Use Produce in Floral Arrangements

Before you walk down the aisle on your big day, hit the produce aisle first. Here's how to add some seasonal zest to your bouquets.

tangerines accented by stock flower, veronica, dahlias and dusty miller/Courtesy photo

Tangerines accented by stock flower, veronica, dahlias and dusty miller / Courtesy photo

Adding unusual items into your floral arrangements is a way for couples to showcase their unique personalities. For examples, apples can be a nod to the couple that got engaged in an orchard. Or they show off their foodie side by incorporating kumquats, artichokes, or baby kale.

Hitting the produce aisle for your walk down the aisle is one way to make this happen. But Meghan Perlow, the owner of Poppy Floral in Cambridge, is happy to go grocery shopping for you.

“We love the design trend of adding produce to florals,” Perlow says. “Our goal with every wedding is really let the couple’s personality shine though, and this a great way to do it. It also allows us to use more locally sourced and organically grown products that will hold up throughout the day. And brides love it because it also stretches their wedding dollar a lot further.”

Centerpieces are usually the best opportunities for using produce in floral arrangements. Apples and kumquats tend to be too heavy for bouquets, so Perlow and her team hand-wire them in securely to centerpieces to add a great pop of visual interest. Ceremony and escort card arrangements also work well for this, since they can get a little more creative and have a larger space to fill.

For bridal bouquets, Perlow loves to use items that already come with a sturdy stem, such as mini kale, purple artichokes, or kumquats. These items can be pulled in without the fear of breaking, and don’t require the extra labor of hand-wiring each individual item into the bouquet. “They blend in just as a natural flower would, creating pops of unique texture and color among more traditional flowers,” she adds.

mini kale accented by ranunculus, waxflower, astilbe, calla lilies and purple clematis/Courtesy photo

Mini kale accented by ranunculus, waxflower, astilbe, calla lilies, and purple clematis / Courtesy photo

“Fall is definitely where we start to see more requests for produce like items. It’s a subtle way to connect the season to your wedding decor without being too over-themed,” says Perlow. The best items to use are ones that won’t brown or become easily damaged, such as squash, gourds, mini pumpkins (there are even wedding white varieties), and, of course, apples.

“For apples specifically, New England is a great place to design in since we have such a large variety,” she continues. There are McIntosh and Baldwins for red-and-green striping, Blondees and Golden Delicious with their golden yellow, and Redfields have a bright shiny red for more traditional arrangements.

Apples and blueberries/Courtesy photo

Apples and blueberries / Courtesy photo

You can even specify that the apple not fall far from the tree: “This season, instead of flowers, for one of our ceremonies we’re using planted crab apple trees—a unique way to make the altar stand out without spending a lot of large floral arrangements,” she says.

Other fruits and veggies Perlow has used are tangerines, lemons, and limes, which not only have staying power but also give off a subtle citrus scent all throughout the event. “We’ve also brought in more herbal items such as rosemary, thyme, and olive branches that still have little green olives attached,” she says.

And you can thank the past for some of the vegetables that you’ll display on the day celebrating the future. “Heirloom produce is going through an incredible revival, with seed banks selling produce varieties that haven’t been seen in over 100 years,” Perlow says. Such colorful choices include purple turnips, red burgundy okra, Purple of Romagna artichokes, and purple radishes. “The coloring of some varieties is stunning and is not only great to include in arrangements, but gives a strong historical connection to the region,” she says.


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