My wedding customers usually hire me because I source my flowers locally. I tell them they will get what is available at the time of their event and that it will look great. I never promise any particular variety at the consultation but I do agree on a color palette. This past weekend, I had an entirely white wedding. It was a risk when I accepted this job several months ago, but white dahlias should have been abundant, so I agreed.

I normally place my order for flowers about 7-10 days before a wedding. This is the earliest my growers will accept an order with any confidence in what will be blooming. I will pre-ordering (really a wish list) with some willing growers up to 3 months out from an event if there is a special requirement like this wedding. I was able to pre-order 120 white dahlias from a grower I have worked with for years. I understood there was no guarantee. We agreed the grower would confirm the order one week before the event. Ten days out, the grower called with the number of available white dahlias: 14. High heat and low rain slowed the growth. If you are any good at math, 14 out of 120 equals I’m screwed!

Let’s not get into panic mode. I had to get creative, so here’s what I did:

  • First, I reached out to all the growers we were getting flowers from that week and let them know I needed white dahlias specifically and any white flowers generally. I let them know I would take small quantities of things – so even if they only had one bunch of something, I would take it. This request got me about six extra bunches of white dahlias, a few bunches of white gerbers, some short white lisianthus, some hydrangea and some extra white snaps.
  • Next I reached out to other growers we don’t buy from every week to see if they had anything white and if they would be able to deliver on sort of short notice. This request got me about 200 stems of tuberose. 
  • Finally, the team and I prioritized using the dahlias in the bouquets, entry arrangement and ceremony arrangements. While we did get dahlias in all of the centerpieces, we used fewer than we normally would have and adjusted the design accordingly.

White wedding success.

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