Flowers and types of arrangements for formal events

Written By: Kat Apf

Most formal occasions include flowers in some capacity. Wedding, proms and formal dinner parties normally all incorporate a variety of floral arrangements, from centerpieces to corsages to boutonnieres. The flowers can be of any variety, though there are certain flowers that are considered more formal such as roses, carnations or gardenias.

Type of arrangements


A centerpiece for each table is the norm at formal events. These can range from very simple, small arrangements to tall, elaborate ones. They can consist of only flowers or they can contain many different components such as candles, decorative stones, all kinds of greenery and a variety of containers as well as the flowers.

Centerpieces can reflect the theme of a formal event and each table can have the same centerpieces but sometimes, each one can be different which can lead to a different feel to the event. Centerpieces for formal occasions can really be made using any flowers but roses, calla lilies, gardenias and orchids will all lend a certain elegance to a formal party.

Pinned corsages

While years ago, a pinned corsage for each woman was a must at every event, these days, not so much so. A corsage has a nice, old fashioned elegance to it that can help make a formal occasion just right. Corsages are a lovely touch for a formal event. For the most part, any flower will work but roses are usually used for pinned corsages.

A corsage shouldn’t be huge and uncomfortable, though. Take into account the actual size of a the person wearing it. A huge bouquet pinned to a small child or a shorter adult will look silly. And the decorative additions to the corsage should not be uncomfortable, either. Soft ribbon and smaller embellishments are best for pinned corsages.


Wristlets are synonymous with prom. Some people mistakenly call these corsages but they’re not. A wristlet is basically a bracelet with live flowers attached to it. The key to a good wristlet is that it’s not too big and heavy. Like a pinned corsage, a giant wristlet can quickly become a nuisance to the wearer. If the wristlet has embellishments, such as ribbon, it should be soft so the wearer doesn’t chafe. Again, a variety of flowers can be used for wristlets but the common ones are roses.


A boutonniere makes a good suit look even better. Traditionally, these were almost always carnations or roses but these days, almost any flower can be used for a boutonniere. Proms and weddings are usually where a boutonniere works best but other formal occasions can call for them, too.

Types of flower for formal occasions

As stated above, roses, calla lilies and gardenias are the most popular flowers for formal occasions but don’t feel boxed in. Any flower can be used to make any of the arrangements for a formal celebration. Elegant flowers such as Persian buttercups, Oriental lilies, peonies and orchids can all be made into any arrangement and will work well. The event will most likely dictate what flowers and what types of arrangements will work. Sunflowers and Gerbera daisies will work for a hoedown but probably won’t work for a formal prom.

With the help of a florist

Matching the flowers to the event isn’t that hard to do but if it’s overwhelming, a florist can help. Deciding when corsages, boutonnieres and wristlets are an option is also something a florist can help with. Any formal event can be enhanced with the use of all kinds of floral arrangements.

Meaningful flower bouquets

Written By: Kat Apf

Today, people tend to send flower bouquets based on what they, or the person they are giving the flowers to, like. They choose a bouquet because it contains their favorite flower or because of the color of the flowers but people, especially in Victorian times, used to use flowers to send messages. Every flower has a meaning and a bouquet could tell the receiver many things without saying a word. While this was a very popular pastime in the Victorian era, the beginning of this custom is said to have started in Turkey in the 18th century.

The language of love

Reviving the language of flowers can be a fun way to “talk” to a lover or friends. Making a bouquet of messages can be a fun, creative gift to give. Most flowers have more than one meaning attached to them so it’s probably a good idea to include a card with the meaning intended.

Well-known meanings

Certain flower meanings are fairly well known. Red roses denote love. Yellow roses equal friendship. Any white flower means purity.  But there are many flower meanings that aren’t as well known. Using some flowers with well-known meanings and some not so well-known meanings in each message bouquet will make this more fun and the bouquet will be bigger.

Top five love related flowers and meanings

  1. Carnations: Like roses, a carnations’ color changes the meaning. In general, carnations mean devoted love but a pink carnation also means, I’ll never forget you.
  2. Tulips: Tulips are the symbol of the perfect love. In addition to that meaning the colors change the meaning as well. A red tulip means, believe me.
  3. Zinnias: Zinnias mean lasting affection or love.
  4. Calla lilies: Calla lilies equal majestic beauty or a regal beauty.
  5. Sunflowers: Sunflowers mean devotion.

Making a bouquet of these flowers, tied with a beautiful ribbon and a card noting what each flower means, is a special way to say I love you. Instead of a card, small slips of paper could be attached to each flower with the meanings handwritten on them.

Top five friendship related flowers and meanings

  1. Geraniums: Comfort is what a geranium stands for and also, a true friend.
  2. Freesia: Freesia represents trust.
  3. Daffodil: Respect is what a daffodil conveys. It can also mean the sun shines when I’m with you.
  4. Iris: An iris symbolizes inspiration.
  5. Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemum means a wonderful friend.

These five flowers, put together in a basket, with a note on what each one means or a poem incorporating the meanings, would be treasured by a friend.

Every occasion

Almost any occasion can be remembered with bouquets that have meaning. Birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings and almost all holidays are great times to make and give a flower bouquet with meanings. But don’t forget that any day is a good day to let someone know that they are important and these types of floral bouquets or arrangements can do just that.

A meaningful way to connect

Like handwritten letters, the meanings of flowers might be a dying art but it doesn’t have to be. Shooting off an email or texting someone is nice but a handwritten note attached to a floral bouquet is so much more meaningful. By reviving the language of flowers, people will be able connect in a new (old) way and they’ll have fun doing it.

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