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).
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.
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.
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.
20 Beautiful Protea Bouquets
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
3. Bright Eyes
4. Desert Bride
5. Tickled Pink
6. Simple Stems
7. Winter Wedding
8. Dusty Hues
9. Fancy Foliage
10. Closed Quarters
11. Red Wedding
12. Berry Nice
13. Add Some Artichokes
14. Dried for a Bride
15. Something Blue
16. King Size Centrepiece
17. Open & Shut
18. White Wedding
19. Trailing Foliage
20. Birds of a Feather
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?