Specifically, let’s talk about 5 petal, star shaped lilies and not calla lilies or Peruvian Lilies. Those we can save for another article as they are a whole subject each unto themselves. There are two distinct categories for the star shaped lily; Asiatic and Oriental.
Asiatic lilies are smaller, with a slight fragrance. They come in a wide range of colors: red, burgundy, orange, peach, yellow, ivory, pink and variegated ones such as an orange with yellow and a pink with white. Lilies are available year round and tend to be reasonable when you consider that most stems come with 3 buds per stem. Usually the top bud does not open until much later than the other two, but there are ways that a floral designer can get lilies to open from the bottom bud to the top one. This makes them very cost effective for a budget bride. A few stems of lilies make a beautiful bouquet as well as creating a lot of visual interest in larger pieces such as ceremony arrangements.
Oriental lilies are the larger of the two types of lilies and they have a much stronger fragrance. The white lily has perhaps the strongest of all the colors in this category, but if you have allergies to strong perfumes or fragrances, you should think carefully about using this type of lily in your bouquets. Oriental lilies come in pure white, pale yellow, burgundy/red, pink and a variegated pink/hot pink/white combination usually known as stargazer or star fighter lilies. A bouquet of all oriental lilies is stunning as well as perfect for the bride who wants her flowers to have a lot of fragrance.
Lilies of both categories look wonderful when used alone in a mix of colors or as a one tone bouquet. They also look fabulous when used with other flowers. For an elegant look, combining lilies with orchids or calla lilies would be perfect. If your wedding is more of a garden style, use lilies with peonies, sweet peas, freesia, and a small filler flower such as queen anne’s lace. Lilies can be used in weddings featuring lots of bright colors such as reds, oranges and yellows for a late summer or fall wedding. They look equally wonderful in a more elegant wedding using ivories and whites with or without the addition of other types of flowers.
Last, lilies due to their size can help keep a tight floral budget in line. A single perfect lily floating in a shallow bowl with a few votive candles is a simple but elegant centerpiece. A vase bouquet of all lilies and an edge of greenery and grasses can be used for a ceremony decoration and then moved to a buffet or guest book table at the reception. So, don’t be afraid to explore the world of lilies! They aren’t just found in your grandmother’s garden anymore.