Wedding Flower Glossary Illustrated

floral wedding arch

Flowers play an integral role in your wedding’s décor and ambiance. They contribute greatly to the overall beauty of the day both visually and aromatically. The bridal bouquet is just the beginning, consisting of a gorgeous combination of colors and flowers that represent your personality and reflect your wedding’s theme. In addition to all of your bridal party’s bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, flowers can also be incorporated in the décor, acting as centerpieces, aisle decorations and so much more. We cover everything you need to know about wedding flowers in our handy illustrated guide.

Who Needs Flowers In The Wedding Party?

Depending on the simplicity and budget of your wedding, those who will need flowers will vary.  A typical wedding will require the bride, groom, bridal party and parents to have flowers. The bride will need a unique bouquet and possibly a flower crown or a few buds to put in her hair. Each bridesmaid and the maid of honor will need bouquets, and the groom and each groomsman will need a boutonniere. The mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom will wear corsages, while the fathers and grandfathers will wear boutonnieres.

bridal party flowers

Photo Credit: Bridal Couture Mag

A traditional wedding involves a flower girl and ring bearer, both of who will need flowers as well. The flower girl will need petals to toss and possibly a flower crown or hairpiece, while the ring bearer will need flowers on his pillow and a boutonniere. If there are any other people participating in the wedding ceremony, they will need corsages and boutonnieres as appropriate.

flower girls ring bearers wedding

Photo Credit: Brides

Whether you are having a traditional, formal wedding or a more modern, informal wedding, you and your partner are the ones planning your wedding. If you want to have more flowers or fewer flowers, everything is entirely up to your discretion. It’s your special day – make it truly yours.


Which Flowers Are In Season?

One important deciding factor for your wedding flowers is whether or not they are in season. Flowers that are in season will be more beautiful, more affordable and more readily available than those that are not in season. This is one reason why spring and summer is considered the peak of wedding season, along with good weather and good spirits.

Though some flowers are available year-round in various qualities, most popular wedding flowers are season-specific. Here is a basic list of flowers that are available by season.

Spring (March to May)

Delphinium, Iris, Orchid, Gerbera Daisy, Peony, Ranunculus, Rose, Sweet Pea, Anemone, Calla Lily, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Lilac, Lily, Tulip, Stephanotis

sweet pea peony bouquet spring wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Ellie Grover Photography

Summer (June to August)

Gerbera Daisy, Orchid, Poppy, Snapdragon, Chrysanthemum, Sunflower, Freesia, Bells of Ireland, Hydrangea, Rose, Dahlia, Stephanotis

orchid bouquet summer wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Kate Breuer

Fall (September to November)

Lily, Dahlia, Gerbera Daisy, Calla Lily, Chrysanthemum, Rose, Stephanotis

autumn fall wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Country Bouquets

Winter (December to February)

Carnation, Gerbera Daisy, Ranunculus, Rose, Tulip, Gardenia, Lily, Orchid, Stephanotis

winter wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: The Wedding Specialists

Though more flowers are available in the spring and summer, it is still possible to create a stunning wedding bouquet during the fall and winter as well. You will have to carefully select your flowers, colors and florist about 6-9 months before your wedding date to give you and your florist ample time to prepare and plan your wedding flowers.


Popular Wedding Flowers

There are hundreds of thousands of types of flowers in the world, but there are a select few that are commonly used in weddings. These flowers are the most popular wedding flowers because of their beauty, versatility and symbolism.

Roses are the quintessential representation of love and romance. Roses have been used as a metaphor for love and beauty for centuries and because they come in so many different varieties and colors and are available year-round, they are the ultimate wedding flower. The only time of year roses are not recommended as wedding flowers is around Valentine’s Day when prices go up and quality goes down.

red roses popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: HD Wallpapers

Peonies, with their large, full heads and layers of ruffled petals, have recently become more and more popular in wedding bouquets. Peonies have been appreciated for centuries, originally being sought after for their supposed medicinal qualities in Asia and Europe and then being recognized for their beauty thereafter.

pink magenta peonies popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Lisa Rosman

Calla lilies are elegant, simple and create gorgeous bouquets. Their distinctive shape sets them apart from other wedding flowers, and though the creamy ivory color is by far the most popular, they also come in gorgeous colors such as orange and deep purple.

