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Stay fresh: Use blooms to add personality and panache to your party

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POSTED January 24, 2013 5:09 p.m.

Wedding flowers are more than just petals to toss or a bouquet to throw - they're an accessory that can complement your dress, bring life to your venue and offer an important opportunity to express your overall style and personality. This year, the best way to be up-to-date is easy: be yourself.

"Individualism is the key trend for 2013," says Sharon McGukin, a professional florist and author of "Flowers of the Heart" (Floral Trend Publications, 2009).

ASSESSING

ARRANGEMENTS

Before going to the florist, first decide on overall budget, venue and color scheme. All these play important roles in determining the florist's ideas. The budget will determine appropriate suggestions, while the venue will suggest colors and décor needs. Bare, funky spaces may need a large number of decorations while ornate hotel ballrooms might not.

Pinpoint your personal style by collecting pictures from magazines and online resources. The photos you choose will reveal qualities that are important to you, such as color, arrangement and complexity.

BLOOM BUDGET

Professional florist Maureen deBruyn, owner of deBruyn designs in Maple Grove, Minn., says couples tend to spend about 10 percent of their overall budget on flowers. The price depends on many factors, such as the number of bouquets and arrangements or whether the blooms are in season or out of season, local or non-local. To keep costs down, avoid specifying specific flowers. "If you have a general idea of color, type and how much to spend, [your florist] can come up with something," deBruyn says.

FRESH IDEAS

Many fresh color ideas are emerging this year for brides to experiment with in their flowers, according to McGukin. Greens mixed with buttercreams, delicate pinks and fresh blues are a popular neutral that suggests an eco theme.The retro look will be popular, sweetly complemented with a mix of soft, burnished yellow tones. For home weddings, which are on the rise, McGukin suggests a splash of color: bright orange, hot pink, sunny yellow, electric blue.

Larger, looser bouquets also are making a comeback, deBruyn says. Bouquets will be soft and wispy with more greenery and texture. Rather than wiring each flower into place for a symmetrical arrangement, deBruyn says she now aims for a more natural look.

Whether you go big, small, bright or neutral, spend time using flowers to show off a piece of who you are. Says DeBruyn: "They should bring out the joy for your whole event."

Limit bouquets and arrangements to three or fewer types of flowers for a simple, clean look,suggests Maureen deBruyn of deBryun designs. Create inexpensive centerpieces by floating flowers in a glass bowl or use a larger flower that takes up more space and requires fewer stems, such as a lily or hydrangea. McGukin recommends choosing a focal point and investing in one large, eye-catching design, or choosing smaller bridesmaid bouquets that incorporate trendy colors and stylish designs.

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