As a florist living in the D.C. area, I am no stranger to the request for a Cherry Blossom wedding. I get it; they are beautiful, romantic and iconic, but I would also be lying if I said I didn't cringe every time those two little words are uttered.
Again, yes I totally agree that when they are perfect, they are show stoppers, but the extreme seasonality, unpredictability, and conditioning care they need to properly bloom is REAL! Not to mention, they are surprisingly expensive. :-/
Cherry Blossom branches can be found between the months of March and April, and occasionally trucked down from Canada for an early May wedding. I know of at least one D.C. florist who will only agree to a Cherry Blossom wedding in the month of April. Unlike most flowers grown indoors for year round production, Cherry Blossom trees only bloom once a year, and so far science hasn't found a way around this.
This means that if February is hot the trees will bloom early. If March is cold they will bloom late. Yes, as floral experts we know how to force the blooms open or cool them to delay a peak opening. But this takes a lot of expertise, trial/error and luck!
To me, there is nothing worse than seeing a wedding of all Cherry Blossom branches unopened still in bud form or so opened that all the pretty blossoms have been lost in transit. Sticks in a vase are not really that pretty.
So what can be done if Cherry Blossoms are non-negotiable? Get married between March 14 and April 21 or be open to creative solutions that might not involve the actual Cherry Blossom.
Some of my favorite solutions involve using the Cherry Blossom branches as a base and then attaching light pink "stock flower" blossoms to mimic the cherry tissue paper flowers or even silks. Most of the time if you have a high quality silk mixed in with the fresh, your guests will never know the difference.
Another tip I offer is to stay away from branches in clear glass, the branches are so dirty they can turn the water brown in just two hours, and that is not pretty.
My last piece of advice: If you really want Cherry Blossoms, combine them in a gorgeous mixed arrangement where the Cherry is just one element enhanced by the beauty of other flowers.