Flowers. table arrangements and decor styles

Wedding Day Advice | Wedding Flowers

Flowers, Table Arrangements and Decor Styles

Traditionally, wedding flowers convey symbolic or poetic meaning, and as such are an integral part of the wedding experience. Flowers first became part of the wedding celebration in Ancient Rome, where brides carried herbs to ensure fertility and to ward off evil spirits. In Ancient Greece, brides carried ivy to signify enduring love and wore crowns woven from flowers. Small herbal nosegays were placed at the tables of the guests to bring them good luck, health and happiness.

Photo courtesy Green Wedding Shoes, Photographer Stephanie Williams

More than simply a throwaway wedding day accessory or minor detail, flowers are deserving of careful consideration. Often, it is the flower arrangements which catch the guests’ attention. But making the right choice can be challenging and your final decisions relating to flowers, table arrangements and décor styles will be influenced by:

Your Budget

Wedding flowers can cost a small fortune. The cost is determined by the type of flower (red and white roses, for example, are very pricey while chrysanthemums and carnations are less so), the size of the arrangements and the level of detail.

Your Personal Tastes

Do you feel strongly about certain flowers? You might love sunflowers and loathe roses. Try to work with what you like.

The Theme

What is the concept of your wedding and what colour scheme will you be using?

The Venue

Is the setting formal or informal, classical or contemporary? Is the ceremony or reception indoors or outdoors? While traditional rose arrangements might work in a country club setting, tropical flowers like hibiscus will fit better with a beach wedding. Country bunches are perfect for an outdoor Provençal-styled wedding and orchids or lilies for a reception held in a trendy urban space.

The Season

Is your wedding to be in spring, summer, autumn or winter? Using flowers which are in season is far more cost-effective. Roses, lilies, camellias, amaryllis and jasmine are good winter choices. Summer offers a wide variety of different flowers including sunflowers, gerbera daisies, orchards, poppies, peonies, snapdragons and lavender.

The Time of Day

Will yours be a morning, afternoon or evening wedding. Bear in mind that certain flowers close towards the afternoon and in the evening.


Fashions come and go, and this is true of décor trends, too.

Remember, you will need to select wedding flowers for the:

  • Church
  • Bride
  • Bridal party
  • Groom’s party
  • Reception venue

Five style and décor trends that are making waves at weddings right now:

  1. Retro Wedding Décor – Daring colours, bold, bright and fresh, dominate this look. Think hot pink, lime green, bright oranges, red and turquoise. Centrepieces include high-gloss ceramic vases and bright table-runners. Soda bottles and candy arranged on ceramic platters complete the retro look. Flowers of choice are gerbera daisies, hydrangeas and chrysanthemums.
  2. The Natural Look – with an organic and tailored feel, it references the rambling countryside…unfussy hand-tied bouquets, simple centerpieces with a looser style, incorporating fabrics and ribbons and wildflowers set in pitchers. Flowers of choice include daisies, chrysanthemums, lavender, bellflowers, poppies and forget-me-knots. Add proteas for a South African twist.
  3. Vintage Nouveau – bring back the romance of a bygone era by creating a nostalgic, welcoming feel with soft pastels – try lilac, pinks and creams – and vintage décor items, like neo-classical vases, intricately engraved antique-look silver candelabras and cascading table arrangements and bouquets. Flowers of choice for the Vintage look are roses, sweetpeas and stephanotis.
  4. Art Deco – could there be anything more glamourous and sophisticated than Old Hollywood in its heyday? To recreate this 1920s and 1930s look and feel, choose a simple black and white colour scheme. The look is clean and uncluttered – incorporate classic art deco elements like mirrors, chevron images, tiny fringed lampshades and tall centerpieces. Flowers of choice for the Black and White look are black dahlias, black ‘Queen of the Night’ tulips, black Irises and any white flowers – gladiolus, carnations, gardenia, stephanotis, Calla lilies, apple blossom, magnolia, narcissus, aster, white lilies and anemones. And don’t forget to add these quintessential Art Deco elements to your floral arrangements – palm fronds and black and white ostrich feathers.
  5. More Than Just Flowers – some say using flowers for your wedding décor is passé! If you’re keen to strike out in a less traditional direction, minimize the flowers – or lose them altogether – and instead incorporate elements like dried grasses, fruits and vegetables, berries, herbs, twigs, bark, wood and pebbles into your table arrangements. Add texture and interest with some greenery and ribbons.

Top Ten Traditional Wedding Flowers

  • Red roses – still the most popular wedding flower, the red rose is symbolic of love, desire, respect and bravery.
  • Yellow roses – are associated with friendship, forgiveness, happiness and joy
  • White roses – convey purity and innocence
  • Pink roses – symbolize tenderness, love and happiness
  • Tulips – indicative of elegance, beauty and love.
  • Cream tulips – a statement of undying, perfect love
  • Red tulips – a declaration of true love.
  • Sweet peas – signify lasting pleasure
  • Gardenia – with their heavy scent, they’re good for corsages and centerpieces.
  • Stephanotis – dainty white flowers, perfect for bridal bouquets.

After the wedding…

Consider donating your flowers to a local hospital or retirement home and let others share in enjoying their beauty.

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