The Best Foliage to Use in Your Wedding Bouquet for Every Season

Like flowers, the greenery you choose should nod at the time of year, too.

brianna with bridesmaids holding fall-colored bouquets
Photo: Elizabeth LaDuca

While most wedding flower research focuses on the specific blooms you love, the bouquet shapes you're drawn to, and the varieties that match your overall color scheme, don't overlook the importance of leaves and foliage in your arrangements. "Greenery can absolutely change the look and feel of a bouquet," says florist Abby Daigle of Austin, Texas-based Stems. At events that are "whimsical and fun," Daigle uses "wispy foliages that stick up out of a design, giving a playful shape," while couples looking for a sleeker, more formal look will generally choose arrangements with less foliage. "If a client wants a bohemian look, often we use foliages with color and a lot of natural texture," says Daigle, "and for our modern minimalists, bleached foliages are very popular."

A simple change in the color, shape, or quantity of foliage can make the same collection of flowers look bright and summery for a July wedding or cozy and warm for a snowy December ceremony; find the greens that provide your ideal look using the seasonal suggestions below.

For Spring Weddings...

The "everything is finally green" moment that signals the end of winter and attracts spring brides to the season allows for plenty of creativity with foliage, says Daigle. "In spring, we do lots of garden-inspired looks that use foliages as a feature, spilling out of [the arrangement]," she says. "Sometimes clients like the idea of lush greenery with varied types of tones, such as dark green and blue green, to complement the florals." Ensure your wedding bouquet has a garden-in-bloom look by asking your florist to mix multiple kinds of greenery, including eucalyptus, gardenia, and bay laurel, into the arrangement; Daigle also likes incorporating unexpected plants she can source locally, like ealeagnus, tree orchid, and privet leaves.

For Summer Weddings...

In the warmest months, when just about everything is in bloom, flowers tend to steal the spotlight, but remember that greenery is still an essential supporting player. "Summer clients tend to use a lot of color in their designs, and greenery and foliages can complement a color palette and make those colors pop," says Daigle. "Just like spring, we tend to use a mix of tones throughout the summer—from the lightest green to the darkest green—so there are depths to the color palette and not just the same shade and type everywhere." If you're getting married in a hotter climate, request greenery that (like your flowers) won't wilt in the heat; Daigle likes the slim, sturdy, and versatile leaves of nagi foliage.

For Fall Weddings...

Autumn brings out the best in leaves, as many of them change toward the rich tones of fall and give even the showiest flowers a little competition. "We love using foliage that is green with burgundy tips, or that is turning rich shades of red and bronze, or deep purple," says Daigle. "There are endless possibilities for adding that extra layer of design with foliages in the fall." Ask if your florist is able to use foliage that will blend in with the rest of your bouquet's color palette, suggests Daigle. "If we are using burgundy ranunculus that have a purple undertone, mixed with deep berry-toned garden roses, a stem of nandina foliage can tie those colors together with leaves that start green and fade into a berry tone with burgundy tips."

For Winter Weddings...

Iconic winter foliage options—like pine or fir—are obvious ways to turn a simple bouquet into a chic, seasonal arrangement, since they're so closely associated with snowy forests, cozying up by the fireplace, and holiday traditions. But if your style is a little less literal, says Daigle, try something more modern: "We love creating all-white weddings utilizing bleached foliages to create depth and texture, but keeping everything crisp and white." The middle ground—not all-white but not too predictable—is a surprising color: Daigle suggests blue-green eucalyptus, with its blue undertones, pale dusty miller.

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