection.
When Loraine won, she quickly teamed up with Gayla Harvey of Tiger Lily Weddings to tend to the florals. So we can all learn from the practical tips Gayla shared, here’s a short Q&A with her. Click on the gallery link to revel in the Big Day itself, and the cascade of flowers that reigned.
Charleston Weddings: The prize package initially was for bouquets, posies, and boutonnieres for the wedding party. We noticed you all went further than that. Why?
Tiger Lily Weddings: Because the need for the personal flowers was so low and because hydrangeas (one of the lowest priced blooms) were used throughout, they had extra money to be used at their will so we created additional pieces. Typically, hydrangea bouquets are half the price of bouquets that incorporate several varieties of flowers.
CW: What did Loraine request in the way of blooms, styles, and so forth?
TLW: She was open to what was in season (another money-saver), but had a few must-haves. One—a must for both Loraine and Kris—was succulents. Another was that they wanted bouquets wrapped in twine and/or burlap for a rustic chic appearance. They also wanted ivory and light blue-colored flowers.
CW: What tips does this reception illustrate for stretching your floral budget?
TLW: In this case, they had several family containers that they wanted to incorporate into the event. Providing your own containers—whether that’s pulling various silver pieces, timeless blue and white pottery, or everyday Mason jars—from the family collection reduces your overall floral container cost. And using large blooms typically requires a smaller number of flowers and thus cuts the cost, too. Besides hydrangeas, other “large” options include oriental lilies, antherium, and king protea.
CW: How far in advance of the wedding did you create the arrangements and bouquets?
TLW: We receive flowers directly from the farms to eliminate holding time, and make the pieces the day before the wedding. We then keep the arrangements and bouquets in the cooler overnight until we are ready to depart for transport to ensure freshness as long as possible.
CW: McClellanville is almost an hour from Charleston. How did you pack the blooms for travel?
TLW: We packed each piece tightly in crates so they couldn’t move around and in case we had to hit the breaks. In hot months, we surround each piece with ice packs to keep them cool. (Launch the photo gallery to see images of how we packed these flowers.)
CW: What advice do you have for a bride piecing together a dream wedding with a florist’s help?
TLW: Always start with your must-haves, your wish list and your budget range. That way, when we are working together, we can recommend accordingly. Sharing the dollar amount doesn’t mean we’ll max out that budget, but it does allow us to offer flowers that will stay within the budget.
CW: Do you all use Pinterest with brides? If so, how?
TLW: Pinterest is a great tool for brides, especially for destination brides who are not able to attend regular floral appointment meetings in person. When we see their boards, we get familiar with their color palette and the overall feel for the wedding. Based on that, we can create a proposal.
Event Design: Loraine Cook (bride)
Florals: Tiger Lily Weddings, www.tigerlilyweddings.com
Venue: Creekside cottage, www.mcclellanvillerentals.com/vacation-rentals/creekside/