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Quick Fixes for Floral Wedding Woes

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 22, 2016

Wedding season is upon us and Boston brides are lining up to walk down the aisles!  There is shear excitement in the air even though the bridal season can be a bit stressful which can sometimes ruin an otherwise blissful occasion.  With all of the tasks that need to be done to make the event successful, there’s no wonder why couples can feel overwhelmed with stress right before their happy day.  Wardrobe fittings, catering menus, location options, invitation details and music arrangements can snowball into catastrophic messes so we can certainly see why the idea of elopement is becoming more attractive…


The truth is, there are several blogs and articles out there to help relieve some of the pressure, including tips on how to pre-plan disasters before they even occur.  Wouldn’t that be something if we could correct bridle hiccups (that we know most weddings experience) before they happen?  Honestly, I don’t believe that you can predict every blunderbuss situation but when it comes to flowers, there are definitely a few tips that are useful if you’re willing to be a bit flexible.  Take a look at some suggested advice given by our city’stop floral designersthat will keep you smiling all the way to your honeymoon!  You’ll feel confident that your special day will have an attractive display of blossoms, as well as the confidence to focus on what truly matters- reciting the vows of “I do”.

Helpful Bridal Flower Tips

Flexibility Saves the Day

Hey, if you’re willing to agree on some changes to the photo you saw in your favorite wedding magazine, things will go a lot smoother once it’s time to get down to the business of ordering the flowers.  Floral professionals understand issues such as availability, cost and presentation that may negatively affect your vision as well as your wallet.  Do some homework on the arrangements that you prefer and afterwards, ask the florist their opinion on whether the flowers are the right choice for the job.  Listening to what they have to say could not only end up saving you the trouble of dealing with nightmarish logistical issues, but they could also save you a ton of money.  Even the smallest adaptations can make a huge difference to the outcome of your wedding work so keep things flexible.  Should you show them the ad in “Brides” with the gorgeous cascading phalaenopsis and palm trees scattered throughout the room?  Absolutely!  By doing so they’ll have a better idea of what your tastes are and perhaps can come up with a similar look that’s just as stunning at a lower price.


Fussiness with Exact Color Will Only Lead to Doom

I was a wholesale florist for twenty years and it never failed to amaze me when a florist promised a particular shade of a particular shade of a particular shade of…blush?  It’s a flower, which means that an exact tint is impossible to foretell.  Particularly when a pink tone such as “salmon” can be seen differently depending on the person you ask.  What looks like salmon to me, might not look like salmon to you so don’t get too precise with variety names.  If you’re a savvy bride, you’ll choose a basic color that can be easily identified like lavender or soft pink.  These are terms that everyone is familiar with and you’ll know that your florist will be able to appease your wishes.

Tags: Bridal Flowers, DIY Brides, Planning a Wedding, Weddings, Wedding Flowers, Brides

Masculine Boutonnières for the Manly Man

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 25, 2016

Wedding season is a beautiful portion of the calendar when couples confirm their love for one another in front of friends and family.  In order to create this stage of bliss for the newlyweds, the process involves many people.  We know that we have to hire a band and caterer and whatever you do, don’t forget the florist, but outside the vendors, there are others who we call upon for help.  Besides the bride and groom, the matrimonial cast includes stars such as the ring bearer, the flower girl (our favorite) the bridesmaids and the groomsmen.  While the children are probably excited to have important jobs for the service and the bridesmaids are just dying to wear that orange taffeta dress you assured them looked stunning on all of them, a particular group of guys may be a bit harder to convince of their relevant roles…


Groomsmen can be tricky to orchestrate but in all honesty, they’re usually the lifesavers of the party who just want to have a good time. In general, they’re the ones who loosen everyone up and make the big problems seem pretty minor after a few trips to the bar so you’ve got to pay attention and make sure they are fashioned as well as the rest of your wedding attendants (even if they really could care less).  If you’ve managed to get them all in a blue or black tux or suit without any gag props being mentioned, then you’ve done a job well done but let us not forget the boutonnières that will be pinned to their lapels.  Boutonnières sometimes have a bad wrap with groomsmen because they are often designed too big or too feminine for their taste.  If the bride is insistent of making them wear fuchsia roses because pink is her favorite color, well then you’re just going to live with it for the next six hours but if she’s flexible, there might be hope for a “Manly Man” boutonniere.  

