Petal Power

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The types and combinations of popular wedding flowers come and go, but one trend with staying power is the bridal bouquet. We asked local wedding florists for the inside scoop on today’s trends, inexpensive alternatives, timeless wedding flowers and the latest ways couples are letting nature beautify their nuptials. 

Latest and Greatest

The pretty peony still reigns among many Lowcountry brides, along with hydrangeas and white panda anemones, said Angela Mandigo of Gardenias Event Floral: “Other added textures of gray brunia berries, Lysimachia and astilbe are also favorites; they give a more distinct shape and flow to bridal bouquets.” 

Kelly Corn of Flowers By Sue is seeing more “edgy” flowers like protea, scabiosa pods and different kinds of orchids, like anthurium. “It looks a little bit like a peace lily; it has a tropical vibe,” Corn said. “We’re seeing brides wanting more unique things than your classic flowers.” 

Many brides are also opting for more greenery, including a variety of eucalyptus and dark greenery “with a tropical twist of palm fronds, monstera leaves and succulents,” Mandigo said. And for that Lowcountry look, couples often add pampas plumes to bouquets and centerpieces. 

Timeless Options

Tried-and-true blooms include White Mondial roses, majolica spray roses, baby’s breath and disbuds — an alternative to beautiful-but-pricey dahlias, Mandigo says. 

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Corn says she’s starting to see a once-ubiquitous bouquet element make a reappearance. “This year, two brides are asking for massive baby’s breath balls,” says Corn, who remembers a surge in baby’s breath orders several years ago after a “Sex and the City” character used it in her wedding. 

Another bloom that has staying power in popularity, but not so much in bouquets, is the hydrangea. “A lot of brides really like hydrangea here in the South. It works great in centerpieces, but unless you’re going to keep putting your bouquet back in water, in the hot months it definitely will shrivel up within a couple hours,” Corn says. “It’s very popular in the South, but not a great bouquet flower.” 

Peony Partners

Peonies are the No. 1 wedding flower year-round. The problem is their season is limited to June. Corn said that greenhouses set up in Alaska are now producing peonies throughout the year, though they are not as big, full and fluffy as what brides see in magazines. 

But if you want big peony-like blooms, take heart. 

“Since peonies grew in popularity over the past 10 years, they’ve now created some beautiful breeds of garden roses that open up bigger and fuller, with more and more scale of colors,” Corn said. “They’re definitely different than a standard rose.” 

Another beautiful peony stand-in is a creamy white football mum, Mandigo said, which is also a more cost-effective alternative. 

Other Trends

petalflower3Bouquets are shrinking compared to their super sizes last year, the florists say.

“Brides are commenting that their friends had these huge bouquets, and one could not see the bride and her dress,” Mandigo said. “They’re opting for the smaller, elegant garden look, still with loose greenery but more tucked and collared with the floral of choice.” Flowers are showing up in other places too, including greenery accents and candles used as aisle markers — and which can then be repurposed as decorative elements at the reception — draped greenery accents with fairy lighting, and more fresh flowers gracing cakes. 

One more interesting and elegant change Mandigo has noticed: “Pin-on and wrist corsages for the mothers are changing to a single stem of floral and greenery with a simple ribbon.”