Summer wedding centerpiece

Photo: Rachel May Photography

Flowers are an integral part of weddings—and for good reason. They’re not only pretty and a wedding tradition, but they also allow you to express your personal style and creativity. Choosing your wedding flowers is a fun and important part of the planning process, but if you don’t know where to begin, the task might feel a bit more daunting and less like a bed of roses (see what we did there?). Even if you already have a few favorite blooms in mind, there are several things you should consider, such as budget, colors, and style before making your final floral selections.

Follow these tips to help you get started!

Make a budget

This is the first and most important step when it comes to choosing your wedding flowers. Your budget will determine the types of flowers you can use in your bouquets, wedding centerpieces and floral decor, so sit down with your fiancé(e) and decide what you are comfortable spending. Most couples spend around eight percent of their total wedding budget on flowers, but that number can vary depending on the types of flowers you order and how many arrangements you need. A bigger budget will allow for more elaborate designs and pricier flowers, while adding greenery is a beautiful and cost-effective option for couples with tighter budgets.

Find a wedding florist

You’ll want to find flowers that fit your color scheme, season and budget, and the right wedding florist will help you do all of that and more. It’s important to find a florist who understands what you want, because he or she is the person who will bring your vision to life. They’ll also be a lifesaver when it comes to providing professional input about your wedding flowers and helping you make tough decisions, like choosing between garden roses and peonies. When you’re researching potential florists, check out their previous work and read reviews to get a sense of their style and their specialities (no two florists are alike!).

door backdrop with floral arch

Photo: Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography

Gather inspiration

Begin by browsing photos from real weddings or Pinterest. You might find floral arrangements that you absolutely love (and can show the pictures to your florist) but at the very least, you’ll develop a general sense of your likes and dislikes. Start making notes about your floral preferences, including color, shape, texture, and style. Don’t be afraid to source inspiration from unexpected places, either! Re-watch your favorite wedding-themed movie, scope out the fresh flower section at your local market, or ask your family members about the flowers they used at their weddings. As long as you can share your general vision with your florist, he or she will take it from there and can suggest their ideas for your wedding flowers.

Know the basics

You don’t have to become an overnight expert on wedding flowers, but if you don’t already know some of the basic blooms, it can be helpful to do a bit of research before meeting with your florist. While you’re gathering floral inspiration, take a moment to familiarize yourself with popular wedding flowers (roses, peonies, hydrangeas, lilies, and ranunculuses, to name a few). Also decide whether or not you want fragrant blooms—lilacs, freesias, peonies, jasmine, sweet peas, and gardenias are among the most perfumed wedding flowers. Knowing a bit of flower lingo will come in handy when you’re talking to your florist, and you won’t feel completely lost when they’re sharing their ideas for your arrangements.

Use your color scheme

If you’re feeling completely stumped about your wedding flowers (we know there are a lot to choose from!), think of them in terms of color to help narrow down your choices. Dahlias, carnations, mums, roses, tulips, and lilies are just a few of the flowers that come in most colors. Other flowers, including peonies, lisianthus, hydrangeas, and anemones have a more limited color selection.

Your wedding flowers don’t have to be an exact match with the rest of your decor, but you should try to choose blooms that complement your color scheme. Look at the colors being used for your invitation suite, attire, table linens, and miscellaneous accents. If you do want the flowers to be a perfect color match, be as specific as possible when discussing them with your florist—“coral pink” to you might mean light orange or blush to someone else. Provide paint chips, fabric swatches and photos of the decor so your florist can find the closest possible match.

rustic chic mason jar centerpiece

Photo: Honey Photographs by Alyss

Start with the bouquet(s)

If you or your fiancé(e) is carrying a bouquet down the aisle, use that as a starting point when you’re choosing your wedding flowers. Your bouquet is a statement piece that will likely appear in a majority of your wedding photos, so it’s important to work with your florist to design the perfect arrangement. Once you’ve finalized the flowers for your bouquet, your florist can move on to the other arrangements, such as bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, aisle markers, and centerpieces. These arrangements don’t have to be exact replicas of the bridal bouquet, but they should use some of the same flowers to create a cohesive look.

Embrace your wedding season

Think about the types of flowers that are normally seen around the time of year when you’re getting married, for example, tulips and peonies in the spring, or dahlias and mums in the fall. There’s no rule that says you can only use flowers if they’re in season, but out-of-season blooms might be difficult for your florist to find and will generally mean a higher price tag for you in the end.

Match your wedding style

In general, your wedding flowers should reflect the overall style of the wedding. If you’re having a formal black-tie wedding, your flowers should be on the more traditional side (for example, matching centerpiece vessels and tidy arrangements) so they don’t seem out of place. If your big day is more relaxed and informal, you can get a little creative with your flowers, such as having mix-and-match centerpieces, handmade details, or looser, garden-style arrangements.

Also keep in mind that the types of flowers you choose will shape the tone of your wedding. White calla lilies are timeless and elegant, while bright pink Gerbera daisies are playful and peppy. Pick a few descriptive words (rustic, elegant, glamorous, boho, modern, etc.) to explain your wedding style to the florist. Describe your venue, dress code and other decor you plan to incorporate.