Wedding Planning Guide

the complete guide to wedding flowers

Everything you need to know to get the wedding flowers of your dreams.

Flowers will be a major focal point at your wedding but choosing your wedding-day blooms might understandably feel a bit daunting. To help, we've put together a comprehensive guide to wedding flowers, from a rundown of the top 10 most popular wedding-day flowers to a handy guide of wedding blooms by season (fall wedding flowers, winter wedding flowers, spring wedding flowers, and summer wedding flowers).

Next, keep reading for our wedding flowers checklist, which lists every single flower arrangement you might possibly need for your big day, from your bridal bouquet to the reception table centerpieces and florals for the getaway car. You can download our free printable wedding flowers checklist and bring it to your next meeting with your wedding florist. If you haven't booked your wedding florist yet, be sure to read our list of important questions to ask your florist, before you sign the contract.

Top 10 Most Popular Wedding Flowers

Choosing specific flowers for your wedding can be a little overwhelming, especially if you aren't really a "flower person" and can't tell a rose from a ranunculus. Not to worry, we've put together a list of the top 10 most popular wedding flowers. These are blooms we love and see most frequently, from beloved classics like peonies and roses to some under-the-radar florist faves. We've also included details about each flower's growing season, so you can choose the right flowers that will be blooming around the time of your wedding and maximize your floral budget.

1. Peonies

Quite possibly one of the most popular wedding flowers of all time, peonies are beloved by brides and highly sought-after when they're in season. If you have ever been to a Trader Joe's store during peak peony season, you have surely experienced the madness! It's easy to see why so many brides love peonies. Their fluffy, romantic shape and ruffled petals for beautiful bouquets. They are also available in countless beautiful colors, from crisp white, cream, and yellow to varying shades of pink and red. Carry a bouquet entirely of peonies down the aisle to highlight this very special flower. Continue the theme by mixing peonies with other in-season blooms for your reception centerpieces. This is a smart way to be mindful of your budget since peonies are typically a pricey flower.
Season: spring through early summer

bride holding peonies flower bouquet

Photo: Esther Sun

2. Garden Roses

Most roses used as cut flowers in the floral industry fall into two general groups: standard roses and garden roses. Standard roses are the roses you might imagine, with long stems and a classic rose shape (a tightly cupped bloom formed by overlapping petals). Garden rose is a loose term, but generally refers to roses that have been bred with a denser petal count than your average standard rose, resulting in a fuller, more romantic look. Garden roses are also usually more fragrant than standard roses, making them perfect for bridal bouquets since you'll hold them close and smell them throughout the day. Some of our favorite garden rose varieties include: Juliet (a soft, peachy-apricot shade), Distant Drums (which range in color from blush-lavender to caramel), Koko Loko (a coffee-and-cream hue), and Patience (ivory petals with a pale, buttery-yellow center and an incredible rose fragrance).
Season: spring and summer

3. Anemones

These pretty blossoms are known for their delicate petals and bold, dark centers. The most popular anemone variety features bright white petals and jet-black centers, making it the perfect choice if your wedding colors are black and white, or if you're doing a black-tie dress code. Besides black and white, anemones are also available in many other colors, including blush pink, deep purple, cherry red, burgundy, and even bright blue.
Season: early winter through early summer

4. Ranunculuses

A florist favorite, ranunculuses are a beautiful bloom with delicate, tissue-thin petals. This varietal are often mistaken for peonies. They're a versatile flower and look great in bouquets as well as table centerpieces. Ranunculuses are also quite hardy, with many florists also using them as boutonnieres since they'll stand up to a lot of hugs. Ranunculuses are available in nearly every color imaginable, so you're sure to find them in the perfect shade to match your wedding color scheme.
Season: late winter to early summer

bouquet of ranunculuses

Photo: @jkrejnik

5. Dahlias

A quintessential fall flower, dahlias are wonderful focal flowers because they have such a commanding presence. Some varieties, called dinner-plate dahlias, can be as large as your head! They're available in practically every color under the sun and, best of all, are usually more affordable than the ever-popular peonies or roses. One of the most popular dahlia varieties among brides is called cafe au lait. It’s color is quite accurate to its name and ranges from a blush pink-peach hue to a soft and creamy beige.
Season: mid-summer through fall

6. Sweet Peas

It's no surprise sweet peas are popular wedding flowers. They have a lovely fragrance and wonderfully ruffly, romantic petals. Carry a cluster of sweet peas tied with silk ribbon for a sweet, very feminine bridal-bouquet look. We also love stems of sweet peas in glass bud vases on cocktail-hour tables for a simple and elegant look. Sweet peas are available in a wide variety of colors, from white and varying shades of pink and purple to burgundy and blue.
Season: spring through early summer

bouquet of sweet peas

Photo: Bradley James Photography

7. Hydrangeas

Fluffy, cloud-like hydrangeas are among the most enduring and versatile flowers for a wedding. White and blue varieties can lend your celebration a preppier, country-club vibe, while antique varieties, with their tinged, variegated petals, are perfect for a more vintage wedding aesthetic. Mix hydrangeas with roses and fresh greenery like eucalyptus for a classic bridal bouquet. Or, you could combine white hydrangeas with white phalaenopsis orchids for a modern, monochromatic look.
Season: year-round but peaking in spring and summer

