Design Made Pure and Elegance Made Perfect: the Calla Lily Wedding


The Calla Lilly might be unique this way: picture one, and poof! — like Aladdin’s lamp, you’re suddenly visualizing an entire wedding, down to the bridal attire, centerpieces, the cake. In this … the ability to inspire a whole scene from a single flower … the Calla probably beats out its friendly rival, the rose.

What do you see when you think of Callas? Chances are, it’s something like this: towering, elegant centerpieces that arc from their vases in that signature trumpet shape. A sleek hand-tied bouquet, nestled in a shiny satin wrap accented by few Swarovski pins. And of course, the bride herself, who (in the mind’s eye) is a slender 5’11, coiffed in a classic chignon. A simple Greek-goddess style tiara smooths down her locks, and she’s wearing a halter-style, can’t-take-your-eyes-off it gown in diamond-white silk faille.

Wasn’t that close?

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The Calla does more than embody elegance perfected, though. It inspires devotion at the gut level. With its unique architectural charms, it’s flown as the flag for entire design periods (think 1930’s Art Deco), and captured the imagination of artists like Georgia O’Keeffe. Yet despite its ties to the past, the Calla continues on as one of the most potent symbols of everything stripped-down and modern in today’s white wedding.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to toe the line and go with pure Callas or minimalist lines. Think of a symphony of whites involved in floral profusions of callas combined with creamy hydrangeas and roses, pale ranunculus, and bright white freesia or stock, or dahlias and irises. This look is hauter than hot again, as more and more brides turn back to an all-white wedding bouquet.

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Now imagine this palette with a few more plays on the theme, like an all-white and cream candy buffet in elegant glass vases. (You can sneak in some sinful chocolates with a white candy coating.) And at the tables: a damask satin overlay in cream, laid over crisp white table linens.

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Carnivals of Color

Of course, so far we’ve been talking about the classic, full-sized Calla in pure white, and ignoring its fiery cousins, the minis. And this is where the field gets interesting. Minis won’t fill out those giant Eiffel vases, but they’re tailor-made for bouquets, and they come in just about any color imaginable. Almost unadorned, they make perfect bouts for the men in the party. And their take-no-prisoners hues add drama to any wedding style or theme imaginable.

For example: mini-callas are essential to many striking fall designs. Their gorgeous yellows, rusts and reds say “stylish take on the season” like no other flower. A simple copper wire wrap makes a good thing even better.

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Of course, just because you love callas doesn’t mean you can’t get all cozy with roses, too. A few grace notes of calla in a rose bouquet makes it 10 times more exciting. The ultimate in drama? A classic round of red roses, punctuated by mini-callas in dark and mysterious maroon.

Perhaps the most beautiful flower ever seen — and one that requires no tarting up — is the romantic Picasso Calla, with its crisp white exteriors and sultry purple centers. Combine these with platinum bridesmaid gowns and purple accents for one of the season’s most hauntingly sophisticated looks.

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Having a beach wedding and pine for the calla’s crisp white silhouette against sand and sea? Have your florist wire a few small seashells or mini-starfish into your bouquet. Finally, don’t forget the classic calla when it comes to planning your winter wonderland wedding. It looks better-then-nice on ice in the form of blue or crystal-clear vase gems, sparkling tree branches, draped white satin and low-hanging strings of twinkle lights.

So, how are you adding this magnificent flower to your wedding?

More: Popular Calla Lily Wedding FavorsThe Perfect Wedding Flowers for Each Season