A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet—but it’ll smell even sweeter with the addition of herbs and other non-flowering plants, which are quickly becoming favorites of local brides.
ON THE RISE The green movement has worked its way into weddings—beyond those ever-present carbon offsets. Many couples want their flowers to look like they’ve just been plucked from the Earth. “I’m getting more requests this year for a ‘wildflower’ look,” says Alice Norwick of Petals by Alice in Pleasantville. “One client wants containers with only greens and mosses—no flowers.”
“Brides are leaning towards an organic look,” says Beth Hundgen of Whispering Pines of Chappaqua. “They also like lots of texture using different greens and non-floral elements.” Additional non-floral elements seen in local weddings include herbs, ferns, and grasses, sometimes displayed in a recycled container.
Then again, that doesn’t mean that green is the only color being used around here. “We have really been seeing brighter and bolder color statements,” says Vito Russo of Westchester Floral Decorators in Pelham. Says Norwick, “Starting last year, we’ve been getting more and more requests for purple flowers. They had gone away for many years, but they’re back stronger than ever. Most popular ribbon colors are all shades of pink, mainly hot pink. Also dark, rich plum; shades of purple; and an orchid color are very popular. Peach could be making a comeback; paired with classic cream, it looks lovely.” Adds Carol Kelly of Flowers by Carol Kelly in Tarrytown: “Bolder colors like fuchsia and orange dominate the themes.”
ON THE DECLINE Local brides and grooms have finally realized that those huge, soaring centerpieces look fantastic, but make it pretty hard to have a conversation. “More clients are interested in lower types of arrangements,” says Minoo Hersini of Au Ciel Inc. in Irvington.
“Couples are going for less traditional designs,” Kelly reports. “Flower bouquet holders are out, and hand-wrapped bouquets are in.” Adds Russo: “I recommend steering clear of the flowers that were always used in the past, like baby’s breath and lilies.”
And the bouquet? Hold onto it. “Tossing of the bouquet is not nearly as popular as it used to be years ago,” says Dean Andreades of Forever in Bloom in Mount Kisco. “Brides are over the cutesy traditions.” Instead, many opt to have their bouquets freeze-dried and framed.
MOST POPULAR SPRING/SUMMER FLOWERS
Honorable Mentions: Muscari, Sweet Peas, Explosion Grass, Crespidia (Billy Balls), Dianthus (Green Trixx), Dog Eye Euphoriba, Scabiosa Pods, Calla Lilies, Sunflowers, Hanging Amaranthus, Rosemary, Mint.
MOST POPULAR WINTER/FALL FLOWERS
Honorable Mentions: Amaryllis, Dusty Miller, Poppies, Carnations, Ornithalgom, Anemone, Coxcomb, Gardenias, Fiddlehead Ferns.
FROM THE PLANNERS “We’ve seen couples keeping personal flowers simple and only doing flowers for the bride and groom and the bridal party,” says Lauren Sozmen of Loli Events. “It’s not necessary for every female family member to get a corsage.”
“It’s very popular right now to bring outdoor elements indoors—manzanita trees, moss, succulents, outdoor hanging lanterns, and birch accents,” says Sarah Lusardi of NY Engagements in White Plains. “Matchy-matchy themes are on the decline with brides choosing a more eclectic mix of interesting vases, textures, and sophisticated, muted color pallets.”
“Floral arrangements that incorporate the use of food and herbs have been on the rise,” says David Bowen of Bowen & Company in Hastings-on-Hudson. “We recently adored an arrangement that incorporated cherry tomatoes and tomatillos. Brides have joined in on the fun as well by adding sprigs of sage and berries to their bouquets in an effort to spice things up.”
BRANCHING OUT No matter the season, there’s one decorative element that all florists field requests for: “Branches, branches, and, yes, more branches!” Russo says. “Couples get creative with big, dramatic branch looks, hanging crystals, gems, candles—your options are endless. They give height and drama to any room.”
“Spring weddings tend to always have a display of flowering branches someplace,” Andreades says. “They create a dramatic impact in an unassuming way.”
MOST MEMORABLE “The most creative event I was able to design was a winter wonderland in summer. It was all about lighting, glitz, crystals, snow, and white birch branches that were beautifully detailed with white and blue orchids. I was able to melt and drip wax on the arrangements, giving the florals the effect that they had been frozen in time. Creating an ‘out of season’ look to a room is a great idea to break up the expected.”
—Vito Russo, Westchester Floral Decorators
“A masquerade wedding at The Castle on the Hudson. The bride and groom created hand-held masks for each guest. The centerpieces consisted of tall pillar candles adorned with taffeta fabric, ornate handmade masks, and gilded fruits and flowers.”
