24 Ways to Use In-Season Flowers in Your Fall Wedding Arrangements
Planning a fall wedding comes with so many advantages, like brisk air, epic transitional foliage, and rustic décor, to name a few. If you've fully leaned in to the season, you've likely already curated that perfectly earth-toned autumnal color palette. Now it's time to nail down which flower types are going to best execute that vision. First thing's first? Work with your florist to discover which varieties are actually readily available. This typically involves talking about seasonality, since in-bloom options nearly always outperform flowers produced during their naturally-dormant periods.
They're also a major budget saver (let's not even go into the costs associated with sourcing peonies in the latter half of the year). Just because you'll be cutting costs, though, doesn't at all suggest that you'll be skimping on variety or quality. Come September, you have so many incredible blooms to work with. To walk you through the plethora of in-season fall flowers, we tapped a few industry experts. The gist of their recommendations? Dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, and sunflowers are some of your best bets. That's a pretty gorgeous roster to work with—and the following floral arrangements—from statement-making centerpieces to lush bridal bouquets—prove it.
You don't have to knock late-summer blooms from your fall flower love list entirely, especially if your wedding date falls on the cusp of the two periods. There are a few types that are still in peak-form as the temperatures drop, like cosmos and garden roses (this particular bloom is a great cold-weather replacement for peonies!). Click through to discover which in-season fall blooms you'll include throughout your own autumn wedding.
Looking for an instant way to bring a touch of fall to your ceremony aisle arrangements? Include transitional foliage, says Kiana Underwood of the San Francisco-based floral design studio Tulipina. "As we get into late autumn, I will often use foliage that has begun to change color, like oak or maple," she says. These aisle markers by Rebecca Rose Events featured the rust-red and yellow leaves we so-often associate with the season, in addition to thistles and small white wildflowers.
Searching for the perfect fall floral color palette that also involves in-season buds? You've found it. This centerpiece by Côte Designs included "antique caramel" carnations, copper beech tree foliage, bronze amaranthus, and pheasant feathers.
If fall had a signature bloom, it would definitely be the dahlia, says Sierra Steifman of New York City's Poppies and Posies. "We incorporate a lot of dahlias into our centerpieces at this time of year," she says, adding that "zinnia, cosmos, mums, scabiosa, and sunflowers" are also popular varities. This Molly Taylor & Co. arrangement, which was placed on a tablescape designed by Shi Shi Events, features two of these key floral players: rich burgundy dahlias and moody, black scabiosa.
A rust-colored leaf branch, seen here in this scabiosa-centric Lindsay Coletta bouquet, can bring autumnal color and texture (not to mention serious verticality) to your personal bridal arrangement. As for Underwood's favorite foliage types? Ask your floral designer about sugar maple, Japanese maple, and oak options, she advises.
If you're looking for a delicate flower that gives your bouquet a rustic look, consider andromeda, says Tara Heibel, the owner of Sprout Home: "Incorporating the curved and winding habit into your bouquet and arrangements will heighten the visual impact with grace and movement."
You'll find pampas grass all year round—it's a staple at bohemian weddings—but it reads particularly rustic, which makes the pretty plumes perfect for autumn. Forrest and J used the grass variety and dried corn stalks as the base of this dramatic half-arch, then brought in modern moments in the form of pastel-hued spray roses by The Bloemist. A bold grayscale backdrop and a Neon Dive Bar sign catered to the installation's contemporary vibes.
Planning an early fall wedding doesn't necessarily mean that your flower palette can't involve late-summer buds. Garden roses, which were used throughout this Kim Wise Floral Events bouquet, are an option with seasonal longevity, explains Underwood.
Darks and Brights
This True Vine Studios bouquet's mix of bright white and moody reds—created with popular fall buds like dahlias, astrantia (an early fall type!), and chrysanthemums—is a testament to autumn flowers' rich and diverse color palettes. Interestingly, mums weren't always high on brides' flower request lists. "We used to avoid mums, but these days local farms are growing some extraordinary varieties," adds Steifman.
