Weddings 2012 Planning Guide: Flowers
BLOOM THE FLOWER COMPANY
Event planner–cum–floral designer Paul Girling set out to bring inspiring floral design to Rosedale. The shop is famous for its jaw-dropping window arrangements, which feature unconventional elements like green roses, proteas, kiwi branches, asparagus and brussels sprouts. Bouquets start at $35, but average $150 for brides and $80 for bridesmaids. Centrepieces are $75–$600 plus delivery and set-up. Full service available. Closed Sunday. 1009 Yonge St. (at Crescent Rd.), 416-324-9900.
Arrangements at this cozy Rosedale shop are simple, feminine and elegant. Owner Rivers Ranscombe says her designers prefer to keep things loose and natural. A bridal bouquet (from $100) might include Ontario delphiniums, tulips and cymbidium orchids. The shop focuses on local and seasonal flowers, and will work within a variety of budgets. For one September wedding, Ranscombe designed a Jewish bedeken room with freshly picked late summer blooms. Brides may be tempted by such tasteful centrepieces (from $65) as lime-green celosia with white hydrangeas, pale yellow cabbage roses and coral mini calla lilies. Closed Sunday. 1 Rowanwood Ave. (at Yonge), 416-960-8903.
Stepping into Alison Westlake’s charming Parkdale flower shop, you can’t help but fall in love with her sweet, country-chic approach to florals. Loose, romantic arrangements of locally sourced blooms (tulips, peonies, dahlias and feathery astilbe) in rustic containers, such as vintage pitchers, Mason jars and apothecary bottles, are her signature. The look is natural, understated and not overly stylized. Bridal bouquets from $100, centrepieces from $45. Closed Monday and Tuesday in the winter. 1537 Queen St. W. (at Wilson Park Rd.), 416-532-3333.
This florist is known for a romantic look that’s soft and lush. The shop creates elegant bouquets, with seasonal buds spilling out from jardinières and green ceramic containers. One option includes vendella roses, cream-coloured fragrant stocks, lisianthus, roses, lilacs and peonies. Roses with glossy galax leaves have caused many hearts to skip a beat. Bridal bouquets from $165, small centrepieces from $85, large standards from $165 plus delivery and set-up. Full service from $1,500. Queen location closed Saturday and Sunday; Yonge location closed Monday. 1044 Queen St. W. (at Ossington); 2638 Yonge St. (at Lytton Blvd.), 416-967-0893.
In summer, this floral atelier makes for a luscious spectacle: heaps of delphiniums, lilies, hydrangeas and roses, all bundled in buckets. Up to 25 designers are at work, creating tightly bound bouquets. Emblem does full-service weddings, preferring rich, dense arrangements, and changes palettes by the season. For one reception, they lined a table with test tubes filled with coral peonies, orange roses and berries. Bridal bouquets $185–$350, centrepieces from $85, full wedding $4,000–$60,000. Sunday by appointment. 390 Dupont St. (at Brunswick Ave.), 416-972-9878.
FIORI FLORAL AND EVENT DESIGN
Lidia Tacconelli’s style incorporates traditional and contemporary looks. Her arrangements are abundant, luscious and rich in texture and colour, but flexible enough to suit almost any client. Working with all the tools of a designer—including lights and props—she oversees the aesthetics of the whole event. Bouquets average $200–$400, centrepieces start at $100. Full-service design varies by event and venue. Closed Sunday. 633 St. Clair Ave. W. (at Wychwood Ave.), 416-658-0715.
The secret to many of the perfectly appointed drawing rooms of the Bridle Path, Forest Hill and Rosedale might just be this upscale Leaside flower shop. In business since 1985, it’s a family-owned fixture serving regulars and customers from as far away as Kitchener. Flower Plus will accommodate any style, but mostly deals in classics, like roses, peonies and hydrangeas. It tries to tailor the blooms to the overall style of the nuptials: an English garden look for a wedding at the Estates of Sunnybrook, for example, or a modern, structural look for a ceremony at the ROM. Bridal bouquets from $150, centrepieces from $65. Full service available from $3,500. Closed Sunday. 1709 Bayview Ave. (at Eglinton), 416-485-1167.
With its blaring opera music and buckets of wild orchids, Foglie is edgy for a store that calls itself a friendly neighbourhood flower shop. Long the go-to spot for power players with a penchant for flowers, Foglie is packed wall to wall with unusual spiky foliage. Potted lemon trees (from $65) make lovely wedding gifts. Owner Lily Contento prefers contemporary arrangements with clean lines and lots of texture and colour. Recent trends include centrepieces with cacti, kale and anthuriums. Bridal bouquets $125–$300, centrepieces from $40. Full service available. Closed Sunday. 775 St. Clair Ave. W. (at Arlington Ave.), 416-654-1991.
