Alstroemeria (Also Known as Peruvian Lily)
These flowers have small, bright blooms that grow in clusters and often have freckled petals. They're best used as a backdrop to primary flowers but make a lovely and cost-effective bouquet. The size and structure of this bloom are ideal for a boutonniere, and the subtle patterns on the petals are enough to be noticed but still fly under the radar.
Colors: white, yellow, orange, pink, red, lavender, purple, flecked
This flower is perfect for fleshing out a classic wedding bouquet or arrangement. It has clusters of small, star-shaped blossoms bursting from a leafy green stem and is very delicate. If you like bouvardia, supplement with some stephanotis blooms as well. They share a similar structure, but vary just enough to catch your eye.
Colors: white, peach, pink, red
Also known as the arum lily, this trumpet-shaped blossom originated in Africa and symbolized "magnificent beauty" to the Victorians. Two types are commonly available: one with a large head and a long, smooth stem, suitable for tall arrangements or presentation bouquets; and a miniature version ideal for nosegays and boutonnieres. Calla lilys have a sturdy, strong stem. Consider using them to add height and additional structure to tall centerpieces.
Colors: ivory, yellow, orange, light pink, dark pink, red, dark burgundy
Meaning: ardor, magnificent beauty, feminine, modesty
A favorite of perfumers for its fresh, fruity scent, freesia packs a lot of fragrance in just a few blossoms. A couple of stems are all it takes to make a sweet-smelling bouquet. The green buds clustered along the thin, arched stem open gradually into delicate flowers. Freesia's lengthy stock of blooms is the perfect structure to add a little height to a petite bouquet.
Colors: most colors are available, except for blue
Scent: very sweet, almost fruity
Don't turn up your nose at the common carnation—this long-lasting flower is full of possibilities for weddings. The ruffled-heads look offers an inexpensive way to bring lushness and color to bouquets and arrangements. When massed, they also make a pretty bouquet of their own.
Carnations have a long history; they were reportedly used to make ceremonial crowns in ancient Greece, and they were on hand at the wedding of Maximilian of Austria, the emperor of Mexico (1864–67), symbolizing marital bliss. Today, more than 300 species (in large, single blooms and miniature spray varieties) are available. Flower walls and stand-out arrangements call for hardy and long-lasting blooms, which are two things carnations are known for.
Colors: white, yellow, apricot, pale pink, dark pink, red, burgundy, also bicolors and flecked
Scent: spicy, clove-like
Meaning: admiration, fascination, strong and pure love, unfading beauty
About a thousand varieties of long-lasting, versatile mums can be found in single blossoms or sprays. The mum has been cultivated in the Far East for more than 2,500 years, even making appearances in the writings of Confucius. What it lacks in sweet perfume, it makes up for in a range of bold colors. When arranged en masse, small flowers have a striking effect. Decorate your aisle with pomanders of button chrysanthemums to give your guests some eye candy as they shuffle into their ceremony seats.
Colors: white, yellow, green, orange, russet, red, burgundy
Scent: strong, musky
Meaning: cheerfulness, optimism, long life, joy
Surrounded by waxy, dark green leaves, the exquisite gardenia exudes a heavy and sultry scent. It's intoxicating fragrance once captivated an English sea captain traveling through South Africa in 1754, prompting him to bring home one of the native plants as a souvenir. But the delicate, creamy ivory petals of this expensive flower can bruise easily, so handle with care. Fragrant gardenias have many uses—carry a few as a posy, wear one as a corsage, or float a few in a low bowl for a minimalist centerpiece. Large three-to four-inch blossoms, as well as a miniature variety, are available. Looking for an elegant bloom to accessorize your bridal updo? A couple gardenias paired together look bridal and beautiful.
Scent: very fragrant perfume
Meaning: transport of joy, ecstasy, I love you in secret, purity, peace
This graphic flower is so flawless in its form that it almost doesn't look real. Grown in the hottest climates of Asia and Africa, the gerbera is a year-round gem that comes in a crayon-box array of colors—nearly 350 intense shades are available, including bright orange, pink, red, yellow and burgundy. Decorate your cake with a few fresh daisies to give it some springtime vibes.
Colors: white, yellow, orange, pale pink, dark pink, red
Meaning: needing protection, friendship
While technically not of the lily family (it grows on a climbing vine, not from a bulb), this flower's refluxed petals and stamens bear a resemblance to those of actual lilies. Generally pinkish red and tipped with yellow, the gloriosa, or Rothschild lily, adds a tropical punch to bouquets and arrangements. The interesting shape of these flowers make for a totally unique boutionere.
Colors: red with yellow edges
With its big, bushy head and intense colors, a stem or two of this moderately priced, scentless shrub flower helps fill out arrangements and bouquets. Hydrangea is most popular in shades of bubble-gum pink, white and sky blue. Hydrangea's large floral head makes it the perfect bloom to span garlands the length of a table runner, cover big arches or cascade down tiers of a grand cake.
Colors: white, green, pink, burgundy, purple, blue
Meaning: devotion, remembrance, boastfulness
Ornithogalum (Also Know as Chincherinchee and Star of Bethlehem)
his flower is known particularly for its ability to open in the morning and close in the evening. Add it to your bouquet or let it fill in your centerpieces. Once cut, this flower can last a couple weeks in an arrangement, making it perfect for your outdoor summer wedding.
Colors: white, ivory, yellow, orange
Scent: slight to none
Is it any wonder that roses rank as the most beloved of wedding flowers? Long considered a symbol of beauty and love, the rose has captivated commoners and royalty alike. Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Nero required rose petals to be strewn at his feet and wore wreaths of roses at his many weddings; and that Cleopatra seduced both Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony with the flower.
