The Florists

Photo: Victor Prado/New York Magazine

Sierra Yaun and Juliet Totten, Owners of Poppies & Posies

Is it vital to use a florist who specializes in weddings instead of a general florist?
Yaun: Weddings are a very different beast than your everyday flower delivery. Finding someone who specializes in events means you don’t have to worry about logistics like timing, setup, and breakdown. Event florists are usually happy to lend a hand with other elements of décor, too, so there’s less for you to tackle.

How should couples begin the search?
Yaun: Look for one whose aesthetic and sensibility speak to you personally. Our company has an old-fashioned, garden-inspired aesthetic, while others, like Hatch Creative, do modern very well. If you’re not sure how your style translates into décor, start a Pinterest page. A distinct aesthetic will quickly emerge.
Totten: Make sure your budget is realistic for all of the elements you have envisioned. If you have a really tight flower budget, eleven bridesmaids will eat that up quickly. Do a smaller wedding party and leave more wiggle room for overall décor.

What do you tell brides who are against certain flowers?
Totten: Have an open mind! There are so many amazing flowers available each season. You might wind up liking something you hadn’t initially envisioned. Many summer brides have their hearts set on peonies, but soon discover they’re not in season. Dahlias look just as stunning. If you’re longing for a certain flower, you’ll need to pick a date to coincide with that particular season.

Besides dahlias, which other flowers are real knockouts?
Totten: Tree peony, lily of the valley, and lady’s slipper—they feel special because they’re not overused.

Do you avoid certain blooms for weddings?
Yaun: Steer clear of those that are heavily scented, like hyacinth. The aroma can be overpowering at dinner.

How can you ensure that arrangements will photograph well?
Totten: Composition, contrast, and color are what make or break a photo. Infusing color into the bridal bouquet makes it stand out against the starkness of the white dress in pictures. Conversely, light-colored flowers work well for bridesmaids in dark colors.

That’s a great tip for DIYers.
Yaun: I do not recommend DIY. There’s enough to worry about on your wedding day. If you must, pick up potted plants for each table. Petite roses in aged pots are beautiful. Just be realistic when approaching the budget. Instead of decorating the ceremony lavishly, focus on personal flowers and centerpieces. They show up the most in photographs, and they’re what your guests will spend the longest time enjoying.

Illustration by Jim Mezei

“For boutonnières use hearty flowers or elements that won’t wilt or droop easily. Berries are beautiful as are lavender, rosemary sprigs, and mini succulents.”


The Florists