—Carol Kelly, Flowers by Carol Kelly
“Last Valentine’s Day, we covered the entire floor at a reception with velvet silk petals. We had all the guests at one long glass table with hundreds of glass candle sticks with ball candles and bowls of cranberries in between the roses—just simply beautiful and elegant.”
—Minoo Hersini, Au Ciel Inc
“We did an Abigail Kirsch wedding at The Stone Mill in the Bronx Botanical Gardens where the bride wanted a more organic and textured design as opposed to florals. The container was a crackled ceramic pot and filled with a variety of succulents, pods, fiddlehead ferns, millet grass, dusty miller, and crespedia balls. The arrangement was stunning without the use of any flowers and had a rich, earthy, and creative feel which played off the feel of the venue perfectly.”
—Dean Andreades, Forever in Bloom
BOUQUETS AND BOUTONNIÈRES For bridal bouquets, “the number-one choice of color is still white,” Hersini says, “and smaller verses larger.” Adds Kelly: “Brides love adding personal touches to their bouquets, whether it’s crystals or pearls in the flowers or antique laces and buttons on the stems.”
And for the men? “Boutonnières are getting a bit funkier with the incorporating of some organic material and combinations of flowers,” Andreades says. Hundgen agrees: “We do a lot of boutonnières with just textured foliage and herbs—no flowers. It’s a very organic look.”
CENTERPIECES In addition to low-lying table-scapes, “containers are changing,” Norwick says. “Mercury glass is popular, as are mirror containers sitting atop mirrors. The word ‘vintage’ is used more often. I have a few clients where I’ll be designing arrangements in glass containers and wrapping them in lace.”
“We’ve been grouping different containers on the tables with the same look and feel with different flowers in each container,” Hundgen says. “Monochromatic arrangements are also very popular.” In between these containers, larger pillar candles are taking the place of smaller votives.
ADVICE FROM FLORISTS “Choose the color, and trust the professionals in the field to guide you—but have an alternative, just in case. Remember you are dealing with nature.”
—Minoo Hersini, Au Ciel Inc
“Go with flowers that are in season.”
Whispering Pines of Chappaqua
“Give a lot of thought to the mood you want to create for your wedding. Use adjectives when describing your look, and have pictures that help reinforce what you are describing. The more your florist understands your vision, the better the outcome will be.”
—Dean Andreades, Forever In Bloom
SAVE “Most of the time, it’s not the florals that are expensive—it’s the quantities!” Russo says. “The more tables and bridesmaids you have, the more you must budget.”
True—but are you going to tell your mom that her great-aunt’s friend can’t be invited? No matter the size of the wedding, there are other ways to save. “When money is a concern, I always suggest putting their money into quality flowers to make the statement and then filling in with less expensive flowers,” Kelly says. “This way, they get the look they want without filling the whole design with expensive flowers.”
“Don’t get too hung up on specific flowers, go with colors and overall feel or concept,” Andreades says. “A good florist will be able to blend and showcase flowers that are at different price points.”
“Do your own aisle bows; no flowers on the cocktail tables,” Norwick says. “If it’s a small wedding and you only need personal flowers, have someone pick them up at the florist so you won’t have to pay for delivery.”
“Of course, there are ways to create a beautiful floral design without using a large amount of flowers,” says Ned Kelly of Ned Kelly & Company in Piermont, New York. “The Japanese have been doing it for centuries and I think we are seeing more of an appreciation for the beauty shown when just a single flower is arranged in a special way, such as placed simply by itself in a tall cylinder. Sometimes, I can make a dozen roses seem so much more exciting by showing them individually in a variety of bud vases, perhaps all sitting on a mirrored tray. Labor and set-up is more involved but the cost of the flowers is low and so it allows a more special type of rose to be used.”
“But,” he continues, “weddings are perhaps the one and only opportunity left in life—and in life’s passing, I might add—where we can let flowers express our emotions. There is no other time in life where an abundance of flowers is more appropriate than at a wedding. I would recommend that brides and their families rediscover the joyful emotions that accompany a celebration of love that is expressed with an exuberant floral design that creates memories that last.”
Arcadia Floral Co.
Au Ciel Inc.
Carolyn Dempsey Design
Daniel Florals & Events, Inc.
Diana Gould Ltd.
House of Flowers
Monica Chimes Events
Flowers by Carol Kelly
Forever in Bloom
Ned Kelly & Company
Tryforos & Pernice Florists
Petals by Alice
Westchester Floral Decorators
Whispering Pines of Chappaqua