Shower Of Flowers

By Diane Schlindwein

December 19, 2008 5 min read


Unique touches make your floral accents special

Diane Schlindwein

Creators News Service

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but romantics do love their flowers. However, modern brides are requesting blooms that are far more unique than the roses their mothers carried when they walked down the aisle.

Karen Bussen, a New York-based floral designer and author of "Simple Stunning Wedding Flowers" ($22.50, Stewart, Tabori and Chang), said more brides are asking for simpler yet more unusual bouquets. "On the simpler side, imagine just one or two types of lovely flowers -- peonies, garden roses [and] orchids, for example -- gathered together for a more understated, but gorgeous look.

"On the more unusual side, I recently made a bride's bouquet entirely out of red cockscomb -- velvety, super-textural, intensely colorful, but again very simple," she said. "Also, I notice that bouquets are getting smaller in general."

Kelly Cortes, owner of Kelly's Flowers Inc. in Winter Springs, Fla., said only a bride herself can truly pick the perfect bouquet. "My brides have all been so unique in their choices of flowers and in the jewels they accent their bouquets with. Some have chosen sea shells, little diamante gems or even a picture of a loved one that could not attend the wedding."

Bouquets can also be gathered in different ways. "Some of my girls like the tight clutch bouquets, while other like loose and abstract designs," Cortes said. "It's really just a matter of preference."

When Cortes recently married her husband, Sam, she designed her own flowers. "I held 30 white peonies and two white phalaenopsis orchids -- somewhat hidden so only I could see them -- to signify Sam and me," she said. "To make my bouquet even more original, I added my great-grandmother's blue topaz broach, in remembrance of her."

Brides want their bridesmaids to look lovely, too. A maid of honor usually has the same bouquet as other maids -- unless all the women are carrying different bouquets, which is another new trend, Bussen said. "Each bridesmaid gets her own small posy of just one or two types of flowers. Let's says your color palette is pink -- one lady might carry tulips, one peonies, one sweet peas, one pink snapdragons and one phlox."

When it came to her own wedding, however, Cortes wanted her maid of honor to have something just a little different. "Liz has been my best friend since middle school. She flew all the way from Taiwan just to be in my wedding," she said. "Though I had three other bridesmaids, I wanted Liz's to be more special, so I added aqua jewels to her bouquet, as well as a picture of the two of us in eighth grade."

Whether they are for the bride or her attendants, imported flowers aren't as popular with brides as in the past. "Now there is a trend toward being more local and more eco-friendly, which means getting back to what is seasonal and trying to incorporate blooms that don't come from so far away, to try to reduce our 'carbon footprint,'" Bussen said.

It's important to talk to your vendor. "Ask your florist what's local and in season in your area, and if possible, try to use at least some local blossoms in your designs," she said. "You can feel good about supporting your local farmers and being kind to the planet."

Flowers in bouquets, at the wedding site and at the reception can all be unique. "They don't need to match each other, especially if the venues are wildly different -- but there should be some sort of feeling of harmony is all the designs," Bussen said.

"We recently did a wedding in an old historic church, with urns and very romantic flowers in white and green. The reception venue was very modern, so we carried the whites and greens -- in more modern vessels -- through cocktail hour, then deepened the palette dramatically to black/white and red for dinner, but also keeping a very romantic theme," she added. "So all of the designs related, but we had a fresh approach to each part of the celebration."

Even floral designers have their favorite projects. "The bridal bouquet is by far my favorite type of floral design," Cortes said. "When I design it, I imagine the bride walking down the aisle, holding this bouquet I have made for her. I also play a little Harry Connick, Jr. music to set the mood."

But no matter what they think, it's important what you think. "One thing I can't stress enough is that when planning a bridal bouquet, I always make sure the bride is in love with it, even before she sees it," Cortes said. "She must love the flowers she has chosen and really feel it is a complement to her and her personality."

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