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When it comes to choosing flowers, brides often think about the wedding theme, season and colors (and of course, the bouquet inspiration they’ve been gathering on Pinterest). But did you know you can also pick flowers based on their meanings?

From “floriography”–the communication of language and meaning through flowers–to floral astrology based on birth months, similar to birthstones (for example, June’s ‘birth flower’ is the rose), the symbolism of different blooms is rooted in history and still followed today.

Consider the background of floriography: In 19th century England, specific floral arrangements were used to send coded messages. A sender would pick symbolic flowers to express feelings to the recipient, which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. Sounds romantic, right? Following tradition, the flowers used in Duchess Kate’s wedding bouquet were each chosen based on their meanings related to happiness, love and friendship.

Even legendary designer and wedding guru Vera Wang says that the symbolism of flowers can create a very personal and meaningful experience for a bride; she listed the meanings of some well-known and popular flowers in her book, Vera Wang on Weddings:

Anemone: expectation; Baby’s breath: innocence, pure heart; Blue violet: faithfulness; Calla lily: beauty;
Camellia: gratitude; Daffodil: joy; Daisy: gentleness; Freesia: innocence; Gardenia: purity;
Heather: future fortune; Heliotrope: devotion, faithfulness; Iris: warmth of affection;
Lily: majesty; Lily of the valley: happiness; Orange blossom: purity, virginity; Orchid: rare beauty;
Rose (red): love; Rose (yellow); friendship; Rose (coral): desire; Rose (peach): modesty;
Rose (dark pink): thankfulness; Rose (pale pink): grace; Rose (orange): fascination;
Rose (white): innocence; Tulip: passion, love; Violet: modesty, faithfulness; Zinnia: affection

So what story will you tell with your wedding day bouquet? Tell us your ideas!

Using flowers in wedding celebrations is a tradition that (ahem!) stems back thousands of years. Today, couples spend 8 to 10 percent of their total wedding budget on flowers, according to The Knot, and many of them book a professional florist as one of the early steps in wedding planning.

But beyond the traditional bouquets and table decor, what are some new ways to incorporate these natural beauties into a ceremony and reception? See our list below—and for more ideas, check out our Flower Power Pinterest board!

1) For the bride: Start with a wedding dress adorned in floral lace appliqué, like this one from Heidi Elnora.

Heidi Elnora ‘Rubie Joe’ Wedding Gown

2) For the groom: For a trendy gentleman, try a tie with a simple daisy print or a garden-inspired pattern that matches the bridesmaids’ dresses. 

Robert Stewart Bow Tie

3) For the girls: Wrist corsages for the ‘maids and moms are a fun, retro alternative to bouquets. Or do both! There’s really no such thing as too many flowers.

image via Green Wedding Shoes

4) For the décor: A monogram made of big blooms is a Southern-inspired touch we love. It also makes a great prop for photos!

image via Wedding Chicks

5) For the drinks: Pretty edible flowers dress up a mixed drink. Use daisies, nasturtiums or violas for a pop of color.

image via Design Sponge

6) For the dessert: More edible beauty on this cake that’s covered in pansies. (Plus, it’s an easy DIY!)

image via Brit + Co.

7) For the gifts: Centerpieces that double as favors are win-win. Encourage guests to take home mini-bouquets at the end of the night.

image via 100 Layer Cake

8) For the pup: Doesn’t your furry friend deserve to dress up too? Try a floral wreath—even if it’s only on long enough for pictures!

image via The Knot

August 15, 2013

Coral Wedding Inspiration

It’s safe to say that coral has been one of THE colors in weddings this year, and while it may not be brand-new, we’re still loving it! Inspired by shades found in nature, a coral palette works best in spring, summer or fall, with the shade tweaked slightly depending on the season.

As we head into the end of summer (say it isn’t so!), we’re loving coral in the new Jenny Yoo styles for bridesmaid dresses (in ‘Paprika’), as well as in chunky, bold jewelry and in accessories mixed with gold. Oh, and don’t forget the fresh peaches as décor—and dessert!

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ML Monique Lhuillier Lace Dress | Devan ‘Flower’ Statement Necklace | Geox ‘New Egizia’ Slingback | floral headpiece via Green Wedding Shoes | boutonniere via Lily and Iris | wedding party via Style Me Pretty | Jenny Yoo ‘Lulu’ Dress | Jenny Yoo ‘Hudson’ Dress | popsicle cocktails via Rue Magazine | Glint Ruffle Minaudiere | kate spade new york ‘vanity’ sandal | Kendra Scott ‘Elle’ Small Earrings | Amsale Strapless Crinkle Chiffon Gown | peach cake via Kiss the Groom

Blooms for the boys: a do or a don’t? And where did that idea come from anyway?

