When Jessica Simpson married Eric Johnson last year, Mark Held — florist on BloomNation.com and co-owner of Mark’s Garden in Sherman Oaks, CA — created a flower wonderland for the event. With amaranthus hanging from branches over the tables, it had a beautiful ballroom-meets-forest vibe. This wasn’t Mark’s first time on the celebrity wedding circuit. He’s created magical floral environments for Ellen + Portia, Pink, Fergie + Josh Duhamel, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez and even Adam Sandler. We managed to snag a bit of Mark’s time between designing gigs to get his take on floral trends and ways you can really stretch your floral dollars. Here’s how to have a celebrity wedding on a less-than-celebrity-sized budget. After all, your flowers might last only a day, but they’ll last a lifetime in your photos (and memories!) of the day.


Say goodbye to over-the-top crystals

A few years ago, it was all about the glitter and glam. Every bride wanted a crystal-wrapped bouquet handle, hanging crystals and glitter on the cake. Mark said that these days brides prefer a little less bling. When it comes to their bouquets, the trend is to carry a ribbon-wrapped bouquet handle or loose stems like the ones that Jessica Simpson carried in her wedding last year. But even though all the crystals are out, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative. Last year, one of Mark’s brides gave him a box of things to tie to her bouquet (her baby blanket, something of her grandmother’s and her sorority pin). Mark said the result looked great, but more importantly, it was special: “Her bouquet was a biography of her life.”

When it comes to color, think white (and maybe a little pink!)

White is big, but sometimes all white can feel a little stark, so Mark said that “Brides are wanting to take it away from just white and add in a blush.” He also frequently adds other pastels or pale greens into the color scheme to warm it all up. When Mark designed Jessica Simpson’s wedding last summer, he incorporated lavenders, pale green and ivories with white for a sophisticated and romantic look.

How to get the most bang for your buck

When it comes to stretching your budget, Mark says that it’s less about what types of flowers you’re using and more about where you are using them. To maximize the impact, devote the majority of your budget to the flowers that people will be paying the most attention to. Mark suggests dedicating a good portion of your budget to the ceremony focal point. “It doesn’t need to be over the top, but it should be important. Your guests will be staring at it for more than an hour, and most photographers will use that ceremony focal point for the posed photos after the wedding,” he explained.

Apply the same logic to the other important areas of the wedding. If you’re having a seated dinner, your guests will be staring at the centerpieces for four hours or so. When it comes time to make a statement, think of doing something special with your seating card table. “It’s often the first thing people see and gives a sense of what the wedding will be like. An area like that gets a lot of attention and you can make a big statement,” Mark points out.

Be honest about your budget

Even though Mark does plenty of celebrity weddings with BIG floral budgets, he said that “Lower-end budgets are almost always more interesting.” He’s done weddings with floral budgets as low as $400. But no matter your budget, just be honest about what you’re working with and let your florist help you figure out what you can accomplish with that number.

Roses, roses everywhere

When it comes to a choice of flowers, Mark frequently recommends that brides take a second look at the old-fashioned rose. Although the peony is one of the most requested flowers, the rose is the wedding flower workhorse. Mark uses a lot of roses in his weddings: “I know they are going to work well outside and they come in so many color variations that we can almost certainly match the exact color of the wedding,” he said. And the rose can bring the drama — he’s done weddings where they filled the entire ceiling space with hanging roses. But Mark’s favorite thing about roses is their staying power. Particularly in the heat. It’s the perfect flower for a summer outdoor wedding.

What’s your dream wedding flower? Let’s talk all things flowery in the comments below!

(Photos via Mark Held)