This greenery brings a plush, polished feel to weddings.
Succulents in weddings are nothing new, but the roughly five-year-old trend is becoming as long-lasting as the plants themselves.
Their striking and unique appearance means succulents “are not like another flower; they have no season and can go with so many different vibes,” says Kim Meacham, owner of The Paper Daisy Flower Boutique in the Short North.
In fact, the drought-resistant plants are not flowers at all, though their spherical growth patterns bring to mind a zinnia or a dahlia—which is essentially how succulents should be treated in floral arrangements, says Michelle DeSantis of DeSantis Florist.
“Succulents work like a rose or something that's bigger and meatier, so wherever you would normally use a focal flower like that, a succulent can work in its place,” says DeSantis, adding that the plants look best in tighter, more compact designs versus the looser, airier arrangements that are currently trending.
But succulents can go far beyond a bouquet; couples now are incorporating them into boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, table runners and other décor.
The plants are an optimal choice for corsages, as they can survive weeks with little to no water, and darker-colored succulents make particularly refined and masculine-looking boutonnieres for grooms or groomsmen, says Kasey Conyers, owner of Orchard Lane Flowers.
And with their neutral color palette of grayish greens, cool reds, dusty blues and pastel purples, the succulent family lends itself well to winter and spring weddings—especially since the plants are available all year long.
“They're tropical plants, but they don't look tropical,” Meacham says. “Their aesthetic is almost better suited for a winter wedding in Downtown Columbus than a Hawaiian beach wedding.”
For winter arrangements, DeSantis suggests pairing succulents with true foliage, such as variegated pittosporum or dusty miller, for an added “earthiness and natural feel,” though “anything can work if it's balanced,” she adds.
Succulents can also add a chic, romantic touch to jewelry and hairpieces. They “tend to be heavier and clunkier to wear,” DeSantis warns, though “it's definitely possible to do.” When you're attaching succulents to a floral headband or small hair clip, “it's best to make sure the size of the succulent is appropriate and that it has enough structure to support itself,” Conyers says.
For room, table and cake décor, succulents tend to look rustic when paired with wood, elegant when paired with a glass terrarium and sophisticated and modern when standing alone, says Meacham, adding that another big wedding trend is using mini succulents as guest favors.
For Karri and Kevin Payne, who married at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square on June 10, 2017, giving away succulents as wedding favors was a way to do something different and also give something meaningful to their guests.
“I wanted the favors to be something that people would take home and then actually use or set out and not just throw away,” says Karri, whose favors doubled as seating markers at the reception.
The succulents were planted in purple and gold tins to match the couple's wedding colors, and guests' names were handwritten on small mounted plaques. Along with fulfilling two important functions of the wedding, the succulents “made for some additional greenery” in an outer ring of plant life and color on each table, Karri says.
And because the plants are able to thrive in a variety of indoor conditions with very little maintenance, Karri says she didn't have to worry about her guests failing to care for their new succulents. “I've been to several friends' houses after the wedding and still see the succulents sitting out, and it's like a little reminder of my wedding,” she explains.
Smaller, more common varieties of succulents—like the ones used by the Paynes—are relatively budget-friendly, but larger succulents can out-price flowers such as garden roses, peonies and even orchids. Nonetheless, “you can still get an impactful bouquet with one or three succulents in it. It doesn't take very much,” says Meacham, adding that succulents can also be replanted after the wedding if the root has been left intact.
The echeveria succulent, as well as hens and chicks, are very popular among brides and grooms, Conyers says, though she notes that couples tend to make selections based on color more than any other factor.
Regardless of the color or variety, succulents have a velvety and plush appearance that delivers a one-of-a-kind textural element to floral arrangements.
“The beauty of using succulents in floral design is that they lean toward a more casual look as well as a more tailored look—it all depends on how they are used and the vessels you use them in,” Conyers says.
As succulents continue to take root in weddings across the country, the plants could very well be on their way to joining daisies, peonies and garden roses as a timeless option for ceremonies.