The tradition of using flowers in bouquets, corsages and boutonnières originated in the Greek times, when fragrant flowers and herbs were thought to ward off evil spirits. Today, boutonnières are less of a good-luck charm and more of a fashion statement—but they’re still very popular in weddings.

Whether a boutonnière is worn by the groom only, or by fathers, grandfathers and groomsmen too, it can be a nice accent to a suit jacket and a way to tie in the colors or flowers in the bouquets. Plus, with all of the unique and modern ideas for materials, they can be a great way to show personal style!

However, bouts are not a necessity, and it doesn’t mean the wedding is less formal without; it’s definitely up to the style of the couple!

If you’re in the camp of “the more flowers the better,” or if you think that guys just don’t look fully dressed until they have flowers on their lapels, then we have some great boutonnière ideas here for you!

Succulents and twine, with Grandpa’s war medal, via Green Wedding Shoes

Colored succulents and small pink peonies, via Style Me Pretty

Natural green pine, succulent leaves and seeds, via Style Me Pretty

Cotton balls, wheat and dried flowers, via Style Me Pretty

Pink and dark red with lots of greenery, via 100 Layer Cake

Shades of yellow and green in all different materials, via Marin Kristine

Want to know how to make  your own boutonnières? (You know our Brideology blogger and DIY-er does!) Here are a few simple tips to follow:

1) Prepare all the stems by cleaning, taking off extra leaves and cutting them into 3-inch pieces.

2) Start by laying down the greenery or accent materials in a slight fan shape. Then layer on the main flowers to overlap slightly below the greenery.

3) Use floral tape to wrap the stems together, starting at the top and working toward the bottom of the stems. Add more flowers and wrap again as needed.

4) Depending on the type of flowers and the sturdiness of the stems, you may want to add wire to make it stronger. If so, lay the wire vertically, along the stems, and then fold over at the top, so that it’s hidden among the blooms.

5) Wrap a ribbon or thread around the tape to cover it and secure it with a small dot of hot glue on the back. Then add a large pin that will be used to pin on lapel.

We’re curious: do you (or did you?) plan to use boutonnières? If so, what style?

July 30, 2013

Yellow Wedding Ideas

Sunny yellow is one of the most “smiley” colors there is: you can’t help but feel happy looking at all these bright and fresh images!

Have you ever noticed how great yellow and white look together? This must be why it’s such a popular accent color for weddings. Just look at that cake (yum!) or the yellow roses against a white wedding dress—so clean and crisp.

In bridesmaid dresses, solid yellow is pretty in a lace shift like this Jenny Yoo dress, satin strapless like this Alfred Sung dress or a mixed-media fit-and-flare like this Ted Baker London frock.

For jewelry, shoes and accessories, play with yellow in geometric or floral patterns to mix it up!

And don’t forget the flowers: roses, daisies, sunflowers, peonies, ranunculi and lilies are some of our favorite yellow-hued buds.

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flower headband image via The Cherry Blossom Girl | kate spade new york earrings | kate spade new york thin bangle | Ted Baker London Mixed Media Dress | cake image via OneWed | Alfred Sung bridesmaid dress in Mango, order through Wedding Suites | Rafé New York ‘Dawn’ Minaudiere | Charles David ‘Sway’ Pump | yellow & peach bouquet via Apropos Creations | Jenny Yoo ‘Harlow’ Lace Dress | kate spade new york ‘ila’ sandal | bride with roses image via Snippet & Ink | boutonnieres image via Snippet & Ink | Wedding Paper Divas ‘Flourish Title’ Invite

Oh, lovely lavender! One of the prettiest and freshest smells, colors and of course, wedding ideas. From the palette to the flower, there are many ways to tie in lavender to your wedding theme.

In decor, use fresh or dried lavender to decorate the cake, dress up a menu or place card, or shower the bride and groom as they exit. It’s also perfect for a simple boutonniere or added to a bouquet. (We also just heard of a wedding where each guest took a sprig of lavender and placed it in a circle for the bride and groom to stand within during the ceremony–a symbol of their support. Sweet idea, isn’t it?)

For attire and accessories, think lavender-hued shoes in patent leather or satin, long or short bridesmaid dresses and mixed-shade jewelry. Lavender can also be used like a neutral, mixed with silver, gold or even pops of brighter colors.

bouquet image via Every Last Detail | lavender image via Style Me Pretty | Alexis Bittar Lucite Bracelets | Donna Morgan ‘Morgan’ Dress | Donna Morgan Ruched One-Shoulder Gown | Alexis Bittar Elements – Floral Earrings | floral image via Weddbook | L. Erickson Silk Sash | Charles David ‘Karis’ Sandal | David Tutera Joy Sandal | boutonniere image via Style Me Pretty | headpiece image via Style Me Pretty | Dalia McPhee Cocktail Dress | bouquet image via Burnett’s Boards | Ann Klein ‘Loretto’ Bracelet

Did you know? Lavender blooms in the early summer. The darker the flower, the more intense the smell! It’s best to gather blossoms as soon as they open, or cut the whole stem to dry and use later.

