A Guide to Artificial Wedding Flowers

15 Sep.,2022

 

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Before we start talking polymers and foams, let’s make the distinction between artificial flowers—individual stems designed to replicate real flowers—and non-floral wedding bouquets.

Artificial Vs. Non-Floral Wedding Flowers

Non-floral bouquets are composed of different, unusual elements that aren’t supposed to look like flowers. Here are some examples of non-floral wedding bouquets:

  • Rhinestone “brooch” bouquets
  • Seashell bouquets
  • “Bauble” bouquets made from holiday ornaments
  • All-greenery bouquets, including: tropical leaves, ferns, grasses, or herbs
  • Fruit or vegetable bouquets
  • Succulent or air plant bouquets
  • Feather bouquets
  • Cotton bouquets
  • Paper flower bouquets (see more below)
  • Fabric bouquets (see more below)

If you’re going for an alternative approach to your wedding florals, a non-floral bouquet is a great way to add some personalization and creativity to your overall wedding style. Not to mention many non-floral bouquets are more practical for a lot of the same reasons that artificial flowers are: they can be more economical, can be prepared earlier, will last longer, won’t wilt or die in extreme temperatures, and are available regardless of blooming season.

Photo Credit // Zola

Photo Credit // Zola

Pros and Cons of Artificial Wedding Flowers


Pros

  • Can be more affordable
  • All flower varieties are available in all seasons
  • Last forever
  • Greater control over flower types and colors
  • Can order and prepare them in advance
  • Won’t wilt or attract bugs during outdoor summer weddings
  • Good for those with allergies
  • Don’t require water, is so easy to transport and keep looking good
  • Easy to practice (and re-do) any DIY arrangements

Cons

  • Can look tacky or cheap
  • The best-looking varieties cost as much as (or more than) real flowers
  • Lack the same feel as real flowers
  • Lack real-floral scent
  • Real flowers will always be more breathtaking

Types of Artificial Wedding Flowers

If you think going with artificial wedding flowers cuts down on the number of choices you’ll have to make, guess again: just like non-floral bouquets, there are many types of artificial stems to choose from. This means that their quality and appearance can vary quite a bit—from the often plastic-looking ones you see at the dollar store to incredibly realistic versions that will cost you as much as real flowers. Below you’ll find a description of every type of artificial flower and the pros and cons of each.

Photo Credit // Zola

Photo Credit // Zola

“Silk” or Fabric Wedding Flowers

The most familiar type of artificial flowers, these faux blooms are known as silk flowers—however these days they’re no longer made from silk, but most often a variety of polyester or nylon.

Pros:

  • Huge variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles
  • Widely available
  • Easy to mix and match with real blooms
  • Slight variations from flower to flower make them look more realistic when nestled together

Cons:

  • Edges can fray easily
  • Feel very unrealistic to the touch
  • Quality varies quite a bit from seller to seller
  • Flower stems are usually thick, steel wires wrapped in plastic, creating a very heavy bundle to hold

Foam Wedding Flowers

These faux blooms are composed of very thin foam petals that are dyed with a specific hue and glued around a styrofoam center. Foam flowers are most often seen as roses, and useful to fill in the center of bouquets and arrangements.

Pros:

  • The cheapest artificial flower
  • Very lightweight, malleable, and easy to work with
  • Look realistic when used to fill in the center of arrangements

Cons:

  • Messy and not attractive when seen from the side or underneath
  • Sold in packs, rather than individually
  • Every flower looks identical, allowing for less realism when placed side-by-side

Wax-Coated Wedding Flowers

Wax-coated artificial flowers are high-quality silk flowers that have been coated with a special wax to make them feel (and look) like real flowers. The level of detail on the petals, such as veining or slight impressions, combined with the real-touch feel make these some of the most expensive artificial flowers available.

Pros:

  • Very lifelike and high-quality

Cons:

  • Expensive (up to 3 times more than their silk counterparts)
  • Since they are still fabric flowers at heart, edges can still fray

Latex Wedding Flowers

Similar to wax-coated flowers, latex artificial flowers are coated in a thin wax and have very lifelike details, making them both look and feel pretty close to the real deal. Latex flower petals are actually made from latex, rather than polyester fabric, so they don’t run the risk of fraying at the edges.

Pros:

  • No frayed edges
  • Very realistic appearance and feel
  • Can be made to mimic thick or thin petals

Cons:

  • Lack of variety in flower types
  • Hard to find
  • Pricey

Fresh Touch (Polymer) Wedding Flowers

The most expensive type of artificial flowers, fresh touch or real touch flowers are designed to look, and feel, as close to the real thing as you can get. They’re made from a blend of foam and latex

Pros:

  • Look and feel most like real flowers
  • Each flower has slight variations for greater realism when arranged together

Cons:

  • Most expensive
  • Less readily available (must go through a pro florist)
  • White or ivory shades can look aged over time
  • Petals can be easily crushed when packed too tightly
Photo Credit // Zola

Photo Credit // Zola

Paper Wedding Flowers

Paper wedding flowers are exactly what they sound like: flowers that are constructed out of paper. Paper flowers can be extremely delicate and lifelike, to the point where you have to get very close to the flowers to tell they aren’t real—these varieties are sourced from specialty shops or online vendors. On the flip side, paper flowers can also be dramatic and theatrical through the use of bright colors, patterns, or oversized shapes. These less-realistic versions can more easily be DIYed if you have an artistic hand.

DIY paper wedding flowers can be used for great impact as a decorative focal point, since they are generally inexpensive to create and their uses are limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas for ways you can use paper flowers to replace (or augment) your wedding floral decor:

  • Create a floral wall backdrop for your ceremony, sweetheart table, or photo booth.
  • Create paper flower streamers or garlands to suspend from your ceremony or reception spaces.
  • Create large-scale tropical leaves and palm fronds from paper to decorate a beachy, island-themed wedding.
  • Cover your ceremony arch in a rainbow of brightly colored paper flowers.
  • Craft boutonnieres or small bouquets from specialty paper to match your wedding theme, such as pages from a comic book or sheet music.

To check out real-life examples of these and other paper flower ideas, check out our blog post recounting 7 Times Paper Wedding Flowers Won Our Hearts.

Photo Credit // Zola

Photo Credit // Zola

Fabric Wedding Flowers

Similar to paper, fabric wedding flowers are on the DIY-approved list if you’re on the artistic side. Fabric flowers are harder to make, however (fabric is less forgiving than paper), and therefore it’s wiser to use fabric flowers in small doses, such as bouquets, boutonnieres, and hair accessories. You can also find fabric wedding bouquets on online craft sites. Satin roses are a common type of fabric wedding flower, as are flowers made from tulle, burlap, felt, cotton, and lace.