Want a truly unique way to decorate your wedding venue, reception tables, and even the members of your wedding party? Air plants (aka Tillandsia) are adorable, delicate members of the Bromeliad family that, unlike most plants, don’t need to be planted anywhere to be happy. They can live quite contentedly in a boutonniere or hanging from a chandelier, and can go on to grace your home for years after your wedding.
As an alternative to cut flowers, which wither and die within days of your wedding, living plants are a lovely celebration of vitality that match the energy and brightness of a new marriage. Your air plants can thrive along with your relationship and serve as an enduring reminder of your vows.
Bouquets, Accessories, and Flower Arrangements
The wonderful thing about plants that don’t need to be planted is that you can use them while they’re still alive–without being burdened by a clunky flowerpot or vase! Wrap the base of the air plant loosely in wire and attach it to a boutonniere or corsage. It will make a far more exotic statement than the average carnation.
Collections of air plants make striking additions to wedding bouquets. Intersperse them with other plants that have an “antique-looking” sheen on the leaves like silver succulents, eucalyptus leaves, and hydrangeas. Just be sure to let the person who catches the bouquet know that they don’t have to ever trash it afterwards!
Air plants have showy, delicate leaves that curl in varying amounts. Intermingle plants with sharp, straight spikes and plants with winding, feathery leaves. Air plants aren’t just about beautiful foliage, either. They can sprout flowers, too. Look for brilliant red, pink, purple, yellow, or pale colored blooms.
For an unforgettable table centerpiece that looks straight out of a fairy tale, arrange air plants on beds of moss with smooth pebbles, glossy marbles, and beeswax candles for added visual appeal.
Care and Feeding
Air plants may not need pots or soil, but they do need water to thrive. They absorb water that sits on their leaves, so you’ll need to spray their tops and bottoms directly with water once every four days or so. (A light mist isn’t enough moisture–you should actually be able to see beads of water sitting on the leaves.)
If you can’t water them for a few days, don’t worry–air plants can survive long periods without water. They go dormant without regular watering, though, so they won’t be as vibrant or good-looking. Soak them in water for about 12 hours and they should regain their beauty quickly.
The best way to get your air plants looking beautiful for your wedding is by soaking them in a bowl of water for a few hours, a few days before the ceremony. The excess of water should see them through the dry spell when you’ll be preparing for your wedding. (After all, the bride and groom have more important things to do than to make sure their plants are being misted regularly!) The air plants will be just fine without water throughout your honeymoon, as well–just soak them once more when you return.
Store your air plants somewhere with good sunlight and air circulation, such as a bright windowsill. After the wedding, when you detach the air plants from the corsage ribbons and other accessories, you can place the air plants on the windowsill once more. They are equally happy when sitting on a surface, nestled in a decorative bowl or glass globe, hung on a thread, or even placed in a curved seashell.
Air Plants in Glass Globes
Hanging glass globes filled with air plants will give your venue a magical atmosphere. You can adorn indoor spaces with these delicate decorations or hang them from tree branches. Alternating glass globes with hanging lanterns is a popular way to light nighttime weddings.
Air plants are happy spending short periods of time in glass globes. Soak the plants in a bowl of water for about a half hour, several days before the wedding. Let them partially air-dry before putting them in the glass globes. The plants should remain slightly damp throughout the end of the wedding in order to stay healthy and beautiful, so keep an eye on them. If they look like they’re wilting, spray them with a little water. Be careful not to over-water, though; especially with smaller globes, there is such a thing as drowning the plants.
If you’re holding your wedding in hot weather, hang the globes in the shade. The glass will act as a greenhouse and hold in the heat. Don’t get too worried about keeping the plants alive, however. Air plants are hardy and you shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping them alive throughout your wedding day and beyond.
Whether you’re using glass globes to decorate the air above your dessert table, or you’re creating elaborate living hairpieces out of air plants and pearls, your wedding will be enriched by the addition of these natural works of art. Use them to line windowsills or to hold place cards for the wedding reception–the air plants will likely be the lowest-maintenance guests at the party!
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.