Jeanne Benedict’s Wedding Flowers and Style Trends

There’s always something exciting within the year that pops up for brides and helps them make crucial decisions for what many feel is the most important day in their life (thus far)!

Here is a look at a few trends that couples are favoring for their big day.

A Prettier Shade of Pale with an Ebony Edge

For the last few years, bridal colors were bright, bold, and balanced with brown. Vibrant pinks or saturated blues paired with chocolate brown seemed to be the “it” combo on wedding cakes, paper elements, and in floral design. Bridal party colors seem to be pretty pastels with the classic black tux for the groom and his guys. For instance, a light silvery grey sash may accent a pale peach bridesmaid dress, and peach roses might compose the bouquets. Or, lavender and ecru will set a soft color tone with the ever-popular hydrangea flowers finishing off the bridal party look.

As for the shape of the bouquets, florists will work closely with the bride giving her the floral design of her dreams, whether it is a gathered bunch of blooms with trailing ribbons or cascading flowers.

And, vintage-inspired fashions and floral styles with soft colors will continue to show up on many of the wedding blogs with beautiful photos to inspire brides and remind us of our own wedding day!

Accessorize to Personalize

For the past few years, many a bride has made her personal style statement with her choice of shoes. While most brides still favor the “big white dress,” unique fashion accessories are giving brides the option of flaunting an original style in a beautiful way.

Headbands and hats are the hot choice in headpieces for today’s bride. Many of the headbands have a delicate Grecian style, such as a thin ornate band that may complement the waistband of her wedding dress. And, tasteful hats with veils are definitely in vogue. (I attended an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding this summer where a radiant bride wore a small white top hat ala “The Mad Hatter.”)

Jewels from head to toe are predominant in many bridal ensembles and coordinating jewelry is often picked up in flower designs either accenting a centerpiece or dressing up a bouquet. Other trendy touches are the use of silk flowers on gown waistbands and whimsical feathers with fresh flowers in hair combs.

Homage to the Historical and One’s Heritage

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” This age-old wedding adage is enjoying a revitalization of sorts in wedding fashions and food at the reception. Top designers have introduced wedding gowns with an historic touch, such as one-shoulder gowns with asymmetrically draped skirts or gowns with styles from different decades ranging from a drop-waist 20s-inspired wedding dress to a high-necked lacey Victorian style. Those brides who relish tradition and choose gowns reminiscent of the past may follow suit with their choice of wedding flower designs.

A florist can help blend floral styles based on certain time periods with trendy ideas creating a timeless look and feel for any wedding. Mixed in with the historic traditions that a bride and groom may choose to highlight at their wedding may be cultural foods from their heritage. Along with the offerings of a caterer, it’s not unusual for today’s wedding couple to include grandma’s heirloom lasagna on a food buffet or a favorite family cookie recipe on the dessert table or as an edible wedding favor! A nod to history and heritage is both a romantic and nostalgic way to kick-off a new marriage and celebrate those who’ve brought the bride and groom to this happy point in their lives.

Bridal Party Bouquet Play

Seeing all the flowers come together from the reception displays to the bridal party bouquets is one of the most anticipated aspects of a wedding next to the couple’s smooch after “I do!” One way to ease that “what will my flowers look like” anxiety is to play around with elements that may inspire the bouquets beforehand. Why the bouquets? Because the bride is a rock star and the bridesmaids are her band! Bouquets are the “opening floral act” of a wedding production and they are usually the first wedding flowers that are thought of during the planning process.

While most brides and grooms start their wedding flower relationship with their florist having a general idea about style and color, consider first meeting your florist with an open mind and inspirational elements such as: wedding magazine photos, fabric swatches, favorite fashions, funky trinkets, even a unique piece of china with a cool pattern! A talented floral designer may pair colors or pull out flowers that you’ve never even dreamed of but suddenly cannot live without for your big day. Your “bouquet brainstorm” could start a new trend such as fresh floral accents on shoes that complement the bridesmaids’ bouquets and flounce ever so gracefully as the girls dance up the bridal aisle. (Are we done with that trend yet?)