FORGET ME NOT FLOWERS
Oakville event designer Frank Rea’s sophisticated designs have been glamming up film festival galas and beautified soirées for over 30 years. The difference is in the details: when creating arrangements, Rea considers the entire venue, including lighting and the colour scheme. His 20,000-square-foot warehouse holds everything necessary for a luxe party: crystal chandeliers, candelabras—all custom-designed and available to rent. As for flowers, Rea prefers seasonal varieties but does made-to-order work for every couple. Bridal bouquets from $150, centrepieces from $125. By appointment. 594 Chartwell Rd., Oakville, 905-845-8996.
Huband and wife team Kevin Slagter and Tamara Mutter-Slagter stand out from the legions of floral designers in the city by being creative: they once fashioned a replica of a couple’s dog out of white chrysanthemums. Before starting Fuscia Designs, Tamara spent eight years as a wedding planner for Presidential Gourmet, while Kevin ran a wholesale flower business. They use their expertise to create dramatic designs that are often embellished with ribbon from Mokuba and strings of light-catching beads. Full service from $5,000. By appointment. 2 Essex Ave., Unit 9B, Thornhill, 647-519-5334.
Michael Renaud’s stylish Leaside garden shop specializes in outdoor accessories and garden detailing, but the owner has also earned a stellar reputation for his arrangements. Focusing on intimate gatherings, he prefers garden-picked, English- style groupings. For one wedding, Renaud created centrepieces with ivy that flowed between each place setting, down to the floor. Bridal bouquets from $150, centrepieces $75–$100. Closed Sunday. 1610 Bayview Ave. (at Manor Rd. E.), 416-488-7716.
This boutique in Liberty Village is everything its namesake was: sophisticated and modern with a sense of fun. Owner Todd Kjargaard (the in-house florist for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel) brings a contemporary twist to conventional florals, with exotic blooms and unusual foliage (baby’s breath is an absolute no-no). The self-proclaimed floral couturier favours contemporary, monochromatic, multi-textured, hand-tied bouquets, with orchids being the star bloom these days. Bridal bouquets $125, centrepieces from $75. By appointment. 2 Liberty St. E. (at Dufferin), 416-901-7346.
Originally known as a country-style decor shop, Cindiloowho attracts just as much attention for its cut-flower business, Jaidens Petals. But you won’t find over-the-top bouquets here: owner Dani Elwell lets the flowers shine, sticking to simple, full buds (big-headed roses, peonies, proteas, hydrangeas). Arrangements in vintage Mason jars and recycled bottles are her claim to fame; small-budget weddings are a strength. Bridal bouquets $75–$120, centrepieces $40–$100. Closed Sunday and Monday. 130 Ossington Ave. (at Dundas St. W.), 416-532-8040.
Brides wishing to replicate the lush, elegant feel of William and Kate’s Westminster Abbey wedding should visit Lilium. Before opening the Yorkville store in 2010, owners Phyllis and Marilyn Lill learned the art of arranging at some of the finest floral design schools, including the Constance Spry Flower School in England. The pair imports flowers from all over the world to create their classic designs, which include loose bridal bouquets of garden roses (from $175). 41 Hazelton Ave. (at Scollard St.), 416-482-5380.
Divas are an occupational hazard in the bloom biz, but Maija Reisenauer and Anita Zauva are rare specimens—they are totally unpretentious. The store is even named after a character in an Archie comic (Moose’s girlfriend). The duo’s favourite flowers are hydrangeas, dahlias, peonies, orchids and roses, but they never stick to any particular style. For one wedding, they did centrepieces of hydrangeas elegantly framed with salal stems. Bridal bouquets from $75, centrepieces from $65. Closed Sunday and Monday. 651 Mount Pleasant Rd. (at Hillsdale Ave. E.), 416-488-0875.
This is the kind of irresistibly quaint florist you might stumble upon in London’s Kensington district so it’s only natural that, despite its French name, Parterre specializes in formal, European-style arrangements. A classic grouping might include roses, orange ranunculuses, grape hyacinths and green snowballs. Bouquets are generally compact and vibrant. Venues are used creatively: a banister wears a necklace of orchids; children’s tables are adorned with moss topiaries shaped like bunnies. Parterre also does wedding planning. Bouquets from $100, centrepieces from $75. Saturday by appointment, closed Sunday. 182 Davenport Rd. (at Avenue Rd.), 416-966-8669.
