Using Australian native flora in weddings has grown over the last few years as couples get back to nature and choose a more rustic approach to their big day. We speak to three experts to find out how to best add touches of true blue natives to your wedding.
According to Jai Winnell of Hermetica Flowers, the trend is defi nitely leaning towards natives, especially softer varieties for bouquets. “Native flowers offer a more sculptural, textured look and most are quite complementary when used with more traditional flowers.”
He recommends using flannel flowers, both on their own and grouped with other flora. “They are so elegant and their powdery, off-grey appearance mixes well with most other colours and textures. But they look gorgeous in a mass on their own too (as long as you’re not allergic, like me!).”
Alison Rahal from Visually Creative says natives also look amazing in jars on the table with some rustic twine. “Many brides are using natives for a more rustic-style wedding. Due to their texture and muted colours, [natives] work well with mixed mason jars and twine. They can also be more cost-effective and go further in certain floral arrangements,” she says. “They definitely last a lot longer than the average flower. They can be dried and kept for many years, unlike the standard garden flower.”
Her native flower of choice is the King protea. “There is just something about its size,” she says. “Wax flower and rice flower are also so pretty and feminine, and eucalyptus is very handy foliage to have.”
She recommends using King proteas as a feature in the bouquet, with other foliage around it to create contrast. “Australian natives are quite textured, so use more subdued flowers to make the natives more of a contrast within your bouquet. Use them in rambling bouquets with lots of foliage.”
Oak and Linden’s Melissa Kuti also likes to use Australian natives to add texture. “I love mixing different kinds of gum and adding texture with nuts and berries. I also love the sculptural quality you get with flowers like proteas.”
She says, as with any bouquet, it’s all about getting the right balance of textures and colours. “Fillers like wax are important if you still want a more traditional shape as they soften the look and will help round out the shape.
Also, don’t feel like you have to pick soft, romantic-looking flowers. I think the more unusual looking flowers are what give native arrangements that rustic charm.”
Jai agrees and says using unusual varieties is the key to creating something unique for your day. “Look into more unusual varieties such as Sturt’s desert pea or Callicarpa. There are so many different native flowers out there, so do your research and design something that is unique and personal to you.”
THE TRICK TO USING AUSTRALIAN NATIVES
Is Australian flora more difficult to work with than other flowers? Our experts say to keep in mind that natives are more hardy and woody than others.
“Natives have woody stems and can become quite heavy in bouquets,” says Alison. However, Melissa believes
this woodiness can also work to your advantage. “They are much hardier than traditional fl owers like David Austin roses so they really suit bouquets, which can take quite a beating over the course of the post-ceremony photo shoot.” Either way, it is recommended that you find a qualified florist to try different native species and discuss your options.
“Every flower is different to use; some are rigid, some overly delicate,” explains Jai. “I respond to the flower and work with it to create a piece.”
By Kylie Baracz
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