Category: Tips & Tricks

What Makes Gray Harper Unique as Your Floral Designer

Tips & Tricks

When choosing to work with Gray Harper Florals, you not only get a skilled and passionate floral designer, but you also get our knowledge of working in the wedding industry for over ten years as a planner. That’s right! Owner and lead floral designer Andrea used to be a wedding planner! You may recognize her from the Design Studio South team; she is always organized and busy planning the next big thing. 

It is no surprise that there are some crazy talented floral designers in our industry. However, they do not bring the well-rounded knowledge of events and level of organization that Gray Harper does, which sets us apart from others!

Benefits of Working With a Floral Designer Who Use To Be A Planner

With several different wedding florists and floral designers to choose from, we wanted to share with you the benefits of working with a florist who used to be a planner.

1. We are organized

As a past planner, planning and organization run in Andrea’s veins, so there is no doubt that she will be organized. As a result, you can be guaranteed that your experience working with us will be seamless and stress-free! Andrea runs a pretty tight ship in her studio and is always looking for ways to improve her systems to work smarter, not harder. 

2. Planners like working with us 

When you and your planner decide to work with the Gray Harper team, they can rest at ease and know that we are organized and on top of things. They don’t have to micromanage us or worry about the details. We have been in their shoes, and they appreciate how easy we are to work with. We aim to make each of our client’s floral experiences run smoothly during their planning, design, and on-site to help all involved.

3. We understand how to be flexible 

One skill that a planner learns through their experience is how to be flexible and adaptable on site. For example, when the timeline says to set up florals at noon, but the venue still needs to set the linens, that is no problem! We are team players and will gladly lend a helping hand to get those linens set so that your florals are ready in time for your event.

We believe in providing a beautiful and quality product for our clients and working as a team with your fellow vendors. We understand that while we provide a very pretty product, it’s not about us but how all the vendors work together as a team to get the job done for our clients. We absolutely love bringing our client’s visions to life through flowers and working with all the incredibly talented vendors in our industry! Head on over to our Portfolio to check out some of our most recent work! 


Planning: Design Studio South
Photographer: Jade + Mattew Take Pictures

What is Full-Service Floral Design?

Tips & Tricks

Are you newly engaged and trying to navigate all the different wedding terms? At Gray Harper, we get how confusing it can be! That is why we are here to help explain what it means to work with us on a Full-Service Floral Design.

What is Full-Service Floral Design?

When you hire Gray Harper to be your wedding florist, your wedding will be the only wedding we take on that day and usually that week. This is because we want to ensure that our clients get the utmost attention to detail from our team. That is why we limit the number of clients we take on each wedding season.

What You Can Expect With Your Full-Service Floral Design

Months leading up to the wedding, we work with you and your wedding planner to create the floral design of your dreams. About two months before your wedding, and once your design is finalized, we start to gather supplies. From vases and vessels to candles and votives, we will help select the perfect elements for your wedding design! Finally, your floral orders are placed with our suppliers one month before your wedding.

The week of your wedding is when all the magic happens. On Monday and Tuesday, we are busy prepping your containers and processing the flowers as they arrive at our studio. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, our team is starting on your designs and pulling the individual pieces together. By Friday, we will begin working on any installation pieces for your event either in the studio or on-site if the venue allows.

On Your Wedding Day

On your wedding day, our team will bring everything to the venue and install any large-scale installation pieces on-site. We will also bring all the candles and vessels required and set them up along with your flowers. In addition, our team delivers and styles any personal flowers that are part of your design. During this time, I personally walk around to each flower location to ensure everything is set to perfection. 

During set up, we are there to help move any flowers and installations that might need to be moved last minute due to weather. We can also be present during the event to move any florals being re-purposed in two locations. For example, moving your ceremony backdrop or aisle flowers to the reception space. Once everything is done, we return at the end of your event and clean everything up.

