3 Types of Flowers You Should Include in Your Wedding—and 3 You Should Maybe Skip

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Sure, no one’s hosting blowout weddings during a pandemic, but people are still getting married, often in a small ceremony at home or on Zoom. And in a year of changed and pivoted nuptials, one wedding detail that remains consistent for COVID-era engaged couples is that you can still incorporate flowers into your (small) big days, whether that’s using a bouquet to walk down the mini aisle in your living room or a few arrangements to zhuzh up your back patio. 

With that in mind, we asked two florists for the deets on several flower varieties. This way, you can make sure the only thing wilting on your wedding day is your guests’ makeup as they cry with happiness. 

3 types of flowers you should definitely consider for your wedding

1. Seasonal blooms

This may sound like a big duh, but it’s important to note if you’re dreaming of peonies in fall weather or zinnias during a snow. 

Delilah Dominguez, founder of Stolen Magnolia in Brooklyn (and whom you may have spotted on Netflix’s “The Big Flower Fight”), says choosing flowers based on seasonality means your florist (or you, if you’re DIYing your arrangements) can order locally sourced blooms, which is cost-effective. Plus, she says, “the less time in transit usually means a longer shelf life, ensuring your blooms will be fresh and beautiful.” Of course, what’s locally in season could depend on where you live.

During fall on the East Coast, Dominguez is drawn to texture-forward dahlias, celosia, and scabiosa, which all come in a variety of shades. When it gets cold, she says amaryllis and brunia are queen. Spring is when ranunculus and daffodils really shine, she explains, and in the summer, she loves delphinium and wildflowers, especially zinnias and marigolds, for the vibrant pops of color they add to a design. 

Jason Williquette, the Chicago-based lead wedding designer for the Midwest company Flowers for Dreams, is all about textural grasses like pampas in the fall and blooming branches like spirea and cherry blossom in the spring. He says he also makes a point to visit the local floral market for every order he works on to see what’s extra fresh at that particular moment. 

2. Roses

Williquette says that, during consultations, he often hears brides say, “I hate roses,” thinking only of the tight, red kind you find at the grocery store. 

But there’s a whole rose world out there made of complex colors, petal counts, and even varieties that people mistake for peonies, he says. “My supplier is constantly showing me new and different rose colors and textures, so don’t pooh-pooh an oldie but a goodie!” 

In Williquette’s mind, nothing is more classic and bridal than garden roses. He’s a big fan of one of these peony-like options, the Expression rose, which comes in pink, coral, and cream. 

There’s a positive price factor here, too: “Contrary to what most people think, roses are actually some of the most affordable stems for a wedding,” Williquette added.

3. Greenery

Greenery adds fun texture and dimension to wedding florals—and also helps keep costs down. 

Dominguez enjoys experimenting with lots of different types of greenery, but has two main squeezes: the deep-green, petite-leaved ruscus and the more pastel-colored and rounded eucalyptus. “I love to use ruscus for a bouquet that has much more of a vibrant color palette,” she says. “I tend to use eucalyptus when working with a color palette that has softer tones. I find that these choices complement the tone of blooms a lot nicer.” 

Meanwhile, Williquette likes the verdant vine smilax for its durability out of water. “Smilax is my favorite greenery to work with for large-scale arches, hanging installations, chuppahs, etc.,” he says. “It also comes in very long sections, so it’s perfect [for creating] organic, vining vibes.” 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3 types of wedding flowers you should think twice about

1. Wilt-prone flowers

Williquette cautions against totally discounting any flowers for your big day. “There are so many case-by-case scenarios on what, where, and how to use something,” he explains. That said, he does recommend against using wilt-prone flowers in arrangements that won’t sit in water for several hours during the event.

One major example: anemones. “One common wedding flower I tend to shy away from in bouquets is the anemone because they wilt quickly out of water, especially in the heat, and they easily freeze if carried outdoors for a winter wedding.” He’s all about using anemones in centerpieces, though!

Dominguez agrees with that word of warning on the anemone, and adds dahlia, sweet pea, astilbe, and freesia to the list of wilt-prone flowers that she frequently steers clear of in bouquets. “Without proper hydration and the right amount of heat, these are the first to wilt,” she says. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these beautiful flowers; I’m saying you should use them with caution. And a good florist will plan ahead and have extra blooms, so in the event that they wilt, the flowers can be replaced.” Dominguez will also prep an extra vase of water to put the bouquet in during downtime.

2. Florals that stain

A growing trend that Williquette has observed is the rise of dyed florals. “There are tons of really cool carnations, lisianthus, orchids, and even foliages that are being dyed to create unique, modern twists on old classics like the humble carnation,” he says. 

Williquette isn’t against incorporating these types of florals into your wedding day, but he does offer a word of warning if you’re considering putting them in your bouquet: “The dye often does bleed out in water, and if used in a bouquet, the dye could potentially stain,” he says. “I always stick to natural floral in any of my bouquet works just for this reason.” 

Dominguez similarly tries to avoid lilies—the flowers’ stamens can carry brown or orange pollen that can stain clothing. “If my client requests lilies, I will force [the flowers] to open by placing the stems in a vase of warm water,” she says, adding that she’ll remove the stamens once the flowers have opened. 

3. Extra-fragrant flowers

A very strong scent is another reason that Dominguez isn’t big on using lilies in wedding florals. And the same goes for tuberoses, according to Williquette. 

“It’s never good to have super fragrant florals for a centerpiece,” he says. “If it’s a sentimental flower for you, though, consider featuring it in your bridal bouquet or another key focal piece that your guests may not interact with as much.” 

Because the thing is, a room full of odorous flowers—even when those smells are generally pleasant—can be overwhelming for guests and distract from the rest of the wedding design.

The Apartment Therapy Weddings vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Crate & Barrel.