Get Familiar With Cafe au Lait Dahlias

Updated 06/26/14

Erika Nicole Photography

Dahlias are in season right now and the beautiful Cafe au Lait variety is the perfect addition to your summer wedding. Cafe au Lait dahlias are simply gorgeous and come in shades of creamy pink, blush, peach, ivory, champagne, and dusty rose—all perfectly-bridal hues.

Florists sometimes refer to the Cafe au Lait dahlia as a "dinner plate" dahlia, which pretty much means what the name implies—the flower can bloom to be as large as a dinner plate! And since the petals are so large and lush, Cafe au Laits can also be a lovely and more affordable alternative to peonies. Cafe au Laits are available only in summer, usually in season from June through September, but sometimes you might find them through October, so they could work if you'd like to have them for a late-summer or early-fall wedding. Here are our favorite ways to feature the show-stopping bloom into your wedding flowers.

Blush-Pink Bouquet: This lush, soft-pink bouquet by Anastasia Floral Design (above) combines Cafe au Lait dahlias with roses, sweet peas, and gold-painted leaves.

Pale-Pink Bouquet With Pops of Blue

For a more preppy, country-club look, florist Holly Chapple combined Cafe au Lait dahlias in the palest shade of pink with garden roses and pretty blue delphiniums.

Cafe au Lait Dahlias Bouquet With Delphinium
Brides / Holly Chapple 

Organic Bridal Bouquet

The Cafe au Lait variety can grow quite large in size, sometimes up to six to ten inches in diameter. If your florist is able to source sizable dahlias, have him or her use just one or two in your bouquet—they'll stand out more when paired with other smaller blooms and lots of fresh greenery.

Organic Cafe au Lait Bouquet
 Brides / Tim Tab Studios

Pink Dahlias in Gold Compotes

Pink and gold is a classic and glam wedding color combo. Arrange the dahlias with other complementary pink blossoms like ranunculuses and roses in elegant gold footed vases and display them on reception tables.

Cafe au Lait Dahlia Centerpiece
Brides / Harrison Studio 

A Trio of Cafe Au Laits

Another centerpiece idea would be to display a trio of dahlias arranged in different-sized vases; surround the largest arrangement with the two smaller ones to create a cohesive tablescape.

Cafe au Lait Dahlia Centerpiece
Brides / Rebecca Arthurs Photography, www.rebecca-arthurs.com

Simple Cafe Au Lait Centerpieces

Or, for a more streamlined look, you could simply arrange the dahlias in smaller mercury glass vessels—the statement flowers look so pretty on their own, they don't really need anything else.

Cafe au Lait Dahlias Centerpiece
 Brides / Kim Fox Photography

Modern Centerpiece

For a more modern look, fill a white cylindrical vase with Cafe au Lait dahlias, bright-yellow billy balls, and olive branches.

Modern Cafe au Lait Centerpiece
 Brides / Courtesy of Erin Hearts Court

Late-Summer Centerpiece

If your wedding date is in the late summer or early fall, your florist may still be able to source cafe au lait dahlias. Have your centerpiece reflect the changing seasons—this centerpiece of Cafe au Lait dahlias, Juliet garden roses, crab apple, passion vine, and persimmons by Poppies & Posies is just perfect.

Late Summer Cafe au Lait Centerpiece
 Brides / Missy Photography

Special thanks to Sean Nestlerode at Torchio Nursery in San Francisco for his help with our "In Season Now" flower series!

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