Our Full-Service Floral design aims to create not only a one-of-a-kind custom floral design for your wedding but also to provide an elevated and stress-free experience. You can see some examples of our full-service floral designs here. If you have any questions or want to book a consultation, fill out our inquiry form here to start the process.  

Wood head table with greenery

Photographer: Jade + Mattew Take Pictures
Planning: Design Studio South

Four Factors To Consider For Donating Your Wedding Flowers

Tips & Tricks

Do you have a plan for your wedding flowers at the end of your wedding? As wedding floral designers, we want to share with you some important factors to consider before you decide if donating your wedding flowers is right for you.

Consider This Before Donating Your Wedding Flowers

Consider the timing

For a Saturday wedding, flowers arrive in our studio on a Tuesday, which means they were shipped to us on Monday. With that being said, they were most likely cut at the farm the week prior. By the time we are able to donate the flowers (i.e., the following Monday), they are no longer in their prime condition and are most likely wilting. At this point, there is not much we can do to extend the life of these blooms.

Change the narrative 

I often hear from guests, “oh, what a waste all these flowers are now,” so I wanted to discuss this further from a florist’s perspective.

The flowers used for our floral designs are specially grown and cut for this purpose. You would not typically see this caliber of florals growing naturally on a hillside to enjoy. That is why we ensure that the blooms we use in our designs are at their prime during the event so that our clients and their guests get to enjoy them to their fullest potential. After the vast number of hours put into meetings, designs, and prep work for these floral displays, it is simply not a waste to only enjoy them at your event.

Consider the climate 

Given that most of our weddings are in a hot climate, this severely impacts the lifespan of your floral arrangements. Our client’s events are often outdoors; therefore, the flowers can spend an entire day in the heat. Typically after a day of sitting out in the heat and after a week since they’ve been cut, the flowers are starting to not look their best. So, by the time Monday rolls around when your flowers are donated, you are left with significantly fewer blooms that survived the heat.

Donating comes with additional labor 

As much as our team would love to donate every piece of floral and greenery used at your event, we simply do not have the time or manpower to do so, nor is it advised to.

When donating your wedding flowers, we do not donate the flowers “as-is.” At your event, each arrangement is broken down carefully, sorted by the good and bad, loaded back into our van, and returned to the cooler for the night (or the next day as many of our events are several hours away). Once your florals have returned to our studio, we then redesign everything in hospital/hospice-friendly arrangements and containers, then deliver it to your donation location. Due to this additional labor, manpower, supplies, and driving, we need to charge for this service. 

The Gray Harper team is more than happy to help you with donating your wedding flowers after your event. We will evaluate which blooms are in good condition and put together donation-friendly arrangements that may extend the life of your flowers by a day or two. During your floral design consultation, ask our team for more information on the additional cost associated with donating your wedding flowers and if it is right for you. 

Boho wedding ceremony arch
Fall wedding floral arrangements
Fall wedding reception decorations


Photography: Yellow Bird Visuals   
Design + Coordination: Design Studio South  
Florist: Gray Harper Florals   
Cake: Vanilla And The Bean 
Venue + Caterer: The Alida Hotel  
Rentals: Savannah Vintage Rentals  
Linens: Nuage Designs  
Wedding Invitation + Signs: Idyll Paper  
Day of Paper + Signs: Low Country Paper Co

What To Expect With Our Full-Service Floral Design Booking Process

Tips & Tricks

If you are looking for a stunning floral design at your event that captivates your guests and sparks conversations, you are in the right place! Now that you’ve found your dream floral designer and florist, you may wonder what to expect after you inquired with Gray Harper. Below I have outlined what you can expect with the booking process when inquiring about your full-service floral design with me. 

Full-Service Floral Design

As a floral designer, I am passionate about creating custom floral designs that are produced solely for you and your event. I want your personal style to be expressed through your event florals and for your guests to be aww struck.

When working on your full-service floral design, I like to consider the guest experience from start to finish. From a beautiful floral installation in your entryway to the intimate details at each guest place setting. Your floral design will be one of a kind and custom curated for you.

