Smart Swaps for Out-of-Season Wedding Flowers

Looking for peonies in January? It'll cost you. Here, smart, seasonal alternatives to your favorite flowers.

Photography by: Erin Kunkel

Sticking to in-season flowers makes sense budget-wise: If they're freshly available in your area, your florist won't have to ship them in from an out-of-state—or, in some cases, out-of-the-country—grower, in turn passing that added expense on to you. If budget is a concern (and when isn't it?), consider the following list of just-as-gorgeous options for the most popular big-day blooms.

Spring Flowers


Lilacs: They flower for only about three weeks each year, which means the aromatic favorite can be hard—and expensive—to come by other times of the year.

Off-Season Sub: Stock


Lilies of the Valley: Small in shape but packing a strong, sweet scent, these blooms resemble upside-down bells.

Off-Season Sub: Forget-me-nots


Peonies: The large, pillowy blooms have a short season, blooming only in May and June.

Off-Season Subs: Garden roses; dahlias


Sweet Peas: Delicate and dainty, the fragrant blossoms are a longstanding bridal favorite.

Off-Season Subs: Jasmine; monkshood


See Spring Bouquets

Summer Flowers


Hydrangeas: They're big and bushy, and an ideal way to add a little heft to arrangements.

Off-Season Sub: Lilacs; any hardy flowering branches


Jasmine: The small star-shaped blooms are superstars in the heat, which makes them a good candidate for outdoor weddings.

Off-Season Subs: Stephanotis; star of Bethlehem

See Summer Bouquets

Fall Flowers


Anemones: There are varieties that bloom in spring, but if you're marrying in cooler months, anemones—with their eye-catching centers—should be in abundance.

Off-Season Sub: Hellebore


Dahlias: They start appearing in late summer, but the spiky, lush petals cruise well into fall.

Off-Season Subs: Blooming clematis; garden roses

See Fall Bouquets

Winter Flowers


Cymbidium Orchids: This orchid variety packs a tropical punch that belies its cold-weather hardiness.

Off-Season Sub: Gladiolus  


Ranunculus: Becoming just as ubiquitous as the peony when it comes to bridal blooms, ranunculus has layers upon layers of thin, crepelike petals atop a thick, curvy stem.

Off-Season Subs: Small roses; trollies


See Winter Bouquets
About the Author

Jaime Buerger

A senior editor at MSW, Jaime edits the planning section of the magazine and writes stories on flowers, home décor, stationery, and more. Since she started, she's learned the difference between buttercream and fondant, what the 4Cs of diamonds really measure, and how to properly address both the outer and inner envelopes of an invitation. She also eats more than her fair share of...


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