white calla lilies popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Wedding News Day

Gerbera daisies come in a variety of colors and are fairly sturdy and uniform in shape, making them an ideal candidate for a round wedding bouquet. If you’re interested in a simple yet bright bouquet, gerbera daisies are an excellent choice.

gerbera daisies popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Background Pictures

Gardenias typically come in an ivory white color and their single blooms are gorgeous individually or combined in a bouquet. They are especially fragrant and look lovely floating in a bowl of water, making an ideal centerpiece.

gardenia popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Ashcombe

Orchids are a gorgeous tropical flower that comes in a few different unique species that are each a beautiful option for your wedding flowers. Cymbidium orchids and Phalaenopsis orchids are the standard, classic orchid while Dendrobium and Vanda orchids come in a more classical flower shape. No matter which type of orchid you choose to include in your wedding, they will add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your day.

orchid popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Orchids Plus

Hydrangeas consist of multiple blooms bunched together, making them an ideal single-flower bouquet. They are one of the only flowers that come in blue, and depending on the soil’s acidity level they can come in pink and purple as well.

hydrangea popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Planting Directions

Ranunculus is a flower many may not have heard of, but they are actually one of the most popular wedding flower options due to their similarity to roses and peonies and affordable prices. It comes in many colors and is a practical choice for both bouquets and boutonnieres.

ranunculus popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: What A Bloom

Tulips come in a wide range of colors, and their simple shape make them beautiful in bouquets both alone and paired with other flowers such as roses and baby’s breath. They are incredibly versatile and are appropriate for both formal weddings and casual weddings.

pink tulips popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: Proflowers

Stephanotis is a traditional white star-shaped wedding flower that is beautiful as an accent to any bouquet or can be gorgeous as its own bouquet. They are an excellent flower to use as boutonnieres as well.

stephanotis popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: TJHSST

Casablanca lilies are a beautiful flower that are appropriate for tropical weddings and due to their large, flat blooms they are great for filling out bouquets. They look great in photos, are very fragrant and come in a variety of colors.

casablanca lily popular wedding flowers

Photo Credit: What Com Flowers


Popular Color Combinations

Depending on your wedding’s theme, you may already have a color scheme picked out. Based on this color scheme you can decide what color combinations you’d like to have in your bouquets and centerpieces. Whether you decide to match your bouquet to your colors or make them really pop by choosing complementary colors, your wedding flowers will make your special day even more beautiful. Here are a few popular wedding flower color combinations that we love.

Mint green and peach

mint green peach wedding flower bouquet

Photo Credit: Every Last Detail

Burnt orange and burgundy

burnt orange burgundy red wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Bridal Guide

Lavender and light blue

lavender light blue wedding flower bouquet

Photo Credit: Confetti Daydreams

Light pink and coral

light pink coral wedding flower bouquet

Photo Credit: Wedding Ideas By You

Deep purple and magenta

purple magenta wedding flower bouquet

Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

Bright yellow and white

yellow white sunflower wedding flower bouquet

Photo Credit: Couture Colorado


Types of Wedding Bouquets

As you walk down the aisle, all eyes will be on you. Everyone will stare in awe at how amazing you look in your dress, with your hair and veil beautifully framing your face. Their eyes will also be drawn towards what you’re holding in your hands: the bridal bouquet. Your beautiful wedding bouquet is an accessory that represents your personality, so selecting the right style is a crucial element of your wedding. Here are the different types of bouquets most brides choose to have in their hands as they walk down the aisle.


A round bouquet is the epitome of a classical and traditional bridal bouquet. Typically, small flowers are used to achieve the round shape, though you can use a combination of flowers if you’d like. The look is neat and very versatile when it comes to matching dress styles, settings and levels of formality.

round classic wedding bouquetround traditional wedding bouquetround wedding bouquet


Composite bouquets are a variation of the traditional round bouquet. They are handmade and involve gluing or wiring different petals or buds to create the illusion of a single large flower. Generally, one real flower will be the center of the bouquet and petals are added around it to create the effect. You’ll want to use flowers with thick, waxy petals that can endure the extra handling and glue for this type of bouquet.

pink composite wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: St Jude’s Creations

pink rose composite wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Weddings in Iowa

composite flower bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: Wedding Bee


