There are reasons why the pod parent may have more influence, mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA mostly, but they tend to contribute more to plant growth and vigor, temperature and light preferences, perhaps color patterns, than to predictable aspects of form of flowers or plants. So more influence of pod parent on leaf pattern, maybe... leaf form, less likely. I would tend to choose the stronger, better growing plant as the pod parent for those reasons, as well as the better chance of staying healthy while carrying a pod.
You don't need to get them in bloom together as long as you can accept that the one that blooms first gives the pollen. Pollen can be stored for weeks or months at least, though the shorter the time the better.
The only things you need to actually make the cross are good eyes, a steady hand, and a toothpick or similar tool to transfer the pollen. If you have the opportunity, make the cross both ways, and pollinate several flowers. It is never a 100% process.