What is a “Manly Man” Boutonniere?

A “Manly Man” boutonnière is just as attractive as a regular floral wedding piece for a man’s suit but incorporates more of a masculine appeal by using darker colors and a more rustic texture.  Men in general appreciate this contemporary style of dressing them with flowers because the shading and size tends to be simpler, smaller and less flashy than traditional pieces.  


How Can You Request “Manly Man” Boutonnières from Your Florist?

Mentioning this term to your floral representative should be explanation enough but if you have to indulge them further, request boutonnières that utilize greens, browns, blues and white.  You can even get away with oranges and reds when the season calls for it.  Rustic lapel displays are both attractive and soothing to the eye when walking down the aisle, plus they look great in photos as well.  Try these cool “Manly Man” boutonniere ideas for your wedding day and watch your guys dance the night away!

Tags: Prom Flowers, Weddings, Wedding Flowers, Boutonnieres

December Weddings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 07, 2015

If you’re mulling over the idea of picking a wedding date before the year is over, you might want to contemplate saying, “I do” on December 24th or 25th.  Sound like a ridiculous idea?  There are actually several positive aspects of throwing a Christmas Eve/Day ceremony including wider availability, lower costs for reception halls and higher accessibility to bridal vendors (eg. wedding planners).   Another bonus is that you’ll be choosing an important spot on the calendar, which decreases the likelihood of one of you forgetting your anniversary (trust me, it happens)


For many couples who debate booking their nuptials in December, fear commonly derives from the flowers having to be an all white, red and green color palette but I assure you there are other options.  While it is true that these shades are abundant during the yuletide season and more affordable, florists can still create bridal worthy floral work without making the church or event room look like a lit up Christmas tree.  Keep in kind there will be varieties intertwined that are accustomed to the holiday product line but use this to your advantage.  Foliage such as pine is a lot cheaper than other greenery such a hosta leaves or ruscus.  In the long run, it will save you money so be aware of what your florist is carrying this month and compromise additions within pew markers and boutonnières.  From bouquets to table centerpieces, let these stunning samples convince you of the vast possibilities that await a holiday wedding celebration!



The trick to making a December wedding not look “Chrismasy” is to keep all three of the red, white and red color combination out of your bridal work.  One or two shades are okay but a third will bring you right back to the holidays and that’s what you want to avoid.  This bouquet features white ranunculus (luckily available at this time) and white hydrangea.  Place pearl pushpins in the center of the heads and you’ll dazzle with this stunning all-white-wedding theme. 




For those who desire a sultry style, you may want to go for the deep reds and burgundy color tone.  Not only is the look both wedding appropriate and beautiful, florists will be able to utilize the abundance of berries, amaryllis and roses that are popularly shipped into Boston during December.  Candlelight works really well against this sexy platform as well and inspires a romantic feel for both newlyweds and guests. 



You can’t get more glamorous than a thick bunch of green cymbidiums for a bride and her maids hand held bouquets.  These orchids are fabulous year round and also enhance an exotic appeal.  You might be worried that you can see white in the center as well as a touch of pinkish red but in no way does this pretend to be a Christmas inspired presentation.  The cymbidium bouquet is sleek and tropical so there’s no mistaking its bridal worthy effects.





Tags: Weddings, Wedding Flowers, Flowers, December

How To Persuade and Dissuade Impossible Wedding Demands

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Sep 18, 2015

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I worked in the wholesale flower business for decades specializing in high-end invents-weddings in particular.  Although most of the time, the florists whom I consulted were gifted with pleasant (and most importantly) realistic brides, there was always that one client who proceeded to torture designers unmercifully.  Here’s the top five snags Boston Florists run into when planning their floral work:

photo credit:

  1. The eminent request for a variety of flower that DOES NOT GROW during the season she wishes to wed.  
  2. They insist on a particular color palette that is so ugly, the florist is afraid to be recognized as the designer.
  3. Desiring the most expensive flowers available but not wanting to pay for them due to budget constraints.  
  4. Changing their order a week before the affair leaving the florist to cancel their order from the wholesaler who is bound to go bananas.
  5. Asking for the most heat sensitive flowers such as sweet pea and lily of the valley for a July date forecasted to be in the 90’s.  (You know they wont live to see the aisle).  


