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Florist to the Stars, Mark Held of Mark's Garden offers wedding flower tips

photography by Gertrude & Mabel Photography
photography by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

If you ask who is the "Florist to the Stars," the insiders would tell you it is MARK’S GARDEN in Sherman Oaks, California. The owners, Mark Held and Richard David, along with their premiere staff, created the floral designs for such notable weddings as Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom’s, Fergie and Josh Duhamel’s, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's, Kathryn Heigl and Josh Kelley's and believe me, the list seems quite endless.  For two decades MARK’S GARDEN has been creating fairytale weddings for many lucky couples.


Mark and the rest of his team are currently creating the floral designs for the Academy Awards Governor’s ball. This will be their 17th year to capture this most prestigious assignment. Mark took time out of his busy schedule to speak with me and share his tips for brides planning their wedding flowers.

Here are Mark’s tips…

(1)  “Before you start looking at your flowers, you first need to be realistic and confront your budget. If you have a small budget but want to invite 300 people, you cannot expect to be able to spend a lot of money on flowers. If you want more flexibility with your limited dollars, think about having a smaller guest list and a more intimate wedding

(2)  The best way to save money on flowers and décor is to choose a venue that is already beautiful, that needs little enhancement. A beautiful garden, a panoramic view, a beautifully appointed room are all places where you don’t need to add too much to the scenery to have a beautiful wedding.

held- white furniture settingKarno 025
                                     simone and martin Photography

(3) Everyone has a budget, even people who tell me they do not have a budget, have one. When you initiate a conversation with any of your vendors, be very upfront on what your budget is for their specific service. It is a waste of time for you or your vendors if you don’t do this. If they show you a proposal for something you cannot afford, you’ve just wasted your time and you haven’t seen what the vendor is capable of doing within your budget.

(4) Don’t skimp on your bridal bouquet. This is your day; you should get to have a beautiful bouquet to hold. However, don’t choose a bouquet that overpowers you or your dress. We want to see you first when you are walking down the aisle, not your bouquet. You are the star of the show. Brides come in every shape and size and your flowers need to honor that. You may see a bouquet in a magazine that you love, but it may take away from your own personal beauty. Make sure that you choose your dress first before you even begin a design conversation about your bouquet.

(5) Boutonnières are not corsages! I personally think men’s boutonnières should be simple and small. And bows on men’s boutonnières, I’m sorry, that is just one big no no to me.

(6) Don’t mix too many colors in your wedding flowers; it can really start looking like a circus. I think one or two colors are best. You can still make a bright and colorful statement with two great stand-out colors, but beyond that, it’s hard to successfully execute an elegant design.

(7) Bring tear sheets and pictures of wedding flowers you love and those you hate to your design consultation (mark appropriately so they know which you love and which you hate!). Bring material swatches of your bridesmaids' dresses and your wedding dress (if you can get it). Bring pictures of all wedding party attire and your wedding and reception venue (if your florist is not familiar with the location(s)). The more information you give to your florist, the better they will be able to design something you will love.

held- ceremony view -Sloan 3
                                      Gertrude & Mabel Photography

(8) Be flexible with the type of flowers you want to use at your wedding. You may have one specific flower in mind but that flower may not hold up well in the heat of your outdoor wedding. Hopefully you are working with a floral designer that will educate you on what flowers will be the best for your special day given all the elements like the seasonal availability of flowers, the cost of the flowers (in terms of honoring your budget), and how that flower will hold up in your specific environment and in the overall look you want to achieve.

(9) Head wreaths are not a great idea for your tiny attendants. If your flower girl is under 5,  they will likely take it off as fast as their mother tries to put it back on again!  For flower girls under 3, consider giving them a very lightweight basket with a small arrangement in it instead of petals to throw. Heavy baskets get given to mothers to carry and petals often confuse little ones and rarely thrown, the way you want them to be thrown, when the flower girl is too young to understand.

(10) Most tall centerpieces are more expensive than low ones, so if you are trying to save money, either keep with all low ones or alternate them to save money – maybe 3 low centerpieces for every tall one.

held- low centerpieces Fredston wedding
                                     Yitzhak Dalal, Dalal Photography

(11) Incorporating candles with your centerpieces can stretch your budget and creates a very romantic feel to your wedding. Inexpensive votive candles surrounding your centerpieces can enhance the overall look of any priced centerpiece.

(12) You can never go wrong with a clean classic look.

(13)  Make sure you are listening to your professional floral designer but also be sure that they are listening to you. My brides bring in some very fresh and wonderful ideas. If I were not listening to their creative ideas, I would lose the opportunity to design something truly personal and special for them. If your floral designer is not listening to you, find one that will. On the other hand, make sure you are listening to your designer’s wisdom as well. That is what you are paying for right?  Use the wealth of their experience to create the perfect look for you.”

Thank you Mark for sharing the wealth of your experience with us!

Mark’s aptly named book, Fabulous Parties, will be coming out in paperback in March.

Click here to be directed to MARK'S GARDEN's website.

For a few more pictures of Mark's work, check out the slide show below:

And don't forget - for all things weddings, go to BridesKnowBest


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