28 Aug2009


In the last couple of months, I have had more than the usual smattering of emails from brides or brides to be asking about flowers for their weddings. I have pointed some readers to the wholesale flower markets in New York for events they had in that area, pointed folks to Dimasalang for local Manila based events, etc. And often, I get the same questions about what flowers are best to use, which ones are the cheapest, how will they do something elegant yet not break the bank, etc. So here are some personal and totally amateur thoughts on flowers for weddings, in case you were one of those gearing up for a December or January event… First of all, I would go for white, cream or similar shades, no color. That is a personal bias. Ultimately, you should pick what makes YOU happy.


If preparing for a local wedding, and you have a modest budget, consider:

Masses of white roses from the Mt. Province. The local ones must be fresh and they must be prepped well. But at PHP60 for 24 stems wholesale at Dimasalang, they are a steal.
White dendrobium orchids. Almost always available and modestly priced. Sturdy and versatile for a variety of uses.
Rosal or gardenias. If you catch the timing right, and they are delivered at their peak, you could have a stunning set of arrangements and incredibly fragrant to boot. Very economical.
Sampaguita. You need to get to the source, but simple garlands would be nice if not a bit over the top.
Calla lilies. Not a favorite of mine, but you can do wonders with them on very little money. The newer smaller hybrids can be spectacular.
Lisianthus. Soft, disarmingly temperate looking in origin, but plentiful here thanks to local growers.
White Chrysanthemums. Yikes, I would never use these, as mums are traditionally used for wakes and funerals, but they are a popular and very cheap choice locally. And creativity can make these rather appealing.
– If you can get them, white lotus flowers, are incredibly elegant and very Eastern…

Personally, I would suggest you consider a really nice bouquet and spend the money there rather than have lots and lots of leafy, anemic, substandard arrangements in the church. The bouquet is what will show up in most of your photos for posterity…


If the budget is NOT a major issue:

Casablanca lilies or other white lilies of the same type. For massive arrangements. Great fragrance. Easy to arrange.
White phaelanopsis or butterfly orchids, potted or cut. Extravagant yet universally classy and elegant. White cattleyas, etc. also nice.
– Lots of huge white roses, most likely imported. Lots of them. Stunning and classic. Double roses and all such variations are nice too, and even pricier.
White hydrangeas. Here’s another photo of really white ones.
Cream or white peonies.
White or cream delphiniums
White Lilacs
White or cream amaryllis
Stephanotis (classic small white wedding flowers), link to photo from another source.
Ranunculus (white or other very pale pastel colors)
Lily of the Valley (One of the most classic flowers you can use. Not easy to obtain in Manila, though some of the best florists can have it brought in.)
– Tulips (long-stemmed white French tulips in these photographs are possibly my personal all-time favorite)


Long stemmed white tulips are absolutely stunning. Incredibly elegant and just beautiful to behold. With stems as long as 2-3 feet, the flowers “grow” even after you arrange them in vases, and they “seek the light” and twist and turn during the day… A personal favorite. Mrs. MM’s favorites are amaryllis and casablanca lilies. I hope this post answers the questions and concerns of several brides, brides to be, and an occasional groom (mostly about budgets!) who have asked related questions in the past few months. :)



  1. misao says:

    nice post MM! i love white flowers in general. and same with your wife, i love casablancas! i had those in my bridal bouquet, bunched up with some white tulips.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 11:57 am


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  3. gtrine says:

    I really enjoy your sense of style. Personally, I like the white on white suggestion! We plan to renew our vows next year and I really want a lily of the valley boquet! I am bookmarking this post. =) Thanks!

    Aug 28, 2009 | 12:05 pm

  4. Kerie says:

    Thanks MM for this post :-)..you just made it easy for me to find something for my wedding next year and such a great post check out different types of flowers…SPOT ON MM…as always!

    Aug 28, 2009 | 1:03 pm

  5. Mary Kim says:

    I agree that the bride’s bouquet should be given much attention than the flowers you see while walkin down the aisle. If on budget I suggest real flowers on the bouquet and the “good” as if real artificial ones if available from the wedding package or coordinator. if not go for the cheaper ones, anyway.

    white is the most appropriate color in my opinion or just light hues will do.

