Once cut, summer blooms may start out fresh and vibrant, but after making contact with the sun, heat, and humidity, they can wilt, droop—or worse, die!—in no time at all. We turned to event guru and florist Lisa Thomas, owner of Ooh! Events and Out of the Garden, for what you need to know to pull off beautiful, lasting arrangements for a summer celebration.
Choose flowers that will be in season in your wedding locale on your date, ensuring you'll get a fair price and blooms that can withstand warmer temperatures because they'll already be accustomed to the area's weather. Think about it: a July wedding in Maine feels much different than one in Texas. Your florist can tell you if your favorite flowers are temperamental in the heat and if they require a direct water source, Thomas explains. Establish how your blooms will be used (indoors or outdoors) and during what time of the day—or all day—at your initial consultation.
Look for These Flowers in the Summer
Though "it would be impossible to pick a favorite flower to use in the summer," Thomas does give a nod of approval to the following picks, which are all hardy and less prone to wilting: tropical and air plants, succulents, roses, carnations, orchids, birds-of-paradise, calla lilies, cupheas, dahlias, freesia, sunflowers, and zinnias. Fill out arrangements and bouquets with greenery, such as eucalyptus leaves, olive branches, or rosemary, she says, for less traditional results. And to sun-proof a boutonniere, pair a succulent with air plants finished with a feather.
But Avoid These Flowers in the Summer
"We try not to discourage brides on what flowers to include in their weddings," Thomas says. "But we do insist on being careful with how fragile flowers are used, processed, and displayed." For example, "hydrangeas, peonies, and anemones are all considered fragile flowers with delicate petals. They have a tendency to wilt when exposed to high heat and direct sunlight." A good rule of (green) thumb: If you can't do without the flowers listed above, feature them in water-submerged centerpieces instead, not in wilt-prone bouquets and boutonnieres.
"Bulb flowers such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth have a tendency to droop, and their hollow stems don't hold water too well," Thomas adds. "If a bride asks for them anyway, we place them in the middle of the arrangement or bouquet."
Treat Flowers with Care
While your florist will handle the day-of logistics, here are a few pointers to help keep the flowers you come in contact with (like your bouquet) looking fresh. "Keep fragile flowers and bouquets (especially if hand-tied) in water until the ceremony starts," Thomas says. If you snap pictures before the ceremony, return your bouquet to water (and have your bridesmaids do so, too) until aisle time. Because most florists set up, then head out, remind your coordinator or planner to mist flowers arranged outdoors with a spray bottle every hour or so to help to prolong their vibrancy.