If you're like many brides-to-be, you've probably had some idea of what you wanted your wedding flowers to look like since before you even got engaged. While there's nothing wrong with knowing what you want (in fact, it will come in handy throughout the wedding-planning process), it's important to remember that not everything is practical or ideal, especially when it comes to flowers. Your best bet is to turn to the experts when considering which flowers to select and which to avoid. Here, four florists share the blooms they'd never choose for their own weddings and why.
Lilies are stunning, elaborate, come in a variety of different colors, and smell glorious, which makes them a wedding-day no-brainer for many couples. However, there is one downfall to their cloyingly sweet aroma, according to Jenna Armstrong, lead floral designer at Fearrington: that their scent (however pleasant in small doses) can become so excessive that people are actually nauseated by it. "My rule of thumb is that overly fragrant florals belong far away from any situation involving food," she says. "Luckily, asiatic lilies exist—large, beautiful blooming lilies with virtually no fragrance. Just make sure you specify when chatting with your florist!"
If you ask Armstrong, the classic rose simply doesn't hold a candle to a garden rose. "Varieties of garden roses open up to be big, delicate, pillowy face flowers with gorgeous and subtle variation in color," she says. "They make every bouquet and arrangement more romantic and soft, so I always recommend them instead of the standard rose to our clients."
Beautiful? Yes. But overdone? Definitely. In fact, it's a floral trend that Armstrong hopes will never come back into style. "I understand its draw with florists and brides alike—it's delicate, white, and fills up space very well but besides being totally overused, it also stinks!" she says. Instead, she would choose a filler flower like tweedia, which has the sweetest little star-shaped white flowers, soft green stems, and virtually no aroma.
While this bloom is undoubtedly beautiful, unless it's sprayed and used with purpose, it can wilt quite quickly, warns Lindsay Parrott-Masiewicz, of P3 Events. It also sprinkles remains all over the place. Instead, she recommends using bundles of stock in your chosen colors as fillers and skipping the hydrangea altogether.
"The sight and smell of a magnolia bloom inspires nostalgic memories for many couples and their families, but unfortunately, many people forget that magnolias are highly seasonal, fragile, and their beauty is fleeting," says Ashley Greer, owner of Atelier Ashley Flowers. "Magnolias can only be sourced from certain parts of the country during specific times of year, plus they are also considered day flowers, which means they begin to yellow the same day and will likely be brown by the end of your wedding." While not as large in size, she recommends gardenias or a white peony as a substitute.
This wild plant with a bold purple flower might seem like a stunning selection for your wedding-day florals, but Greer points out that the bloom of the milk thistle is actually a prickly burr that pierces your skin and snags your clothing. "Try a cultivated eryngium dynamite thistle instead; it has a similar color and texture without the pesky burrs," she says.
Many people would say the tulip is their favorite flower, however they're not ideal for use in a wedding bouquet. "Tulips are phototropic, which means they move towards the light and grow while in your bouquet," says Meredith Clarin, floral expert at Kitanim Flowers. "The stems are very delicate and easy to snap, and tulips don't fare well without water." Instead, she recommends a mini calla lily which is sturdier on all levels, but has a similar tubular shape for your bouquet.