Our Booking Process

Step 1

Fill out the contact form on our website. Once we receive your inquiry, we’ll email back to confirm availability on our calendar and present the steps for booking an initial consultation.

Step 2

During your initial consultation, we will meet together via zoom and discuss your event design and floral design vision. Then, I’ll ask you pertinent questions to be able to provide you with an initial estimate for your event. At this point, you can ask me any questions about the process and what to expect on your event day.

Step 3

Following our initial consultation, you will receive an estimate for your floral event design. Within two weeks of your consultation, I’ll provide you with an initial estimate of the total cost of your design. This estimate will help you have a good idea of what to expect in terms of budget.

Step 4

Once you approve the initial estimate, I’ll send over an invoice for our proposal design fee of $500. This fee reserves your date on our calendar and covers the cost of putting together your full-service floral design proposal. Should you choose to work with Gray Harper on your floral event design, we will use the $500 as credit towards your order.

Step 5

After your invoice balance is paid, I’ll put together your full-service floral design proposal. This process typically takes up to two weeks and potentially a little longer if we are in the middle of our active event season (February – May and September – November).

Step 6

Once you have received your proposal, and have had a chance to fully take everything in, we will sit down (most likely via zoom) for your second consultation. During this meeting, we’ll discuss the proposal and make any necessary changes. The goal of this meeting is to have you leave happy and excited about your floral design.

Step 7

Soon after your second consultation, and once the proposal is in a good place for both of us, I’ll send you a contract and retainer fee invoice. This invoice is typically for half of your total order value (minus the $500 fee you’ve already paid!). When you sign the contract and pay the retainer, we will officially be booked and committed to working together!

To get the process started, head on over to our contact page on our website and complete our contact form! I can’t wait to hear from you and hear all about your dream floral event design!

Peach and pink bridal bouquet
Floral wedding centrepiece with pastel tones
Wedding place setting with blue napkin
acrylic wedding menu


Photography: Apt B Photography
Floral Design & Styling: Gray Harper Florals
Planning: Design Studio South

Using A Monochromatic Color Palette In Your Event Design

Tips & Tricks

If you are looking for a unique wedding design, consider basing your plan on a monochromatic color palette!

This calming and subtle color palette is not only aesthetically pleasing but is perfect for your wedding design or floral design palette. For a bonus to really make your design dynamic, pair the monochromatic colors with modern pops of black and white.

What is a monochromatic color palette?

A monochromatic color palette consists of various brighter and darker tints, tones, and shades of one monochromatic color. A monochromatic color consists of colors that are one singular hue and can include any of the twelve colors on the color wheel. 

Monochromatic does not mean just black and white and can consist of 3-7 variations in darker or lighter shades of your original hue. 

Designing an event with a monochromatic color palette

Start off by deciding your base hue for your monochromatic color palette. This hue will be the inspiration for your design and will be included in various aspects throughout. 

For this event, we chose mustard yellow as our base hue. Not only was it a unique and bold color to work with it was readily available in the fall. We recommend choosing a color that pairs nicely with the season in which your event is taking place. This will help with sourcing the most suitable items for your design.

Monochromatic Colors & Your Event Design

It may be challenging to source the exact items desired for your event with a monochromatic color palette, so being innovative is essential.

For example, the yellow Baby’s Breath that was a key element in this design was actually ordered in its natural color of white. Our team then spray-painted each individual stem to the precise yellow color desired. 

We also decided to use a lot of dried and preserved items, which was great as they not only added texture to the arrangements, but we could design them way in advance.

Elements that are a great area to insert this monochromatic palette include bridesmaid dresses, linens, florals, stationery, china, and event food!

