Whether you’ve always imagined a classic, elegant wedding or are more of a trailblazer when it comes to tradition, hand-selected flowers are a universal symbol of the love you celebrate on your wedding day.
Once you’ve set aside a budget, chosen a venue and hired all the planning help you need, choosing your wedding aesthetic is one of the most exciting parts of the process- and your chance to add a personal touch to the ceremony. The flowers you choose will depend largely on your venue, how large or intimate it is, and whether the wedding will be taking place indoors or outside. If you’re selecting flowers for a separate reception as well as the ceremony itself, consider the differences between both locations before settling on a single arrangement.
You’ll also want to do plenty of research on traditional flower choices, seasonal blooms, and different kinds of arrangements that are available via your local florist. While floral designers and wedding planners can help you with the logistics, the final say is all yours. Deciding on a color scheme that matches your bridesmaid dresses, ceremony accents and venue atmosphere is the first step. Consider the many different ways to display your flowers as well- don’t feel confined by the predictability of bouquets in vases. Hanging arrangements, flowers that adorn furniture and potted plants that have a life beyond your special day can all have a stunning effect.
Also keep in mind that flowers are (mostly) seasonal, meaning you may have to adjust your choices to what is available locally. Sourcing your flowers locally is usually a more sustainable option than ordering imported flowers; you might even be able to visit a flower farm to see where your purchase is coming from in person.
When going over options with your florist, make sure to pay attention to pairing not only colors and sizes, but fragrances as well to make sure no elements clash. While fresh cut flowers are most brides’ go-to, dried flower arrangements can be just as beautiful- and add to the atmosphere in an unparalleled way- imagine a countryside wedding adorned with expertly preserved thistles and wildflowers to complement an old fashioned venue and rolling pastures. Decorative vines and arches are also popular ways to weave floral details into the architecture of your wedding space; a colorful arch can guide guests into the seating area or frame the spot where the couple will stand at the altar. Potted plants or woven arrangements can also be used practically to separate seating area, create paths within an open layout or line the aisle.
Taking the floral aspect of your wedding past its expected role can make your guests’ experience unforgettable, especially when flowers are incorporated into the ceremony in creative ways. Edible flowers make every meal a photo opportunity, and are sure to be a hit with your friends and loved ones. When consulting caterers, ask about the possibility of including edible blossoms like squash blossoms, hibiscus or calendula as dessert, appetizer or main course garnishes. When matched to the rest of the room, touches like edible flowers tie the entire event together into one charming package. This can also be a simple way to add a personal touch to a celebration that won’t need to rely on flower arrangements; for example, a wedding taking place in a flower-filled backyard or botanical garden.
The following flowers are just a few of the most popular choices among today’s brides-to-be.
Bold and instantly recognizable, hydrangeas are a timeless favorite that give new life to the phrase “less is more.” With soft pink, periwinkle, or white petals billowing out in every direction, a hydrangea bouquet has an undeniable presence- especially because just three of the flowers give the effect of a full centerpiece. Like many popular flowers, hydrangeas are said to hold specific meanings based on their color; a blue bouquet might be gifted along with an apology while a pink one would be more attuned to romantic feelings.
Unsurprisingly, roses are the ultimate wedding flower; synonymous with deep emotion, they come in enough variations to satisfy even the pickiest bride. While you may be tired of the red rose cliche, adding a less conventional version of the flower to your ceremony sends a more subtle message. Miniature roses are an adorable accent when paired with a larger, statement- making flower, or a gorgeous option on their own.
Pairing two rose tones like peach and cream or light pink and white can set the tone of your wedding without overstating the obvious. The stateliness of a few select roses surrounded by a cascade of wildflowers is another approach that strikes a lovely contrast, especially in more rustic venues.
If your wedding is ringing in springtime, multicolored tulips add a dash of whimsy to an elegant ceremony, especially if your venue is outdoors. Simple yet radiant, tulips can appear as toned down as they need to or bring to mind a more organic, meadow- inspired aesthetic, especially when their leafy greens are left as part of the arrangement. They also inherently speak to a new beginning, reflecting the emotions that accompany any wedding day. Coming in deep magenta, tinted white, dark yellow and all the shades in between, tulips are a reliable seasonal choice that complement dewy grass, blue skies and golden afternoons.
Perfect for that balmy stretch between mid-August and late September, sunflowers are another seasonal beauty guaranteed to brighten up your wedding. A bold choice, sunflowers come in a number of species and sizes; you might, for example, want to consider a smaller type like the miniature sunsplash variety along with traditional large sunflowers. Paired with miniature orange roses or buoyant red zinnias to hint at fall foliage, sunflowers create a rustic, natural atmosphere making them a perfect addition to a wedding that leaves the city behind.
If you’re going for a minimal, toned down color scheme but still want your florals to pack a punch, consider white chrysanthemums as the focus of your arrangements. Also appearing in shades of red, pink, orange and more, chrysanthemums have distinctive petal layers reaching out from a yellow or green center. The white, feathery halos created by their abundant petals give chrysanthemums a weightless, airy feel that defies the neutrality of a white bouquet.
Another all time bridal favorite, peonies are right up there with hydrangeas and roses when it comes to wedding classics. Popular in blushing pink and creamy white, peonies resemble more voluminous roses when their buds are closed but take on their own character when their petals open. Lush and satiny to the touch, the blossoms are fragrant enough to mark their presence in the room without being overwhelming at the table. Peonies make a round and full bouquet when clustered together and steal the show when paired with other floral accents. They’re a great option for a dusty pink color scheme, especially if silky fabrics and white furniture are part of your venue’s decor.
Made up of tiny, light purple flowers, lilacs have a strong personality that matches their unique hue and shape. If pink is too overbearing and purple feels like a more natural choice, lilacs can define your whole color scheme, from bridesmaids’ dresses to frosted accents on your wedding cake. Lilacs also come in a snowy white, meaning you can incorporate both varieties for a balanced effect.
Rivaling tulips as the ultimate symbol of spring, the Gerber daisy might remind you of a backyard garden at first glance, but this unassuming gem will keep your guests smiling if arranged the right way. Coming in a host of vibrant colors, these large daisies personify a sense of childhood wonder and simple pleasures. While they’re more than enough on their own, a splash of baby’s breath or Queen Anne’s lace grounds these attention- grabbing flowers without interrupting their rhythm.
Chances are you’ll love the flowers adorning your wedding venue so much you won’t want to see them wilt or get thrown away immediately after the ceremony. While many brides take the time to dry and preserve their wedding bouquet before adding it to an album or memory box, the flowers that serve as table centerpieces and venue ornaments are often forgotten.
Setting up a spot where guests can grab a bouquet to take home at the end of the ceremony is a creative and memorable way to make sure your flowers last as long as they deserve. Living arrangements, or flowers that are still set in soil are another less wasteful option to consider; these can also be given away as gifts so that guests can replant a lasting memory of the special day in their own home. Donating your leftover arrangements to a local business or community space that could benefit from their pick me up effect is also a great idea if you’re able to transport the flowers yourself after the ceremony.