So I know we all recognize these agonizing situations but a few tips can help alleviate these ugly confrontations.  Stress is usually the number one instigator for disagreement and ridiculous requests so whatever a florist can do to prepare the customer will be helpful to decrease surprise costs or failure of availability.  Contracts set up before the florists makes any attempt to fulfill the order is always wise and can deter “you promised” or “I never agreed to pay that” from being said in the long run.  Other ideas that might help render a difficult bride are these five tips to assist the florist in experiencing a fuss free wedding day.


  1. Have everything in writing so there is a concrete paper trail during the entire floral buying process.
  2. Make a quick pamphlet for each season, which showcases the readily available flowers so that the bride has a firm understanding that you are not a magician.  
  3. Do not leave the sordid topic of cost until the end.  Deal with a clear budget concept during the first meeting and hold tight to your guns.  Make sure this information is clearly printed in the contract mentioned in tip#1.
  4. Try not to get too specific about each and every bloom you plan on using for the affair.  With the exception of the bouquet, chances are she won’t notice every bloom anyways.  You can use this as a little wiggle room if a problem occurs with your market order.
  5. Keep reflecting back on her and the wonderful occasion marriage is instead of focusing solely on the role of the flowers.  The event is about joining two people who love each other after all, not the centerpieces or boutonnières!

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Tags: Planning a Wedding, Weddings, Wedding Flowers

Flower Picks for January Weddings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 21, 2015

I love flowers.  In fact, I love them twelve months of the year and especially during the holiday season.  April brings beautiful bulb plants while July and August bring sweet stems of wild flowers.  Even the fall produces an extraordinary array of options including sunflowers, asters and cabbage.  New England is almost a year round resource for botanicals but there are those sticky few months where the wind chill factor drops to below zero and that white fluffy stuff drops from the sky.  Alas, Boston florists have made it their mission to supply their customers with hardy and most importantly, beautiful, blossoms during the months of January and February.  Now you can’t go into this without realizing that flexibility is a must.  You might not find peonies but you will be able to choose from a delightful selection.  Here are some of my favorites for the winter season.


 Sweet Peas are probably one of the most sought after flower for weddings during this time of year and remarkably, comes from several different countries of import such as Holland and Japan.  Petals come in shades of purple, yellow, white pink, blush, fuchsia, peach and even red.  Their delicate appearance makes them perfect for wedding bouquets, showing a dreamy like appearance when stems are tucked tightly within European styled handhelds. 


Lilly of the Valley is another popular item because again, it’s shipped into the US on a standard basis during the wintertime.  Also dainty in nature, these tiny stems hold white cups that resemble bells dripping off the vine.  This variety is one of the more fragrant options and also becomes popular with brides using sprigs for hairpieces and corsages.  Be careful though, they likely will not live for a long period of time so weddings and party work are the best place to utilize this variety. 

 tulips in boston                                        photo credit: Flower Factor

Tulips are everywhere during this time of year and for a good reason.  They come in a mass assortment of shapes and colors and in most cases are priced reasonably.  Tulips can either be ordered from your Boston florist or picked up in your grocery store-its that simple.  While the spring bulb may not look like a decadent additive to your floral arrangements, they present a “clean” appeal that is also extremely easy to work with.

 lady slipper orchid

                                   photo credit: Flower Factor

Cypripedium orchids are stunning, end of story.  They are small in height but produce the most gorgeous green, pedaled face that has a striped green and white throat.  These little babies might cost a penny or two but one things for sure, they last!  You wont need too many stems either as they are perfect standing alone in a simple fuss-free glass holder.  Trust me, you wont be disappointed with this pick!

suzie_c Suzie and Ryan Canale, Boston MA 2014

Suzie once served as the South End Wedding Planner for


Tags: Planning a Wedding, Orchids, Wedding Flowers, January, Flowers

George Clooney's Wedding Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Oct 18, 2014

It’s been deemed the wedding of the decade as fans watched the 53-year-old Hollywood actor, George Clooney, marry the famous human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin.  Dating less than a year, the nephew of acclaimed silver screen actress, Rosemary Clooney, had finally found his ladylove after a long career of bachelorhood.  Although details of the matrimonial extravaganza, which took place in Venice, Italy, are still surfacing, the world is on the edge of their seats wondering what this star studded pair had in mind to celebrate their nuptials. 


