We love peonies, like really love them!

Big romantic ruffles, hues that range from the soft and pretty to the bold and seductive, add a couple of peonies to a simple bouquet and you'll instantly take it to the next level.

Which is why, when we got to talking with the lovely (and talented!) team at The Great British Florist, we simply had to ask them to tell us more about some of our favourite blooms.

photo by Jo Malone via Bridal Musings

In the UK, only 10% of flowers sold are actually grown here, and the Great British Florist (which are based on a farm in Herefordshire) grow their own blooms, and are attempting to change all that.

So, who better to tell us about when to plan a peony-laced wedding, and what peony alternatives to choose, for the rest of the year?

Take it away guys!

The Expert Guide to Peonies

A symbol of happiness and prosperity, peonies are many a bride's perfect choice of flower for their bouquet.

Peonies are loved by brides the world over, thanks to their gorgeous ruffles and large, full heads that make stunning additions to any bouquet or table decoration.

Their colours range from white through to princess pink, to burgundy and coral, making them a truly feminine bloom.

They’re great for bouquets, floral crowns and table arrangements with their large heads making them the perfect feature flower, ideal if you want to try DIYing your own bouquets or table features.

White Peony Bouquet | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Bouquet by Blossom Events, Photo by Pasha Belman via Style Me Pretty

Arranged with roses and/or lilies, peonies make for a stunning bouquet, and with their range of colours can suit any colour scheme that you might have in mind.

There’s also no reason why you can’t have a bouquet of peonies and no other flowers; if you love all things traditional about weddings, a bouquet of full, white or pale pink peony blooms can look really beautiful.

Coral Charm Peonies | Great British Florist Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Bouquet by The Blue Carrot, Photo by Sarah Falugo via Style Me Pretty

Peonies are also great for a more exotic look, particularly when using the Coral Charm variety. Mixing this coral beauty with an assortment of yellows and bright pinks will make it a bouquet to remember.

One of the most important things to know about peonies is that unfortunately, they’re not available all year round (which is probably what makes us love them all the more).

In fact, they’re typically only available between May and August (in the UK – often from Spring in the US). 

What this means is that it can make peonies a little more expensive than other flower varieties and some brides have been known to plan their whole wedding around peony season!

Your Guide To Peonies | Great British Florist Tips | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Bouquet by Lime Flowers, Photo by C J Williams via Bridal Musings

This year we managed to extend the season by four weeks by preserving them in plastic in our cold room. Even better, we have dried peonies which look lovely and are available all year round!

There are imported peonies available later in the year, but these are at very expensive rates and we here at Great British Florist believe our flowers should be grown not flown.

Imported peonies would most likely originate from as far away as New Zealand, and as such might be close to dead by the time they arrive.

Burgundy Peonies | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Bouquet by Ryder Sloan Events, Photo by Jenny Jimenez via Style Me Pretty

Local flowers however are guaranteed to be fresher, much more scented and last longer, meaning you’ll get to cherish your beloved bouquet or floral crown after the wedding too.

A tip to remember, is that as peonies have a large head, you don’t need as many to fill a whole bouquet. Instead to reduce costs a little, go for the natural and wild look by adding a little extra foliage in to the mix. Or consider the minimalist look, with just one or two peonies for your bouquet.

Just-As-Pretty Peony Alternatives

Sweet Juliet Roses | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Juliet, David Austin Rose Bouquet by Blush Floral Design via Flowerona

If the full headed, romantic and fluffy look of the peony is just something that you have to have, don’t worry, as there are some alternatives out there.

Cabbage Roses, Dahlias, Sweet Juliet Roses and Carnations all feature the same full headed and romantic look of peonies and often available for longer periods of the year and a cheaper cost.

We can also group flowers to make them appear larger and this can be a great effect particularly with ranunculus and pinks.

Cabbage Roses | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Cabbage Rose Bouquet by Floral Occasions, Photo by Glass Jar Photography via Style Me Pretty

When it comes to planning your wedding flowers, it’s always important to consider when your wedding is planned and the flowers available at the time.

Peonies may be your dream flower but not suitable for a winter wedding. To get an idea of how to get the best of your flowers on your wedding day and which flowers are available when, check out our free eBook.

Your Guide To Peonies | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Bouquet by Huckleberry Karen Designs, Photo by Love Life Studios via Bridal Musings

Aren't they just gorgeous? I honestly didn't know the difference with Cabbage Roses – that's such a good tip! Thanks so much to The Great British Florist for telling us a little bit more about pretty peonies.

If you're getting married in England, and would love beautiful, fragrant, locally sourced flowers for your wedding, get in touch with The Great British Florist or follow their musings on Facebook and watch their (super helpful!) tutorials on YouTube.

Don't forget to pin your favourite peonies to show your florist, or if you're trying to choose a variety, check out our nifty guide below…

peony varieties

From top to bottom: Monica Hibbs | White Flower Farm | Heart of Gold & Luxury | Helen Cawte Photography via Bridal Musings | Kariherer on Etsy |Kevin Le Vu Photography via Style Me Pretty | Brookes Gardens

And, if you still haven't decided what kind of blooms you'd like for wedding, check out our bouquet inspiration board on Pinterest which is simply laden with ideas…

Follow Bridal Musings – Wedding Blog's board Bouquets on Pinterest.