Unique floral arrangements accommodate every bride’s vision of that Special Day

By Rebecca Kuzins 03/15/2012

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Each New Year’s Day, Pasadena is awash in flowers that adorn floats in the Rose Parade. But on any day of the year, Rose City florists can provide a vast quantity and wide variety of wedding flowers.   

The area’s best florists do not offer prepackaged wedding arrangements. Instead, they design individualized boutonnieres, bouquets, centerpieces and other floral decorations for their customers. Floral designers typically schedule a consultation with the bride, at which she describes what sort of arrangements she wants at her wedding. Consultants provide advice about the best available flowers and estimate the costs of wedding arrangements, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

For example, Craig and Lisa Cardella, who own Ixora Floral Studio (35 E. Montecito Ave., Sierra Madre; 626/355-0040,, designed floral arrangements for a posh ceremony at the Langham Huntington Hotel. “It cost $115,000 for the floral decor, including $800 for each centerpiece,” he recalls.

Similarly, Art Bogad, owner of The Flowerman (2450 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; 626/795-1506,, and his employees built a bridge over a swimming pool at the home where a wedding was being held, and then hung flower baskets over the bridge.

But most of the wedding arrangements designed by local florists are far less extravagant. “We are realistic about budgets,” says Marina Santos of Jacob Maarse Florists (655 E. Green St., Pasadena; 626/449-0246, “During the consults, we can change the estimates to fit clients’ budgets.”

Jacob Maarse Florists has been providing wedding arrangements since 1966, keeping up with the many changes in floral fashions. Right now, Santos says, arrangements featuring rocks, cacti and other succulents are particularly popular: “This is great for the bride who loves gardening. After the wedding, she can plant the cacti in her garden.”

Another current trend is to hide a treasured object in a bridal bouquet. “One bride had a locket and she wanted us to place her late father’s picture in it,” explains Santos. “We shrunk the picture down, put it in the locket and put the locket in the bouquet. Mother-in-laws will surprise the bride by placing a family heirloom in the bouquet.”

At Ixora, Craig Cardella says that hydrangeas and lilies of the valleys are in demand for wedding arrangements. “Roses are always popular,” he adds. “They come in so many colors that you can accommodate any bride’s vision.”

Brad Larsen, of  Brad Larsen Florals (55 W. Green St., Pasadena; 626/792-6167,, notes that peonies, calla lilies and hydrangeas are frequently included in wedding arrangements. “Last summer, we designed a wildflower bouquet for a wedding,” he adds. “It was a very natural arrangement.”

Larsen advises clients ordering wedding flowers to “come fully prepared for their consultation. Go through pictures and magazines to get a good idea of what you want.”

Bogad says wedding clients should bring a paint chip to their consultation “to show us the exact color you want.”
Some prospective brides think they can save money by buying flowers and making their own arrangements. But Bogad says these do-it-yourself efforts are “penny wise and pound foolish.

“I can’t tell you how many times the brides’ moms or best friends come in the day of the wedding, after there is a problem with the flowers, “he says. “People should deal with a professional florist who can do the job that needs to be done. That way, there’s less worry for the bride and the groom, who can relax and enjoy their wedding, spending time with friends and relatives.”

Craig advises his clients to select the flowers and types of arrangements they most desire, regardless of current fashion. “Trends come and go. But there are so many colors and varieties [of flowers] that we can create the look you want on any kind of budget. We can get almost anything all year long.”

Santos agrees that wedding couples should “definitely go with what you want to see on your big special day. You want something that will just take your breath away. You always want to pick flowers and arrangements that you will treasure forever and will be able to view in your wedding photos.”


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