If You're Using Babies Breath, Go Big

Candice Adelle Photography at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC.

Candice Adelle Photography at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC.

We are seeing a resurgence of Babies Breath in wedding and home décor in a new and remarkable way, as the most prominent flower. In fact, a few of our couples plan to use Babies Breath almost exclusively and en masse for their floral designs and decor. As a florist, Babies Breath has always played the role of filler flower in some aspect of every day floral design. For example, some of our customers still specifically request Babies Breath in a traditional dozen red Roses even though we prefer some alternative fillers that blend better with creating a more complete design. I took a quick, virtual stroll of some of the syndicates flower services to see if they are including Babies Breath in their designs. Frankly, it’s not a feature in most of the arrangements offered by neighborhood florists who still use a lot of Liiy, Carnation, Aster and Daisy. I think that’s a good thing. It’s time to redefine how we can use Babies Breath in modern floral design.  

The genus name for Babies Breath is Gypsophilia and it’s a member of the Carnation family. The cup like “calyx” contains five petals and can be found in white or pink. The flowers are known as Soapwort in Great Britain where it became a staple of Victorian Gardens.  According to a blog post by Harvesting-History, “The name, Gypsophila, means lover of gypsum, a calcium substance found as a mineral deposited in veins in the earth.”

Where does this trendy appeal for Babies Breath in weddings and home décor come from?

Babies Breath arranged in a gold vase from our wedding collection.

Babies Breath arranged in a gold vase from our wedding collection.

Have you noticed that so much of what you see in home décor magazines and catalogs is soft, and muted in white, cream, beige and grey tones? Tips from home decor industry experts suggest we infuse color where and when we want it after creating a clean canvas with our permanent décor. Why? The ideas is to create a retreat, a place where we can feel peace after a full day spent in a world that is more that a little stimulating.

Babies Breath may just be the perfect flower. It offers a softness that can compliment modern home decor and it’s easy to work with. If you are thinking about using just Babies Breath in your own vase or pot, you’ll find a quick learning curve for working with this woodier stem. You’ll still need a good set of floral clippers and a packet of floral preservative to get full life from the flower. Babies Breath dries quite nicely. Simply empty the water from the vase to avoid poisoning the stems.

The flowers have almost an ethereal, romantic quality which is why it is also perfectly suited for wedding decor. Even better, it’s a really hardy flower that will thrive during the hottest summer weddings. So how should you use Babies Breath? Here are some floral design tips:

1. Consider using it en mass.

A brooch or corsage with babies breath, feather and greenery.

A brooch or corsage with babies breath, feather and greenery.

By using designs that are almost exclusively babies breath, you’re creating something that feels artistic. I recall some years ago, an artist created an entire cloud of Babies Breath as part of an installation in one of New York City’s museum. I was stunned when I saw the images. It had all the waves and shapes that we attribute to a perfectly formed cloud.

Designer Myriam Marquez created three of the designs featured on this page this week in studio. This dramatic pin-on corsage shows included three elements in groupings, first Babies Breath, then a dramatic feather and Ivy Tails. You could consider something like this to adorn a black dress at your next gala event. She also added Babies Breath and greenery to a wine glass that would look so sweet on a your own table or for all of the members of the wedding party at a head table. Lastly, she shows how we can form a wreath with greenery for gold geo lanterns or more traditional lanterns.

2. Use it for a formal, glamorous wedding or event

Wine glass with Babies Breath and greenery.

Wine glass with Babies Breath and greenery.

You can do glam for your wedding just about anywhere. Even a rustic venue can be made to have a glamorous quality. DC weddings lean on a more modern style, and in general, we’re seeing more black tie for 2019. If done well, Babies Breath can be arranged to look sophisticated and dramatic against increasingly popular black bridesmaid gowns. You’ll have noticed that the bridesmaids in the lead photos are wearing jewel toned velvet dresses for a Washington DC, St. Regis Hotel wedding. The bride carried a small British style cascade with Orchids and Sweet Pea while the bridesmaids carried just Babies Breath. The rest of the decor featured lots of greenery and three kinds of red Roses.

By using limited numbers of flowers in your wedding design and decor, we create a more luxurious feel.

Geo lanterns and candles in a wreath.

Geo lanterns and candles in a wreath.

3. Take it rustic with greenery

Put Babies Breath in greenery garland or loose greens for a light contrast of color and texture. This airy bloom will also add dimension to the garland and create more fullness. Wreaths of Babies Breath look so pretty again a wooden barn door. Hang installations from rafters or adorn an entire arch creating an almost ethereal frame for your ceremony.

4. Create interesting shapes

One of the reasons we like the idea of working with just Gypsophilia is that it can be molded and manicured into interesting shapes. Choose rounded bridesmaid bouquets or ask your florist to elongate the design for a horizontal shape. We found a great piece about Babies Breath on Brides.com from last February. One of the images is a gorgeous hanging design with a cloud like shape created by Jove Meyer from Jove Meyer Events. I’ve provided the link so you can take a look. We can get very precise with the shape that we create. Manicured or loose, there is a lot of flexibility with this flower.

The interesting thing about Babies Breath is that it is not an expensive bloom. You may find that by using Babies Breath, you can incorporate some version of a hanging installation in your wedding decor without over-extending your budget. Remember, Babies Breath is not a flower that naturally cascades, but it can fill in around flowers or greens that are cascading.

5. Use it with just one other flower

I have seen some pretty bride and bridesmaid bouquets made with just Roses and Babies Breath. I think the Babies Breath needs to be quite full so that the design is not see-thru. Soft pink, ivory and white Roses are great choices for bouquets that can be shaped to your specification. The strategy is to limit the number of varieties. When you add too many blooms, Babies Breath just becomes filler again.

We’re excited to talk to you about your ideas. Contact us for more tip and strategies.