Wedding days are unforgettable, and part of what creates those memorable scenes are the flowers. From bouquets and boutonnières to archways, centerpieces and beyond, flowers set the stage for some of the biggest days.

For the past 18 years, Florists’ Review’s annual “Picture-Perfect Weddings” contest has honored florists’ finest wedding work — and 2017 did not disappoint. Here are the winners of our 19th annual contest.

BEST WEDDING
William Hattel, AIFD WH Designs Floral Events Thornton, Colo.

Date: July 29, 2017
Ceremony Site: Old Snowmass Ranch; Old Snowmass, Colo.
Reception Site: Bride’s family’s home; Kingsland, Texas
Number in Wedding Party: 21
Number of Guests: 175
Approximate Retail Floral Value: $7,000
Photos: Ross Daniels Photography; Aspen, Colo.

When the nuptial venue of a scenic, private Snowmass, Colo., ranch melds seamlessly with lush lavender and white florals crafted by WH Designs Floral Events, the “PicturePerfect Wedding” has been created. Desiring a country chic garden wedding with a casual and relaxed yet elegant and upscale feel, a Los Angeles-based couple exchanged their vows under a custom-built arbor adorned with Hydrangea, roses, Lisianthus, Southern Smilax and Delphinium. Lining the aisle with a “not to intricate” design of lavender and white rose petals (to compensate for the windy location), William Hattel, AIFD, was able to frame the picturesque private lake and breathtaking Elk Mountains.

With the bride’s request for a cascading bouquet, William created traditional-inspired bouquets for the bridal party that were a bit loose, with touches of lavender, caspia and fully open roses in place of peonies. The flowers to wear comprised the fresh locally grown lavender and “silver” spray roses, to keep everything delicate and loose.

“The bride was very easy to work with,” William says. “I was able to do my own thing as long as I incorporated fresh lavender and stuck with her desired color palate.”

The day was made complete with the reception held under a clear-top tent that allowed everyone to enjoy the evening under the mountain stars. William and staff covered rustic wooden farm tables with touches of lace and lined with Southern Smilax garlands intertwined around wooden boxes filled with Hydrangea, roses, dusty miller, purple kale, purple stock and “silver” spray roses.

“This bride was right on trend with her choice of a violet color palate, wooden elements instead of birch, and locally grown lavender,” William observes. “It all came together perfectly.”

BEST BOUQUETS
Laura Murphy, CFD McKenna Floral San Clemente, Calif.

Date: Oct. 21, 2017
Ceremony and Reception Site: Sacred Mountain Julian (a private mountaintop ranch); Julian, Calif.
Number in Wedding Party:24
Number of Guests:140
Approximate Retail Floral Value: $4,900
Photos: Oh Lovely Wedding; San Diego, Calif.

When nature furnishes a scenic panoramic setting for a bride with a bohemian style and personality, the tone is set for a rustic wedding. Laura Murphy, CFD’s floral combinations of burgundy, plum, blush and gold complemented the fall foliages of reds and golds at a private California ranch. With the bride’s request for bohemian garden-inspired bouquets with a wild and organic look, Laura incorporated a wide array of botanicals including garden roses, Dahlias, several varieties of roses, Astilbe, purple heather, jasmine vine, numerous varieties of Eucalyptus, smoke bush and other botanicals in the bouquets.

“The inspiration for the bouquets was a picture of a centerpiece brought in by the bride,” Laura explains. “To achieve the desired look, I made basic spiral hand-tied bouquets and added some wild elements. I incorporated gold and blush ribbons to give the bouquets a “pop” against the burgundy bridesmaids’ dresses. The bride was totally in love with the flowers and the colors. For me, the bouquets were my favorite of the year.”

BEST CEREMONY
Val Christensen Clements
Sisters Floral
Emerson, Neb.

Date: May 20, 2017
Ceremony and Reception Site: Al’s Storage Garage; Verdigre, Neb. and Z.C.B.J. Opera House; Verdigre, Neb.
Number in Wedding Party: 22
Number of Guests: 350
Approximate Retail Floral Value: $6,000
Photos: Gleason Photography; Lincoln, Neb.

When a small-town bride from a village of 300, with an eye for the dramatic, asked floral designer Val Christensen Clements to design the wedding of her dreams in her fiancé’s vintage garage, Val embraced the space. Creating an unexpected romantic look, the ceremony was set against a chipped painted brick wall draped with sheer fabric, strands of lights, dozens of candles and tins of flowers. The bride’s request for a candlelight service at 4 p.m. was accomplished by blackening the two major windows in the garage and lining the aisles with lanterns and candles. As a symbol of the bride’s eclectic personality, Val designed the flowers with a boho-chic feel. The soft-hued flowers were styled in a loose and wild fashion in the arrangements, bouquets and flowers to wear. King Protea were paired with a mixture of flowers and an ample amount of plumosa fern, Eucalyptus and other greenery.

For Val, “one of the most memorable moments of the ceremony was when the bride and groom each spray-painted half a heart on the garage wall, which is still there today, as part of the décor of the groom’s current business.”

BEST RECEPTION
Nancy Bartlett
Bartlett’s Greenhouses & Florist
Clifton, N.J.

Date: Oct. 14, 2016
Ceremony Site: Weylin B. Seymour’s; Brooklyn, N.Y.
Number in Wedding Party: 13
Number of Guests: 250
Approximate Retail Floral Value: $25,000
Photos: Bonnie & Lauren Photographers; Brooklyn, N.Y.

Set in the historic Weylin B. Seymour’s, formerly the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, in Brooklyn, N.Y., this venue captured the elegance and romance sought after by both the bride and groom. Challenged to create a fall wedding in this setting, Nancy Bartlett focused on the bride’s emphasis on beauty and autumn colors mixed with pink. Working with gold-accented ceiling and domes measuring 50 to 70 feet in height, Nancy designed the reception to incorporate high-lift floral centerpieces, low table arrangements, and garlands comprising antique Hydrangea, pink roses and an assortment of burgundy flowers, with a touch of gold and hundreds of candles.

“In order to find the number of antique Hydrangea need for this ceremony,” Nancy explains, “I created a faux finish by spraying green Hydrangea with burgundy and cherry wood-tone spray to get that perfect fall color that paired with the pink roses.”

With the reception and ceremony taking place at the same venue, Nancy also faced the challenge of switching from the ceremony to the reception in 45 minutes. “In the end, it was all worth it when the up-lighting was turned on and the entire venue came together in a breathtaking ‘wow.’”

BEST WEARABLE FLOWERS
Jodi Staska
Floral Designs by Jodi
Owatonna, Minn.

Date: July 15, 2017
Ceremony and Reception Site: Owatonna Country Club; Owatonna, Minn.
Number in Wedding Party: 24
Number of Guests: 300
Approximate Retail Floral Value: $2,500
Photos: Jodi Staska

When the bride’s only request is that the flowers be cool, funky, fun and colorful, and that each flower to wear be different, Jodi Staska’s creative juices flowed. The whimsical and playful side of the couple inspired them to express themselves by incorporating many colors in the bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen’s ties, wedding cake and nonmatching flowers to wear and carry. Jodi choose flowers from each bridesmaid’s bouquet to create different wearable floral combinations. By incorporating orange spray roses, Scabiosa pods, pennycress (Thlaspi), red Hypericum berries, blue thistle and variegated Pittosporum in different combinations, Jodi was able to honor her bride’s request. In order to establish harmony and unity with the flowers, Jodi ensured that each boutonnière contained pennycress, Hypericum and variegated Pittosporum as well as that each corsage was tied with a sheer dusty-rose ribbon.