Flowers' colors have always been replete with meaning: During the decorous Victorian era, lovers exchanged flowers to express the nuances of their feelings, without ever uttering a compromising word. Upon receiving a dozen red roses, a woman knew her suitor was consumed with passion. But if there were yellow roses among the red, she understood at once that he was growing impatient and even jealous. Today, you don't need a Victorian decoder to decipher the message of a bouquet. Flowers speak directly to our senses -- from sunny yellow to dusky purple, blooms offer endless possibilities for self-expression.

After your gown, your bouquet is one of the most important elements of your ensemble. Its composition, shape, and color will set the tone for all the other floral arrangements. Whether you select a simple monochromatic palette, choose the same blossom in a range of colors, or mix and match, your bouquet should contain elements that can be easily integrated into the full-fledged motifs of the day. A signature palette for your flowers will help unify the wedding and make the day more beautiful.

Neighboring Colors

Colors in close proximity on the color wheel, such as yellow, orange, and mauve, blend naturally. But don't use every hue at its most vibrant; varying tones can add more effect without overwhelming.

Yellow

Yellow rambling rose

Yellow ranunculus

Yellow daffodils

Orange

Orange ranunculus

Rose "Femina"

Orange sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Dutch tulips in shades of mango and orange

Orange calla lily (Zantedeshia "Aztec Gold")

Opposite Colors

Mixing colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel, such as mauve and citrus green, can produce beautiful results. If you use opposite colors, be sure one or both of the colors is muted.

Green

Hellebores (Helleborus)

Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

Santini mums "Kermit" or "Yoko Ono" (Chrysanthemum)

Green lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Mauve

Fritillaria persica

Fritillaria meleagris

Bicolor lilac (Syringa vulgaris "Sensation")

Mauve calla lily (Zantedeshia rehmannii)

A Single Color

Keep in mind that pairing any one color with white works wonderfully. Robin's egg blue muscari and white peonies, for example, make a particularly beautiful combination.

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