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When the weather outside is frightful, see how our favorite floral designers make wedding blooms look delightful.
Switch it Up
Chicago floral designer Kelly Marie Thompson of Chicago-based flower shop, Fleur, believes personal flowers should complement—not copy—one another. Here, amaryllis, hellebores, sweet peas, and rosemary make a bold clutch for a bride, while the bridesmaid's posy (far left) spotlights supporting players of camellia foliage and hellebores. Even the guys' boutonnieres—clusters of hellebores and rosemary—can showcase an accent color without looking too matchy-matchy.
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Create a Focal Point
A handful of well-placed plants and blossoms can create beautiful focal points at bars, escort-card tables, and ceremony settings like this one with a wreath hung above the mantle. "You don't need something elaborate to make an impression," says Thompson. All it takes for this oval of ruscus garland, camellia foliage, and rosemary to shine? A few floral accents, candlelight, and loads of meaning: The ring shape represents eternity, and rosemary symbolizes remembrance.
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Warm Up the Reception Space
Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't have lush centerpieces. Case in point: this arrangement of pink 'Quicksand' roses, apricot sweet peas, and light green hellebores, which keep the foliage and dark red amaryllis and ranunculus "from going too 'holiday party,'" says Thompson. Brass candlestick holders and complementary flatware add a glow, while the walnut table—sans linens—"creates an inviting, intimate vibe," she says. marble touches, seen on the paper wrapping the favor boxes and the urn holding the flowers, offer elegance.
Table, $2,099, roomandboard.com. "Dixon" chairs, $25 each to rent, taylorcreativeinc.com. Marble fruit bowl, $50, crateandbarrel.com. Ferm Living "Marble Gray" wallpaper, $103.50/roll, cleverspaces.com.
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Keep Things Light
"It's always winter in Minnesota!" jokes floral designer Jackie Reisenauer, of Minneapolis's Munster Rose. "We fight seasonal blues with lush flowers." This peppy posy combines creamy ranunculus, white poppies, and pale green hellebores with bright orange Icelandic poppies and kumquats. Fragrant bay leaves and inky privet berries round out the bouquet.
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Fill the Tables
"Winter doesn't have to mean barren," says Reisenauer, who used natural elements in orange, white, and green to liven up a polished table set with beige linens and pewter-banded china at The Bachelor Farmer, a Minneapolis restaurant (and event venue). The flowers and fruit in the glossy ecru vases echo what's found in the bridal bouquet on the previous slide but also include ruffly white cyclamen and olive leaves. For brides on a budget, Reisenauer suggests sticking to one or two floral centerpieces (instead of four) and filling out the tablescape with inexpensive items grouped en masse. "Candles of varying heights and shapes have a huge impact," she says. "And as a winter fruit, citrus is plentiful and economical, and it brings in bright color."
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Don't Forget the Bar!
Champagne is practically synonymous with celebrating. Create an extraspecial delivery of it by adorning a wheeled cart or stationary bar with a bountiful garland. This one is made from olive and bay leaves, privet berries, and kumquats. It looks lavish, but as Reisenauer points out, "it's very affordable, relying only on foliage and fruit." We'll raise a glass to that.
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Mark Your Ceremony Spot
The design duo behind Florisity created this pared-down ceremony marker. Two kinds of flowering branches are all you need to make a statement. The quince and spirea here are both late-winter bloomers, but, says Florisity creative director Sandra Taurina, "Your florist can easily force open the buds earlier." And if a vessel doesn't quite live up to the flowers themselves, wrap it in paper or fabric to upgrade it. Then place muscari and hellebores at its base.
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Consider Bouquet Size
This loose collection combines grassy fritallaria, dainty muscari, star-shaped eucharis, and greenish hellebores. The surprising tie that binds them: a paper ribbon, cut and creased origami-style. When dreaming up your bouquet, keep size in mind, says Taurina. "It should be proportional to you. A smaller person looks best with a small nosegay, and vice versa."
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Go for the Bold
Taurina and Nishimori set a serene scene with low groupings of (from left) eucharis, hellebores, muscari, and amaryllis, one of their favorites. "Amaryllis has big, lush blooms, which means more bang for your buck since it takes fewer to fill a vase," says Taurina. Completing the tablescape are fruiting smilax vines and begonia leaves. Every vessel was covered in inexpensive lichen moss for a woodsy feel.
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Opt for a Lush Bouquet
"Weddings should never feel cold, even in winter," says Claire Marie Johnston, owner of Flowers Claire Marie. Her secret? A pink-and-white palette, budding branches, and festive trimmings.
She mixed frosty white hellebores and narcissus with soft-pink hyacinths and green anemones, added lilies of the valley and mini calla lilies for fullness, and then tucked in sprigs of juniper and velvety lamb’s ear for texture.
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Hint at Spring
"A lot of cold-weather weddings incorporate bare branches, but I like blossoming ones—they hint at the coming spring," says Johnston. Quince, paired here with French tulips, is an ideal choice as it's available at the beginning of winter and offers both height and color. "This arrangement makes a big impact when you walk into the room," she says. Display just one—on your guest-book table, as a seating-card display, or at cocktail hour, shown here. Johnston placed smaller vessels of flowers on the surrounding tables and added garlands of olive and bay leaves.
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This inviting tablescape strikes the perfect balance between elegant and cozy. Pull it off with simple centerpieces that use just one or two types of blossoms, a pared-down palette of rosy white and antique gold, and lots of ultra-flattering candlelight. Here, densely clustered stems of white cyclamen and dusty miller are anchored in brass vases and placed among slender taper candles in varying holders.
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Serve Up Something Sweet
Johnston suggests welcoming loved ones with Fika Bakery princess cakes, which are Swedish delicacies covered with marzipan. "Add name tags, and they become place cards," she says.