Wedding Flower Trends for 2009: A San Francisco Floral Designer's Perspective

by Nancy Liu Chin, Nancy Liu Chin Designs

Kevin Chin PhotographyWhile flower trend outlooks are usually based solely on fashion and pop culture, there’s a new factor dictating floral fashion trends in 2009: the economy. Current budget constraints mean streamlined floral details, which is challenging those in the floral industry to come up with more natural, simple designs with much more greenery. The increase in DIY weddings also means a return to simplicity. These days, brides want wedding flowers that exude an authentic, down-to-earth feeling. Think less showy and much more “real.”

Here’s my top 10 list of 2009 flower trends:

  1. Plant It: Consider replacing floral centerpieces with plants or flowering plants like hydrangea, azaleas, begonias, maidenhair fern or orchids. The plants look classy in vintage containers, and flowering plants last far beyond the wedding day itself, making them a perfect wedding souvenir.

    James Saunders Photography

  2. More the Merrier: Centerpieces with either a repetition of the same containers or groupings of similar containers are very popular. I especially like using containers in all the same color. With large dahlias, this is fresh and elegant and makes a huge impact. [Photography by James Sanders—called Cluster.]

  3. Branch Out: Using branches or organic tree-like materials like birch is still very happening.

  4. Go Monochrome: Weddings with one dominate color palette are cropping up everywhere, which makes it a breeze for DIY brides to order and assemble the flowers.

  5. Return to Neutral: In the recent past, color was big, big, big; now it seems that the absence of color is the way to go. This year, more of our clients are choosing cream, ivories, vanilla, and white hues. Softer, neutral bouquets are especially gorgeous with layered textures.

    Arrowood Photography

  6. Be Modest: I keep saying that this is the year of the “modest” flower. Whether you choose baby’s breath, carnations, Peruvian lilies, or sunflowers, modest flowers are very in. And there’s nothing wrong with having one flower be the star of the entire wedding, either. You can’t go wrong with ranunculus for spring, sunflowers for summer, hydrangeas for fall, and carnations for winter.

  7. Have a Flower Free Ceremony: I love ceremony flowers, but most ceremony designs don’t do double-duty at the reception. If you are doing an arch for the ceremony, it’s impossible to move it indoors for a reception. For a simpler ceremony design, rethink those large sprays (which I also love doing!) and do a tablescape instead. We do it all the time and it’s lovely. Tablescape can move easily to the reception, but remember to give your floral designer time to breakdown and redesign it.

  8. Hello Yellow: One of my favorite colors making a huge comeback is yellow. Yellow looks fresh all year long. It’s eye-popping with purple, bold with blue, elegant with butters and cream, rustic with brown, gorgeous with Kelly green, hip with grey, chic with black. The choices are endless, but I’d steer clear of one combination in particular: yellow with orange and red. It’s just been so overdone!

    Nancy Liu Chin

  9. Naturally Beautiful: I’d love to see more natural items like pods, berries, and wheat-like textures in boutonnieres. We use them a lot and I think they look fresher than crystals, wires, and all those little accessories. Go natural!

  10. Don’t Forget Fruits & Veggies: Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Adding fruits and vegetables to your arrangements is a cost-effective way to make a real statement. I recently used Brussels sprouts in the centerpiece and several people thought they were tight green peonies. Lemons are lovely in garland work. Tiny green apples, asparagus tips, olives and even cabbage can look amazing. Get creative: You can even find artichokes on 2 foot stems at the floral market.

Nancy Liu Chin is a San Francisco-based floral designer and a bright star in the wedding floral design industry. She is happily married to her equally creative husband, Kevin Chin of Kevin Chin Photography.


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