When it comes to wedding flowers, it can certainly be overwhelming (to say the least) as it comes time to tell your florist what you want. Besides the plethora of styles and color palettes, having to figure out what specific blooms you want—especially if you aren't a "flower person"—can be a headache and a half.
Once you've decided on one kind of flower you like, say a rose, you come to find out that there are over 100 different types of roses. So what's a wedding flower newbie to do? Well, first of all, we'd like to congratulate you on taking the first step by admitting that you're a newbie. You're in a safe space here. Secondly, you've obviously come to the right place.
Ahead, we've compiled a list of the most popular wedding flowers.
This one is a no-brainer. We all know what a rose is! What you may not know is that there are more varieties of roses than you can shake a bouquet at. The larger, fluffier, and more multi-petaled kinds—like garden roses—make perfect face flowers (meaning, the showstoppers of a bouquet or centerpiece) and are ideal for when you don't want to use a peony. Smaller ones—like spray roses—add a delicate accent to bouquets and centerpieces. While most roses are in peak bloom from spring to fall, many are cultivated in greenhouses and available all year round.
Consider clustering spray roses alone in little bud vases and sprinkling them down your tables for a simple centerpiece solution.
Hands down, this is the most highly coveted of all wedding flowers. Everyone loves 'em, everyone wants 'em, but sadly, they're one of the most expensive flowers. So if you have to have peonies, but you don't have a big budget, maybe just use them in your bouquet and at the head table (if you're having one). These highly sought-after blooms have an extremely short spring season, often only available from April to June.
Usually black and white, these graphic flowers are perfect for the modern bride. The beauty of anemones is that they're amenable to working alone in a mono-fleur arrangement or mixed in with other flowers as more of an accent. But beware! These beauties tend to be on the more delicate side, so if you're getting married out in the heat, make sure your florist water-picks the stems. Colder months are prime time for these dramatic flowers, whose season extends from August to May.
One of our all-time fave blooms, dahlias are great face flowers because they have such a grand presence (dinner plate dahlias can be as large as your head) without packing the punch price-wise of a peony. Plus, they come in so many beautiful colors and a wide array of sizes so there's a variety out there for every kind of wedding theme. Fall brides, rejoice! These stunners bloom from mid-summer through autumn.
One of the sweetest smelling blooms, lilacs are drapey and romantic and can also work well on their own in a simple bouquet. Coming in shades of purple and white, lilacs are also quite delicate, so you have to be very careful to prevent wilting. Once it starts to go, there's pretty much no reviving it. Springtime weddings are optimal for these buds that peak from April through June.
You've probably seen these little guys in 75 percent of the arrangements you have pinned on your flower Pinterest board. They are usually used as accents and not as the stars of the show. Ruffly petals with wiggly stems, these are great for adding a little movement and wildness to your bouquet or centerpiece. They come in a huge spectrum of colors but are all around the same size. These flowers prefer cooler temperatures, blooming from February through May.
There's nothing not sweet about sweet peas. Everything from their scent to their dainty stems and almost translucent petals is oh-so sweet. They often come in variegated colors, which somehow adds to their ethereal look and softness. We love the idea of a simple, small bouquet of sweet peas held together by a loose silk ribbon. But, you may be surprised to hear that these sweeties don't relish warm temperatures. Their season extends from December to May.
Mainly seen in classic blue or white, we're really digging the sophisticated, chic older sister of the aforementioned classics—hydrangeas that are dusty and multi-colored, known as antique hydrangeas. Not only are they hardier (the diva-ish blue and white variety will die the moment they are even the slightest bit uncomfortable), but they're also just so much more interesting. Plus, their blooming season aligns perfectly with the prime wedding months, flourishing from May through early fall.
Like many of the other flowers we've listed, tulips are so much more than the generic variety you're probably picturing in your head. There are fringed tulips (that look just like they sound), double tulips (with twice as many petals than a normal tulip, making them much fuller), Rembrandt tulips (with beautiful red streaks running down their petals), and more. All varieties bloom from December to April. Plus, they aren't budget busters, which is always a pro.
Although beautiful as house plants, orchids have long been synonymous with a kind of tackiness when used too aggressively as wedding flowers—à la so many early aughts wedding mistakes. Recently, however, there's been a resurgence of using orchids in much more interesting ways—especially in gorgeous sherbet and pastel shades and some dusty colors that are really quite stunning. Take a chance on this modern classic which is available all-year round. Their tropical origins make them a perfect fit for any beach or island nuptials.
Lily of the Valley
These darling buds have quite the regal repertoire. They were the flower of choice for both Kate Middleton's and Grace Kelly's royal wedding bouquets. With such an iconic history, it's surprising how much of a demure and inviting presence they have—making a serious case for statement-making simplicity. Available in white and pink varieties, these buds are available only in early to mid spring.
Speaking of statement simplicity, calla lilies are as luxe and dramatic as they are minimal. Think of them as the floral iteration of a chic art installation floating in the middle of a grand but empty space. These poignant blooms look incredible in mono-flower bouquets, but their long stems also lend themselves to a lot of artistic expression. While these sleek stunners may seem high maintenance, they can be sourced year-round.
A mix of Hellebore flowers can help fill out and add some texture to your floral arrangements. The five-petal Hellebore can vary in color from white, pink, purple, or green. As they are among the earliest to bloom each year, Hellebore flowers are a great option for your winter or early spring wedding.
Protea flowers have become a popular option for weddings. The large, unique, and very dramatic blooms make for attention-getting arrangements. The striking king protea is hard to miss, with its large, pincushion-like center surrounded by colorful pointed petals. With dozens of variations in a multitude of colors, it should come as no surprise to see a protea make it into one of your flower arrangements or bouquets.
Carnations have been a beloved flower dating back 2,000 years with records of them being used in Greek and Roman ceremonies. The simple yet beautiful carnation is available in a wide variety of colors and is a cost-effective option for your wedding. Whether these lush, year-round blooms take center stage in your bouquet or serve as an accent, they're guaranteed to add life to any arrangement. Carnations are also very durable so they're easy to work with and transportable.
Another breathtaking wedding flower, arguably the most popular gardenias are those with the bright white bloom and glossy evergreen leaves. Gardenias can be a bit fragile to transport and costlier than other flower options. Still, the clean look makes gardenias a beautiful selection for your summer wedding. Gardenias also have a pleasant scent, so they can be an excellent choice for boutonnieres and corsages.