FLOWERS FOR A WINTER WEDDING
By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
Lisa Halvorsen, Garden Editor
While it's true that most weddings take place in spring and summer, many couples choose a winter date for the "big event."
According to the Society of American Florists, 13 percent of weddings take place in the winter, with 11 percent of those being Christmas weddings. Summer weddings account for 35 percent, spring weddings 29 percent, and autumn weddings 23 percent.
But even though fewer weddings take place in the colder months, that doesn't mean the winter bride is faced with a limited selection of flowers for her bouquet, the wedding party's flowers, and floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception. Traditional wedding flowers, including roses, lilies, orchids, and daisies, are available year-round, as are many exotic ones. However, the cost usually is higher for out-of-season or unusual flowers.
When planning a winter wedding, as for a wedding in any season, personal preference--and budget--will play a large part in what you chose for flowers. Some brides pick their favorites or follow the long-standing tradition of an all-white bouquet, symbolizing purity.
Others base their choices on what's available locally, what complements their color scheme or bridesmaids' dresses, or on what each flower means. Gardenias symbolize joy, daisies innocence, and roses represent love and happiness, for example. Red tulips say "I love you" while white ones signify "I am worthy of you."
The colors of the season also come into play in decisions about flowers. Christmas brides often choose red or burgundy as one of their colors, using red roses, carnations, calla lilies, and other red flowers in their bouquets with accents of silver, white, and green, other colors traditionally associated with this holiday.
Poinsettias, amaryllis, and evergreens are popular choices for decorations while holly branches and other plants with red berries are ideal for use in floral arrangements. For a seasonal touch, iridescent or frosted glass balls, snowflake ornaments, and glittery ribbons can be added.
If you choose red or green for the attire of your attendants, bring along a sample of the fabric when you meet with your florist to select your flowers. The "wrong" shade of green foliage or red blossom can clash with a gown of a different shade of the same color. For emerald green, for instance, you'll want to pick a true red rather than a maroon or burgundy for the bouquets. Limit the amount of green foliage although a variegated leaf might work well.
White is a popular winter color with flower choices including roses, tulips, freesias, hellebores, and mums, among others. But again, it's important to pick the right white varieties to go with your gown. White flowers come in varying shades from pure white to ivory and even a faint pinkish white. In addition, choosing the right foliage will help the bouquet stand out against the dress.
White can be used as an accent color for a bouquet of darker colored flowers or for floral arrangements and accessories to lighten up a room, especially one lit with candles for a romantic evening wedding. If your gown is beaded, incorporate tiny strings of white beads or pearls into your bouquet and table centerpieces. Frosted glass balls, mirrors, and acrylic icicles can be used as stand-alone decorations or incorporated into arrangements to complement a lacy gown.
Blues and purples, especially in combination with shimmery white, metallic silver, and glittery gold accessories, also create an illusion of winter and are popular with brides seeking a more contemporary look for their winter wedding. For flowers consider iris, freesia, statice, and heather. Or use blue or purple as an accent color, such as for iridescent ribbon on a bouquet or church pew; glass vases or bowls to hold arrangements of sparkly glass balls and greenery; or candles on mirrored surfaces.
These are just a few suggestions for flowers for a winter wedding. For other ideas, browse through bridal and decorating magazines, or ask your local florist what he or she would recommend to help you realize your dream of a perfect wedding day.