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New ways to tweak wedding traditions

These days, couples may showcase bits of personal history on their wedding day. For example, they may play CDs of their favorite music or compose slide shows with scenes from their courtship. They may also find small ways to involve guests, such as having each one sign a fabric square for a quilt.

One traditional wedding practice, however, remains pretty much intact. Fresh flowers still epitomize the beauty and symbolism of the occasion. Even in this area, tradition is being gently challenged. While many brides follow tradition with an all-white bridal bouquet that’s simple but lavish — perhaps 200 stems of lilies of the valley — other brides are tossing out the all-white bouquet in favor of color.

Consider these ideas:

• An autumn wedding that reflects the season with the rusty oranges, purples and reds of novelty roses, dahlias, and lilies.

• A wedding that can recall a Tuscan afternoon with warm burgundy and wine-colored flowers interspersed with green foliage.

• To unite sentiment and sophistication, brides are blending several types of red roses in a harmony of cranberry, wine and scarlet.

• Most brides agree on one point: The rose is the quintessential wedding flower.

“Brides love the look of roses, but they want to have other flowers with them, such as lilies, hydrangea and specialty flowers,” said Lynn McLean, a Houston designer.

• Orchids are prominent on the list, particularly for brides seeking a distinctive style.

• Cymbidiums are enjoying a rebirth as brides discover the lustrous colors of this flower. Green cymbidiums inject color into white bouquets, while orange and burgundy blooms add singular beauty in fall tones.

“The cymbidium is the newest, most requested flower,” said McLean.

• The yellow, mango and aubergene tones of the elegant Calla lily will also lure brides, in bouquets or with a single bloom at each place setting.

• Cost-conscious brides are discovering the value of stock, designing entire weddings around this scent-filled flower, including a “floral icing” for the wedding cake.

Wedding flowers are now a medium through which each bride expresses her unique personality. California cut flower growers are attuned to this trend. For a vast and continually changing palette of floral information, visit the California Cut Flower Commission Web site at www.ccfc.org.

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