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Archive for Sunday, February 20, 2005

Inspiring Bouquets

February 20, 2005

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We have come a long way from the days when brides carried bouquets to ward off evil spirits. (Yes, that's how it started.) Though the style of wedding flowers has blossomed throughout history, one thing has remained the same: Flowers mean something beyond what the eye can see.

Here are four great and easy ways to draw inspiration for your wedding bouquet. Here's how to make the most of your flowers.

  • Work within your palette: Choosing colorful flowers that match your wedding palette is an obvious way to personalize your bouquet. But just because you have picked a pretty celadon-and-purple combo for your wedding, that doesn't mean your flowers need to scream eggplant!

We love going with monochromatic blooms and bringing in color in the shape -- and shade -- of unusual additions, such as dark, rich berries, brilliant green succulents or even jewel-tone grapes.

Other examples: Do as the Romans did in times of celebration. Add stalks of herbs to your bouquet, such as sweet-scented, pale purple lavender. Or take a bundle of typical white wedding blooms, like stephanotis or calla lilies, and tie the bouquet with a celadon-green wrap secured with a purple snap or button.

You might even string purple- and green-accented paper cranes (symbolizing good luck) from your bouquet. Colorful adornments -- from ribbons and fabric to beads and baubles -- will make any mundane bouquet meaningful.

  • Learn the history of flowers: Many floral traditions are rooted in the Victorian era, when writers developed a "language of flowers" where every flower had a symbolic meaning. Armed with this new edict, men began courting ladies not with love letters or serenades but with bouquets, and -- voila! -- the nature of flowers as something so very romantic was born.

An example? Ladies receiving tulips knew suitors were expressing the first signs of passion. Learn the meanings of these popular wedding flowers and incorporate a little bit of history into your wedding day:

Calla lily -- beauty

Freesia -- innocence

Rose -- love

Lily of the valley -- happiness

Sweet pea -- pleasure

Violet -- faithfulness

See how brides across the country used flowers with meaning in their wedding-day bouquets in our flower gallery at www.TheKnot.com/flowers.

  • Make it a family affair: Perhaps the most meaningful way to make the most of your wedding bouquet is to incorporate a part of yourself into it, whether you choose yellow roses because you were born in Texas or bunch together peonies, grown in your mother's garden, for a homemade, homespun bouquet.

You could include your attendants' favorite flowers or pick a bundle of blooms that's representative of your and your soon-to-be husband's lives together. Did he bring you daisies for your first date? Make sure your bouquet is bursting with them.

Even if you opt for a more traditional white rose bouquet, find a way to make it stand out by accenting the arrangement with something uniquely you: Wrap the stems in your favorite fabric topped off with your great-grandmother's pin, or create a bouquet wrap from an heirloom silk scarf. You could adorn the bouquet with ribbons monogrammed with your and his initials or have your monograms printed onto the roses themselves (visit www.speakingroses.com for details).

Consider beading a relative's pearls around the soft rose petals of your bouquet to include an added oomph of sophistication (as well as a personal touch) to your city-chic wedding. Another idea? Accent your traditional wedding bouquet with a few stems of the flowers that represent your and your fiance's birth months or wedding date. Find your birth month flower online.

  • Use the environment: A final idea: Gather inspiration from the everyday elements around you or those surrounding your wedding day, such as the season in which you'll wed or the site of your event.

Some fresh takes: Dress a bouquet with sand dollars because you're marrying at the beach. Or dot your bouquet with tiny, gold-glittered pinecones for a fall affair. Add sunflowers grown in your home state or include small fruits for a casual, summery touch (we love kumquats, lemons, even cherries).

Is your spring fete taking place in a botanical garden of sorts? A motif like dragonflies or butterflies might be an appropriate thread for your wedding-day details -- let ceramic or fabric ones peek out from behind your bouquet petals as a nod to the season and your romantic wedding style. Including special touches like these will turn an average arrangement into something uniquely you.

Feeling inspired yet? We've planted the seed -- you'll need to take it from here.

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