Wedding And Bridal Flowers: Peony Wedding Bouquet Ideas And Designs

Use peonies, abundant in the Northern USA in late May and June, for a wedding bouquet. Colors range from white, cream, pink, red, to deep maroon.

If you live in the Northeastern or Midwestern areas of the United States, peonies offer a showy and fragrant option for a bridal bouquet for a late May or June wedding. Peonies grow best in areas with cold winters and summers that are not too hot. In the right climate, peony plants produce an abundance of flowers, which may eight or nine inches across. Colors range from white to cream to yellow, and from the palest of pinks to reds to the deepest maroons. Some varieties have deep accent colors in the brown and maroon range at the base of the petals. The fragrance of peonies is reminiscent of an intense rose scent.

Peonies may be purchased from florists in other parts of the United States, but they may be expensive. However, for a floral bouquet, the price may be justified by the large size of the flower heads. If peonies are an out-of-season choice for a wedding bouquet, the expense may be even greater, because flowers may have to be imported from Northern Europe or from New Zealand.

A peony bouquet is especially suitable for a wedding with a Victorian theme or with a Chinese theme. Peonies are compatible with the rich colors, heavy satins, velvets, and laces used in Victorian decor. Peonies are ubiquitous in Chinese prints, decorations on pottery, and wood carvings. Peony colors can also enhance a wedding where the bridal party's colors fall in the white to ivory and pale pink ranges.

Home-grown peonies require a step in their preparation for use in a bridal bouquet that is not shared by most other flowers, nor with peonies provided by a professional florist. After peonies form their buds in the spring, you'll notice a large number of ants working diligently, eating a waxy coating on the buds. Peonies have a symbiotic relationship with the ants, who remove the coating, allowing the peonies to open into large, showy blooms. Eliminate the ants too early, and the buds may not open.

On the other hand, what bride wants to hold a bouquet crawling with ants. To avoid uninvited insect guests at the wedding, cut peonies with a fairly long stem when the blooms are fully open or almost fully open. Fill a large bucket with cool water""water from the garden hose is fine. Dip each flower head into the water long enough to drown any ants. Gently shake the water from the flowers and place the stems in another bucket or container or water. Let the flower heads dry for an hour or so in a shady spot before bringing the peonies indoors.

You are now ready to assemble the bridal bouquet. Spread newspaper on a table or countertop. Place the peonies you have selected for the bouquet on the newspaper for half an hour or so. The newspaper will absorb any excess water on the petals or leaves. While your peonies are resting, gather up the following materials you will use to construct the bridal bouquet:

1) Other flowers (optional) - rosebuds and tulips are compatible with peonies in both color and scent.

2) Greenery - ivy, shiny citrus leaves, or other attractive leaves that do not have a strong scent and do not irritate the skin.

3) Florist's tape - stretching green tape you will use bind the various elements into a bouquet.

4) Floral wire (optional) - used to provide support to elements of the bouquet that need reinforcement.

5) Ribbon, netting, lace, or other fabric elements (optional)

6) Heavy scissors or garden shears

To create the bouquet, select the peonies you will use in the bouquet. An odd number of flowers will look best. Peonies are so large you may need only three or five flowers to make a bouquet. Cut the stems slightly longer than you will need; you can trim them at the end of the process. Add extra flowers, preferably smaller than the peonies, and greenery to fill out and frame the bouquet. If necessary, use wire to reinforce stems. Use the florist's tape to bind the flowers and greenery together. Add netting, lace, and ribbon to finish the bouquet. Trim any excess stems, and again use the florist's tape and wire to hold the elements of the bouquet together.

If you have an abundance of peonies, you can carry out the bouquet them, by using more peonies around the alter and as table centerpieces. Just make sure that all of the ants have been removed from any peonies you bring indoors.

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