The peony. The frilly, fragrant, elegant glamor queen, that has become THE fave flower of brides. And no wonder, it’s perfectly at home in almost any setting, be it the most elegant soiree, or the sweetest, casual vintage affair.
Locally grown peonies are at their peak for weddings in Kitchener Waterloo during mid June. Depending on the weather, they will sometimes appear late in May, or in cooler springs, will appear a little later, and can last through the first week of July. Beginning earlier in the spring, there are gorgeous are imported blooms from Italy or Holland. Planning a winter wedding? Yes, it’s possible to have peonies, from sent to us from Australia and New Zealand.
Cost is a concern for many brides who are getting married in the peony “off-season”, but given their size and visual impact, they are worth a little splurge. Equaling the size and cost of several smaller blooms. the effect of a few gorgeous peonies cannot be matched. A single open bloom floating in a lovely bowl makes for simple, yet attention-getting center piece.
Here are some of my favorite peony bouquets. Enjoy!
A charming bouquet of locally grown, organic peonies, lady’s mantle and ivy are combined for a casual, elegant bouquet. Photo by Sarah Huton
Pink peonies, freesia, and sweet William are perfect together for a June bride. Photo by Renaissance Studios
Peonies from New Zealand, cymbidium orchids, garden roses and stephanotis make for a dreamy December bouquet. Photo by David McCammon
Stunning coral peonies, cobra lilies, majolica spray roses, dusty miller, staghorn fern and lisianthus in a woodsy May centerpiece. Photo by Debra Eby
"Greening up" wedding and event flowers
Flowers add so much to a celebration, from an intimate get-together, to a large formal wedding, to corporate launch party. They can also be a source of waste, and a producer of a large carbon footprint. With flowers coming from farms worldwide, as well as from our own back yard, making choices that reduce an event’s impact. yet keep it “eco-chic” can, at first, be daunting.
Beyond the flowers themselves, the choices about containers, arrangement styles and accent pieces can mean large amounts of chemicals, and waste headed to the landfill. A simple thought to keep in mind along the way is, where will piece this end up, a week, a month, or a year from now.
Here are some ideas to get started.
Choose locally grown or Fair Trade flowers
Favorite wedding flowers, such as roses, orchids and hydrangeas are almost always imported from other continents, and are grown under varying standards for labor and environmental practices. An informed florist will know which flowers require little or no pesticides, be familiar with countries having fair labor standards, and will use and promote flowers with Fair Trade, Eco-sensitive certification, such as Veriflora. Inquire which locally grown blooms are available, and whether there is access to those that are organically grown. Local greenhouses offer a good assortment of year-round flowers, as well as seasonal field crops that require less energy to grow.
Keep it real
Flowers are naturally beautiful, but they are often dyed or spray painted to match a bridesmaid dress or corporate logo. Insisting that no dyes or aerosol products, such as leaf shine, spray paint, or adhesives are used will not only reduce chemicals, but will ensure the flowers may be composted.
Fresh flowers or plants are much better than artificial stems that are produced in overseas factories, often under poor working conditions. Even though they may be used again, they will ultimately end up in a land fill, and will not bio-degrade.
Choose bouquets styles that don’t need a plastic holder, and opt for ceremony and reception arrangements styles that do not require floral foam, the unfriendly spongy material used as water source in many floral arrangements. Lower arrangements or collections of small containers and candle holder are ideal. Many accents, such as colored lights, are one-time use, or require batteries that are discarded after one use.
Rent whenever possible
Many florists will rent vases for ceremony and reception arrangements, and the containers are often high quality, made of glass or ceramic and will be used several times over. Choose center piece styles that can be hand-tied, and guests can simply lift them out of the container to take home. Candle holders are usually available to rent as well.
Remember, taking even small steps towards a greener lifestyle can make a big difference, all the difference in the world.
Photos; organic peonies and veronica, Captured Soul Photography
Locally grown fall bounty, Two Tone Studios