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Southern Stems: Magnolia

by in Inspirations on

We were a little bit shocked when we realized that we hadn’t yet posted about one of the most commonly recognized and most beloved Southern stems–magnolias! Since their leaves are just as lovely as their blooms, there are countless ways to incorporate magnolias into a wedding day, and we love just about every one of them.

The most commonly grown magnolia in the South, Magnolia grandiflora, blooms in late spring and early summer. Since the flowers can grow so large, just a few can make a big statement in bouquets and arrangements. We love the idea of carrying a single bloom, as shown in one of our most popular images ever–the back cover of V4.

Clockwise from top left: Hanlie Joubert, Melissa Schollaert via Southern Weddings, Jose Villa via Southern Weddings

Magnolia leaves are incredibly versatile, and depending on the type of magnolia trees in your area, you may be able to find them year-round. Their thick, glossy leaves–dark green on one side and brown on the other–look gorgeous in garlands, wreaths, and more, and they’re impressively durable. It also looks oh so Southern, don’t you think?

Clockwise from top left: Tory Williams via 100 Layer Cake, KT Merry via Style Me Pretty, Melissa Schollaert via Southern Weddings, Matt Edge via Style Me Pretty, Sean Money & Elizabeth Fay via Southern Weddings, Landon Jacob via Snippet & Ink

Even if you have your heart set on other flowers in your bouquets and arrangements, magnolia-inspired details can serve as a recognizable “welcome to the South” for your guests, especially for brides in Louisiana and Mississippi–they’re lucky to have magnolias as their state flower!

Clockwise from top left: Jarrad Lister via Southern Weddings, Diana Elizabeth via Elizabeth Anne Designs, Oak and Orchid

What’s your favorite Southern stem? Don’t miss past posts on dogwood, gardenia, bluebonnets, wisteria, jasmine, and camellias!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] We announced the champion of Mason-Dixon Madness! We admired the beauty and versatility of magnolias in Southern Stems. We love real […]

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the cake with all the magnolias is awesome! such a beautiful flower!

  3. avatar Bookish Wedding Inspiration: Magnolia | Amy C. Shaw reply

    […] Source […]

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Southern Stems: Dogwood

by in Inspirations on

Some of my earliest memories of my childhood in Virginia are the walks my mom and I used to take through our neighborhood. My mom loves gardening, so she would always point out the trees and flowers she knew. One of her favorites was the delicate dogwood tree, especially when its flowers blossomed in the spring–it has since become one of my very favorite flowers as well! For this installment of our Southern Stems column (see past posts about camellias, wisteria, bluebonnets, and gardenia), we’re discussing this sure sign of spring. Dogwoods are also the state flower of North Carolina, so we have a bit of a soft spot for them around here!

Photo via Plants in the Mail, overlay by SW

There are quite a few species of dogwood, but the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of the most common, especially in the South. The trees flower in spring, and while most produce white flowers, some bloom in shades of pink or even light red. Dogwoods are the state flower for both North Carolina and Virginia, and since the dogwood tree is Virginia’s state tree too, these flowers are extra sentimental for Virginia brides!

Clockwise from top: Saipua, Jen Huang Photography via Once Wed, Love Me Do Photography via Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, Karen Wise via The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings

The Victorian flower meanings for the dogwood vary, but they all fall under a similar theme. Variations include faithfulness, steadfastness, durability, and endurance. All pretty great symbolism to include in a wedding, don’t you think?

Clockwise from top left: Megan Clouse via Elizabeth Anne Designs, Chris Bailey Photography, Annabella Charles via Wedding Chicks, Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty

Since dogwoods are a tree flower, I think they look their best when arranged in a loose, natural way, but they are incredibly versatile. Pair them with other all-white flowers for a monochromatic statement, or combine them with a variety of small wildflowers for a just-picked garden look. With their thin stems, they’re also darling in bud vases or glass bottles. And how pretty are these dogwood-inspired cakes? The different designs–one incorporating the branches and one clustering the blooms on top–really speak to the versatility of the flower.

