Whether it's a single sunflower carried by a barefoot, backyard bride or a pave arrangement of roses chosen for a candlelight cathedral ceremony, flowers are an important (and for many, essential) part of weddings. Local floral designers offer the following ideas for creating floral displays in step with both today's trends and personal tastes.
Stephen Sonnier of Dunn and Sonnier Antiques & Flowers says millennial brides favor a looser, more natural look in florals. While roses, peonies, hydrangeas, tulips and freesia work for tightly packed bouquets, he says cosmos, ranunculus, anemones and greens give off a more relaxed vibe.
The push for sustainable organics doesn't end with food choices and home decor: Flowers are the new frontier of the natural eco-friendly movement. Some brides choose to go green by using foliage instead of flowers. Sonnier recently used dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, myrtle and a variety of cut grasses for a bouquet and plans arrangements of lemon leaf and salal for another.
In contrast to the dense nosegays and bouquets popular in recent years, Roger Villere Jr. of Villere's Florist says many brides opt for bouquets with visible stems that often are wrapped in satin, ribbon or greenery. It's another way to put a natural, freshly-picked spin on florals.
Beautify with baby's breath
No longer the much-maligned floral filler of the 1970s, baby's breath is trending in a new way. The idea, according to Barbie L'Hoste of Carrollton Flower Market, is to use it as a "star attraction," not a supporting act. "When it's done tastefully and used in quantity," she says, "it can have a presence — and it's economical."
Have your flowers and wear them, too
L'Hoste says some brides choose a wrist corsage, a flower ring or flowers in their hair rather than carrying a bouquet, leaving their hands free to dance the night away.
Sonnier and other florists can help brides think of ways to add a unique, personal touch to a ceremony. Sonnier has attached a photo charm to a bouquet and created a special memorial table with a flower arrangement and a candle for a deceased loved one.
DIY florals can save money, but they need not look like you scrimped on them. Order ahead (most florists have cash-and-carry flowers) so you have the variety you want and the quantity you need. Make sure you have time to compose your arrangements without a last-minute scramble. Note for the novice: Carrollton Flower Market offers a Wine and Arranging Night to teach useful tricks, such as how to keep flowers in place and how to create a pleasing composition.
Give it a go
If different and unique are your goals, experiment. There is one caveat: Do it with plenty of lead time. Rather than duplicating what you see in magazines or on the internet, L'Hoste suggests using those images as a springboard for thinking outside the box.
Ask the experts
The internet and overnight shipping from all over the world have made it possible to achieve almost any look. Villere says florists can send pictures of what you're looking for to suppliers, which in turn can send photos of things they are growing. However, he recommends using common sense: Don't have exotic tropicals shipped in the dead of winter or order anything sight unseen. Ask your florist for advice if you are unsure.
With individuality trending in all aspects of weddings, there's plenty of room to be creative, so look for inspiration in unlikely places. "If it's been on Pinterest, it's been done before," says Sonnier, who recommends alternative sources of ideas, like old books. L'Hoste says florists can tell customers what's making news in the trade. The rule of thumb: "Do what you like," says Sonnier. "Do what makes you happy."