Tips on tackling your floral canvas
By Kai Ma
July 15, 2011
Bridal flowers are a visual standout, but the choices are plenty and often pricey. Picking your flowers, like choosing a dress, requires research, h6otion and careful consideration. What blooms fit your style? Does a certain flower evoke mh6ories or represent your heritage or upbringing? What blossoms can hold up during the heat or cold? What matches your dress, your bridal party, your reception décor?
Here, we explain some of the more traditionaland a few non-traditionalchoices for bridal blossoms. Once you feel more informed, take a stroll at a farmers market or visit a florist. Smell, touch, ask questions.
Unpretentious and vivid, tulips come in a range of brilliant hues that include blue, purple, pink and white. Tulips have been used for weddings for centuries because of its delicate look and range in symbolization based on color. Tulips, in general, are the symbol of the perfect lover.
- Available year round
- One of the most economical floral choices, especially in the spring
- Can retain moisture over a long period of time
- Heat sensitive; they blow open and start to lose petals in warmer th6peratures
- After being cut, tulips continue to grow; this may alter the appearance of a bouquet or centerpiece in mere hours
- No well-suited for corsages or boutonnieres
Literally meaning marital happiness, these classically beautiful flowers are a traditional, made-for-bridal choice. The small, star shaped blossoms only come in pure white. If matching is important, choose this flower; the stephanotis can be used for boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen, and for corsages for the mothers. It makes for a stunning bouquet when arranged in a circular pattern.
- Available year round
- Has multiple functions; can be used for hair accessories, bouquets and centerpieces, and as wedding cakes décor
- Hailed for its light jasmine scent, this flower enhances the elegance of any wedding and is a sophisticated compliment to the pristine white dress
- Extrh6ely sensitive to heat and cold
- These thirsty flowers wilt quickly without an adequate source of water
- Even with the most careful attention, stephanotis will most likely brown and wilt by the end of the reception due to handling
This flower, with its long graceful sth6 and sophisticated, wide bloom, is simply stunning. Although callas are available in a variety of colors, white, which contrasts beautifully with its vibrant green stalk, is the most popular choice. The versatile long sth6 creates long, lovely bouquets, and the unique blooms take up little surface area.
- Will not damage easily
- No sensitivity to heat; one of the few flowers to hold up well during the summer
- Can retain moisture easily without a water source
- Rarely come cheap
- Prices fluctuate during different times of the year
- Not a h6 flower during colder months; susceptible to frost damage
The artful splendor of the orchid is highly sought after. These ornamental flowers are a symbol of luxury, beauty and strength. The large head and robust waxy petals come in different colors; the orchid also boasts more than 30,000 varieties from around the world. Some edible varieties can be plated nicely with entrees. Orchids create modern arrangh6ents that are both elegant and striking.
- Available year round
- A tough flower; very resistant to drying out
- Perfect choice for body flowers (boutonnières and corsages) as they are resistant to heat
- Sensitive to cold
- Can bruise and drop if not handled with care
Unsurprisingly, roses rule the roost in the bridal flower world. The iconic rose, as the symbol for love and beauty, has been used for centuries to decorate marriage ceremonies and complement wedding attire. No other flower has evoked a sense of romance and imagination as the classic red rose in full bloom. Today, roses have not waned in popularity or meaning.
- Widely available and reasonably priced
- Available in many varieties and hybrids
- Fairly tough durability and can last a long time
- During the Valentines Day season, the prices for roses skyrocket
- In warmer conditions, roses open up; sometimes, this is desirable, sometimes, not
- Roses have to be opened just right to obtain the best look
Hydrangeas are known for exuding beauty and volume. This flower, which can give the illusion of many blooms bunched together, also comes in many colors (white, purple, pink, blue). Blue is the most popular choice; for example, consider a brilliant blue bouquet tied at the stems with thick ivory ribbon. In general, hydrangea means friendship and devotion, which makes it the perfect flower for bridesmaids.
- Good for preserving; the flowers look great dried out
- Goes well with other flowers if you chose bouquets or centerpieces with several different blossoms
- It doesnt take much (time or money) to create a sophisticated, airy bouquet
- Not suitable as body flowers
- Thirsty; prone to wilting with lack of water
- Although available year round, hydrangeas bought off-season tend to be undersized and lower in quality
The rustic sunflower is another floral muse that has captured the imagination of brides worldwide. Its casual perkiness exudes friendliness and joy. Sunflowers can boost the energy of any wedding while reflecting the beauty and simplicity of nature. Sunflowers are popular for fall wedding bouquets that merge the uniquely large head with other rustic colors. Potted sunflowers as centerpieces will undoubtedly delight your guests.
- Make for delightful, quirky boutonnières
- Incredible in photos (imagine engagement or wedding pictures taken in a sunflower field)
- Requires a lot of water
- Limited availability
- Might attract some flying friends, like bees and birds
Birds of Paradise
This distinctively unique and striking flower would play to the more avant-garde bride who is looking to impress. This colorful flower bears an unmistakable resemblance to a birds beak and plumage, attached to a thick stalk. These flowers can be incorporated into a bouquet along with orchids, lilies or lilacs, depending on whether you want to soften or heighten these birds. A florist can help you cultivate your ultimate look.
- Unique and memorable
- This modern, tropical and colorful flower works well for destination weddings
- The leathery leaves are durable and easy to handle
- May not be available year round
- Expensive; this flower takes years to bloom
- The avant-garde look is not suited to everyone's taste