Wedding Planning | A Rose is a Rose… Or is it?

Wedding bouquets, whether the bride’s or other members of the bridal party, have changed drastically over the last ten years or more. Given an even bigger global market, there is a much greater variety of blooms to choose from now. From brilliant colors to exotic blossoms (even other things), florists have the ability to create anything that a bride could imagine. There is one flower, however, that still continues to stand the test of time and tradition. That flower is the majestic rose. But wait, is that really a rose in that bouquet, or is it another type of flower that looks like a rose but is actually something different.

gorgeous spring pink bouquet

Bouquet by Janie Medley Flora Design via The Bride’s Cafe

I am no expert. I do not profess to be a florist. I love flowers, but a gardner I am not. I have a small garden that I can manage, most of the time, but I am more all thumbs than green thumbs. It is why I have come to write this particular post because when I look at all these gorgeous wedding bouquets, I love to know what the flowers are called. Yet, I am confused by all this beauty, in particular when it comes to flowers that look like a rose, but are not. So I’m going to make a valiant attempt in helping myself and you to make the distinction between a rose, a cabbage rose, a garden rose, ranunculus, peonies and maybe even a few others for good measure. Hopefully, after you’ve read this post, we’ll be able (myself included) to make a better distinction between a rose and a peony.

peach cream mini rose bouquets

These are roses. Yes!

Floral Design by Sweet Woodruff via Style Me Pretty: Canada

pale pink peony blossom

This is a peony. Check!

via Moosey’s Country Garden

pale peach garden rose named Juliet

This is a garden rose named Juliet. Pleased to meet you!

via Mayesh Wholesale Florist

peach, coral and orange ranunculus

And these are ranunculus. Confused yet?

via Brocade Design Arts

I think you can see the dilemma. These gorgeous flowers all come in a variety of colors, many similar, and smell amazing from powerfully sweet to light and even fruity. Garden roses (also known as cabbage roses) and peonies can be the most fragrant blossoms. I love when my peonies bloom! They are right by my front door and every time you walk by you get this waft of sweet fragrance. In a bouquet, roses will probably last the longest and be the most sturdy. Ranunculus are very fragile and are usually combined with roses and other flowers as added protection. A side note…ranunculus are poisonous, so do not eat (ha!) and handle carefully because you can break out in a rash. Awww, but they’re so pretty! And be careful, these flowers do fall under the seasonal category, so pricing can vary greatly. Peonies are the best in May and June and be prepared to pay a premium for roses around Valentine’s Day. Ask questions, shop around and refer to a knowledgeable florist.

Now, let the prettiness commence as we share some beautiful inspiration of rose, peony and ranunculus bouquets!

pink rose and ranunculus bouquets, centerpieces and other floral arrangements

via A Place for Twiggs

hot pink, orange and yellow cabbage rose and ranunculus bouquet

Bouquet by Exclusive Events : Photo by Allan Zepeda via Style Me Pretty: Destination

white rose, violet and pale pink tulip bride's bouquet, white cabbage rose and green orchid bride's bouquet

Bouquet by Kickstand Events : Photo by KMI Photography via Style Me Pretty

Bouquet by Richard Remiard Event Design : Photo by Artisan Events, Inc. via Style Me Pretty: Illinois

pretty pink and peach ranunculus, Dutch tulip, orchid and scabiosa pods bouquet

Think those flowers in the middle that are variegated (and appear almost feathered) are peonies? You would guess wrong as those are actually Dutch tulips. Oh-so-pretty in this combination, if you ask me, just not peonies ;) However, there are some ranunculus in there – can you find them with your expert eye?

Bouquet by Oak & the Owl : Photo by Lane Dittoe via Wedding Chicks

pretty light pink cabbage rose bride's bouquet, pretty white rose and hydrangea bride's bouquet

Bouquet by Delise Knight : Photo by Haley Sheffield via Southern Weddings

Bouquet by Hutchinson’s Floral Artistry : Photo by Studio222 Photography via Southern Weddings

bright pink garden rose and fushcia ranunculs bouquets, yellow, pink, and green rose, dahlia, ranunculs, gerbera daisy and whole lime centerpieces

Floral Design by Max Gill : Photo by Nicole Paulson Photography via Style Me Pretty

pinky peach ranunculus and calla lily bridesmaids bouquet

Bouquet by Hunt Littlefield : Photo by Lisa Lefkowitz Photography via Style Me Pretty

Now you’re probably not an expert, but at least you have some more knowledge and will be able to nod knowingly when your florist suggests roses, peonies or ranunculus for your bouquets and centerpieces. The only difficulty you will have left is to choose between pink, hot pink, dark pink orange, red, white, purple, peach… But that’s the fun part, isn’t it? ;)

Happy Tuesday!



  1. Simply beautiful!

  2. What a beautiful (and very informative) article!! Thank you!


  1. [...] • A rose is a rose… or is it? An explanation of all those sneaky flowers masquerading as roses. [...]

Leave A Sweet Comment