Believed to have taken place over a three-day span, reports specify that guests were escorted to the seven-starred venue in boats driven through the romantic Grande Canal.  Once they arrived at the Aman Grande Resort, an imperial dinner was served following the couple’s exchange of loving promises atop of a lifted stage.   Official wedding photographs were taken in the middle of the hotel’s lush garden, containing blossoms rich in vibrant color.  A-lister invitees including Matt Damon, Bono and Cindy Crawford who watched as the bride (dressed in a stunning Oscar de la Renta gown tailored with cream French lace) and groom recited vows on a raised platform decorated with white pillar candles.  Red wine flowed and music played on until the early hours of the morning…

 But what about the flowers? 


Floral décor has remained a hushed topic for this event although we have been able to take a peek at a few details revealing first and foremost- that there were a lot of them!  As having been described as a wedding exhuming elegance and grandeur, the palette has been described as mainly white with accents flowing throughout the table centerpieces.  The stunning British advocate carried an all white bouquet of ranunculus and hydrangea, tied together in a traditional European style, while Clooney nixed wearing a wedding boutonnière all together.  We know that massive buckets of white hybrid delphinium were used in several main staged pieces as well Casa Blanca lilies, roses, orchids and lisianthus, again all in shades of white.  Pictures of delicate peach roses and green lady’s mantle were also seen being delivered by florists in dozens of massive buckets.  Floral arrangements included large arches, small bud vases, table rounds and personals, which were included in the estimated $13 million dollar wedding festivity.  Now that’s what you call a wedding!

 suze-1 Suzie Canale lives in Westwood, MA. She works in the Westwood public library, mother of two boys, an avid chef and gardener who finds time to serve as the Director of The Women's Lockerroom Foundation of Boston. She has published four children's books through the Beantown Tales. 

Clooney wedding photos for this blog from People Magazine and CNN

Tags: Celebrity Florist, Hollywood Florist, Weddings, Suzie Canale, Wedding Flowers

Gerbera Daisies for Boston's Fall Weddings - by Suzie Canale

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Sep 10, 2014

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The gerbera daisy remains a favorite for many brides in Boston, Cape Cod and Newport.  Gerbera daisies are used in bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, aisle petals and even in the bride's hair. Its versatility keeps the gerbera daisy on the Boston bride's radar. Many brides search for a specific color when planning their floral displays. Some gerbera varieties are not available during year round.  Certain gerbera daisies are cultivated at different times of the year. This cultivation allows for stronger heads, wider availability and sometimes even higher cost efficiency.  Adhering to seasonal color palettes is a wise decision during event planning. A wise bride will choose darker shades during the winter and lighter tones during the summer.  If a bride is planning  a fall wedding, here are a few decadent gerbera varieties that are perfect for your autumn wedding celebration.


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The Serena gerbera daisy is luscious. This variety arrives in a shaded dark pink with a dark center.  Fuchsia hued flowers make wonderful fall accents. The fuchsia flowers make the darker colors really pop. Serena complements other gerberas like orange and peach quite nicely.  A gerbera daisy's durability is renowned. Its strong head prevents weeping and drooping in centerpieces.  Other substitutions for Serena are “Picasso” and “Dark Serena”.


The “Calypso” gerbera daisy is a stunning orange that Boston brides will choose for their fall wedding.  With its dark center and frilled inner sepals, Calypso gerbera daisy makes autumn arrangements pop with its vibrant color and delicate outer petals.  Calypso pairs well with red, yellow or peach. This combinations stuns and awes wedding guests.  Substitutes for the “Calypso” can be “Orange Illusion”, “Milonga” or “Sirtaki”.

Yellow River:

“Yellow River” gerbera is another strong headed variety, this gerbera daisy is known for its density throughout its petals.  Yellow River Gerbera has a green center; this color contrast works well  in bridal work, including hair pieces, bride's maids bouquets and church pew markers. Bearing a striking resemblance to the sunflower, Yellow River gerbera makes an easy transition from summer to fall events, ideal for late September weddings. Similar yellow gerberas include “Kalika”, “Illusion” and “Chelsea”.

