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Choosing the Flowers

Published: 21st January 2011 12:07
When considering what sort of flowers you would like it is advisable to bear in mind the time of year that you will be getting married.

Different flowers are in season at different times of the year and, if you keep as much as possible to what is in season, you will find that, not only will it be more cost-effective, but also that it may look more striking - for example, arrangements of holly and berries can look beautiful for a December wedding.

 Image by Neil Bowler Photography

However, out of season flowers can be used, but you will need to check availability and cost with your florist.

When choosing a florist, again try to visit a few and have a good look at their portfolios.

There are so many different styles for bouquets and arrangements these days that your final choice will probably simply be a matter of who you feel most comfortable with, alongside cost.

However there are few things you should ask and guidelines to follow.

Firstly, you need to have some idea of how flowers will be used at your wedding - do you just want bouquets for you and the bridesmaids, or will you also want the church and venue decorated?

Below are a few of the ways that flowers can be used -

  • Bridal Bouquet
  • A second, smaller bouquet for throwing
  • Bridesmaids' Bouquets
  • Headdresses or threaded into the bride's and/or bridesmaids hair
  • Corsages
  • Petals for the flower girl, or as confetti
  • Buttonholes
  • Decorating the church - pew ends, displays, entrance, choir stalls
  • Decorating the reception - displays, table decorations, top-table display, cake table display
  • Garlands
  • Marquee poles
  • Thank you Bouquets

You will also need to consider what style of flowers you would like - do you want a traditional bouquet or a single stem? Do you want flowers at all, or would you prefer foliage and berries? Do you want the bridesmaids to have bouquets, posies or baskets?

There are so many options that, at the end of the day, it will come down to personal choice, but make sure you take along any fabric swatches and details of your colour scheme - that way your florist can make her own suggestions as well as be guided by you.

 Image by Neil Bowler Photography

You should also check with the church what floral displays they allow, and what access there will be to the church on the day of the wedding for the florist to set up the displays.

Also check if there are any other weddings on the same day - if your schemes are similar you may be able to share flowers and costs.

If there is a wedding immediately after yours, and they are using different flowers, you may be able to arrange for you florist to remove the display and transfer it to your reception venue.

If your florist is providing buttonholes you will need to let her know what style of buttonhole you would like - again, there is now a much greater choice than there used to be and it is no longer a case of just choosing what colour carnation you prefer.

Ask your florist what options there are, not just for the type of flowers but also the way they are displayed.

For corsages, you will need to let the florist know exactly what colour the individual outfits are; if the colour is not matched well they will not set off the outfits as they should.

After the wedding, you may want to preserve your flowers - again there are several options for doing this.

For example, flowers can be dried, mounted in a frame or set into a globe, or the bouquet can be deconstructed and the flowers flattened to produce a pressed picture.

If you are planning on preserving your flowers, talk to your florist as it may impact on the final design.

Also, consider having a smaller second bouquet made to throw to your single friends, as otherwise there may not be much left to preserve! If you do this, try not to forget to actually throw it!

Traditionally Speaking...

  • Some people choose their wedding flowers based on the symbolic meaning of the flower (see below)
  • The groom's buttonhole should traditionally be a flower which also features in the bride's bouquet - this dates back to medieval times when a knight would wear his lady's colours as a sign of love
  • The tradition of a flower girl scattering petals is to signify a happy path in life
  • The carrying of bouquet of flowers dates back to the 1500s when people took infrequent baths, and was to mask the smell of body odour

Flowers with Good Meanings



Great beauty


Bird of Paradise





Fascination, pride & beauty




"I love" & fidelity





















Loveliness & constancy








Japonica (white)







Lemon Blossom




Lily (white)



Lily of the Valley


Return of happiness












Orange Blossom


Purity & chastity




A belle



Love, beauty


Rose (white)


"I am worthy of you"





Sweet Pea


Delicate pleasures

Tulip (red)




Tulip (variegated)


Beautiful eyes









Flowers to Avoid



Sometimes associated with death




Red & white flowers


Signify blood and bandages


View more from the Wedding Section

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