A nosegay is a small handheld bouquet that is composed of densely packed flowers, oftentimes bound with a ribbon and cut to a uniform length. Typically a nosegay bouquet consists of one or two main types of flower and is surrounded by “filler” flowers such as baby’s breath and foliage and does not have to be round in shape. The bridal bouquet is usually larger while bridesmaids hold smaller nosegay bouquets. This type of bouquet may also be referred to as a tussie-mussie.

peony nosegay wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Colin Cowie Weddings

daisy nosegay bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: The Embellishers

nosegay wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty


Posy bouquets are very similar to nosegay bouquets, but are slightly smaller and can be easily held in one hand. They are perfect for child attendants or bridesmaids. In general, posy bouquets consist of smaller blooms as well as herbs and foliage. However, you can also include a few larger flowers to add a dramatic effect.

orange red posy wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Creative Weddings

peony rose posy bouquet

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Anne Designs

gerbera daisy posy wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Pinterest


A pomander, also known as a kissing ball, is a bouquet that is made out of a foam ball that is covered with blossoms and has a handle made of ribbon. This is a popular style of bouquet for bridesmaids and flower girls and is not usually used as a bridal bouquet. Pomanders look best when the flowers used are around the same size to achieve the full, spherical shape.

rose pomander wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Seattle Flowers

sunflower pomander wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Flickr

pomander ball wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Wedding By Color


Hand-tied bouquets are created by holding the stems of the flowers and foliage iron hand and arranging the stems in a spiraled or uneven fashion and then tying them together around the center, leaving the bottoms of the stems visible. It is a “rougher” and looser look and is a great choice for outdoor weddings or informal weddings. Wildflowers are a great choice for hand-tied bouquets to achieve the rustic feel, but you can use any combination of your favorite flowers for this type of bridal bouquet.

hand tied wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Lamber de Bie

hand tied bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: Green Meadows Florist

hand tied bouquet

Photo Credit: Everything That Sparkles


The cascade bouquet is named due to its similarity to a “waterfall” of flowers as it spills over the bride’s hands. It is much larger than most other bouquets and is usually seen at more formal weddings. A combination of flowers and foliage are wired to cascade in a trail. Common flower options for cascade bouquets include lilies, hyacinths and orchids.

cascade rose orchid wedding bouquet

trailing cascade wedding bouquet

long wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Floret Cadet


Pageant bouquets, or arm sheath bouquets, are bunches of long-stemmed flowers and are meant to be cradled in the bride’s arms versus being handheld. This type of bouquet can look very elegant and formal, taking advantage of the simplicity of just a few of the same type of flower, such as long-stemmed roses, calla lilies or orchids.

pageant wedding bridal bouquet

calla lily arm pageant bouquet

Photo Credit: Tyler Lilley Flowers

arm pageant wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Grandiflora


Wedding Flowers Budget And Costs

Fresh flowers can be very expensive, especially if you’re looking for large quantities in high quality. The bride’s bouquet is the most elaborate and thus the most expensive, ranging from $100 to $300 depending on the designer and type and amount of flowers you choose to have. The smaller bridesmaid bouquets are less expensive ($75 to $100 each), but because you’ll need to buy multiple of them the cost adds up. Each man’s boutonniere ranges from $10 to $20, while corsages typically range from $15 to $25. If you are planning to have a ring bearer or flower girl, they will also need flowers and petals. Each child attendant’s flowers will cost from $20 to $50, depending on the amount of flowers you’ll want them each to have.

In addition to all of the people who will require flowers, you’ll most likely want to include flowers as part of your décor. Fresh flowers look beautiful as centerpieces, decorating aisles, in archways and as reception décor. They are also gorgeous when added to things like bridal and bridesmaid hair and the wedding cake. The amount of flowers you want to include in your wedding is entirely up to your discretion, but keep in mind that the amount you have and the type you choose directly affect cost, and flower costs can add up very quickly.

floral wedding centerpiece

Photo Credit: Weddings Romantique

The average cost of wedding flowers is about $1,000 to $2,000, not including décor and reception flowers. However, a huge factor to keep in mind when budgeting for your wedding flowers is that certain types of flowers are significantly more expensive than others. For example, calla lilies will be more expensive than the common rose. Other influencing factors include the area you live in, the season and the florist you select. A good rule of thumb to help you budget for flowers is to allocate about 8% of your total budget to flowers.

