supplier spotlight: peonies and pretty alternatives {william clarke flowers}

Hello readers! How glad are you it’s almost the weekend again already? I could really get used to these three day weeks!

To round off our Best of British week, this morning I’m delighted to introduce London-based florist William Clarke of William Clarke Flowers.

William Clarke has been around weddings his whole life, with his love of floristry dating back to his childhood, happily working on family weddings with his aunts. It was on moving to England that William moved away from his hotelier background to work in floristry for nine years, before taking the plunge and founding William Clarke Flowers twelve years ago.

“At William Clark Flowers, we offer a truly bespoke service for our couples. For me, that goes further than just recreating a picture from a magazine. We really get to know our couples, their personalities, their tastes and, rather than following trends, we make each arrangement reflect the couple we’re looking after.”

In today’s post we’re talking to William about one of 2012’s hot floral trends, peonies.  One of my all-time favourites, you’ll see them a lot on b.loved in a range of hues from the crispest white to the brightest coral! This year  we’ve seen an explosion of their pink, ruffled prettiness!

Peony Via: Everything Fab

I caught up with William to find out what he had to say about this beautiful bloom ~

Peonies are such a lovely opulent summer flower, they are blousy, romantic scented and make a real statement for any wedding! The season for peonies is quite short, compared to a lot of flowers which are now grown all year round. We wait in anticipation for peonies to come into season, and are a delight when we can use them in a wedding.

How to use peonies

Just a single peony head, in small glass votives dotted in between night light votives adds an amazing effect to a wedding!

Peonies Via: HipHipGinGin

Or, for large opulent arrangements, peonies work wonders! They are large and blousy, and a mass of peonies can only make a statement!

Peonies Via: Inspired Living Home

The colour palette for peonies is vast too, varying from perfect feathery white, to soft candy shades of pink, through to dark cerise pink and a lovely coral colour.

Peonies Via: Simply Seductive // Via: Martha Stewart Weddings

Year-round alternatives

Peonies are a desirable flower, love by brides getting married at all times of the year, but due to the short season of peonies they can’t always be used.  As an alternative in the early spring I would suggest using ranunculus, the texture and shape of the flower is similar to a peony, only on a smaller scale. Some people quite often see ranunculus and ask me if they are peonies, so I would say this is the closest you would get! The colours can be matched well, as they come in the same lovely shades.

Ranunculus Via: A Country Farm House // Via: Decor8

Another option is the old fashioned English rose, David Austin varieties are amazing, they have the same powder-puff type petals, are very rounded, and smell amazing! These can be bought all year round. Again the colours can be matched to peonies, in lovely pastel shades and in the brighter cerise pink and coral colours.

David Austin Roses Via: Decor8 // Via: Decor8

I think using either ranunculus or old fashioned English roses would be a great alternative to peonies when they are not in season, and the shapes and colours would create the same look in an arrangement or wedding bouquet. I think only a true peony lover would know the difference, but there again a true peony lover would only ever have peonies! I have even had  brides who have chosen the date of their wedding around the growing season of peonies!

It has to be said, I would happily settle for ruffly ranunculus or stunning David Austin roses, don’t they make a great alternative?!

To find out more visit or email [email protected] to make an appointment at their Battersea studio.


Images via unless otherwise credited


After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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Kitty Westhorp

This is such a great post Louise! I am a huge fan of peonies and am hoping to have them and hoping that there will be enough of them around at the end of May!

If they’re not available then the alternative suggestions could end up being really useful!