Confessions of a Recovering Carnation-Hater – Affordable Wedding Flowers

by Julie on February 19, 2014

Carnation Wedding Decor

OK, OK, I know… you hate carnations. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times! Believe it or not, there was a time when I hated them too. Whew, there, I got that out. Yes, I am a florist and I am a recovering carnation hater! Carnations would bring to mind a bad 1970’s prom date:  powder blue polyester suits, porkchops, floral patterned dresses, and baby’s breath… lots and lots of baby’s breath. (Just the thought of it makes me shudder!) But over the years carnations have grown on me and I have learned to love them… honestly!  I have learned a few tricks along the way to really make them into beautiful arrangements. As flowers go, you can’t find more affordable and long-lasting blooms that come in such a wide array of fantastic colors.

Following are a few ways that you can incorporate carnations into your event in ways that will wow your guests without breaking your budget:

1. Group them into “clustered” arrangements. Check out this grouping of clustered monochromatic carnation bouquets arranged in modern minimalist containers and displayed in an ombre effect. A lone carnation may not impress, but a cluster of them is stunning!

2. Arrange them into pomander balls. Hang them from shepherd’s hooks to accent your aisle at your outdoor wedding or from the pews at your church and then transfer them to your reception venue to use as part of your decor. Or why not have your flower girl carry a tiny carnation pomander ball instead of a basket or bouquet? Adorable!

3. Make a statement when your guests arrive at your reception by displaying your placecards on a bed of carnations. Talk about classy!

Photos by Martha Stewart Weddings

The list of possibilities is endless. Check back to the blog soon for a tutorial on how to make your own DIY carnation centerpiece.

Give them a try, I promise you will become a recovering carnation-hater as well!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom February 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

As one who has been there since the start of your floral career, I can wholeheartedly agree that you simply hated working with carnations and baby’s breath. It just screams throwback and tacky (so says the fashion-challenged guy who lives at Julia’s Blooms and has helped deliver plenty of unique weddings).

However, having attended some of these weddings and helped you deliver several more, I agree that you can make these flowers look good, especially in a grouped arrangement. They have a certain texture and look that is much different than a rose or lily, and you can get pretty creative (as you can see in the examples you have shown above).

I would also assume that the carnations are “budget friendly,” and they can make a tight budget shine while adding lots of colors and texture to your wedding. I would recommend considering carnations, and who knows?

Maybe we’ll see a post about the “Wonders of Baby’s Breath” sometimes soon….maybe….


Julie February 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Wow Tom, you have learned a thing or two along the way! 🙂 You’re right, grouped together they have a texture that I often like to say is similar to hydrangea… at a much lower cost. And yes, considering baby’s breath has made a comeback recently with all of the “vintage, ” “rustic,” and “country” wedding themes that we are seeing lately, a “Wonders of Baby’s Breath” post is definitely in the works!


Tom February 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

One of the cool things that I have seen lately is having the bridal party at a harvest table at the reception. You place the arrangements (like pomander balls and the bouquets) in the cylinders of different heights on the table. Add a few cylinders with floating candles to the mix, and you have a unique, classy look.

Additionally, it puts the bridal party in the middle of the guests instead of isolating them to a far edge of the reception hall. It makes the event more intimate while giving you a unique, creative, personal and unforgettable experience.

Now where have I heard that before?


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