I know, I know, even the most well organised amongst us can find ourselves stumped…
Most of us know the usual wedding anniversary gifts: paper for the first year, wooden for the fifth, tin for the tenth. But did you know there are also different flowers to celebrate these special dates? Here’s a guide to the ideal blooms to weave into bouquets when it comes to marking a memorable day, years on…
1st anniversary: Carnation
The carnation is such an under-appreciated flower. True, it has more than a hint of the ‘last-minute service station bouquet’, and that’s dented its reputation. But look elsewhere and you’ll find different varieties with vivid colours and blossom shapes that stay fresh for weeks. Just avoid yellow carnations which apparently symbolise rejection – not ideal for a first wedding anniversary flower!
2nd anniverary: Lily of the valley
The Duchess of Cambridge’s small and subtle bridal bouquet in 2011 largely consisted of fresh, crisp and elegant lily of the valley. With its sweet jasminey scent and bell-shaped white petals, lily of the valley is sometimes called the ‘ladder to heaven’ and apparently means a return to happiness, purity, luck and trustworthiness.
Sunflower (Photo: Metin.Gul via Flickr)
3rd anniversary: Sunflower
Is there a bloom that’s happier than the sunflower? Warm and unfussy, it reminds us all to smile. Its yellow petals are ‘rays’, which adds to its sun-like vibe. Sunflowers are said to symbolise loyalty, adoration and longevity. Choose from happy yellow and orange to darker, moodier dark reds and browns like the Moulin Rouge and Chocolate varieties.
4th anniversary: Hydrangea
It might seem strange to fill a wedding anniversary bouquet with a scentless shrub, but bushy-headed hydrangea can have a wonderful antiquey look. Take your pick from all sorts of intense hues in pink, blue, purple and white – the pH of the soil it’s grown in and different levels of acidity and alkalinity affect the pigments of the petals.
Gerbera (Photo: Liz West via Flickr)
5th anniversary: Gerbera daisy
Daisies are ‘the’ flower for a fifth wedding anniversary. Gerbera, the most popular type of daisy, has large blooms to be enjoyed in a rainbow of vibrant colours – think warm yellows, deep reds, cool pinks and soft whites for starters. It’s a flower for all seasons, and always cheerful and sunny.
6th anniversary: Calla lily
With its trumpet-shaped bloom and lush green leaves, it’s no surprise that the calla lily has graced many a blissful bridal bouquet. ‘Calla’ is taken from the Greek meaning ‘magnificent beauty’, and the flower is seen as a traditional symbol of devotion and marital bliss. Besides the best known ivory-coloured variety, there are other exotic colours to try including orange, yellow, magenta and ‘black’.
7th anniversary: Freesia
Mention the word ‘freesia’ to most people and they talk about the divine scent. It looks – as well as smells – wonderful grouped in bouquets of the same colour, or in a bright jumble of different tones. Try cutting off the little green tendrils on the lower part of the stem and putting them in their own small vase – they sometimes start to bloom too after a while.
Lilac (Photo: Suzanne.Nilsson via Flickr)
8th anniversary: Lilac
The delicate, beautiful lilac sum up a classic English garden for many, and it’s available in gorgeous lavender (the most fragrant) and pure white. Apparently purple lilacs represent first love, and the white variety symbolises youthful innocence. The lilac belongs to the olive family, and there are over 1,000 varieties of its bushes and trees.
9th anniversary: Bird of paradise
To really come up trumps for a ninth wedding anniversary flower? Rustle up a bouquet boasting the striking bird of paradise, also known as strelitzia. Native to South Africa, this magnificent tropical flower is one of the most colourful in the world. As you’d expect, the name comes from the fact that the shape of the bloom looks like a bird’s beak and head plumage.
10th anniversary: Narcissus
Just like a sunflower, the bright, sunny and uncomplicated narcissus (most commonly known as the humble daffodil) is instantly recognisable for its cheerfulness. It’s very much a spring flower linked with ‘rebirth’ – perfect to remember a spring wedding a decade on – and you can choose from pale yellows to intense oranges.
Need perfect blooms to mark your special day? Give us a call at Karen Woolven Flowers at Greenwich on 020 8858 1112.