The price tag of flowers may shock many brides-to-be. There are a few options to help you cut costs on your flower budget, such as DIY, fake flowers and buying wholesale. DIY-ing your flowers is a viable option if you are confident in your flower-handling skills, though we only suggest attempting this option if you have a serious green thumb. Fake flowers are a much cheaper alternative to fresh flowers, and they can look very beautiful. If you aren’t interested in using only fake flowers, a combination of fake and fresh flowers can be a great money-saving alternative for you. You can also purchase your flowers wholesale instead of directly through your florist, who may design and create your floral arrangements for a per-arrangement fee. There are ways to be thrifty when it comes to your wedding flowers, but keep in mind that fresh flowers will need to be kept cold and you’ll need a way to transport them to the venue safely. Choose the route that suits your tastes and needs when it comes to your wedding flowers.


Questions To Ask Your Florist

Just like all your other wedding vendors, you want to make sure you find the ideal florist to fit your needs. Before booking your florist, sit down with her and express any questions or concerns you may have about your wedding. Bring photos of your wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and any tablescapes or color palettes that you may have readily available. This will help your florist visualize what your wedding will look like and what flowers and colors would work best.

wedding flower bouquets

Photo Credit:  R. Ring

Some key questions to ask include whether or not your budget is feasible, if the flowers you want to have are in season and how many weddings they book per weekend. You’ll also want to confirm that they have your wedding date available. It is also a good idea to ask to see samples of their portfolio so you can gauge whether or not her style matches what you’re looking for. Some florists will create sample arrangements for you and work with you to adjust them to make the perfect creation. Once you’ve determined that this florist is the right one for you, you should clarify what the expectations are in terms of payment, fees, insurance and their refund or cancelation policy.


What To Do After The Wedding

After the dust settles from the magic of the big day, you’ll need to decide what to do with all the gorgeous flowers and arrangements that you’ve carefully selected over the months. If you have decided to forgo the bouquet toss, you can preserve your bridal bouquet in a few different ways.

By pressing and flattening the blooms in your bouquet, you can dry your flowers in a thin display case, such as a picture frame or shadow box. You can also add your wedding invitation, photos or other pieces from your décor to create a nice memento of the day.

framed preserved wedding bouquet

Photo Credit: Robinson Frames

If you want to keep your bouquet intact, you can have a professional preserve it by using either silica gel or freeze-drying it. Then, you can store it in a glass container to admire for years to come. Both silica gel and freeze-drying provide the same end result; these are just two different methods of doing so. Because you’ll need to hire a professional to dry your bouquet, this can be quite expensive. However, if it’s important to you to keep your wedding bouquet intact, then the cost may be worth it.

preserve wedding bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: Suspended In Time

If you aren’t interested in preserving any of your flowers, you can give away your bouquets and arrangements to your guests as a thank you gift for attending your wedding. If your guests are able to transport them back home, they’ll be able to enjoy them and appreciate your gesture.

Another option is to donate all of your arrangements to hospitals or nursing homes. The patients and residents would surely enjoy having beautiful, fresh flowers in their rooms. It’s a nice way of ensuring the flowers you chose go on to brighten someone else’s day, and, it’s tax deductable.


Wedding Flower Color Guide

Red red dahlia

  • Roses
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Tulips
  • Ranunculus
  • Dahlias

Pink pink peony

  • Peony
  • Tulips
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Dahlias
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Sweet peas

Orange orange gerbera daisy

  • Ranunculus
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Calla lilies
  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Tulips

Yellow yellow sunflowers

  • Ranunculus
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Tulips
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers

Green green bells of ireland

  • Succulents
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Hydrangeas
  • Bells of Ireland

Blue blue hydrangea

  • Hydrangeas
  • Orchids
  • Delphinium
  • Sweet peas
  • Iris

Purple purple hydrangea

  • Lilacs
  • Sweet peas
  • Iris
  • Orchids
  • Calla lilies
  • Tulips
  • Hydrangeas

White white calla lilies

  • Hydrangeas
  • Roses
  • Calla lilies
  • Gardenias
  • Orchids
  • Lily of the valley
  • Baby’s breath

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