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A vivid bridal bouquet from Newberry Brothers Photo by Kokoro Photography
<p>A vivid bridal bouquet from Newberry Brothers.</p>

The Wild Bunch: Wedding Floral Breaks the Rules

Floral design experts share the latest trends in wedding floral, including bold color combinations, unstructured arrangements, and Old World romance.

WILD AND FREE Hallmarked by bold color combinations and unusual blooms, wedding floral is less about what’s expected, and more about self-expression. “We’re starting to see less manicured looks, and more wild designs,” says Emily Tolve of Denver-based Newberry Brothers Greenhouse and Florist. “We have been doing a lot of long and heavy ribbon streamers cascading from bridal party bouquets, and we’re getting many requests for bold color combinations, such as purple and orange, or red, orange and yellow. We’ve recently had a big influx of requests for various types of protea, which is a fun and different flower in all its varieties.”

Nancy Kitchen, owner of The Flower Loft, Rahway, N.J., adds tropicals to the wild bunch. “Tropical flowers provide bold and vivid contrast to neutral wedding hues,” she says. Deep violet, plum, fuchsia, and Pantone’s color of the year--Marsala--also play into the bold color scheme, she says, especially when accented with bright coral or buttery cream. “Deep, bright saturated color is zingy, and stretches a bridal floral budget with a dramatic presence.”

Despite the new appeal of tropical, classic blooms still appeal to bridal couples, notes David Merrell, head of Los Angeles-based An Original Occasion. "The types of flowers that brides request have not changed all that much over the years—roses, peonies, orchids," he says. However, "the way we using them is really the only difference. We are using a lot more of foliage and greens. There are a lot of new and interesting varieties that are coming into our markets."

Arrangements Look Looser

JUST PLUCKED The tightly packed, geometric floral centerpieces and bouquets are fading away, says Robbin Yelverton, co-owner of Detroit-based Blumz, giving way to looser designs featuring more budget-friendly flowers and foliage. But without a professional hand, this relaxed look can easily morph into a hot mess. "It takes a professional designer to really be able to create it beautifully," Yelverton says. "Otherwise it can take on a very messy unprofessional look."

A top look is "loose and unstructured," or what Kitchen refers to as “cutting garden-inspired,” which is a hit for both bouquets and arrangements. “Texture is a dominant design element of gardens and greenhouses,” says Kitchen, who adds an organic element to her floral designs by juxtaposing contrasting foliage, i.e., fleshy succulent leaves with thin silvery-veined heuchera, or velvety soft lamb’s ear with prickly thistle.

STOP THE STRUCTURE Laura Clare, head of Laura Clare Design of Bernardsville, N.J., points to today's brides' demand for casual sophistication.

“Brides like an unstructured sophistication," she says. "They don’t want to look stuffy, but still want that black tie wedding with a little bit of whimsy." Hit arrangements blend peonies, dahlias, jasmine vine, sweet peas, cyclamen and David Austin garden roses." Also irresistible: "Anything in soft corals, peaches, mint greens and gray!" she says.

And don't forget to add rich textures into the floral mix.

"I find the combination of antique wood, anything mercury glass--whether gold or silver--and other textural glass vases are popular for the flowers," Clare says. "Linens can be a high-quality sequined fabric paired with these dressed-down vases."

Return to Romance

ROMANCE REVISITED The vintage trend has brought back such charming traditions as hand-tied bouquets with luxury blooms in exquisite petite bouquets. "Think of sumptuous and sensual elegance—three-quarter chaplets, floral crowns and halos are back to create an angelic look to complement the bouquets," Kitchen says. "Cascading bouquets speak of Old World formality and complement a vintage chic look."

Clare points to "a common concept of modern-rustic chic emerging." "People are steering away from the traditional burlap-loving/rustic/Mason jar/barn wedding and adding a more classy touch," she says.

Yelveton maintains that outdoorsy/rustic, classic vintage and "Old Hollywood” vintage are all still very strong. "Budget brides are still working the canning jars and lace, but that look is beginning to wane," he says. "The Mason jars are moving back to the canning closet, thank goodness, and true vintage or reproduction vintage containers are taking their place with more style. Just a glimmer or so to add a touch of metal and tie in with the greater interest in foliage."

Event bling is back. "Crystals and bling, which were put on the back burner for the rustic trend, are slowly coming back into style," Tolve says. "Ribbons, in many different, coordinating colors and materials--satin, sheer, etc.--are back in style, too! Mirrored containers are also being requested more often now."

See the full story in the March-April issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that--just click here.

TAGS: Decor
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