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Wedding Flowers for Beginners

If you don't know the difference between peonies and poppies, you've come to the right place.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Mademoiselle Fiona

We've outlined some basic but important facts you should know about wedding bouquets and centerpieces, including how to save money and how to get the look you want—even if you don't know what that is right now!

Flowers that are in-season and local are the best choice. 


That's because they're more affordable and fresher than flowers that are out of season in your area and have to be flown in from halfway around the world. So unless you're having a spring wedding, forget about tulips. An experienced florist can suggest a different flower that, while not tulip's doppelganger, will evoke the shape or feeling of it, and should make you just as happy.

You should pick your wedding dress first, then your bouquet. 


The dress' style and shape should have a big impact on what flowers you choose. They should complement what you're wearing rather than compete with it. Imagine how a sleek modern gown would look with a flowing bouquet of wildflowers. Something's off, right? Now picture that same gown with a hand-tied bouquet of calla lilies, which have more elegance and structure. Much better!

DIY can be daunting. 


A year before your wedding when you've got all the time in the world, you decide you're going to do your own flowers. The reasoning: You'll save money, get the exact look you want and get to have some fun with your friends. The reality: It's the day before your wedding and, as organized as you are, there are still lots of last-minute things to take care of. Oh, and you've got 20 centerpieces to arrange. Right now. Avoid this nightmare and hire a pro for all your flower needs.


5 Times It's Best to Call in a Wedding Professional

The bigger the bloom, the fewer you'll need.


If you want to stretch your floral budget, think big. When they're jumbo-sized flowers like cattleya orchids, you won't need that many to create a full and dramatic look. Add in some well-placed greenery and you'll have a luscious bouquet or centerpiece you can afford.

Floral inspiration can be found in a variety places, some unexpected. 


To figure out colors, let everyday objects (a paint chip, ripe fruit) and your favorite things (a colorful scarf, a painting) influence your decision. Go on Pinterest and Instagram (#weddingflowers) to see what other brides have done. Bring photos to your florist of your favorite styles, color palettes and looks.

When you're flexible, the florist is free to create something beautiful. 


Rather than give an absolute list of must-have flowers, you'll get a better overall floral design if you give examples of flowers you like, what's appealing about them (maybe it's their soft shape or petite size), the look you're after (rustic) and color scheme (lavender, green and white).

You can reuse the ceremony flowers. 


Think about it—ceremony flowers have a short, look-at-me lifespan. Once the I dos are done, so are the flowers' time in the spotlight. But to prolong their 15 minutes, ask your florist to design them to be repurposed at the reception at the entrance, on the escort card table or any other place you were planning to decorate.


How to Repurpose and Donate Your Wedding Flowers
About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 


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