The freshest blooms, the prettiest colors, and the most unique shapes and textures—the season's flowers have so much to offer. But it takes a skilled hand and trained eye to edit the bounty into arrangements that surprise and delight. Here, we turned to the pros for their new wedding-worthy ideas to inspire your own.
From tablescapes and blooming clutches to centerpieces and ceremony arches, these floral designers know what it takes to upgrade a wedding. Aromatics (think: basil), surprising displays (think: troughs) and unique spots (think: hanging behind the bar) bring a new thrill to summer nuptials, and seasonal blooms are the icing on the cake. Zinnias, dahlias, and garden roses, oh my. You just can't go wrong with these gorgeous, timeless picks. Whether you're planning a traditional big day or erring on the whimsy side, these ideas—ranging from refined to rustic—are exactly what your warm-weather wedding needs.
Set a Summery Tablescape
New Yorkers Juliet Totten and Sierra Yaun of Poppies & Posies created these centerpieces by anchoring dahlias, hydrangeas, roses, scabiosa, and clematis vines in urns, then strategically mixing in beets, raspberries, and fresh herbs. Heritage tomatoes scattered along an eyelet runner bring an extra punch of color and a summer-harvest feel, while vintage plates and brass flatware add to the charm.
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Carry a Soft Clutch
You have myriad options when it comes to adding color to a summer bouquet. You can go for the boldest and brightest of the bunch; stick with the timeless look of an all-white posy; or play with the softness in the middle of the spectrum. Yaun and Totten combined pale orange garden roses; spiky, creamy dahlias; pillowy, barely pink scabiosa; lush clematis vines; and delicate Queen Anne's lace into a loose, texture-rich bundle, with a few golden beets as a cheeky surprise.
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Curate a Sweet Spread
This glorious spread is beautiful to behold—and delicious to devour. Totten and Yaun perched petite pies, tiny cakes, and juicy berries on pedestals of varying heights, set out bowls of cherries and blueberries, then surrounded the sweets with blooms that complement the bumper crop’s vivid colors.
Totten also suggests placing your bouquet on the dessert table post-ceremony: "Your guests will love the opportunity to see it up close while they reach for a nibble."
Here, clusters of garden roses, viburnum berries, and dahlias fit right in with an outdoor setting. But grass is not required: "By mixing in pieces made from natural materials, like the wooden table and stoneware salt and pepper shakers, you can bring a country feel to any venue, inside or out," says creator Shawn Marie Cossette, who runs Beehive Events with her husband, David, from their sprawling farm in Scottsville, Virginia.
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To give your bouquet an aromatic addition, Cossette suggests substituting fragrant herbs for foliage. Take a cue from this posy, in which basil fills out stems of garden roses, sea oat grass, butterfly weed, and viburnum berries.
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Establish a Floral Focal Point
Although cohesive style is key to a well-designed wedding, every arrangement doesn't have to be a carbon copy of the others. To make things visually interesting, create a unique focal point in one main area, like on your escort-card table or the bar shown here. To keep things consistent, incorporate at least one element that appears elsewhere, says Cossette. For this arrangement, she filled a wooden bucket with bright red garden roses, creamy hydrangeas, figs, pokeweed, and ornamental grasses.
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"When I think summer, I think peaches," says Cossette, who placed one on each plate and nestled them into compotes next to flowers. Not your favorite fruit? Choose another. "If you can eat it, you can use it in a display," she says.
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Philadelphia florist Sullivan Owen loves to use dinner plate dahlias, the large, pale pink superstars of this bouquet, which also features roses, astilbes, gladiolus, scabiosa, and quickfire hydrangeas. But she doesn’t limit herself to pastel, sundress shades during the warmer months. "I have a real penchant for darker hues like wine and burgundy," says Owen, "especially for a vineyard wedding."
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Even teetotalers will belly up to admire this verdant backdrop. "I was picturing one of Philly's grand old stone manors with greenery swamping the building, like in the '90s film version of Great Expectations," Owen says. To get the overgrown effect, she wove together beech foliage, passionflower vine, jasmine vine, and clematis flowers, and hung them from an iron curtain rod suspended from the ceiling. "I love bringing designs above people’s heads," she says. "It feels like you're surrounded by nature." And this idea is versatile: it would also make a sensational ceremony marker.
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Adore the image of an overflowing window box in midsummer? Check out Owen's trick for getting that look all year long: a single seven-foot weathered-iron feeding trough, which she uses as a centerpiece instead of several smaller vases. "It's an incredibly unique item that brings the outdoors in without being a traditional planter," she says. Plus, it holds an abundance of flowers.
Here, she mixed dahlias, garden roses, pink majolica spray roses, quickfire hydrangeas, coxcombs, and scabiosa with geranium foliage and umbrella, sword, and flat ferns.
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For a late-afternoon farm feast, Jennie Love of Philadelphia's Love 'n Fresh Flowers fills terra-cotta vases of various shapes and sizes with just-picked dahlias, hydrangeas, zinnias, lisianthus, and scabiosa. The tone is one of earthy elegance—plus a touch of whimsy, thanks to the cluster of green baby currant tomatoes that graces each place setting.
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The blushing cascade above begins with a single peach-colored zinnia. Then Love shapes the bouquet around it by adding like-hued stems—lisianthus, more zinnias, hydrangeas, spirea, snowberries, ninebark, pearl barley, and mountain mint—and ties it all together with a pale-coral silk ribbon.
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Love also makes floral "necklaces." A small cluster of the same blooms used in the bouquet are secured on a lightweight plastic backing and strung on a silver chain. "We do necklaces most often for mothers of the bride, maids of honor, or bridesmaids who stand on the groom's side and don’t want to carry a bouquet," she says. "Visually they pull together the wedding party."
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For a rustic ceremony arch that looks as if it sprouted up on its own, Love starts with a simple wooden frame and adds armfuls of grasses, ferns, heuchera, lamb's ear, dahlias, lisianthus, rudbeckia, hydrangeas, clematis, and tomato vines. Building a naturally asymmetrical look, she places potted greenery along the ground to serve as a foundation, then secures other flowers and foliage to the arch with a bit of wire. "I'm sort of the queen of 'organic' installations," she says, "so I try to keep the mechanics minimal." Need a little extra atmosphere? Throw in a flock of fine-feathered ducks.
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