Artificial vs. Fresh
The first picture I conjure up when I think of artificial flowers is this absolutely ridiculous yard that used to be a few blocks from my grandparents house in Denver, CO. The residents of this house, or actually the husband/father of this household was fascinated with decorating his yard with tchotchkes and *gasp* artificial plants and flowers. Now mind you this stuff was clearly plastic, and in my opinion in very bad taste but it is my first true memory artificial plant life, and much like many people I automatically have an aversion to these imitations before I even see them.
So are all artificial plants, or as my friend Barbara, owner of Chapel Hill Floral of Bangor, calls them, “permanent botanicals,” tacky?
Honestly it depends on your preference, but I can tell you that there are artificial botanicals out there that beat the plastic, Barbie looking flowers that stand out in our minds when we think of “fake flowers.” Many look downright real, and some are even treated so that they have a scent. Often it isn’t the best representation of the true scent, but a good attempt.
The question, then, is, are permanent botanicals ok for events? Really there is no right answer. Both fresh and permanent botanicals have their pros and cons. Of course as an event designer/planner I prefer fresh botanicals for my events for many reasons. One reason for my preference is the price point. Fresh botanicals give you a classic beautiful look, often add to the ambience with their scent, and are most definitely less expensive than a permanent floral of the same caliber in the appearance category. Permanent botanicals that look genuinely fresh cost a great deal more than fresh botanicals and although you could purchase them and add them to your stock of event supplies, who knows when you will have the opportunity to use, for example, the purple and yellow permanent botanical that you arranged for a client’s birthday party.
Of course the final decision belongs to the client. If a client wants to keep an arrangement indefinitely…well then permanent botanicals are perfect. I actually knew a bride who chose to have fresh bouquets for her attendants and a larger version of the same bouquet made of permanent florals for herself. After the wedding she had her bouquet put inside a glass box and has it sitting on a shelf in her office to this day (that was over 8 years ago).
Another bit of advice…”Do not buy permanent botanicals online.” If you cannot see it and touch it, you don’t really know what you are going to get. As you can see in the examples below, permanent botanicals can look very natural in photos, but I guarantee you that many, when seen up close, or worse, touched, it is clear that they are not fresh.
Long story short, the choice is yours, but, if you choose to use permanent botanicals you will pay more for quality and appearance. If you don’t buy fresh and you don’t pay a healthy price, you are most likely going to have cheap and tacky flowers we all cringe at. Remember, you get what you pay for!