Carnations are, to put it in incredibly simple terms, an underdog. While popular, they’re not exactly everyone’s first choice for a wedding. This is largely due to the fact that most find the versatile bloom to be cheap, and therefore, not worthy of a center stage moment on a wedding day—least of all in a bridal bouquet. Well, we're here to prove otherwise.
“There are many antiquated opinions about carnations; some people believe they are cheap flowers. They are cost-effective, but not cheap looking,” says florist Teresa Eoff.
Meet the Expert
The durability of carnations actually makes them an excellent choice for bouquets. They can last an entire wedding day without water, which means the flower traditionally labeled as a ‘filler flower’ can actually be a focal point in a bouquet design without any worries. Carnations can play a huge part in your bouquet design simply because of their reliability; you’ll be able to count on their availability when weighing the decision for a late fall wedding versus the spring.
“Full and exuberant, carnations create a lush factor when designing,” explains Eoff. “They allow us to add depth to our color palette. Their beauty, texture, and strength add value to designs as an accent flower, especially with all of the new varieties and colors being offered by growers.” They give life to designs for a fraction of the cost their counterparts, like perhaps ranunculus or peonies, do. A low price tag means you’ll still come out ahead, whether you’ve selected mono-floral design, or are positioning them as accent flowers.
Read on for 16 creative ways to incorporate carnations in your wedding bouquet.
Keep things classic with an all-white bouquet. Play into the naturally layered effect that carnations create due to the ruffled edges of their petals and pack your bridal bouquet tight and full.
Group Them Together
When designing a bouquet, some tricks of the trade can take a simple flower like a carnation and ensure that you get more bang for your buck. Group carnations together within the bouquet itself, composed of a variety of other blooms, to create a fuller, more lush effect.
Pick the Perfect Peach
Perfect for a spring fete, incorporate a pop of peach within your bridal bouquet. With the right additional flowers like hyacinth, Craspedia, and starflower, you can craft a design that feels fresh and romantic with just enough whimsy to keep those carnations elevated to new heights.
Embrace the Rainbow
A splash of color can pack a serious punch, and bouquets are no exception. Utilize carnations in a bouquet that covers every shade and color of the rainbow for a vibrant and refreshing design, a trend that, thankfully, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Consider a Fall Color Palette
What’s not to love about a fall bridal bouquet? Amongst the soft, yet still striking contrast of white roses, opt for crimson carnations for a design that will be right at home within an autumnal color palette.
Make It Romantic
Turn up the romance with a dreamy floral composition you’ll totally fall for no matter your wedding style. Carnations layered amongst a bed of garden roses and orchids will undoubtedly create an ethereal sort of allure you won’t be able to pass up.
Choose Jewel Tones
Bold, vibrant, and absolutely breathtaking, a bouquet sporting moody blooms always leaves a lasting impression. While not exactly lilac or royal purple itself, a deep pink carnation will enhance the regality of a purple color palette, fit for a winter or even a summer wedding—and every season in between.
Try a Posy
The posy bridal bouquet is forever loved as the ultimate expression of sophistication because sometimes simple is the chicest. A petite bouquet in baby pink, tied with a ribbon, creates an elegance you just can’t get from a full-size bouquet and will be a beautiful complement to your bridal look from head to toe.
Let a Neutral Palette Shine
Timeless and effortless no matter your wedding style, a neutral color palette, when done right, can take a muted combination of colors and turn it into a dreamy, classic design you’ll look back on selecting without an ounce of regret. Creams, beiges, ivory, and white are naturally unfussy, which means you don’t have to rely on carnations to carry that load all alone.
Choose the Right Pairing
The right floral pairing is the key to a great floral design. “I enjoy pairing carnations with garden roses, spray roses, or other round mass flowers for a textural accent,” says Eoff. Paired alongside such blooms, along with peonies or even hydrangea, carnations have the opportunity to shine—and maybe even steal the spotlight.
Use Unique Greenery
Sometimes the greenery makes the bouquet. A perfect option for a wedding in the spring, accentuate a blush pink bouquet with a variety of greenery: we love the dusty miller (otherwise known as lamb’s ear), hypericum berries, and variegated pittosporum used in this romantic pink and green bouquet that exudes femininity.
“Carnations are flexible in use for design—from luxury styles to boho themes, a carnation can add a beautiful touch to any design,” says Eoff. And since boho-chic affairs are absolutely here to stay, consider carnations’ ability to transform any design from basic to brilliant when thinking of ways to enhance a bohemian design plan.
Opt for Ombré
Take it to the next level by designing the bouquet on a color gradient to create an ombre effect within the bouquet itself. The perfect opportunity to showcase a subtle take on forward-thinking design, the variety of colors available for carnations will ensure no shade will be left out.
Create a Cascade
The natural, trailing effect that comes into play is what gives a cascading bouquet its name, and there is absolutely a place for carnations in that waterfall of luscious blooms. Utilize carnations as a filler in a cascading bouquet, and embrace their natural ability to create a lush design that's iconic and so much more than a trend.
Go bold with your bouquet design! Select a color palette that’s rich and vivacious without being overpowering. Carnations can be a great accent, and you can create a beautiful bouquet with just a handful of stems in the right shade.
Look for Layers
Carnations are known for their ruffled petals, easily creating a layered effect without much effort. Embrace the ruffle and accentuate it with other flowers with a similar effect, like ranunculus. The end result will be a multi-dimensional design teeming with life and beauty.