Dresses key to selection of flowers

Whether a bride's ideas on what flowers to incorporate into her wedding came from other ceremonies, magazines or dreams she concocted at the age of 12, area floral shops have the resources and personnel to give each bride the color and character she wants.

All the florist needs to see are the dresses.

"I think the coolest part about my job is that ladies come in and don't know the name of flowers, but I can determine the style based on the dress and colors," Julie Brownell said. "Once we determine what style they like, we can make a lot of good suggestions."

Brownell is the wedding coordinator at Steamboat Floral and Gifts. The fact that a floral shop employs a wedding coordinator indicates how much business weddings generate for local shops.

But they are fun business. Suzanne Bostrom has owned the Alpine Floral & Atrium for 25 years.

"I've always loved weddings, ever since the beginning," she said. "What's neat is the personalities you meet and take from start to finish, watching them walk down the aisle."

Both Brownell and Bostrom pride themselves on providing each bride with a different way to decorate her wedding. The changing Steamboat scenery and growing availability of unique flowers makes mixing it up easier.

"The brides have planned this their whole lives and we encourage them to do what they want to do," Bostrom said. "Each individual bride gets the individual florist excited. The variety of flowers available now compared to just 10 years ago is unreal."

Roses are still the traditional flowers but now they come in different colors. Green is actually a trendy color emerging in shops and magazines for the summer months, the most popular wedding time in Steamboat, Brownell said.

She added that it's wise for a bride to use a floral shop near the area where she is getting married. Because many of Steamboat's floral shops deal with out-of-town couples, the phone and computer have become valuable resources in planning a wedding.

Usually a couple will come in for a one-hour consultation to fill the florist in on where and when the wedding will be. A florist or wedding coordinator also needs to know the colors used in the ceremony and would prefer to see the dresses to get a better feel of style and exact color so as to not pick flowers that would clash with the clothing.

"Usually we only need to meet one more time after that and that's about one month before the event to work out logistics," Brownell said.

Additional meetings are possible if there are some loose ends that need to be squared away, Bostrom said.

All the actual flower work is basically done during the day before and day of the wedding to keep the flowers fresh and beautiful.

"We have a lot of experience so we're efficient," Bostrom said. "When we have parties or weddings for the most part two designers do everything."

Kimberly Brooks, wedding consultant at One Fine Day Floral, encourages a bride to book her floral shop at least six months in advance of the wedding date and keep in mind that the summer and fall months are the busiest for weddings in Steamboat.

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