Abby Jiu Photography via Once Wed, via Martha Stewart Weddings

Finally, a few pretty products that would look gorgeous at a dogwood-filled Southern wedding! We love this wedding stationery line from Paperwhites, which comes in all different colors, and the Dogwood Flower Hairpins from BHLDN would be the perfect finishing touch in a wedding day hairstyle.

What’s your favorite Southern stem? Will you be using it in your wedding day flowers? We’d love to hear!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love dogwoods!! I also grew up with them, and they have such sentimental value to me. Chapel Hill also has tons of gorgeous dogwoods in the Spring, including beautiful pink blooms!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    Dogwoods are my absolute favorite flower! As a NC native, they always make me think of home. And I love when they bloom because it’s the first sign that spring is on its way.

  3. avatar Katie reply

    Peonies are my favorite southern flowers! I can’t wait to have those big soft blossoms in my wedding bouquet in May!

  4. avatar Meredith reply

    Wow, Lisa, you are reading my mind this week! Dogwoods are my favorite and my florist was so excited I wanted to use them in my bouquet :) To me they are the quintessential Virginia flower… I can’t wait for spring when all the Dogwoods, Red Buds, Azaleas, and Cherry Blossoms around Charlottesville start blooming!

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It’s the middle of May in North Carolina, which means the jasmine is in full bloom! And oh boy, with this Southern stem, you can smell it before you can see it!

First, though, a little lesson about dainty flowers on vines that smell amazing, because we enjoy several of them in the South! The beauty above is honeysuckle — its blooms are a little more trumpet shaped, and turn from pink before blossoming into flowers tinged with orange, yellow, and white.

This gal is jessamine, also known as Carolina jessamine. It has extremely prolific golden yellow blooms that blossom at the end of winter.

The Southern Stem we’re chatting about today, however, is jasmine. The version we most often see down here is Confederate or star jasmine, which has very delicate creamy white blooms. These ambitious vines can grow to be 10-15 feet tall, at a rate of 12 to 24 inches per year!

Jasmine front door via Design Mom

The jasmine that’s most common in weddings, though, is a bit different — pinker and wispier.

Tanja Lippert (bouquet by Blush Floral Design)

I love it so much I used it in my own wedding bouquet!

Stephanie Williams, from Martha Stewart, Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay via Southern Weddings (bouquet by Tiger Lily Florist), Jesse Ryan via Southern Weddings (bouquet by Pollen Floral Art), and Jose Villa via Southern Weddings (bouquet by Flowerwild)

I’m certainly not the only one, though! I think brides love jasmine because its tendrils add an airy garden vibe to an otherwise formal bouquet — just the right note of “hand-picked.”

Martha Stewart, Landon Jacob via Southern Weddings, Christian Oth via Southern Weddings

I love when jasmine is included in centerpieces, because it seems to make the arrangements live larger than they are, since the dainty tendrils stretch out across the table.

Karen Mordechai (centerpieces by Ariel Dearie Flowers), Tory Williams (centerpiece by Rachel Mercier via 100 Layer Cake), from Martha Stewart

Speaking of spreading out, if you’re a jasmine fan, you must check out this installation created for a past Sunday Suppers dinner. Magical! Can you even imagine what that room smelled like??

Ariel Dearie Flowers (photo by Karen Mordechai)

Finally, I couldn’t find any cakes with jasmine vine, but I thought this stephanotis vine confection was great inspiration for what could be! And the wreath with jasmine vine was simply too pretty to leave out.

Wreath by Garden on the Square via Martha Stewart, cake from Martha Stewart

Tell me: Are you planning to incorporate jasmine vine into your bouquet? Do you have a hard time keeping all of the sweet smelling Southern blooms apart?

emily Written with love by Emily
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