Beyond Roses and Peonies: Choosing Creative Wedding Florals

Beyond Roses and Peonies: Choosing Creative Wedding Florals
Photo by Cramer Photo

Expert Tips from Charlottesville's Top Floral Designers

Big, bold, and exotic or rustic, whimsical, and natural — wedding floral design has come a long way from simple rose bouquets and single-bloom boutonnieres.

Novela’s preferred floral designers keep a green thumb on the Charlottesville wedding flower pulse, thinking outside the box and creating custom floral scenes and lush wedding aesthetics that set the celebration tone and align with a couple’s personal style.

According to the pros, the year of white and ivory blooms tangled in green leafing is over. Couples are moving on to brighter hues and more colorful seasonal blooms.

Five Standout Florals to Consider

1. Ranunculus: These romantic, delicate, paper-thin-petaled flowers resemble small roses and come in hues that range from soft pastels to big, vibrant shades.

2. Dahlia: Intricate, layered petals add texture and depth to aisle decor and table centerpieces. Choose from small pompon dahlias to large dinner plate varieties.

3. Succulents: Modern and unconventional succulents bring unique shapes, textures and colors to contemporary bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces.

4. Calla lilies: With their elegant, trumpet-shaped blooms, calla lilies offer a sleek and sophisticated look. They are available in classic white and also in shades of yellow, orange, pink, and purple.

5. Orchids: Orchids are exotic and elegant flowers that come in a wide array of colors and shapes. Whether you choose classic white phalaenopsis orchids or vibrant dendrobium orchids, they add a luxurious and sophisticated touch to any wedding floral design.
Photo by Cramer Photo

What Charlottesville Floral Experts Have to Say

At Novela, we make it easy to secure a creative Charlottesville wedding floral designer who can guide you through the do’s and don'ts of wedding flowers and help you create the perfect arrangements, bouquets and statement pieces that reflect your wedding day theme and vibe.

Mary Pearl Monnes and Cathy Coyle at Willow Branch Flowers love to work with seasonal stars like peonies, roses and dahlias, but find that incorporating garden varietals is what really makes a floral design sparkle.

“Working with a florist who has a cutting garden or works closely with local growers will help ensure your floral designs have dimension and resonate with the seasonal moment — plus, they will be hand-selected and freshly picked!” Cathy says.

Photo by Benjamin McLean

For the ultimate local and seasonal edge, the Willow Branch team recommends these Charlottesville wedding garden blooms:

Early Spring: Hellebores, frittilaria, daffodils, quince, forsythia, pearl bush, camellia, dogwood, cherry and pear tree, redbud and viburnum

Late Spring: Double tulips, lilac, Solomon’s Seal, weigela, clematis, azalea, deutzia, mountain laurel, foxglove, campanula, Carolina sweet shrub, Itea, mock orange, privet, baptisia, astilbe, spirea, feverfew

Early Summer: Queen Anne’s Lace, smokebush, agrostemma, forget-me-not, yarrow, tuberose, crososmia, wild sweet peas, dianthus, delphinium, dara, mountain mint, abelia

Late Summer: Zinnias, cosmos, clethra, lisianthus, autumn joy sedum, sweet Annie, tansy, scented geranium, hibiscus, foliage, marigolds, herb blooms

Photo by Hunter and Sarah Photography

Southern Blooms owner Sherry Spencer creates Charlottesville floral design magic using gorgeous in-season locally grown flowers and greenery. She recommends using seasonal flowers not only to help keep costs down, but because “they are just more full and beautiful when they are in their natural season.”

For a month-by-month seasonal guide to Charlottesville wedding florals, Sherry recommends:

March: This is forsythia and daffodil season.

April: Beautiful blooming branches, ranunculus, tulips, hyacinth and hellebores are here.

May: Gorgeous local peonies (other months of the year they are twice as expensive and not as large).

June: Cosmos, foxglove and, late-June through October, zinnias and dahlias become our personal favorites! Hydrangeas are also abundant in the summer and fall and are quintessentially Virginia.

July + August: Vibrant summer flowers like zinnias, dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos and scabiosa are abundant. Just don’t try to get peonies, ranunculus or anemones in these hot months, because if we can get them, they are not healthy.

September: Limelight hydrangeas and abelia bush are favorites. You can also get fall anemones at this time that look a lot like cosmos and those are pretty special.

Year-round staples: Snapdragons, garden roses, spray roses, lisianthus, stock, freesia, and all but those hot months we usually get ranunculus and hellebores, because we love them!

Photo by Eric Kelley

The renowned Charlottesville floral design team at Steelcut Flower Co. prefer to take cues from nature, pulling in wildflowers and foraged seed pods and shaping dreamy backdrops, rambling installations and sweetheart table showpieces. They always add meaningful layers — think flowing bouquet ribbons cut from the bride’s late father’s oxford shirt — to ensure a personalized floral experience.

At Wild Fleurette, owner and lead florist Lynn Killberg Thoreson creates natural floral artistry by using local blooms and foliage to build a scene that matches your style. She even has an online bouquet quiz to hone in on your bouquet style and get the inspiration flowing.

Beyond the Bloom: Make a Statement with These Alternative Design Ideas

Dried and Preserved Florals: Loved for their longevity and unique textures, dried florals add an organic and rustic touch to wedding arrangements, bouquets and centerpieces.

Hanging Installations: Suspended florals have become increasingly popular as a way to create stunning visual displays. Hanging arrangements, whether it's a chandelier-like installation or cascading floral installations over tables or ceremony backdrops, add drama and a wow factor to wedding decor.

Textured Greenery: Wedding greenery is shifting towards more textured, wild foliage. Eucalyptus, ferns, olive branches and other interesting bits can create depth and visual interest.
Photo by Eric Kelley

A Friend in the Industry

Working with Novela is like having a trusted friend — one with copious insider knowledge and industry connections — by your side every step of the way. We’ll match you with an expert wedding concierge to customize your wedding day plan, including venue and vendor recommendations, detailed pricing options, a high-level budget framework, and a customized checklist just for you.

Find your perfect Charlottesville venue, book all your vendors, and finance your wedding at 0% interest — all in one place. Novela is the first transactional one-and-done wedding planning company.

So, are you ready to start planning your dream wedding?

Our concierge team is here to help you every step of the way.