April 19, 2013

Brideology: Flower Power

Call me crazy, but I decided I’m going to do all my wedding flowers on my own. Stressful? Maybe. Fun? Yes, I think so!

At one point, I considered using a professional florist or getting premade bouquets from a farmer’s market, but I’ve also been trying to find ways to cut costs. After a little research, it was clear that buying fresh-cut flowers in bulk is much cheaper, and arranging bouquets can be pretty simple.

A local flower guide snapped from a Seattle magazine inspired me to make my own arrangements.

I don’t have specific color preferences; I want all kinds of bright, summery flowers, like dahlias, anemones, gladiolas and zinnias. I found out that there’s a farm right next to our wedding venue that sells bulk blooms all summer, so I’m working with them on what will be available at the time of our wedding.

Pretty dahlias in bulk from a local farm, via Pacific Horticulture.

Then I thought, if I’m going DIY, I might as well REALLY go for it and grow some flowers myself! So I bought a few bags of bulbs at Costco and planted them last weekend in containers on our deck. Hopefully, they’ll add some color to our house, and then we can harvest in time for the wedding. (P.S. If you go to Costco, I dare you to not spend an hour looking at all the pretty color combos and flower choices! I had to be dragged away.)

Nothing says SPRING like planting flowers in the sun!

There are great resources online for how to create bouquets and other decorative arrangements. My favorite is the Cali-based duo Wedding Chicks. The whole wedding site is gorgeous and addictive! In one section, they share “Bouquet Recipes,” with beautiful images, names of every flower used (so helpful!), and easy-to-follow instructions.

Amy, one of the chicks, said, “We decided to create Bouquet Recipes as a segment to help brides identify the flowers that they love. It’s also meant to inspire brides for their own bouquets, whether they hire a professional or choose DIY.” She also made a great point to me about DIY: “We would suggest testing your skills a few times before the big day to make sure you can achieve the desired result and look!”

Peach bouquet via Wedding Chicks with amaryllises, peonies and much more.

Fortunately, I won’t truly be doing it on my own. I’ll be recruiting my mom, mother-in-law, sister and bridesmaids to help. I actually can’t think of anything more fun than sitting in the sun with my girls, sipping sangria and arranging bouquets!


In her fifth Brideology post, Cara ponders a floral headpiece for her big day.

There is one accessory I know I want to be part of my wedding-day style–a floral wreath for a headpiece. I’m probably getting a-“head” of myself here (pun intended, of course). I don’t have a dress yet, but I just love the earthy, feminine look of a floral crown. Plus, my mom wore one, and it would be really nice to give that nod to my parents’ wedding. Hers mixed pink and white flowers and had ribbons down the back. She still has it today!

The boho bride in me has always loved this idea, but since seeing current versions on the runway at Claire Pettibone and on Kate Moss’s bevy of flower girls last year, I’m now obsessed.

Here are some of my favorite fresh flower looks:

These big blooms: WOW. “Statement headpieces” are just like a statement earring or necklace–they work well on their own to dress up an outfit.

Orange & Red | Green & White | Green & Purple

These daintier versions are lovely too, and could be paired with more jewelry or a busier dress without looking over-accessorized.

Multicolored | All White | Lavender & Blue

Keeping the overall wedding color palette in mind is important when picking out flowers for headpieces. I love matching the crown to the bouquets–either exactly the same flowers and colors or just similar elements. These images kind of make me giddy, they’re so beautiful.

Matching the bouquet to the crown makes your look instantly photo-shoot-ready!

Green & RedOrange & Green | Lavender & White

A traditional veil is also very special, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on my only chance to wear one! So now I’m thinking flower crown AND veil, like the images below. With a very light, simple veil and a crown that has some white or light colors, it totally works. I would probably wear it just for the ceremony.

Three options here: veil in the back, under or over the crown. It works every way!

Behind crown | Under crown | Over crown

One thing I worry about is that the flowers may not stay intact for the whole night, especially through the dancing! I also like headbands that are floral-inspired, or even a sash tied around as a headband. I would probably wear it more forward on my head. I tried it out a few ways below:

Anyone have experience with a floral crown? Or did you go with a headband? How did you wear it?

Until next time!
Cara