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Published June 09 2012

SPECIAL WEDDING EDITION: Nature inspiring wedding floral choices

MOORHEAD – When it comes to wedding themes, couples nationwide are leaning heavily toward rustic, but local brides and grooms seem to be twisting the trend slightly to suit their own tastes.

According to the research company, The Wedding Report, Inc., rustic weddings, such as those set in barns, have increased 161 percent from early 2008 to late 2011.

But two local florists say rustic isn’t necessarily how they’d describe what area couples have been ordering in wedding flowers.

“I can’t say it’s rustic, exactly,” says Alma Cater, owner of Country Greenery, Moorhead. “I’m seeing more that they’re just really looking for a lot of different and interesting flowers.”

“Garden-y” is one way Cater has described the requests coming in right now.

“We’re having brides asking for things like lisianthus and stephanotis. Hydrangea is another one I’ve been seeing,” she says.

Brides also have been asking for what they’ve been calling the David Austin rose. “It’s really a garden rose, a big rose that opens very large, and it’s different than the standard rose we would use,” she says.


Colors are big too, according to Cater. Bridal bouquets comprising only white flowers are being replaced by those of many hues. Recently, her florists put together a last-minute request featuring an eggplant-colored calla lily – a well-loved flower that has long retained its popularity.

“I’m seeing colorful things and also some soft palettes, and interesting greens also,” she says, mentioning two in particular – the green trick dianthus and bells of Ireland.

“And of course roses are still popular, but in some of the more unique colors, like the oranges and hot pinks. In fact, those two colors together are spectacular, and with a touch of green, like a green athos, that can be just beautiful in a bouquet.”

Varied-colored Gerber daisies remain in demand as well. “And next week we’ll be doing an all-tulip wedding with all white and purple tulips. It should be very lovely and interesting.”

An apparent mirroring of earth and sky also has emerged.

“Blue is a big color. A lot of bridesmaids’ dresses are different kinds of blues,” she says. “And apple green is still popular. A lot of them are putting apple green in their color combo, and it even looks pretty with the blue.”

Outdoorsy inspiration

Cindy Schmeets, floral manager and wedding designer for Shotwell Floral, in Fargo, says many engaged couples visiting lately have been asking for natural grasses, like oats and millet, as well as succulents – cacti without the prickly spines.

“I’m finding that some brides are even using succulents in their bouquets and centerpieces,” Schmeets says. “They’re kind of cool for boutonnieres, too. It gives them more of a nature look.”

For men preferring a floral-less boutonniere, Schmeets says, a cluster of hypericum berries, which come in a variety of colors, can work nicely. “I’ve also done some with pheasant feathers or pinecones.”

Centerpieces, too, have more of a natural look. Arrangements might include curly willow anchored with river rock, giving a woodsy impression, she adds.

Cater says centerpieces are tending toward simple yet elegant, oftentimes presented in a tall cylinder vase with a single flower, such as a calla lily, buried inside the vase below the top, or a variety of pretty, non-floral greens within.

Schmeets has noticed corsages taking a backseat for brides’ mothers, who are preferring hand-held miniature versions of the bridal bouquet.

Internet age

Undoubtedly, couples are coming to them better-informed than ever, in large part due to the Internet, both florists say.

The Wedding Report, Inc. cites that 78 percent of couples, or 1.63 million, now use the Internet to locate products and services for their weddings.

Schmeets says couples often will arrive with photos of what they want on their smart phones, though it can be hard to see details that way. Copies of pictures taken from the Internet make it easier to duplicate desires.

Just as brides and grooms are more educated in flower shopping, the same is true with the way in which wholesalers now do business, Cater notes.

“Some flowers are grown worldwide, and you wonder how they could ever get here, but wholesalers are also so sophisticated now in how the flowers are processed and packed and the speed at which they can get them to the local florist,” she says. “It’s absolutely amazing, and the flowers tend to actually last longer than what you might go out and cut in your garden … they’ve become very long-lasting and wonderful.”