Their accessibility means that roses can be surprisingly affordable. However, the price of roses goes up around key flower-giving holidays such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day—so if your wedding date is near one of these holidays, you may want to rethink your flower choice. Three main types of roses are likely candidates for your wedding flowers: hybrid tea roses, spray roses and garden roses. For a ballroom or estate wedding, chose one variety of rose to create a couple big focal points, like a flower fall, bloom-filled fountain or rose-covered candelabras.
Colors: white, cream, yellow, apricot, orange, pale pink, dark pink, red, burgundy, lavender
Scent: none to intense, depending on the variety
Meaning: several meanings depending on color, general, love, beauty, grace, joy, unity
Shaped like a plume, the tapered spike of veronica pokes out from the tops of arrangements and bouquets for a wild, garden-inspired look. Its white, pink or blue color meshes with its greenery to provide a lush complement to more prominent flowers. Using flowers and greenery of the same size and shape help to create a uniformed look; pair this tall and slender stem with stems of eucalyptus or bells of Ireland.
Colors: white, pink, purple, magenta, burgundy
Standing tall and proud, the gladiolus has a spiky stem with large florets that open in succession; miniature varieties with fewer florets are also available. Full stems can be used to add height to arrangements, while the individual florets make lovely boutonnieres. The flower's name is derived from the Latin word for sword, gladius, after the shape of its leaves. To create a grand, glamorous effect, style gladiolus stems with tall curly willow branches.
Colors: white, yellow, green, apricot, orange, pale pink, dark pink, red, lavender, purple
Meaning: generosity, strength of character, you pierce my heart
The name stephanotis means "marital happiness," making the flower an obvious choice for weddings. The star-shaped, waxy florets grow on a flowering vine; each must be individually wired or placed onto a special holder before it can be used in a bouquet or boutonniere. Looking for a traditional bridal bouquet? White roses and stephanotis create a perfectly round, structured arrangement.
Scent: slight to none
Meaning: "Will you accompany me?"
This unusually shaped flower has been admired by many throughout history. Ancient Greeks associated it with their gods, and ancient Egyptians linked it to their pharaohs; to the medieval Europeans, it signified chivalry and served as a model for the French fleur-de-lis symbol. Painters like Monet and Van Gogh were captivated by its appearance too. Myth and majesty aside, the three most common varieties are the Dutch iris, the graceful Siberian iris, and the large "bearded" iris, all grown in numerous shades of white, yellow and purple. We love the edgier vibe from the stark contrast of deep purple and bright yellow. Incorporate it into your dessert display for an attention-grabbing presentation.
Colors: white, yellow, purple
Scent: none to sweet depending on variety
Meaning: message, eloquence, my compliments, promise
This cupped flower somewhat resembles a rose or ranunculus that's missing a few petals. Lisianthus boasts multiple blossoms and buds on a single stem and has a slight peppery scent. Its wide range of colors make it an excellent choice as a secondary flower for bouquets and arrangements. If you like roses, you'll love lisianthus. Their rose petal-like structure and size is identical, but their open centers show off a little bit more color with the yellow and green pollen.
Colors: white, cream, pale green, peach, pink, lavender, purple
Sexy and exquisitely gorgeous, the orchid is a star at any wedding. Thousands of species are cultivated worldwide, which means there is an orchid for every type of bride. A full spray of orchids can be used in bouquets and arrangements, or a simple blossom can be plucked to make an exotic boutonniere.
The main types of orchids commonly used at weddings: cymbidium (usually green; popular, yet expensive; durable yet perishable in cold temperatures); dendrobium (sweetly scented; used in classic Hawaiian leis); oncidium (often referred to as "spray orchids"; they come on slender long branches); vandas (summer-blooming; comes in a rare, yet stunning bluish purple); and phalaenopsis (popular and widely used; usually comes in white and purple). Because of their long stems and multiple blooms, orchids are an excellent flower for creating cascading arrangements.
Colors: white, yellow, green, apricot, orange, pale pink, dark pink, red, burgundy
Scent: some varieties are fragrant
Meaning: luxury, nobility, lust
Rising from a tall stem, stock has dense clusters of small single- and double- blossomed flowers. Stock first became known outside of the Mediterranean region toward the end of the Middle Ages. Stock is valued for its use as a complementary flower and its fragrant, spicy clovelike scent. These sturdy stems are ideal for tall, slender centerpieces. For a rustic look, line a tall clear hurricane vase with stones, then style white stock flowers with branches.
Colors: white, yellow, apricot, pale pink, dark pink, purple
Scent: strong, spicy clove scent
Meaning: promptness, lasting beauty
Lily of the Valley
Their fresh, perfume-like scent is unmistakable, and it's hard to believe such a delicious fragrance can come from such tiny flowers. With its bell-shaped florets dangling from a thin stem, the lily of the valley is sometimes called "the ladder to heaven." In Norse mythology, the flower is linked to Ostara, the goddess of springtime, and while most plentiful during this season, it remains available—and expensive—year-round. Though most people only know of the white lily of the valley, a very rare rosy pink variety exists too. Royals (like Kate Middleton) have been known to walk down the aisle with a sweet and simple bouquet of lily of the valley. Follow suite with tradition, or add a few of your favorite stems into the mix.
Colors: white, pale pink (rare)
Scent: very fragrant perfume
Meaning: return to happiness, delicacy