Gerbera daisies—the black-centered bud, seen here, is the focal point of this A Very Beloved Wedding display—bloom from early spring into the fall, and infuse sweetness into otherwise autumnal arrangements.
This centerpiece by Best Day Ever Floral Design is a lesson in neutral fall flower color palettes. The burnt pink-meets-brown lisianthus buds (which are readily available year-round!) tone down the bright whites and verdant greens.
Virtually every flower Underwood and Steifman gravitate towards during this time of year is present in this Chicory Florals clutch—mums, scabiosa, cosmos, quickfire hydrangea (one of Steifman's particular go-tos), and dahlias. Pro tip: Though dahlias are arguably one of the most ubiquitous fall flowers, you'll want to avoid one particular variety. "If you're having an outdoor wedding and are worried about how flowers will hold up if it's an unseasonably warm day, avoid café au lait dahlias," Steifman suggests.
Pumpkins aren't the only way to enjoy autumnal orange on the big day. The fire lilies seen in this olive leaf and peach spray rose display by Kathleen Deery Design are proof. That's not to say that the season's favorite squash isn't welcome on your tablescape. "Mini pumpkins can be skewered to use in arrangements and are great as we get later in the season," says Underwood.
Though a mid-September wedding doesn't officially fall into the parameters of autumn, many couples like to pack their floral décor with touches that reference the upcoming season. Adding a late summer fruit component to your centerpieces (like the grapes and pears used in tandem with this tabletop arrangement from Kaleb Norman James Design) appropriately introduces that harvest element. Getting hitched later on in the season? Reconsider the types of fruits you're using, says Underwood: "Most berries are beginning to get too ripe to use successfully, but fruiting tree branches—apple, pear, peach, and apricot, specifically—are very fun to use as well."
We may associate bright pinks with spring and summer color palettes, but the shade can be repurposed for fall. Simply make like A Very Beloved Wedding and add in dusty rose astrantia to bring a moody touch to year-round roses.
Make a statement on your escort table with a dramatic, sky-high display of quickfire hydrangea (autumn's best hydrangea variety!) and fall branches, like this one by Mindy Rice.
Garden roses may be available all year long, but there are definitely colorways that work best when curating blooms for an autumnal tablescape. Petals and Pop used a gold variety that popped against nearly-black leaves. Berry sprigs were used as filler. Searching for other fall-ready supporting branches, berries, and blooms? "Our seasonal favorites are Russian olive, crab apple, blackberries," says Steifman.
Here's another way to make garden roses feel fall-ready. Pop them against an inky backdrop, just like Wild Hearts Collective—their designers also chose buds that ranged from dusty pink to gold as yet another nod to the season.
Think of snowberries as the go-to for creating a mystical fall vibe at your wedding. Adorable in size, "these long supple stems, adorned with assorted opaque berries, are excellent accents in bouquets," says Courtney Sayner, owner of The Floral Loft. Not sure what flowers to pair with these accent berries? Sayner recommends snowberries, which "look stunning paired with antique hydrangea for a feminine fall palette."
Searching for the best fall foliage? Make like Côte Designs and source ceremony aisle markers' leafy branches from your actual wedding venue a day or two before the event. In addition to indigenous greenery, add in antique caramel roses, money plant pods, and foxglove.
Never heard of black cosmos? Prepare to meet your new favorite fall flower. Eerie and decidely moody, black cosmos are "great for adding a small bit of black to an arrangement without overshadowing anything," says Brie Walter, owner and designer of Brie's Honeybees & Flowers.
Asclepias orange, a nontraditional flower, comes in variations of yellow and orange (a perfect color combination for a fall palette). This variety makes a great add to a ceremony arch, especially if you want "to move away from a traditional bloomy arch, but still want the colors that flowers add," says Walter. "This is a great option that will really give that pop of color but keep it feeling natural and in the garden style."