Options abound when it comes to wedding flowers

Being prepared with ideas helpful, florist says

Renee Polreis, florist at Nepstad's Flowers in Mitchell, recommends starting wedding flower plans between three and six months before the wedding date. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. A guest list must be created, a venue booked and meals catered. Travel plans must be organized and lodging for guests must be considered.

And then there’s the flowers. An ubiquitous presence at weddings for centuries, the tradition of the bridal bouquet and decorative arrangements continues today in the modern era of weddings, where brides and grooms have more options than ever before.

Renee Polreis, the head floral designer at Nepstads Flowers in Mitchell, has been providing arrangements for weddings for two decades, and after a slow 2020 wedding season, the pace is picking up again and floral ideas are once again flowing as weddings make a return after many were delayed by COVID-19 last year.

“We have been busy, a lot busier than last year because of COVID-19,” Polreis told the Mitchell Republic.

When planning for wedding flowers, Polreis always starts with the bride and her vision for the overall wedding. Some have had ideas in their head for years, others have a more vague vision in mind, but types of flowers, sizes and arrangements can be figured out as they go along in the planning stages.


“That’s where I start with my weddings. Everything is based on the bride. So I get a feel for what she’s looking for in a bouquet, style and her dress. And you can’t forget about the groom, too,” Polreis said. “That is the basis for everything.”

She maintains a checkoff list of questions that need to be decided when bouquets and flowers are selected, but brides often come in with their own ideas. Those can be based on longtime dreams or ideas culled from other weddings or internet sites such as Pinterest. Polreis said she will do whatever she can to make the vision a reality.

“That’s where I start with my weddings. Everything is based on the bride. So I get a feel for what she’s looking for in a bouquet, style and her dress."

— Renee Polreis, Florist at Nepstads Flowers in Mitchell

“Since we can both see what’s on the sheet of paper, we’re both on the same page. It makes it a lot easier,” she said.

Polreis said she can obtain virtually any type of flower during any time of year, but requested flowers that are out of season will be more expensive to obtain than those that are selected during the prime growing period. Off season tulips, for example, my cost significantly more than they would in the springtime.

It’s something to consider if cost is factor, she said.

“(Brides) don’t typically come in in October and ask for tulips, necessarily, although you can get them. They’re expensive,” Polreis said.

Polreis recommends booking flower services between three and six months in advance. That gives her time to work with the bride and groom to deliver what they’re expecting for their big day. Starting the process months in advance also increases the chances that the florist can book the wedding into their schedule, she said, especially during the busy wedding season.


When the wedding is over, some couples may wish to preserve the flowers. There are options to do so, but options like freeze drying are expensive, often ranging into the thousands of dollars. Polreis recommends preserving portions of a bouquet for a scrapbook by drying them using the type of silica packets that often come with purses or clothing. The packets remove moisture from the flowers and help preserve the color.

It’s a simple way to keep a little bit of that special day to share with future family and friends.

“You can buy those in bulk, and I’ve had people take out certain flowers or even the whole bouquet (to preserve),” Polreis said. “It’s just one of those pieces of something you can add to your photo album.”

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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