Look at a wedding photo taken back in the 1980s; you'll probably notice that the flowers (and the hair!) look out-of-date. They're huge and bulky and heavy, a more-is-more design that seems so wrong these days. Luckily, today's wedding flowers are light and airy, even when lush and full with blooms and greenery. And floral designers say the floral trends of 2015 are full of timeless appeal that will still look fresh many years from now.
For that delicate floral look, wedding couples are getting more for their money, and spending less. According to Shane McMurray, owner of the wedding survey website The Wedding Report, wedding couples spent an average of $148 on the bride's bouquet in 2014, and they will spend a bit less in 2015: $140. It's not much of a drop, but the expense will continue to go down in 2016 at $137.
So are brides' bouquets getting smaller, to account for less money spent? Not entirely. The drop in spending comes from the choices of flowers. For that, we can thank the trend of English garden flowers.
Following the trend for vintage weddings, the top flowers used in these elegant and romantic pieces are garden roses, sweet peas and hydrangea, all inexpensive blooms. Pricy orchids don't fit with the look, so they're not pushing up the budget. A few gardenias and calla lilies do make their way into those hand-tied, just-picked-from-the-garden style bouquets, as a burst of bridal white adding style to the bouquet mostly made up of tiny blooms. Other top flowers are peonies, ranunculus, hydrangea, sweet peas and tulips, with peonies being a leading choice for all-one-flower bouquets.
We're also seeing a trend in cascade bouquets. Georgianne Vinicombe of Monday Flowers and Design says that the cascade is subtle, compared to those larger, draping cascading bouquets of the 1980s, and are again inspired by the English garden look, a style seen on "Downton Abbey." Cascade bouquets are designed to look like a waterfall of flowers hanging down in front of the bride. When the bride wears a simpler dress, they create all the drama.
White bouquets are still in, but they're spending equal time on popularity lists with pastel-shaded flowers in pinks and light greens, again the garden look.
And then there are the bouquets and centerpiece flowers in bright colors. For spring and summer, think ocean blues and turquoise, coral, bright yellow, bright orange. For fall and winter, think cranberry, as well as jewel tones like sapphire and deep purples. Flower colors will be influenced by the Pantone color of the year, Marsala, a berry-hued reddish color that's expected to be very popular in 2015.
As far as bouquet design, we'll see less exposed stems at the bottom of the bouquet and more lace-wrapped stems, with jeweled accent in subtle style.
Centerpieces are larger than in years past, with more voluminous floral collections and greenery. Bringing the outside inside is a huge trend, with the look of a sea of flowers greeting guests as they walk into the reception ballroom. The days of low-set bunches in small bowls are over, as more wedding couples want eye-catching centerpieces.
And floral garlands will be very popular in 2015, either as bloom-filled draping lengths, or in pure greenery. Consider covering staircase railings with garlands bursting with many flowers. Alternatively, a floral wall, a vertical display of all flowers or greenery that may be set behind the wedding cake or the sweetheart table, embraces this trend, as well.
There is also a big shift in using symbolic flowers, such as the wedding couple's birth month flowers, or the same types of flowers the couple's parents or grandparents used in their own wedding designs if the couple may wishes to bring some of their relatives' good marriage luck into their own celebrations.
Talk with your wedding florist about the design you desire, and bring in plenty of photos that you find on Pinterest, bridal magazines or other sources to give your floral designer a better idea of your personal style.
Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.