More and more people are asking me about the prospect of using artificial wedding flowers, rather than fresh ones, or a mix of the two. It seems to be a slowly growing trend, but I have some very serious reservations about it.
Now, I’m not going to jump straight onto my soapbox and scream “look at them! They’re fake flowers! They can’t possibly be as good as real ones!” I do like to be even-handed, and it’s true that silk flowers in the 21st century look a lot more realistic than they used to. Proponents of artificial blooms will tell you that we’ve moved on somewhat from the big plastic dewdrops of yore: today’s fake blossoms won’t wilt in the heat, and you can even scent them for the full floral fragrance experience. Eager brides-to-be look ahead with joy to being able to give an everlasting floral keepsake to their doting Mums.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, now it’s time for the soapbox. Think about it for a second – fake flowers? At your wedding? Aren’t you… well… cheapening yourself, not to mention your big day? We all have to think about what we can pay for anything in life, but surely your wedding deserves some genuine beauty. Even the prettiest handmade flowers are lacking that certain something. You just know they’re not real. And of all the things it should be, your wedding day should be real.
Simply put, there’s nothing – and I mean NOTHING – to compare with the delicacy and versatility of real wedding flowers. Colours are more vibrant, movement is more subtle, and the creative possibilities are far greater. If someone catches a glimpse of the stem of a real flower, it’s not a talking point; the harsh plastic of an artificial stem, on the other hand, is invariably greeted with sneers.
But what about the idea of permanence, I hear many indignant brides ask. Real flowers will fade and die. They’ll be cleared away at the end of the wedding day and if you’re lucky, you might be able to press one of them to keep. It sounds like a good argument in favour of the fake, but I really can’t subscribe to it. Part of the beauty of real flowers is in their transience – like a perfect sunset, the magic comes in their relative brevity. Going against that, trying to preserve them forever, is like having a perfect-looking meal in front of you that appears delicious, but which you can’t ever smell or taste. What’s the point?
Finally, there’s the issue of cost, which is the driving force behind many brides’ decisions to use artificial flowers in the first place. What a lot of people don’t realise is that good quality silk flowers (the ones that don’t have big plastic dewdrops) can often cost more than real flowers, so unless you really want to compromise on quality, you’re not saving anything.
To my mind, artificial flowers have all the drawbacks and none of the advantages of real flowers. Even the most skilfully-created silk bouquet doesn’t have the vivacity and genuine beauty of a real arrangement, and this is what floristry is all about. So as I climb off my soapbox, I’d just ask you to think carefully before you decide that fake flowers are going to be your blooms of choice.