These flowers complement tables in bursts of yellow blooms, shimmery accents, and an aura of luxe glamour. Boutonnieres glitter when wrapped in shiny ribbon and accented with silver millinery leaves. A compact bouquet of ranunculus, parrot tulips, and mini cattleya orchids are held together by a rich copper bow. Lady's slipper orchids and calla lilies peek through the frilly gloriosa lilies for this maid-of-honor bouquet (bottom).
This compact oval cascade is lively with fiery hues. Cheerful little narcissus with orange centers dance among freckled vanda orchids, red-striped roses, and deep-orange gloriosa lilies with buttery edges. Young gloriosa blooms with their still-green petals provide contrast.
This sunny bunch of large and small blooms boasts creamy white, muted yellow, pale orange, and mossy green ranunculus; the texture comes from a mix of budded and open blossoms. White garden roses and yellow begonias add volume, while weigela leaves complement the color scheme. The stems, which are nestled in floral foam inside a footed compote, are cut to varying lengths, allowing for a loose symmetry.
At an event that celebrates a new beginning, flower bulbs are fitting decorations. They're also an inexpensive option, since bulbs generally cost less than cut flowers. We chose hyacinth bulbs because they're hardy and relatively short (the flowers shouldn't tower above the vase) and used forced bulbs, which are ones that have already opened and begun to grow. To make a centerpiece, pour a thin layer of small white stones into a clear glass cylindrical vessel. Rinse dirt off bulbs, then insert them into the gravel, adding more stones until the stems stand upright. Assemble the centerpieces a couple of days beforehand so you can have perfectly blooming flowers at the wedding by adding warm water (only enough to cover roots, not bulb) to get the petals to open, or cold water to keep them from opening too fast.
Following nature's lead, floral designer Ariella Chezar of Saratoga Springs, New York leaves the fruit on the vines or branches, arranging them so they arch alluringly; you'll find them in this form at farms, farmers' markets, and orchards (be sure berries that come from the florist are also edible). Look for peaches, plums, and berries during the summer and citrus in winter and early spring.
Exotic parrot tulips combine with fringed and viridiflora tulips and double-petaled narcissus in a poetic bouquet, tied with a hand-dyed silk ribbon in complementary pastel shades. To keep the large array from flopping, stems were cut short. Since tulips are a thirsty flower, the bouquet should be kept in water until right before the ceremony.
A little goes a long way with this table decoration. Fresh German chamomile is placed in a jar, then enclosed in a white paper bag for an exuberant centerpiece that is also economical. The top of the bag is trimmed with scalloping scissors, folded, punched with holes, and laced with yellow ribbon. Thread a tag with the table number onto ribbon before tying.
A white-pumpkin shell becomes the vase for an arrangement of roses, daffodils, ranunculuses, calla lilies, tulips, and hypericum berries in fall colors -- yellows, peaches, and shades of orange. Smaller pumpkins and votive candles in orange-glass holders fill out the centerpiece.
Welcome everyone to the festivities with cheerful boutonnieres. Hardy, inexpensive Mokara orchids pluck cleanly from their stalks and are long-lasting; we embellished each with taffeta ribbon. About 20 minutes before the ceremony, have your florist or wedding coordinator set them on trays near the entrance along with glass-head pins and a sign inviting people to take one.
Slender trumpet vases and assorted silver vessels feel of the moment -- and far, far removed from their colonial associations -- when filled with exotic blooms. (Take note: not a single garden rose in sight.) For an unexpected personal touch, incorporate your own silver pieces. Flowers, from front: yellow cattleya orchids; lemon phalaenopsis orchids; mini cattleya orchids; calla lilies with apricot-tinged parrot tulips; lady's slipper orchids; a statuesque vase of butterscotch ranunculus.
For big-impact table decor on the cheap, consider carnations, which come in so many colors. Long used as inexpensive filler, the familiar flowers have a chic style all their own when clustered in modern, minimalist vases that offset their ruffled softness. Plus they're readily available throughout the year. Arrange them by color (we like this spectrum of fiery orange to pale yellow) for an array of color that really makes the gradient. White Ceramic Cubes, Jamali Garden.