Should I wear a flower in my hair?

Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2009

I want to wear a flower pinned in my hair. What flowers can I use? Once I've picked one how should I attach it?

Many flowers are good choices; for a coordinated look, select a bloom that appears in your bouquet or elsewhere at the wedding. Then consider what effect you'd like to achieve.

Smaller flowers work better for more elaborate looks; miniature spray roses, stephanotis, dendrobium orchids, individual hyacinth blossoms, and freesia are among the most popular choices, says Emily Weaver of Chestnuts in the Tuileries in New York City. These are fairly hardy and resist bruising and wilting. For a simpler style, many brides choose just one large bloom. Peonies, Asiatic lilies (stamens removed), roses, and orchids, such as cymbidium, are lovely options.

Avoid delicate flowers, such as lily-of-the-valley, sweet pea, and gardenia; they don't last long out of water, says Matthew Robbins of Artfool in New York City. Also, you may not want to use anything overly fragrant, since the scent may become cloying over the course of the day. And because flower pollen can stain fabric, your florist shouldn't use unopened lilies, in case they bloom during the event, exposing the stamens.

Explore your options with your florist. He or she can recommend what flowers work best and which to stay away from; he or she will also be able to show you what is in season or available at the time of your wedding.

Your florist should wire the stems of your bloom or blooms, trimming them to two or three inches and then inserting floral wire into the bases of the flowers and wrapping it around the stems. This results in a short, flexible stem you can insert into an updo, such as a bun or French twist, or use as an anchor for hairpins.

Other ways to wear flowers in your hair include fastening them to a headband or comb with floral tape or monofilament, or creating a wreath to wear around your head. If you want to attach the flowers to the headpiece of your veil, place them on top of or outside the veil, and choose a small bloom that will sit close to your head, says Kazuya Kobayashi, senior stylist at Frederic Fekkai Salon & Spa in New York City. "A veil can rub a flower too much and cause it to bruise and wilt," he says. Or don the flowers after you've removed your veil.

Do at least one test run with your hairstylist before the big day; have your florist make a set of wired flowers you can take with you to the appointment. The more preparation you have, the more comfortable you will feel on the day of your wedding.

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