There are few design elements that make as big of an impact on your wedding as your flowers will. After all, they play a leading role in the look of your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, and may even influence other details like your fashion choices, stationery, and color palette. While many would agree there's no substitute for fresh flowers, two florists encourage their clients to challenge that belief—or, at the very least, embrace some alternative options, too. Here, Megan Chandler of Vero Designs and Victoria Ahn of Designs by Ahn explain why incorporating dried flowers, leaves, and grasses into your day makes for wow-worthy décor.
Though dried flowers are becoming more widely available, they're still not as popular as fresh, which makes them a striking detail in a larger floral design. "The inclusion of dried elements is a little avant garde," says Chandler. "I like to use them as a touch of something unique." Dried florals, including baby's breath, pampas grass, lunaria, maple leaf, and hydrangea, offer a variety of textures and shapes that complement fresh blooms and greens. "Since we usually don't use them as the main flower, they act as an accent and don't overwhelm the look," Ahn explains.
They'll add edge to classic arrangements.
Dried florals can also give traditional floral designs a more cutting-edge feeling. "When I'm given the opportunity to include dried florals in a centerpiece or even a bouquet, I want to go with really classic stems so that the dried floral is the edgier inclusion," says Chandler. "To me, it's a modern touch within a classic piece."
They're colorful—in their own way.
As flowers dry, they trade their just-bloomed shades for a palette that's unlike anything you'll come across from fresh florals. "Although not many types of flowers are offered dry," says Ahn, "the ones that are provide color accents that are not often found in live flowers and work for dusty color palettes." Chandler agrees: "If you're going for a neutral palette, there is no better way to achieve that vintage-inspired look." One caution: Using too many dried blooms can take your wedding vibe from romantic vintage to straight-up Miss Havisham-inspired. "I would not encourage a bride to do all dry flowers unless they wanted to focus on these as the theme," says Ahn. "Too many of them can give a dead appearance and not enough contrast, texturally or color wise."
Since these flowers are already dried, they offer a several benefits over fresh blooms: They're often easier to source, and are a practical choice for arrangements that don't allow for keeping the blooms in water, like boutonnières or hanging installations. "For designers in extreme heat, they can breathe a little easier," says Chandler. Feeling sentimental? Ask your florist if she can incorporate dried flowers with special meaning to you and your partner. Roses will work the best, whether they're from your grandmother's garden, the first bouquet your partner gave you, or your own backyard.