While flowers thrive in the sun when they're planted in the ground—after all, they need it to photosynthesize and produce those bright hues we love—once cut, the heat of the sun can cause their blooms to wilt, brown, and curl. And for outdoor weddings taking place during the summer months, that can mean less than ideal-looking arrangements if precautions aren't taken, experts say.
"Especially in cases of direct sunlight and heat, setting up florals, even in water, too early in the day can cause the flowers to wilt by the time of the wedding," explains Melanie Tindell, owner of and event planner at Cleveland-based Oak + Honey Event Planning Co. "Another potential issue could be the wind. A warm summer breeze is fine, but stronger winds in an open area—such as a ceremony site—can rough up delicate floral arrangements, as well."
It's important, then, to hit a sweet spot when setting up outdoor arrangements, a time that will allow the florist ample time to place or erect, in the case of floral arches and hanging installations, her designs—but late enough that the flowers won't have time to wilt and otherwise decay in the hot sun. So, when exactly is that sweet spot? It's the last possible, reasonable moment, says Tindell.
"The number one thing is to postpone floral drop-offs, arrangements, or installations to as close to show time as possible," she says. And while "your florist should be able to accommodate [that request], depending on their other events during the day, it can be tricky." If her busy schedule doesn't allow for a last-minute drop off and set up, Tindell recommends keeping your arrangements in a cool spot—think: an air-conditioned room or in the shade—for as long as possible. (If you have a wedding planner, she may be able to move the flowers into place.)
Then, once your arrangements are out in the open, Tindell recommends asking someone—your planner, or a family member or friend—to spray the flowers with a water bottle every half hour or more, if possible. "This is especially important for florals not arranged in a vase with water, such as garlands," Tindell says, as the mist will help keep the blooms hydrated.
Last, consider using tropical blooms in your outdoor arrangements. "Tropical plants are going to hold up better than delicate florals," Tindell points out. (They're native to high-heat environments.) "We've seen some beautiful arrangements with palms, for example."