Flowers add elegance and color to a couple's wedding day. There is a rich history behind the flowers that adorn the bride, groom and aisle of a wedding ceremony, but like many other wedding traditions, the flowers have changed from set requirements to whatever pleases the bride and groom on their special day.
"Traditionally, there were flowers the groom purchased and some the bride purchased, but the tradition has gone by the wayside," said Jan Stark, employee and former owner of Candlelight Floral in Craig.
Depending on the level of extravagance a couple is shooting for, wedding flowers can start at $150 and then the sky is the limit.
Candlelight Floral has prepared flowers for Craig couples that cost more than $1,000.
It's worth the price to know the flowers will be done beautifully and on time, Stark said.
Brides who plan to have their flowers professionally done should finalize their choices at least a month before the wedding.
Traditional, and inexpensive, wedding flowers include roses, carnations, wildflowers and daisies.
Brides planning an extravagant wedding choose lilies, orchids, gardenias or hydrangeas.
Most floral shops provide a list of traditional wedding flowers. A bride and groom can choose to have all or just a few of them.
Most shops also have wedding books that show available flowers and arrangements.
One thing the bride and groom have to take into account when choosing flowers is colors. Not all themes can be duplicated in flowers. Blue, for instance, is a difficult color to get in flowers.
If a bride intends to coordinate her colors with the flowers, she needs to make sure flowers are available in that color.
For those working on a budget, flower consultant Deann Messing recommends using flowers twice. Bouquets for the bride and her attendants can be used as centerpieces at the reception. Altar and pew arrangements also can be used again at the reception.
If budget is not an issue, elaborately arranged flowers can adorn the altar and pews, and alternate arrangements can decorate the reception hall.
An alternative to fresh flowers is silk flowers. The choice to use them is up to each individual.
"Silk flowers, in my opinion, lose a lot," Stark said. "The only advantage you have is you can make them up ahead of time."
The advantage of silk flowers is they last forever and make a nice keepsake for the bride, Messing said.
Brides who choose fresh flowers for their bouquet may have a difficult time preserving them. There are some businesses that preserve bridal bouquets and place them in shadowboxes, Stark said, but they are expensive.
Brides who wish to preserve the bouquet themselves should hang them upside down and allow them to dry thoroughly, then spray them with lacquer or hairspray.
The joy couples get from wedding flowers doesn't have to fade after the wedding.
Grooms looking for a unique anniversary gift have purchased a bouquet similar to the one their brides carried on the wedding day, Stark said.
"It's a very unique and special anniversary gift," she said.
No matter what, the bride should be sure she gets what she wants -- not what family members, friends or even floral professionals suggest, Stark said.
In Craig, soon-to-be-married couples can shop for wedding flowers at the Flower Mine or Candlelight Floral, City Market and Safeway.