Do you send flowers to a wedding--and where?
June 29, 2011 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Do people send flowers to a wedding? I have a friend (who is originally from Turkey--this is relevant) who was invited to the Florida wedding of her father's friend's daughter (who was born in the U.S. but is of Turkish descent). My friend can't attend, wants to send flowers, and is wondering whether to send them to the church or the reception.

Apparently in Turkey this is a common practice, but when she asked me I couldn't think of any instance here in the States of this happening. In my experience you'd send a gift, but maybe not. My friend looked on a florist's website and there is no "occasion" for "wedding" (there is "thinking of you," however). Any ideas?

Fun fact: the wedding is on the Fourth of July!
posted by notclosed to Human Relations (15 answers total)
I have never heard of this being done in the United States. If I were your friend and were really determined to honor this Turkish tradition, I might send flowers to the couple a week or so before the wedding, so that they can enjoy them in the time leading up to the wedding, or after they get back from the honeymoon, so that they have something fresh and pretty to decorate their new home. Dealing with the flowers at the wedding itself seems like a huge hassle, and I suspect they're likely to get thrown away rather than enjoyed.
posted by decathecting at 6:53 AM on June 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

People usually send flowers to funerals, not weddings, as american brides generally have flowers specifically picked out in a theme. Since the bride is turkish descent though she may hold the turkish tradition, in which case your friend should send them wherever custom dictates. She would probably be safer just sending a gift, though.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:55 AM on June 29, 2011

Choose a gift from the bride and groom's registry. Don't send flowers. That could end very badly.

Bride goes Bridezilla because "these flowers don't match!!!!!"
posted by litnerd at 6:58 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

In the typical US wedding, you don't. Flowers are handled by whoever's planning/paying for the wedding, and they're usually meticulously coordinated. There probably won't be room for any additional sent arrangements.

Sending flowers - especially to a church - is mostly done for funerals, and that's probably not an association you'd like to make.

This could be different if the bride is sticking to Turkish tradition for her wedding, but it's safest to send a gift instead. It'll last longer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2011

There are really two questions here:

1) Do people ever send flowers to an American style wedding? No.
2) Do people send flowers to a Turkish style wedding in the US? I don't know.

Getting answers to the first really won't help you much if the wedding is the second type.
posted by smackfu at 7:00 AM on June 29, 2011

Sending flowers to the bride in the weeks before to the wedding might be nice. Sending flowers to the wedding itself would probably be a waste; I've never heard of that being done here. I don't know that the bride would know what to do with them on her wedding day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:03 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Send them beforehand (like now for a July 4 wedding) with a note of congratulations and perhaps an acknowledgment of the Turkish tradition.
posted by mrs. taters at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2011

I work for a florist.

Nope, not "done" to send flowers to a wedding. I would send them a few days before.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

To the OP: traditionally, in the US, flowers aren't sent to the wedding or reception. Your friend could send flowers to the bride's home, but while that's a nice gesture, it isn't common or traditional. If this is a Turkish wedding, I don't see any reason why she couldn't follow Turkish tradition. In that case, I'd send them to the reception - easier to deal with them there.

Also: Nomyte, have you met every single American bride? No, I didn't think so. Please reserve judgment until you have.
posted by pecanpies at 7:42 AM on June 29, 2011

Whether the bride is a pampered infantile monster or not, it can still be awkward. I spent very little on my wedding but one guest gave me a huge beautiful formal white bouquet in a vase at my wedding and it made the flowers I'd actually purchased (whimsical wildflower type stuff) look so cheap and shoddy in comparison. It was a very generous gift but I felt so embarrassed about my budget with it displayed at the church while I carried a small mismatched bouquet. If she insists on flowers, sending something to her home before the wedding would be a better option, then she can either enjoy them at home or choose to display them at the church or reception.
posted by waterlily at 7:52 AM on June 29, 2011

[bunch of comments removed - leave JudgeMe stuff at home, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 AM on June 29, 2011

Wow, American brides sound like pampered, infantile monsters.

Yeah, not really. But because it is not an American custom to send flowers to weddings, there's no structure in place to make it easy to do. I worked for a short time in a call center of one of those awful international floral shipping places. One of the things I found out, which I'd never taken the time to notice before, is that when flowers are delivered to places where it's a usual practice (funeral homes, hospital rooms, private houses) there are procedures. Everyone, from the CSR to the florist to the funeral home (or wherever) knows what to do in order to ensure that the flowers have the best chance of arriving on time and fresh and that they get to the right person. I've also been in (and to) a few American weddings, and whether the event is choreographed and formal or more casual, there's no one waiting around to take delivery of bouquets. I imagine the flowers would be left outside, or misplaced in a random room in the church/reception hall, or given to some bewildered member of the catering staff to decide what to do with. Or they would show up, and be bright pink in a room full of orange and red flower arrangements that were pre-planned. And then the bride, with her 10 bags full of other stuff, wouldn't be able to take them home, and anyway she likely wouldn't be going home, but to a hotel and then on to the honeymoon.

So unless it's done differently at Turkish-American weddings, the flowers would be much more appreciated before or after the wedding, as everyone above said.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

The closest equivalent I can think of is that some churches have altar arrangements every weekend that are paid for by parishoners (usually in memoriam, though, not in honor of living people). But as far as I know you pay the church and they use their regular contract florist. And for all I know, it's now customary to remove them for weddings.

Anyway, yeah, infrastructure is a problem. Even if some well-meaning church secretary or reception venue manager accepted the delivery, the chances that it'd get set down somewhere and forgotten about, since they aren't specifically The Wedding Flowers they were expecting, are pretty high.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on June 29, 2011

Some of my wife's friends had flowers delivered for our wedding because they weren't able to attend. I forget but either we got the flowers and not the card that was supposed to come with it or we got the card and not the flowers (I suspect it was the former). It was a nice gesture, but if your friend is going to do this she should notify the hall/church so that there aren't any miscommunications like we had.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2011

I would either send them a week or two before the wedding or a few days after the couple returns from honeymoon (and has had a chance to relax and get organized). I'd encourage a card that says that this is part of a Turkish custom. I think that doing it that way keeps it from being a burden or interference and really allows the flowers to shine, while showing the loveliness of the custom.
posted by acoutu at 9:57 PM on June 29, 2011

« Older 10 kinds of colors to your configuration   |   Chocolate biscuits? Check. Now what? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.