    MM, I just wonder how much an average wedding (maybe of 300 guests-resto lunch buffet or traditional bride’s place) costs today, if you don’t mind.^ ^

    Aug 28, 2009 | 1:10 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Mary, I haven’t the foggiest clue, got married nearly 17 years ago! :)

    Aug 28, 2009 | 1:30 pm

  7. andeeeng says:

    I had a special wedding bouquet made from pieces of white shells which a friend designed as a gift. The guests were all curious about it and I loved because it was unique and I can still keep it after the wedding, unlike flowers that will just wilt.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 2:19 pm

  8. juli says:

    Very timely post. I was just looking at some flower arrangements you previously posted. Was trying to find ideas for my big day in 2 months. I’m leaning towards white calla lilies for a simple and elegant bouquet. Thanks MM.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 2:20 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    juli, make sure they are of the finest quality and not flattened from masses packed together. The smaller hybrids are pricier but much nicer than the white ones grown in bulk… andeeeng, that sounds quite interesting. NIce you can keep the piece for eternity.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 2:26 pm

  10. Mom-Friday says:

    hi MM i truly appreciate this post since i am a wedding planner and I usually gets lots of questions like what flowers are best or appropriate. Tulips are my favorites! And also Ranunculus and deep colored Calla lilies. Whites will always be elegant and classic. During late 90’s to early 2K, when I got married, colored bouquets were all the rage…I had parrot tulips in shades of autumn for my mofit. BUT again, as MM stated, it boils down to what will make you / the couple.
    To Gtrine: Lily of Valley is such a delicate and lovely flower, but it costs soooo much it’s quite discouraging to recommend (last estimate is more than P10,000 for a bunch / bouquet), unless of course money is no object, then go for it :)
    To Mary kim: Costs are very subjective as it covers various elements. For 300pax, you may set a budget of P500,000 — may seem too modest for others, but can too much for some. This can go up to P1M+ . I always suggest to my couples to set a realistic budget or amount they are willing to spend without having to begin their marriage in debt.
    Hope my insights were helpful to you :)

    Aug 28, 2009 | 2:33 pm

  11. s says:

    agree with your thoughts of the lily of the valley.
    1-bouquet nw- would cost P 25t – 30t. cost
    for the flowers/decor in a wedding start from
    30t to 500t depending on the client.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 4:08 pm

  12. Emily says:

    @Mom-Friday and s: *faint* I am glad I did not get married in the Philippines, because I’m sure we would have ended up inviting 300 guests or more.

    I had no idea lilies of the valley were so expensive there; they just grow in profusion in my neighbor’s garden!

    Aug 28, 2009 | 4:54 pm

  13. Mia says:

    Hi MM!

    Just curious… Did you have to tie the flowers together for the “Jeff Leatham arrangements”??? Or do you just literally
    bunch them together then put the stems in the vase…



    Aug 28, 2009 | 5:03 pm

  14. Marketfan says:

    love the first photo

    Aug 28, 2009 | 5:07 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    Mia, no need to tie the roses for those arrangements. You need to bunch them tightly in one hand, then balance it in a vase at an angle… Here is another example. It looks precarious, but it is really quite easy. :) s, OMG, P25k for a bouquet? Yikes.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 5:20 pm

  16. joyce says:

    gosh didnt realize lily of the valley were that expensive. this makes me want to go out and buy flowers for the flat.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 5:53 pm

  17. joyce says:

    opps meant that it made me want to buy flowers not lily of the valley. really like the first pic of the post.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 5:54 pm

  18. Wedding Flowers Girl says:

    I was planning on using yellow flowers for my wedding (my colors are white and yellow), but after seeing these pictures I think I’ll do white. I just love how crisp and clean the white tulips look. My only concern is that an all white bouquet may not “pop” against my white dress – especially in photographs??

    Aug 28, 2009 | 9:19 pm

  19. Nina says:

    That’s very true of the white hydrangeas. I have this east facing huge white hydranges tree that supply my house with flowers….understated but very elegant.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 10:21 pm

  20. Tricia says:

    yup, a lily of the valley bouquet here in Manila is 25K.

    I was so happy to find 2 bunches of lily of the valley at 28th street like what MM advised. I got it for $57 total. Tied it up with satin ribbon. There goes my sister’s bridal bouquet.

    Aug 29, 2009 | 12:40 am

  21. bottomsup says:

    Thank you for this, MM! Your post came at the right time… I’m getting married this October and have just been too busy (or lazy) to research on my wedding flowers, thinking I’ll just leave it all up to my florist.

    One thing I had always been sure of though, was that I wanted white flowers for my bridal bouquet. Seeing the featured flowers here in all their snowy, elegant splendor has opened my eyes and made me want to call my florist ASAP so I can surprise him with all of my newfound flower inspirations!

    Aug 29, 2009 | 1:53 am

  22. melit medina says:

    I love this post.I’m still not done but enjoying the archives

    Aug 29, 2009 | 1:53 am

  23. risa says:

    White carnations would be nice, I’d think :) I love amaryllis-very elegant of Mrs. MM.

    Aug 29, 2009 | 2:49 am

  24. sister says:

    If you are ordering flowers from a florist make sure you ask for a sample arrangement, take a photo for reference so you will not be disappointed on your wedding day. You can take the photo and ask for price estimates from several florists for comparison.
    French tulips are best March through June in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. Don’t go out of your way to get “imported” the Philippines has wonderful inexpensive flowers available all year. Can’t imagine lillies of the valley lasting more than a couple of hours in the heat.

