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  • Fresh Ideas for Wedding Flowers
    Get inspiration for your nuptials from Italy's tradition of beautiful floral arrangements
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    June is wedding season - even in Italy. As you might imagine, most Italian weddings are full of romance. The extraordinary use of flowers only enhances this ambiance. Whether you are getting wed in Italy or not, you can get inspired by the bridal bouquets, centerpieces and church flowers that have a starring role in most Italian ceremonies and receptions. Here are some ideas:

    1. Give importance to your house and God's house. In Italy, brides and their families decorate their home with elaborate floral arrangements, some of which are tall, narrow and made to look like columns. This way the photos of the bride preparing for the big day have exciting visual elements in the background. Little buds are mixed in with Jordan almonds and coins that are thrown at the bride's feet - usually by her parents - as a good luck offering when she leaves for the ceremony. And the church usually smells like a floral shop with arrangements everywhere - from the altar to the door and everything in between.

    2. Choose from a bevy of bouquets. There are four basic types of bouquets offered in most Italian floral shops - open and voluminous, cascade, hand tied and round.

    Open and voluminous bouquets are ideal for the taller bride and are wide, round bouquets with multiple varieties and full blooms. Peonies would be a show stopper in this bunch. Brides need to think big if they choose this bouquet.

    The cascade is a bouquet that tends to be round but narrow at the top and creates the look of a water fall of flowers the fall down from the bride's clutch to her knees. Dramatic and lovely, it is perfect for bride's wearing princess or ball gowns and can be made of one or more varieties but always with greenery and other fillers. The skirt of your dress almost serves as a drop cloth for these works of art.

    Hand-tied bouquets held together by a simple and delicate ribbon have been all the rage in the States for the last few years but were invented in Europe. The bow or decoration can be as ornate as you'd like but the bouquet is usually of only one variety, say roses or tulips.

    Round bouquets are a compact bunch of small flowers - think tea roses - in different varieties. Although most online Italian floral shops say they can adjust any bouquet to suit your dress and décor, this bouquet is recommended for someone wearing a short dress.

    3. Consider a rainbow of possibilities. White, the color of purity and virginity, is the traditional color for bridal flowers in the Catholic country of Italy. But any color goes for modern Italian women - except maybe lilac. Some Italians believe lilac brings bad luck, so it is not as popular a choice as it is in the United States.

    4. Center your attention on the centerpieces. Descendents of some of the world's greatest artists, Italians have a knack for turning everyday items into a thing of beauty. You've probably seen people using oranges, lemons and other fruits and vegetables as centerpieces. But in Italy, some floral vendors are mixing these items in with the bouquets. Using citrus fruits is particularly fun if you are having a wedding in the southern part of the country, where they are abundant. Dried flowers and even wheat are other unique items that Italians use to dress up a table.

    5. Give creativity a chance. By doing a search on Google Italy is a great way to get ideas. You're likely to find some beautiful photos of wedding arrangements and bouquets. Some of the unique things I turned up included one giant flower made from the leaves of many lilies with beaded satin ribbons hanging down from the stems that were tied with layers of tulle. A bouquet of white calla lilies and red roses makes a dramatic statement at a Sacred Heart or red-and-white wedding. If you are going to be in Italy, you can choose to carry the golden mimosa, which is the flower of femininity and is exchanged on Women's Day in Italy. Really, if you can think of the arrangement, Italian florists can make it happen.

    6. Forget the cans on your car. In Italy, the couple's getaway car is never done up with old cans and bottle caps. Instead, flowers strung by satin ribbons hang from the trunk. The flowers can be fresh or fake but they must be beautiful.

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