Since closing my small shop, I’ve received countless messages from photographers kicking themselves for not purchasing a styling box when my shop was open and wanting to know the bare bones they should start with to build a basic floral styling kit. While I’ve linked all my favorite florals over in Faux Floral 101, I totally understand why such a large list could be overwhelming! So if you’ve been wanting to get started on building your own floral kit but haven’t known where to start, this post is just for you!
Below are my top favorite very basic florals that should match with nearly every wedding to some extent because the colors and flower types are timeless and neutral. I would recommend purchasing 2-3 of each larger flower for a more balanced flatlay and to give you ample layout options. There are a few small flowers in this list that you’ll see come with multiple blooms on each stem – in that case, you only probably need one of those stems!
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This rose has a timeless look and photographs so well with its intricate center detail. It is available in a soft off-white and pale peach color, and it’s my number one top recommendation. It is pictured in the off-white version in the photo above in the top left. Below, it is pictured in the pale peach as the top left flower in the photo.
Open Blush Rose
The photo above shows two blush open roses and, friends, YOU NEED THIS FLOWER. This floral stem does regularly go in and out of stock, so I would recommend scooping it up ASAP. It comes with two blooms and 1 bud per stem, and it’s a perfectly sized flower for flatlays. The center detail makes it look realistic while the beautiful blush color gives an elegant, feminine feel to any photo.
In both the photos above as well as the one below, you’ll see a smaller white flower with a green center. This ranunculus stem comes with 4-5 blooms per stem, and goes 50% off at Hobby Lobby every other week (watch the sale ad for the week that says “floral stems” are on sale). The website generally shows out of stock but your local store almost always has them. The center detail makes this faux flower look super realistic but it’s the layering of the petals that gives that beautiful light and airy modern yet timeless feel! It also comes in several other colors and my favorites are the medium pink and more muted yellow if you’re looking for a pop of color.
Tiny Detail Flowers
I’ve often told brides and photographers that mixing up the sizes of faux florals is one of the keys to an ultra realistic look. One of the biggest mistakes I see from people trying to make their own faux floral creations is too many flowers of the same size. That’s not how nature works and let me explain that: if you look at a live rose bush, you’ll never see every single bloom being the same size or being at the same level of openness. Some will be larger and fully open while some will be smaller and still close to being in their buds. If we’re trying to make fake florals look real, we have to have that same attention to detail to mimic live versions of these flowers.
In the photo above, there are two smaller blooms that I highly recommend. You can find them here and here. The first is a small rose stem that comes with 5 buds in various stages of openness – this makes it look very realistic and that’s the reason it’s one of my favorites! I’ll attach another photo of it below used in a simple boutonniere. The second is a mini white open rose from Michaels and it comes with multiple (like 10+) little blooms on it that are perfect for flatlays as well. You can scatter those tiny blooms across your set up for a natural, petal drop effect!
No flatlay would be complete without at least a little bit of greenery right? My favorite greenery after seeing years work of flatlays from various photographers is smaller subtle greenery. Large leaves don’t seem to photograph well for that soft, light and airy look we all love, so I would recommend small leaves or greenery that is “airy,” meaning it doesn’t have a lot of large solid green leaves or branches of leaves.
See how the greenery above is very petite and airy? In my experience it photographs the best in flatlays and I would recommend this small greenery bush from Michael’s to get the same look! It comes with a few different kinds of greenery and a little speckle of white foliage that you can clip off into many individual stems for lots of variety is flatlay setups.
Now that you’ve got all your beautiful blooms and greenery, you need somewhere to store them. I recommend clear plastic containers so that you can see what you’re working with at all times and from all angles while they stay safe and clean in their container when you’re hurrying through your detail shots at the wedding! If you plan to purchase just a minimal amount of the flowers above, I would recommend this smaller clean plastic bin. If you plan to add onto your collection, go ahead and spend $2 more on this container so you can keep them all in one place!
So Need a Summarized Shopping List?
I got you. Here’s what you need to purchase that I covered above to build your own basic floral styling kit.
And this floral stem from Hobby Lobby (they don’t participate in the wonderful link program that allows me to give you pictures with links).
**Image Credit: all the images in this blog post are credited to Sarah Green Photo & Rachael James Photo. These are two wonderfully talented photographers who were customers of mine that later turned into collaborations because of the beautiful photos they sent my way after making purchases from my shop. Check out their Instagrams @rachaeljamesweddings and @sarahrubingreenephotography for more stunning inspiration!