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Flowers: An Arranged Marriage

Call it a European-style invasion. This fall, Britain and France are influencing more than just fashion runways. Wedding flowers are also taking their cues from overseas with intricate bindings, details and unusual combinations of color and flora. According to special-events coordinator Melinda Alfonso and floral designer Tommy Webb at the Plant Gallery, “Florals are like fashion – what’s popular changes all the time. New Orleans generally tends to take on new trends more slowly, but we are definitely seeing a change in the traditionally used flowers, accessories and centerpieces.” Combining flowers with accessories and unusual greenery is in vogue this fall. “Brides are incorporating special personal objects with their bouquet, such as a grandmother’s hair pin or a keepsake linen handkerchief,” says Webb. “Centerpieces too are using non-traditional grasses, greenery and even candles to create a unique look.” Still, despite contemporary design, some basics do hold true, according to Alfonso. “The one thing that we can say that is always in is elegance.” Paul Norman, AIFD, of Thibodeaux’s Flowers and Gifts, has also seen his share of unusual accessories in brides’ bouquets. “Pieces of fabric, pearls and unique jewels are all being incorporated into arrangements.” But while accessories may make the bouquet, what has really caught the attention of many brides-to-be may be the European influence of ribbon binding. “More brides are coming to us looking for a hand-tied bouquet instead of the traditional wrapped-stem bouquet,” says Norman. “These can be quite intricate and quite beautiful, using ribbons, braided and woven, into a work of art. This lacing comes directly from what we are seeing in Europe right now.” Another contemporary influence is in the application of color not only in the bridesmaid bouquets and centerpieces, but also in the bride’s bouquet as well. “Colors, like reds, yellows, and even greens, are definitely in for the fall,” says Norman. “Brides are picking more diverse flowers in colors that they really like. A good example I’ve seen is a bride who chose bouquets of gerbera daisies in beautiful colors for her bridesmaids and all white for her own bouquet. The effect was pretty and fun.” And, according to Norman, reception flowers are also changing, as brides are spending money on flowers where it counts. “Brides are spending the money from their flower budget on festive flowers for the places that their guests are going to gather, around the wedding cake, for example.” Tables are also adorned but less dramatically than before. “Centerpieces on tables are becoming simpler for the most part,” says Norman. “We’ve done bubble bowls filled with striking hydrangea heads. We’ve done floating candles and brightly colored gerberas. Brides sometimes even use the clean, clear glass vases we deliver the bridesmaid bouquets in by placing them and the bouquets around the room after the ceremony. Floral designer Louise Heebe consults with brides for an extensive conversation about likes and, maybe more importantly, dislikes weeks before the big day. “Each bride is different,” says Heebe, “Some know exactly what they want, some don’t have any idea. I try to get to know her personality and work with her to create something really different [that] she will like.” Heebe likes to mix styles, shapes, textures and colors to create an overall textural feel. For fall, bouquets and centerpieces can incorporate more than just blooms and buds, as Heebe sometimes suggests. “Berries are very popular in the fall and go well with the colors of the fall flowers, as well as on into the winter months. I sometimes use leaves to line clear glass bowls for centerpieces. I’ve even used artichokes on stems, accents of fruit and flowers in all colors. I stress variety, and the variety can go on forever. “My rule is that the bride’s choice comes first,” adds Heebe. “There are no hard and fast rules. There really are no limits.” Wedding flower trends: Colors: reds, yellows and shades of green, Hand-tied bouquets, Personal accessories for the bride’s bouquet, Mini calla lilies, gerbera daisies, roses in unusual colors

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