8. Lilacs

This spring bloom is known for its signature color, both deep purple and lighter lavender, but lilac is also available in crisp white. The flowers have a wonderful, sweet fragrance and a loose, organic shape. Mix them with other spring blossoms in a centerpiece or gather a big bunch of lilacs to carry as a fragrant bouquet.
Season: spring

9. Hellebores

Another favorite among florists, hellebores are known for their graceful, nodding heads and moody, variegated colors. They are most often available in shades of ivory, blush, green, mauve, and even black. Mature hellebore blooms will hold up well out of water, making them a great choice for bouquets, boutonnieres, and even hair flowers.
Season: mid-winter through early spring

10. Lilies of the Valley

Lily of the valley, known for its delicate, bell-shaped flowers and lovely fragrance, is a very popular spring wedding flower and has been featured in the bridal bouquets of many iconic brides, including Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and Grace Kelly. For a classic, bridal bouquet look, ask your florist to create a larger bouquet by combining several bunches of lily of the valley stems together, including the surrounding green leaves.
Season: spring

Seasonal Wedding Flowers

Using in-season flowers for your wedding arrangements is the most economical and beautiful way to go. (Sidenote: We've got a ton of other wedding budget and money-saving tips in our guide: How to Create the Perfect Wedding Budget.) The flowers will be at their peak season and abundance, and the blooms will be a reflection of the season of your wedding celebration. Our seasonal wedding flower guide below outlines the availability of the most popular wedding blooms. Keep in mind, however, that seasonality might vary within different regions of the United States.

Fall Wedding Flowers

Fall branches and foliage
Japanese anemone
Rose hip

Fall Wedding Ideas
Fall Wedding Colors

Spring Wedding Flowers

Bearded iris
Flowering branches (quince, tulip magnolia, cherry, dogwood, apple, plum, forsythia)
Lily of the valley
Snowball viburnum
Stargazer lily
Sweet pea

Spring Wedding Ideas
Spring Wedding Colors

Summer Wedding Flowers


Summer Wedding Ideas
Summer Wedding Colors

Winter Wedding Flowers

Casa blanca lily
Citrus fruit
Ilex berry (winterberry)
Pine cone

Winter Wedding Ideas
Winter Wedding Colors

Year-Round Wedding Flowers

Calla lily
Gerber daisy
Gypsophila (baby's breath)
Star of Bethlehem

Wedding Flowers Checklist: What You'll Need

Ready to talk wedding flowers with your florist? Before you meet, you'll want to put together a checklist of all the floral arrangements you'd like to have. Keeping it simple? You may only need bouquets, boutonnieres, and reception centerpieces. If you're going all out, then the sky's the limit! Display florals everywhere imaginable, don't forget the powder rooms! Below is a comprehensive list of potential wedding floral arrangements you might like to have. You can download our printable wedding flowers checklist and bring it when you meet with your florist. Use it as a general guide to help focus your flower discussions rather than a must-have checklist.


Personal Flowers

  • Bride's bouquet
  • Bride's hair flowers (crown, hair comb, single bloom, etc.)
  • Bridesmaids' bouquets
  • Junior bridesmaids' bouquets
  • Flower girl's flowers (basket of petals, floral crown, posy, etc.)
  • Groom's boutonniere
  • Groomsmen's boutonnieres
  • Ring bearer's boutonniere
  • Pet flowers (floral collar, floral/greenery leash, etc.)
  • Mother of the bride's corsage or posy
  • Mother of the groom's corsage or posy
  • Father of the bride's boutonniere
  • Father of the groom's boutonniere
  • Grandmothers' corsages
  • Grandfathers' boutonnieres
  • Officiant's flowers
  • Ushers' boutonnieres
  • Additional family members' boutonnieres/corsages
  • Tossing bouquet

Ceremony Flowers

  • Entrance arrangement (venue's front doors, foyer, etc.)
  • Welcome table arrangement
  • Altar/chuppah/ceremony backdrop florals
  • Pew or chair arrangements
  • Aisle decorations
  • Aisle petals
  • Tossing petals for guests (for the recessional)
wedding flowers

Photo: Heather Nan

    Reception Flowers

  • Cocktail table arrangements
  • Bar arrangements
  • Escort-card table arrangements
  • Reception table centerpieces
  • Sweetheart table arrangement
  • Couple's chair decorations
  • Buffet-table/food-station arrangements
  • Lounge area arrangements
  • Flowers for wedding cake
  • Cake table arrangements
  • Powder room arrangements
  • Getaway car arrangement
wedding flowers

Photo: Maria Lamb