5 Tips for Destination Wedding Flowers

June 12, 2020

When planning a destination wedding, you have two options for florals: hire a floral designer who’s local to your destination or hire a floral designer who’s local to you (and bring them with you). Either way, there are a lot of factors to think about and things to consider when it comes to destination florals. Luckily, Emily (owner & lead floral designer of The Moody Blooms) is experienced in both. Based in Southern California, she’s designed florals for out-of-state couples who are having their big day at one of our beautiful beachside venues, and she’s also travelled to design florals in Hawaii, Catalina Island, Arizona, Northern CA, and (soon!) Morocco.

#1 Expect to Pay Travel Fees

If you’re bringing a floral designer with you to your destination wedding (i.e. you live in CA and are getting married in Hawaii), expect that you will need to pay travel fees. Not only are flight tickets involved, but hotel stays are, too! Floral designers need to be at the destination at least two days before the wedding. Here’s their typical schedule:

Day 1: Process florals. This means prepping the flowers, taking leaves and thorns off, giving the flowers a fresh cut, and placing them in new water. Processing helps to prevent mold & also allows the blooms to open.

Day 2: Design florals. This is probably what you think about when you consider what a floral designer does. It’s all about assembling bouquets, centerpieces, arch/arbor pieces, etc. I spent a few hours with Emily on a design day, and y’all…she’s fast. But, MAN, that’s a lot of work!

Day 3 (wedding day): Set up and clean up.

When all of this is said and done, it usually equals around a 2 to 3 night hotel stay. Most floral designers will include travel fees in the total package cost to keep things simple and easy for you. So, just be sure to talk to any floral designers you’re considering to see what their travel policies and fees are!

#2 Choose Someone Experienced

If you’re planning a destination wedding, you’ve probably already figured out that it can get expensive. Between flight tickets for you + your partner, accommodations, varying vendor costs, and vendor travel fees (if you’re bringing a vendor with you), you might feel like all you’re seeing are dollar signs right now. But, while there are tons of ways to keep things budget-friendly (click here for that post), this is not one of them. You do not want to skimp on hiring experienced vendors. You want a floral designer who can roll with the punches, troubleshoot when necessary, and deliver top-quality flowers the day of your wedding.

If you chat with a floral designer who says they only need one day/night to process, design, and set up, ask yourself if that person is being realistic. Pulling an all-nighter to process, design, and set up all in one go will likely result in an inferior product and service. And, the last thing you want on your wedding day is inferior florals, trust me.

#3 Ask the Right Questions

It’s important to ask your floral designer some important questions before locking them in for your destination wedding. Here are a few to get you started:

  • How will florals be sourced for the wedding? Will you have them shipped, or will you source them from a local wholesale market? If sourcing from a local market, are you familiar with the wholesaler and comfortable with the quality of their blooms?
  • Do you have backup plans? If the flowers are shipped and don’t arrive on time, what will you do? If the local market does not have the type of flowers we want, what will you do?
  • Will you bring dried florals as a backup option? If so, is this allowed at the destination? Or, will customs/airlines/etc. confiscate the dried florals?
  • Are you legally allowed to work at the destination we are getting married? Will you need to get a visa?
  • How will you research our destination beforehand? Will you research which florals are available season-by-season in the local market? Will you contact our venue to find out their rules/guidelines beforehand? What will you do if there’s a language barrier at the destination? (Scroll to the section after #5 to see Emily’s answers)

#4 Have Realistic Expectations

This has less to do with your floral designer and more to do with YOU. Wedding days aren’t perfect, and they were never meant to be. So, realize that your floral designer may not be able to get you that exact type of rose you like in that exact color and shade you saw on Pinterest. Obviously, he/she will do their best. But, if they have to get to you a rose in a similar color and similar shade, that’s more than okay. Maybe the rose you wanted wasn’t looking too hot. Maybe it was already browning or wilted already. If you follow Step #2 and choose an experienced floral designer that you trust, trust that they’ll make the decision to help give you the overall design/outcome that is best for you and your wedding day.

#5 Collaborate on Backup Options

This ties into #4. It is possible that some things may change when it comes to your wedding florals, especially if your destination wedding is international. So, work with your floral designer beforehand to create some potential backup design plans of different floral types that you like. That way, if some of the flowers you originally chose aren’t available, your designer will be better able to choose new blooms that still fit your likes & preferences! Pinterest can be great for this.

Q & A with The Moody Blooms

Q: Emily, you have a wedding coming up in Morocco soon. Not only is that in a different country and on a different continent, it’s on the other side of the world! Tell us all about how you’ve been preparing.

A: Well, it first started with talking to the couple and finding out what their expectations are. I always want to make sure that I am upfront and honest with couples about what I can do given their budget, destination location, etc. So, it all starts with communication. I made sure they were aware that, since Morocco is somewhat of a developing country, we may not have as many local fresh floral options. And, shipping from my local wholesaler across the globe to Morocco would be way too costly. Luckily, they were totally happy with the possibility of having only dried flowers for their wedding day, so this was great!

Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research behind the scenes, communicating with the consulate, the airlines, the venue, and a local guide who will be accompanying me to the markets on my first day to purchase vases and any available fresh florals.

I’ve also been purchasing lots of dried flowers that I’ll be bringing over on the plane in big cardboard boxes. Since the fresh flower situation in Morocco is unpredictable, I want to make sure I have enough dried flowers to cover the whole wedding if needed. I had to communicate with the airlines and with the embassy to make sure this was okay, and luckily it was!