Seasonal Flowers for Fall and Winter

Jackie Mantey
Roses, dahlias, mums and more made up the bridal bouquet at Elizabeth Barry and Robert Keller’s wedding.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.

Mother Nature loves you: Almost anything you want in a floral arrangement is possible now, no matter what time of year you say “I do.”

Mother Nature loves you not: There are a few caveats to finding this foliage.

“Between the growers in California, Holland and South America, many flowers that were once seasonal are available almost year-round,” says florist Kim Meacham. “Even some of those, when ordered off-season, are expensive and the quality isn’t reliable, so we always make that [clear] to couples and have a few backup options available.”

Meacham’s the owner of The Paper Daisy Flower Boutique in the Short North, beloved for its cozy but cosmopolitan style—and its canine team member, Melvin Stanley.

“He has quite a few customers who stop in just to see him,” Meacham says. “He obviously loves all flowers like the rest of us, but his favorites are the pet-friendly varieties like roses, orchids and snapdragons.”

Professionals like Meacham know the rules of horticulture—from finding the best bloom for your Best Dog or knowing which plants are available when, without costing you an arm and a leg (or those dream heels).

If visions of sun-kissed peonies and peach-colored blooms dance in your head, Meacham and Kasey Conyers of Orchard Lane Flowers (another Central Ohio weddings mainstay, located in Clintonville) have suggestions for making floral selections that are right for the season, but still accomplish the look you’re dreaming of.

Instead of: Peonies

Try: Dahlias

Peonies were once only available for a short time in the spring. Now, thanks to Alaskan greenhouses, Meacham says, they’re in-season again in mid to late summer. That doesn’t mean fall and winter brides need to cut the incredibly popular peony out of their plans, but they should be prepared to pay a price.

“Winter peonies are going to be extremely costly, as they are flown in to the U.S. from far-away farms in the Southern Hemisphere,” Conyers says. “They aren’t the most economical choice, but we can get them from other parts of the world if we need to.”

In-season peonies, Conyers says, should cost around $8 to $9 per stem. During the off-season you can expect to pay closer to $15 to $20 per stem.

Meacham offers the similarly lush and bulbous dahlia as an alternative seasonal statement flower for fall.

“The Café au Lait dahlia is especially beautiful for weddings,” Mecham says, adding that they’re available from local growers into October.

This generous, dense bloom comes in other classic wedding colors—dusty peach, ivory, champagne and creamy pink—and has an elegant, ombre-like fade throughout its layered, geometric petals.

Instead of: Strictly seasonal themes or color palettes

Try: Blues, white-on-white, greens

Why stick to a season at all?

“Brides are having a lot of fun with their colors and breaking from the traditional ‘holiday’ or ‘winter’ colors,” Conyers says. “They’re doing what feels right for their wedding, even if it’s not what you’d expect to see at that time of year.”

Blush pink, whites and heavy greens are still trending no matter what the weather, Meacham adds. Indeed, a good florist can make your wedding colors come to life no matter the season.

“We’re seeing a large range of colors and blooms being used in the winter,” Conyers says. “We had a lot of fun this past winter with bright whites, crisp greens and a touch of blue.”

If you like the traditional red holiday color palette, consider adding some contemporary fullness to it, she says: Mix a touch of blush with bright and deep reds and a strong burgundy.

White-on-white also makes a big impact, lending a high-end feel to a winter wonderland. Texture is key here: All-white arrangements of hydrangea with other textured flowers, Conyers suggests, subtly adds a richness to the look that can take it from simple to stunning.

Instead of: Pastels

Try: Saturated jewel tones

Let the spring brides keep the all-light looks. A traditional range of fall wedding colors (think dark reds and burnt oranges) is still hot, and florists “tend to see more corals, yellows and oranges in the fall,” Meacham says.

There’s no denying the staying power of the blush-colored wedding trend, though, and if a light floral tops your color-lust list, try adding a complementary jewel tone to dramatize the composition. A juicy garnet, dark as pomegranate, with a splash of diamond-bright white adds class and balance to champagne pink’s bubbly style. Or add some emerald-colored greenery to elevate the rustic romance of fall’s burnt sunset hues.

“We love to mix in jewel tones or a make nice range of blush to pink, to fuschia, to burgundy for a really gorgeous color theme,” Conyers says. “Our brides that trust our design skills allow us to take their color inspiration and let us develop that into something with a little more depth.”

Instead of: Tulips

Try: Amaryllis, anemone … and tulips

Tulips are an iconic symbol that spring has sprung, but an all-white bouquet of tulips could be a striking selection for a bridal bouquet in the winter. And, surprise, they’re available pretty much year-round, Conyers says.

The amaryllis, a colorful cousin of the lily, and the eye-catching anemone are two popular flowers that are also available for winter weddings, Meacham adds.

Instead of: Flowering buds

Try: Winter’s bounty

“There are still things like flowering branches that are not available any time other than spring and really don’t have a good substitute,” Meacham says.

So florists get creative with the accents winter does provide, and just like accessorizing, editing floral accents is essential. Meacham says well-placed evergreens and pine cones are lovely accents that can enhance the mood—not to mention the scent—of a magical winter setting. Red roses, pine leaves, berries and minimal greenery are among Conyers’ suggested accents for frosty-weather flowers.