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Suzie Canale




Tags: Gerbera Daisies, Suzie Hearl Canale, Wedding Flowers

Run Your Flower Shop Like Picasso

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

Boston Bridal Flowers

So many small florists undervalue their talents. As professional florists, know that your skills came at a steep price and you should be compensated for your time, effort and talent. 
When brides come into our Boston flower shops and ask about doing the flowers themselves (dyi) for their own wedding, I often think of this story.

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

Tags: Bridal Flowers, DIY Brides, Picasso, Wedding Flowers

Getting Engaged at Christmas Time by Suzie Canale

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Dec 16, 2013

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Christmas time in New England is magical. Cinnamon, pine, vanilla and coffee permeate the air. Twinkling lights, frenzied children and frost lined sidewalks illuminate the streets of Boston. Greeting cards, decorated homes and Christmas carols spark our memories of Santa bringing toys to our homes. These emotions are infectious.  These warm feelings make the holiday season the most romantic time of year. It comes as no surprise that more couples get engaged during Christmas than any other holiday. Hopefully you were on the 'nice list' this year. If so, maybe a little box from EB Horn is under your Christmas tree.  

The first moments after your companion pops the question is a flood of emotion; happiness, joy, tears, laughter, love.  All these emotions are mirrors of the Christmas season. After accepting your proposal, your heart thumps and the butterflies in your stomach swirl. This event happens once in a lifetime. Embrace your jitters and tears, because this is a story you will tell your grandchildren.

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Many newly engaged couples will instantly wish to tell their family, friends or even the six o'clock news.  This frenzy is a natural reaction. Some however may wish to keep their news secret. There is nothing wrong with witholding your great news until both partners have had time to enjoy this news intimately.

Eventhough you are officially engaged, there is no need to rush into planning your ideal Cape Cod wedding. Savor the moment and relish the holiday season. Christmas is about memories and traditions. What better way to start a tradition or memory than getting engaged on Christmas ? Planning a wedding in Boston, Newport , the Cape or anywhere can be stressful. Ease into your wedding planning so that you may savor one of the most romantic times of marriage, the pre-honeymoon phase.

Of course, once you are ready to plan your Boston wedding, the staff at Exotic Flowers is at your disposal.


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Tags: Traditions, Suzie Hearl Canale, Wedding Flowers, Christmas, Holidays

Boston Author Suzie Canale Shares her Expertise on Military Weddings.

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Nov 09, 2013

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Veterans Day, 11.11.13  is one of our most overlooked holidays.  Veterans Day pays tribute to the men and women who have served in the military for the preservation of the United States of America. These selfless individuals commit their lives to protect, organize and strengthen the safety of United States citizens. These soldiers  have  earned the title, hero. They are fearless, gallant, courageous, brave.   Veterans provide the  definition of patriotism, “love of; loyalty to one’s own country; inspired by one’s country.”  U.S soldiers express  their devotion throughout many rites and celebrations, even wedding ceremonies. 

 Military weddings are not only special for the bride and groom, but also the guests.  Not only does the branch of service each differ for a military wedding, but also the soldier's rank determines certain customs as well.  A soldier is required to wear his or her uniform during their wedding ceremony. Military wedding ceremonies can be held on a base, in a private venue or in public, where a chaplain may conduct the readings.  Military invitations must state the rank and branch which either the bride or groom serves.  Engagement rings are often traditional but can also be a class or fraternity ring.   The most dramatic and photographed aspect of military weddings is the arch of sabers or swords.  When the couple is pronounced man and wife, they are ushered through an archway of sword or saber (depends on the branch) bearing soldiers where they are temporarily blocked in the end until the bride and groom kiss. Spectacular, romantic, regal.

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The reception of a military wedding also differs than a traditional Boston wedding.  The commanding officer (C.O.) present often sits with the couple’s immediate family at the head table, paying homage to the C.O.'s  role as leader. The wedding couple's cake cutting is a ceremony all its own.  The groom cuts the wedding cake with his sword/saber (with the bride’s assistance).  Other military wedding planning can include decorations and favors representing the branch of the soldier, including keepsakes and mementos, elaborate desserts and color themes for wedding flowers. Florists like Exotic Flowers in Boston have created red, white and blue weddings; red and gold Marine corps themed weddings; and black and white formal military balls.

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What better way could two people begin their lives together than promoting the Armed Forces traits of honor, loyalty and dedication ?

Tags: Veterans Day, Suzie Canale, Wedding Flowers

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