Fun with Foliage in Your Wedding Bouquet

Chelsea Castle
Madison House Designs created bouquets with white roses and lots of greenery for Kelly Kulchar and her bridesmaids.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

For a life event known to be full of many options and decisions, all within the confines of budgets and differing opinions, there are few other elements that can facilitate compromise quite like greenery. The recent trend of incorporating leafy greens in wedding bouquets and décor is one that can satisfy any budget, work with any style or season and even provide a bride relief from lugging around a heavy floral bouquet.

While it’s likely always been a trend in parts of the world where tropical greens are native, it’s only been in recent years that the greenery trend has been popping up here, says Orchard Lane Flowers owner Kasey Conyers. She’s seeing the trend a lot in her shop; she credits its popularity to the uniqueness it can bring to any bride, bouquet or wedding.

“Our goal in helping design a wedding is, you always want to make it unique and a little different, and there are so many types of greenery you can use that people maybe haven’t seen before,” Conyers says. “They might think a bridal bouquet is all flowers, but if you remove some flowers and add some greenery, you change the whole look of it, and it’s really beautiful and really interesting.”

Chalk this trend up as one you can participate in and still make your own. For both the bride and bridesmaids, foliage comes in many interesting shapes, shades, textures and colors, adding much room for creativity.

For brides who like the traditional, rounded-style bouquet, Conyers says you can incorporate little greens sprinkled around the blooms.

“And then we have a lot of brides liking the asymmetrical bouquets with lots of greens. They tend to be quite large,” she notes.

The funny thing, Conyer adds, is even with the sizable and sweeping shape of the leafy green bouquets, they tend to be much more affordable than the textured, rounded ones.

“One stem of greenery can be broken into several pieces, and with the shape of it, things can have movement and it can be more airy, so we’re not trying to fill in every single space,” Conyers says. “We can’t have holes in a traditional bouquet with flowers. So the more flowers you use, the more expensive the bouquet becomes.”

Another benefit of the greenery is that it’s significantly lighter in weight. “Even still, after all these years, I’m always amazed at how heavy the traditional flower bouquets are. It’s an arm workout,” says Conyers.

Greenery also has a significantly longer lifespan than flowers, as it doesn’t need a water source to keep it perky.

Leafy greens and foliage are finding ways to fit into other elements of the wedding, too, sometimes creating a whole look and feel that is different than one might expect.

“[The greens] really give the brides and grooms a whole new set of options for wedding décor if you’re able to go into just greens,” Conyers says. “[We’ve seen] really big, beautiful centerpieces, where the whole centerpiece was all greenery and it sat up high in a vase. It had fern and big tropical leaves, and it didn’t look tropical; it just looked like a really lush arrangement.”

For those wanting a subtler look, greens can be incorporated in a low vase with simple and wispy pieces, or they could be used loosely on tables, adds Conyers.

“Just trust your designers; they should have a vast knowledge of all types of greenery,” she says. “Be open to something new or different that maybe you haven’t seen on your Pinterest board.”

The most popular foliage to use tends to be various forms of eucalyptus, from the beadlike seeded variety to silver dollar, which tend to have more rounded leaves and are very light and airy.

“There’s willow eucalyptus—the leaves are very long and skinny,” Conyers adds. We often mix them all together. And then if someone doesn’t like that dusty color, we lean on Italian ruscus.”

Conyers also loves using agonis, a burgundy, willowy plant that’s a fun infusion of color among the greens for any part of the event or décor. 

“Our challenge is always to find an interesting mix of greens for our clients, depending on the colors and styles they are going for,” Conyers explains. “We love the big, tropical greens, but girls tend to really like the dark green of wispy greens.”

If you’re concerned about selecting the right combination of blooms and greens, Conyers stresses that you can mix and match however you want.

“It just depends on the overall look and feel of your wedding,” she says. “The Italian ruscus goes well for a stronger palette. And the eucalyptus would be better for a softer, more blushy palette.”

Other elements to consider are larger leaves, like palms and other tropical foliage, which are often used in non-tropical ways. Their size can have a lot of impact, while still maintaining a minimal feel that’s perfect on a bar or dessert table.

At the end of the day, incorporating any amount of foliage tends to be less expensive and opens the door of creativity to make your wedding your own.

“You can’t really screw greenery up,” Conyers says. “And if you’re not super inclined to crafting, you might want to go with greenery—you really can’t go wrong.”