Your Own Style for a Restaurant Rehearsal Dinner

On the eve before the big day, it’s customary to host a dinner following a wedding ceremony rehearsal, known as a Rehearsal Dinner, for all involved and often times out of town guests as well. Many Rehearsal Dinners take place in a restaurant as it’s an easy choice, especially after all the planning and details involved with orchestrating a wedding. But, most couples still like to give this party their own personal touch without making it a huge production.

When you meet with the restaurant manager, inquire as to how you can customize the tabletop décor in a simple and efficient way. Most restaurants have a linen service that may offer a variety of color choices for the tablecloths. Or, you could bring in fabric overlays or table runners that would create a style all your own. (Tip: You don’t even have to sew the edges of a homemade fabric runner. Simply use fabric glue to turn under and secure raw edges!)

Make sure your florist knows the flowers are for the rehearsal dinner, so he or she can design beautiful arrangements that will not complement the feel you want to create — whether casual or chic or elegant and formal, festive and energetic or relaxed and tranquil.

One of my favorite simple centerpiece ideas is when florists place single flower blooms in small similar containers all around the tables along with votive candles. The tabletop feels like a garden at night!  Finish off the table with place cards and you have a personalized dinner for all to relax at and get to know one another.

Where to Start with Your Wedding Reception Floral Design

A wedding without flowers is like a bride without a groom! It’s a given, flowers will play an important part in your wedding décor. Take the expected over the edge by looking for unique opportunities to use and display flowers at the reception along with the arrangements your florist creates for the tabletops. Scope out the reception site from floor to ceiling as if you were an interior designer! Better yet, meet your florist at the site and start your design dialogue in the space. Chances are, your florist has decorated other weddings and events at the site and will know the facility’s rules and have ideas for what would look amazing for your big day.

The first thing I always look at is the ceiling and how easy it would be to hang a decorative element. Would it be possible to dangle or drape strands of crystal beads and flowers for a dramatic entryway? Can floral chandeliers or flower balls be suspended overhead?

Then, I look at existing architecture and the focal points in the room, which will dictate where key elements such as the head table will be, and think about how to enhance the scene with flowers and lighting. Is there a column in the room that would look lovely entwined with ivy and flowers, or perhaps there is an archway that would provide the perfect place for artistically sloped calla lilies? Even if the room is a basic box, the trend of large glass vases that each contains an exquisite orchid stem or similar iconic flower immersed in water can create a dazzling ambience!

A Floral Welcome for Out of Town Guests

Whether you are hosting a wedding or a family reunion for out of town guests, a floral welcome is always appreciated. Place a vase of flowers in their room. Even a bud vase goes a long way to making guests feel extra welcome. Tie flower presentation into your theme. If your takes place in a destination, such as Hawaii, than a lei or flowers specific to the region are definitely the way to go. Add to thematic flowers with a goodie bag containing maps, brochures of the area’s highlights, items like sun block or lip balm, snacks, and an agenda or timeline of planned events.

Another welcoming idea is to create a relaxation gift basket to help make guests more comfortable with items like a scented eye pillow, lotion, bubble bath, bottled water, and flowers known to have calming properties, which your florist can help with. Finally, a wreath, no matter what the season is quite possibly the most welcoming botanical “gesture” of all. Talk to your florist about creating a small wreath from greens and flowers and place it on the door of your guest’s bedroom or on your guest’s bed if they are staying in a hotel.

Look for the specific meanings of flowers, such as gardenias which mean “joy,” and include a note letting guests know the flower’s meaning and why you chose to put them into the wreath. It’s these personal touches that will truly welcome guests and give them fond memories to take home with them.

Jeanne Benedict

Host of DIY Network’s Weekend Entertaining, is a party expert, chef and author of four books including The Sophisticated Cookie and Celebrations. Read Jeanne Benedict’s Flower Facts on Entertaining. is hosted by the Society of American Florists, the U.S. floral industry trade association. Click below to find a local SAF member florist to send flowers, roses and gifts for delivery.