Writer | Jeanine Matlow
Photo | Amber Alexander
Wedding Flowers — Faux versus Real
Flowers add that finishing touch, especially when it comes to wedding venues where they tend to set the tone. While brides may have their personal favorites, select varieties might not be in season and other factors can come into play, which is why some go with faux arrangements on the big day. Here are some scenarios that may call for artificial selections or a blend of fresh and faux.
The Bellisario family has done wedding flowers for generations for 65 years. For these occasions, Ralph Bellisario, florist and owner of Bellisario Florist in Eastpointe and Birmingham, often combines fresh and faux varieties due to limited availability during certain seasons. “If a bride is getting married in September and her favorite flower is peonies, we don’t have access, which makes them expensive,” he says. “We can mix faux peonies with real ones to make them look lush.”
The same can be said for artificial phalaenopsis orchids. “You can hardly tell the difference. They look very realistic,” Bellisario says. “Faux flowers have come a long way from years back, which is why some brides go for faux versus real. Dried are very popular too. For that farm country look, we use a lot of pampas grass and dried foliage.”
Greenery can also elevate an arrangement. “If someone wants mini sunflowers and we can’t find them, artificial sunflowers with fresh greens are a really pretty look,” he says. “When you see them together, you can’t even tell.”
Another pro for faux is their staying power. “They’re going to be beautiful through the whole evening, whether it’s 90 degrees outside or cold. Hydrangeas will turn black in cold weather. We can do silk hydrangeas with fresh roses,” Bellisario says.
“Lily of the valley come up for two weeks in the year and they’re done, so we have to import them from Holland. You can pop some silk ones in the bouquet to add a little texture.” Lastly, he says some brides who opt for a real bouquet request a duplicate faux version after the special day to display in their home.
When Amber Alexander was planning her wedding that was held at Waldenwoods in Howell last November, she found a vendor on Etsy to make faux floral arrangements inspired by an image she had seen online. “She sent photos earlier in the process and shipped them to me a month or so before the actual wedding, so I didn’t have to worry about one more vendor to work with and I didn’t have to worry about the quality,” Alexander says.
Her package included bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids along with boutonnieres and corsages. In addition, Alexander made a centerpiece that featured artificial hydrangeas from Michaels in a wooden container engraved with the couple’s names. Her reason for choosing faux blooms was compelling. “The biggest factor was that my husband is allergic to flowers,” she says. “That is a big lesson he learned from his first wedding.”
As an added bonus, the flowers have become keepsakes to display in the Farmington Hills home she shares with her husband, Eric Pratt. “We set them up in our house in a decorative way that reminds us of the day,” Alexander says.
While the arrangements from Etsy that featured red roses and calla lilies with hanging wisteria had to be slightly modified, her husband thought they looked real and Alexander has become a fan of faux bridal bouquets. “The flowers made things a lot easier and took the guesswork out of it,” she says. “I think they are great and I would recommend them.”
Whether you choose real, faux or a combination of the two, your flowers will add those finishing touches to your special day.