    Aug 29, 2009 | 7:17 am

  25. myra_p says:

    sister, you’re right about the heat here being a factor… esp lily of the valley, tulips, imported roses, etc. I would actually recommend carnations for longevity, and white carnations are usually fragrant.

    Juli, the smaller calla lilies are beautiful, good choice, but there are also many other pale shades you can order from your florist. Fyi.

    Aug 29, 2009 | 7:29 am

  26. carina says:

    I heart these white tulips. I always dream of having them in my own wedding :)

    Aug 29, 2009 | 12:39 pm

  27. Sintea says:

    I’ve seen two weddings using Calla lilies as flowers. They deliver a certain understated elegance. For my own wedding, I asked the florist to use flowers available/indigenous to the area (Davao)…no roses, mums or any imported flowers please. She was able to create stunning tropical arrangements with lots of orchids, birds of paradise and even local fruits. My bouquet was a mix of orchids with a tinalak accent. My western guests thought that I spent a fortune on the flowers. If only they knew…;)

    Aug 29, 2009 | 3:22 pm

  28. natie says:

    white anthuriums look pretty and crisp, too—and they last very long…

    Aug 29, 2009 | 7:52 pm

  29. s says:

    MM: yes. :) hehe 25t just for the bouquet. though- normal boquets for the bride range from
    3t-7t. i have a no. of clients who spends 300t ++ just for the flowers/decors. :)

    EMILY : lol, true! normally: if – it’s a destination wedding- guests range from 50-100pax if
    both are locals/fil: 100-300pax, if chinese or politician : 400-1000t pax.

    & yes-sister is right- very important to ask for a mock up of your agreed arrangement/design. & it’s not only the price you need to compare- also, the florist work!

    Aug 29, 2009 | 10:44 pm

  30. Mary Kim says:

    Mom-Friday thanks for a quick estimate. I might just try a small wedding if I get married there again.:)

    Aug 30, 2009 | 1:52 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    When I got married eons ago, my MIL gave me the best advice ever! She told me and hubby not to go overboard on invitations, flowers, decor, etc. but rather pour our money on the FOOD!…for the food is the one that will leave a lasting impression on your guests! To this day, we meet our friends we have invited to our wedding and they still talk about the food that was served!

    Aug 31, 2009 | 2:18 pm

  32. terrey says:

    right on betty q…

    my hubby and i agreed to spend more on the food and ring. 6 years into the marriage, wedding trends come and go but the platinum rings or bands that we invested are still with us. :)

    minus the ring expense, we spent around 150T for our wedding and at that time i thought that was just a ridiculous amount of money to spend on but a 25K for a bouquet…that’s just way too much unless of course money is not a problem hihihi

    Aug 31, 2009 | 3:57 pm

  33. MrsS says:

    For my wedding last year, my bouquet had white roses and casablanca lilies. My florist used semi closed lilies (which had a green hue) and green leaves as accent. The accent made it pop and not blend into my dress.

    Aug 31, 2009 | 4:22 pm

  34. sister says:

    I meant make a sample of the arrangement you want and get estimates from different florists. I agree with betty q, the food is more important than the flowers.

    Aug 31, 2009 | 5:45 pm

  35. K. says:

    Hey everyone.

    i’m getting married this Nov. and am with this florist — her name is Zenas Pineda and she worked for Rustan’s before. My friend D. got her for her wedding last July and her work was simple yet elegant. My other friend J. also got her for her wedding tomorrow.

    She’s the one who did the very much publicized wedding of Rustan’s heir Mike Huang.
    I like her cause her prices are reasonable — less than 500k for sure..

    I’m having 500+ people for the wedding and my flowers are less than 300k :)
    This has ceiling swags included already.

    Oct 2, 2009 | 6:44 pm

  36. emsy says:

    My friend (a guy) married this girl who’s vegan and who’s seriously devoted to saving the Earth. So instead of the usual flower arrangements for her bouquet, she took the florist to this sort of grassland near their property in the northern parts of Zamboanga City. She told the florist to use whatever she can find there–nice blades of grass or wild flowers/orchids–and make her bouquet. It turned out pretty nice with different kinds of flowers that we didn’t know the names of, then to give it that rustic look, the florist sort of wove or tied the bouquet with dried tall grass. Not bad at all. All she paid for was for the florist’s time. Haha

    Jan 12, 2010 | 2:48 pm

  37. Nur says:

    very interesting post MM! My fiancee and I are also having a tough time planning the wedding.

    emsy: Im from zamboanga city, do you have a picture of the bridal bouquet?

    Feb 28, 2010 | 2:33 am


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