Beach Bloom Guide

Follow this tip-filled guide to getting the best beach-appropriate blooms around.

Find Wilt-free Flowers
Some flowers are simply heartier than others. The best way to avoid a wilted bouquet is to choose the right blooms. For a warm-weather beach bouquet, Kate Richards, director of design and operations at The Stem & Petal Co. in Wilmington, California, likes to use orchids, mini calla lilies, and roses. Two popular flowers that don't stand up as well in the heat are hydrangeas (prone to wilting in direct sunlight) and tulips (known to open up quickly in the heat).

Take Care of Your Blooms
If you have your heart set on a more delicate bloom, you'll have to take extra care to ensure its freshness throughout the day. Typically, bouquets are meant to last at least seven to eight hours. But to guarantee that your flowers will look picture-perfect, Richards encourages her clients to keep their bouquets in a vase with water for as long as possible. (She also delivers hand-tied bouquets sitting upright in a vase with a supersaturated paper towel in the bottom.) During the reception, have a couple of vases on hand to put your bridal and bridesmaid bouquets into while the festivities are going on. That way, your blooms are sure to last through the night.

Opt for Hardy Elements
Flowers aren't the only way to go for beach centerpieces. If you're looking for a more modern style, get tropical greenery mixed with hardy tropical flowers. Richards suggests broad, dark green leaves combined with orchids, philodendrons, or calla lilies to emphasize a clean yet bold tropical aesthetic. For an East Coast beach wedding, Richards also recommends using grasses to mimic the natural beach grasses. They can be wrapped inside glass containers or set upright in tall containers to blow in the breeze. Driftwood also makes for an attention-grabbing beach material. "A single branch with orchid blooms tucked here and there is an organic yet stunning and modern centerpiece," Richards says.

Consider a Few Nonfloral Options
For a few flower-free ideas, bring in other beach elements such as sand, starfish, sea glass, or shells. Fresh, tropical fruit is also an excellent alternative, not to mention a great way to add a burst of color to the room. Richards suggests lining up pineapples along the center of the reception tables or using bowls of mangoes as decor. For an elegant evening near the beach, incorporate candles by setting them among seashells or putting them into a container filled with sand or sea glass. If the reception is on the beach and wind is an issue, Richards advises using electric candles inside frosted glass votives. Another fun idea: Get a low glass container for the tables and fill them with water and goldfish. At the end of the night, send guests home with a fish and a little package of fish food.

-- Anja Winikka

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