Peony

Prized for its delicacy and impressive beauty, the peony has a voluminous strong perfume and bright color. But despite its outward showiness, the flower acquired the Victorian meaning of "bashfulness." Cultivated in Asia for more than a thousand years and developed further by the French, the peony is available in two main types, the herbaceous and the tree peony (the latter's flowers don't last as long when cut). 



A bouquet made solely of peonies can be gorgeous; the flower can also be used to create beautiful centerpieces and arrangements. Grown in single- and double-flower styles, this expensive bloom is seasonally available from late spring to early summer but can be imported in the fall.

Hydrangeas

With its full bushy head and intense shades of pink, blue, burgundy and purple, it's no wonder the hydrangea represented "vanity" in the Victorian language of flowers (but don't worry, you're not vain if you love hydrangeas). 



One of the most popular hydrangea varieties changes in color from bubble-gum pink to sky blue as it grows, depending on the acid level of the soil. A stem or two of this moderately priced, scentless shrub flower fills out arrangements and bouquets, and a few sprigs make a charming boutonniere. You'll find the hydrangea in white and shades of green, pink, burgundy and blue.

Lily of the Valley

With tiny bell-shape florets dangling from a thin stem, the lily of the valley is sometimes called "the ladder to heaven." The fresh, perfumed scent from its petite flowers is unmistakable. In Norse mythology, the flower is linked to Ostara, the goddess of springtime—but you likely remember it from Kate Middleton's royal wedding bouquet in 2011.



 And while most plentiful during the spring, it remains available—though quite pricey—most of the year. So while a fistful of lily of the valley might be your dream, a more affordable alternative may be to use just a few stems to infuse a bouquet or centerpiece with its wonderful fragrance and delicate texture. Most people know of the white variety, but lily of the valley also comes in a very rare rosy-pink.

Calla Lilies

Also known as the arum lily, this elegant, trumpet-shaped blossom originated in Africa and symbolizes "magnificent beauty" in the language of flowers. The calla lily's distinctive form has been depicted in art nouveau and art deco works, in addition to 20th-century photography. 



Two types are commonly available: a large-headed variety with a long, smooth stem suitable for tall arrangements or presentation-style bouquets, and a miniature version ideal for small arrangments and boutonnieres. Creamy ivory is the most popular color, but calla lilies also come in yellow, orange, mauve pink and dark purple (a stunning choice for a slightly edgier or cold-weather wedding bouquet).

Tulips

Although tulips are most often associated with the Netherlands, this flower is actually a native of Persia. Representing "consuming love" and "happy years," the tulip can be a meaningful wedding choice. This flower is grown in a wide range of hues, including white and cream, pastels (pink, yellow and peach) and vibrant shades (magenta, red, orange and purple).


 Available during much of the year, the most common tulips are very affordable, though rare varieties can be expensive. The versatile tulip can enhance both elegant wedding settings and more casual venues, and work well in almost any detail at a wedding—from bouquets and boutonnieres to table arrangements. Three main varieties are commonly used: Dutch tulips (typically seen at neighborhood florist shops and in gardens), French tulips (expensive and elegant, with extra-long stems and large tapered blooms) and parrot tulips (noted for their ruffled, striped petals in intense colors).

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