This Wedding Industry Professionals Association event was a fun event to design and pushed the boundaries of standard event color palettes. We wanted to use a color that was not only bright but bold and made a statement, and we think the mustard yellow was the perfect choice for this event. Head over to our Portfolio to see how our team has incorporated different color palettes into luxury event designs. 

wipa event design
yellow monochromatic place setting
Wipa event design


Photography: Izzy + Co
Design: Design Studio South
Florals: Gray Harper
Videography: Two Arrow Films
Favors: Vanilla And The Bean
Rentals: Event Works Rentals
Table Linens: Stradley Davidson
Linen Napkins: Nuage Design Inc
Venue + Catering + Bar Service: Soho South Cafe
Wine Provider + Educator: Georgia Crown
Host: WIPA
Speaker + Presenter: Party Slate
Audio Visual: Advanced AV Rentals

Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Wedding Flowers

Tips & Tricks

We often have couples tell us that they are going to DIY their wedding flowers to save money. And that statement is usually met with wide eyes and silence on our end. Because here is the thing: we know how hard, time-consuming, messy and frustrating the process is and we know the skill level required to pull off an event this important. Let us take you through an overview of the wedding florist’s process.

The Wedding Florist’s Flower Prep

To give you an idea of a wedding florist’s process, for a Saturday wedding our flowers arrive on Tuesday, and are stored in our floral cooler. The entire day is spent processing, cleaning and hydrating the flowers. We don’t live near a nice big flower market, so most of our blooms are shipped in via FedEx.

Having flowers shipped is a very frustrating experience. Our flowers are often delayed or stuck somewhere overnight, and FedEx assumes no liability for dead flowers. If you are DIYing wedding flowers yourself and don’t have a floral cooler, you will want your blooms in-hand on Thursday (for a Saturday wedding) to hydrate and process. You CANNOT put flowers in a regular refrigerator. Gases from food in the fridge will reduce the vase life of the blooms and usually fridges are kept colder than floral coolers since they are used to preserve meat and dairy.

Tuesday – Friday: Designing Wedding Florals

Once our flowers are hydrated, we have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to design the flower arrangements, bouquets and decor. Since you will be getting your flowers in on Thursday (to preserve freshness), that leaves you with just Friday to design. But think about it: You’ll be far too busy on Friday to spend the entire day working with flowers (assuming you even know how to create these designs in the first place)! You will have appointments, the wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and people to see. What if your flowers come in and they are not perfect and you have to find last-minute replacements? What if they get lost by FedEx? 

On the Wedding Day: Floral Installation and Setup

Typically our team of about four people load the florist van at 8am to arrive at a venue around 10am. For a bride and her bridal party, that time is spent getting hair and makeup done. You also have to think about weather and what time you can start setting everything out. Sometimes we place flowers just an hour prior to ceremony due to hot weather or wind. This task would be extremely difficult for you or a family member to take on right before the ceremony begins. 

Other things to consider for DIY wedding flowers:

  • Flowers take up lots of space and are fragile to transport.
  • You will make a huge mess processing flowers, so make sure you have plenty of space to work and access to trash cans and sinks.
  • Flowers need to be kept in a cool, dark place in order to ensure freshness on the wedding day.
  • Designing takes more time than you think; we design most wedding florals in our studio over three full days with four people working.
  • Ordering the flowers – do you know how many flowers to order for table centerpieces and bouquets?
  • As a florist, we have access to wholesale pricing. Unfortunately if you are not a florist, you will still have to pay retail price for any flowers you purchase, which really adds up on a budget.

How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

Focus on a few focal elements that are beautifully designed

You don’t need flowers everywhere! Think quality over quantity. Tip: Splurge on a floral altar backdrop but skip putting flowers on every chair down the aisle.

Repurpose your bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces

We like to place bouquets in a vase at the center of the table and then have six bud vases with blooms placed around them. That way it looks like a centerpiece and not like someone just plopped a bouquet down on a table.

Have your florist design decor that’s easy to move

This will probably add more labor to your quote, but your flowers will do double duty. Tip: Line the ceremony aisle with blooms designed in trays and then move them to line the front of the stage for the reception. 

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