The tropical, exotic flower arrangements here punch against the store’s bright white walls. Owner Laura Tarbat tends to combine exotics—shampoo flowers, Australian protea, heart-shaped anthurium, Malaysian orchids—with more familiar flora (dahlias, tulips, roses). A favourite of local galleries and visiting film crews, Poppies is the designer of choice for a number of neighbourhood hot spots, including The Drake. Tarbat describes her style as Japanese–New York, meaning elegant and whimsical, with great use of textures. A traditional, all-white wedding bouquet might include roses, calla lilies and white snowberries. Bouquets from $100, centrepieces from $50, plus delivery. 1094 Queen St. W. (at Dovercourt Rd.), 416-538-2497.
A former art student, Rosemary Little specializes in contemporary styles with a simplified palette. “Over-the-top grandeur has had its time,” she says. Mixing local favourites with more exotic blooms is a specialty: familiar varieties, such as snowball viburnum or ranunculus, might share space with striking gloriosa lilies or delicate mokara orchids. Twisted branches, curly willow and cocoa fronds are on hand to add a structural element and a dose of drama to larger bouquets. Customizable full-wedding packages available. Bouquets from $150, centrepieces from $75. 660 Queen St. E. (at Carroll St.), 416-594-1414.
RINGE AND ASSOCIATES
Richard Ringe can arrange a bouquet at lightning speed. For weddings, he likes to mix exotics, like cymbidium orchids, with traditional wedding flowers, such as roses. The dramatic bouquets are serious or glamorous, depending on the occasion, favouring tropical blooms that keep their beauty for 10 to 14 days. Bridal bouquets from $125, centrepieces from $60. Book at least one month ahead, earlier in peak season. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 40 King St. W. (at Bay), 416-214-0278.
THE ROSE EMPORIUM
Owner Justina Flores—whose last name, appropriately, means flowers in Spanish—has access to hundreds of varieties and colours, and can fulfill just about any floral fantasy. Rose shades include chartreuse, tangerine, mauve, pale yellow and traditional wedding white. Flores makes use of seasonal blooms that work well with roses. All weddings are customized. Bridal bouquets from $75, centrepieces from $50. Full service available. Closed Sunday. 204 Dupont St. (at Huron St.), 416-922-9909.
SAN REMO FLORIST
Owner Jim Edwards puts his own spin on European hand bouquets, using orchids, local flowers and tropical leaves, such as saga palm and Israeli wax flower. Colours are often bold and combined for dramatic effect: think white, chartreuse and violets. Edwards will do a full set-up for weddings and can also provide linens, drapery, lighting and customized arrangements. For one wedding, San Remo designed centrepieces of roses made to look like Fabergé eggs. Bridal bouquets average $200, bridesmaid bouquets average $125, centrepieces from $75. Closed Sunday. 1151 St. Clair Ave. W. (at Dufferin), 416-652-1822.
Stemz on Queen East wins the prize for the most beautiful florist’s studio in town, with exposed brick, hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and a surprisingly fashionable white flower fridge. It forms the perfect backdrop for owner Fiona Liston’s full-bodied arrangements—her palette is often colour blocked, placing blooms in lovely glassware for a chic and sophisticated look. All her wedding arrangements are customized with the venue and theme in mind. Bridal bouquets from $250, centrepieces from $125. By appointment. 783 Queen St. E. (at Boulton Ave.), 416-686-8526.
SUZANNE GARDNER FLOWERS
Arrangements by Suzanne Gardner might include locally grown peonies and roses or hydrangeas and phalaenopsis stems wrapped in leaves and submerged in tall vases. For minimalist tastes, Gardner creates something a little more architectural: a large mercury glass bowl filled with seasonal fruit and flowers. Large weddings in Rosedale and Forest Hill are her stock-in-trade. Bridal bouquets from $125, centrepieces from $50, plus delivery. Closed Sunday. 171 East Liberty St. (at Strachan Ave.), Unit 157, 416-530-0065.
Having fallen in love with floral design while working at a Notting Hill flower shop and then at London’s swanky Park Lane Hotel, Margaret Corrigan returned to Toronto in 2000 and opened a shop of her own. Arrangements lean toward the fresh and modern. Corrigan likes to use in-season flowers, and she goes for local blooms whenever possible. For weddings, she prefers a warmer feel with looser, less structured bouquets, often all in one colour. Bridal bouquets $150–$250, centrepieces $100–$200. By appointment. 388 Carlaw Ave. (at Gerrard St. E.), Studio 200B, 416-440-2614.