So I waxed lyrical about these flowers on Instagram, and said they were my current obsession in my real bride diary, so I figured, it was high time these gorgeous blooms got a post, all of their own.

Proteas, my new favourite addition to a bridal bouquet, are the national flower of South Africa.

A statement bloom that varies from bright corals to rich pinks, and off-white blushes to touches of purple, Protea even come in deep red, dusty blue and almost black.

And while Southern Hemisphere brides have been toting them for years, in the rest of the world, these unique flowers, also known as Sugarbushes, are having a bit of a moment right now (and we reckon they’ll be something of a bouquet must-have for 2016).

Protea Bouquet | Proteas for Weddings | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Flowers by Ruby Rain Decor, Photo by Picture Me & U via Ruffled

Part of one of the oldest flower families in the world, Proteas have mythological associations with change and transformation, they symbolise diversity and courage. Varieties include a pin cushion (a more wiry flower), blushing bride (with soft petals) queen, and king (the sturdy versions you see more often).

Grown abundantly in South Africa and Australia, as well as commercially in Hawaii and California the are in season throughout autumn, winter and spring.

Though East Coast and European brides can still have them dried in their bouquets, so they work for every season. As a hardy, fibrous flower, they dry really well, making them a long-lasting option for your wedding day too.

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Photo by Kikitography  via Mooi Troues

While they come in a variety of sizes, they tend to be much bigger than most classic wedding flowers, so they rival the peony as a bouquet centrepiece. And like the peony, they can be used tightly closed or very wide and open.

Using one or three in a mixed bouquet can be really effective, but they also look gorgeous as a single flower bouquet (another trend we think will be BIG in 2016 – stay tuned for a new post coming very soon!)

They are super stylish in decor too, but as they can be expensive depending on your season and location, for the best value, use them sparingly to make a real statement.

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Flower Honey & Poppies, Photo by Edyta Szyszlo Photography via 100 Layer Cake

As a somewhat exotic and unusual bloom, with both bright and muted tones, this versatile flower will work for many styles of wedding, but is perhaps best for boho or rustic weddings in loose, hand-tied bouquets, rather than a classic formal posy.

They look great with desert flowers like succulents, safari sunset, and scabiosa pods, or with really soft fluffy arrangements of cabbage roses, peonies and dusty miller – cascading foliage looks especially gorgeous with Proteas.

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Flowers by Inessa Nichols for Gather Events, Photo by Heather Kincaid Photography via 100 Layer Cake

20 Beautiful Protea Bouquets

Protea Bouquet | Proteas for Weddings | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Kirsten Ellis via Style Me Pretty

So, now you know all about them, but you’ve no idea if Proteas are the wedding flowers for you?

We’ve put together a few of our favourite pretty protea arrangements, so you can see if this cool bloom tickles your floral fancy…

1. A Mixed Bunch

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Flowers by Isha Foss Events, Photo by Chelsea LaVere via Ruffled

2. Plucked from a MeadowProtea Bouquet | Proteas for Weddings | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 22

Flowers by Bo Boutique, Photo by Buffy Dekmar via Sweet Violet Bride

3. Bright Eyes

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Flowers by EV Floral Design, Photo by Lindsay Ferraris Photography, via Green Wedding Shoes

4. Desert Bride

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Flowers by Zingara Blooms, Photo by Mitch Pohl via Hello May

5. Tickled Pink

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Flowers by The Little Branch, Photo by Beaux Arts Photographies via Style Me Pretty

6. Simple Stems

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Flowers by Artisan Events, Photo by Lauren Scotti via Ruffled

7. Winter Wedding

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Flowers by Crimson Wedding Flowers, Photo by James Frost via Magnolia Rouge

8. Dusty Hues

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Photo by Ale & Kim via Magnolia Rouge

9. Fancy Foliage

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Flowers by Adornments Flowers & Finery, Photo by Danielle Poff Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

10. Closed Quarters

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Flowers by Root 75, Photo by Megan from Studio Castillero via 100 Layer Cake

11. Red Wedding

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Flowers by Liz Rusnac Floral Design, Photo by Brittany Lauren Photography via Style Me Pretty

12. Berry Nice

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Flowers by Fern Wedding Florist , Photo by Just For Love Photography via Burnett’s Boards

13. Add Some Artichokes

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Flowers by Helene Gutjahr, Photo by Kibogo Photography via Style Me Pretty

14. Dried for a Bride

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Flowers by Floral LabPhoto by Wendy Tam Photography via Bridal Musings

15. Something Blue

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Flowers by Flowers by Bornay, Photo by The Love Studio via Swooned

16. King Size Centrepiece

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Flowers by Clementine PosyPhoto by Logan Cole Photography via Bridal Musings

17. Open & Shut

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Flowers by Clementine Floral Design, Photo by Mint Photography, via Magnolia Rouge

18. White Wedding

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Flowers by Adornments Flowers & Finery, Photo by Danielle Poff Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

19. Trailing Foliage

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Flowers by Noonan’s Designs, Photo by Jodi & Kurt Baier of Jodi Miller Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

20. Birds of a Feather

Protea Bouquet | Proteas for Weddings | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

 

Flowers by Pollen Floral Art, Photo by Lauren Peele via Style Me Pretty

Just so beautiful aren’t they? Like I said, I’m obsessed! (If you’re equally smitten, you’ll love South African blog, Southbound Bride’s, dedicated Pinterest board to all things Proteas!)

What are your favourite flowers at the moment?

Get more unique wedding flower ideas on the blog + on Pinterest