The bridal bouquet is a key accessory to the wedding gown and, while trends bloom and wilt, the flowers are a chance for the bride to make a personal statement. Round bouquets of roses and peonies are popular choices in Hong Kong as they complement almost any gown, but this style doesn't always reflect a bride's true character. 'It is safer to pick certain themed flowers because the more varieties in a bouquet the higher the risk of a clash. That's why brides often pick a minimalist round bouquet of 12 peonies. It's guaranteed to look nice,' says Kenny Chan, founder of Greenfingers florist. 'The bouquet is a very personal thing and the bride needs to feel confident with the flowers. It should be a unified look that works with the dress and makeup. Flowers accent the look, make the bride look more beautiful and add emotion to the occasion,' Chan says. With a fondness for European styles, Greenfingers can inspire brides looking for alternatives to the classic round bouquet, with modern styles in varying shapes and combinations of flowers. Chan says ideas can come from a bride's knowledge of flowers or from bouquets she's been given and loved. And choosing a florist whose portfolio you've seen and whose skills you trust give more options. 'At the moment from Holland there is a wide range of coloured lilies,' says Chan, who has a master's degree in botany. 'And if you like an exotic look you can use Australian flowers. They are long-lasting because they're used to hot weather. An exclusive flora with a rustic and exotic look is the protea from Australia.' Humidity and intense heat should be a consideration when selecting flowers for the bouquet. Petals that feel waxy, thick or leathery, such as the cymbidium orchid, will last longer. Peonies and roses have delicate petals and wilt quicker, but are still useable if they're given a conditioning treatment part way through the day, Chan says. Janice Chan, senior business manager of agnes b. Fleuriste, says some brides choose two bouquets, one to match the wedding gown and evening dress and another to go with the Chinese gown. French style hand-tied bouquets are on trend, with simple, elegant sprays also popular. 'For example a mixture of rose and mini-roses of various colours or one single flower type such as peony or iris for the whole bouquet,' she says, adding that hyacinthus and hydrangea have recently become popular. Agnes b.'s more unusual bouquets include the eucharis spray characterised by its delicate white flower. Another special is the ranunculus wedding bouquet with the flower chosen for its 'beautiful' shape. The flower is expensive though and most brides shy away from using it as the main flower in a bouquet. Some brides like to preserve their bouquets as a keepsake from the day, but not all flowers keep well. Common varieties such as peony, hyacinthus and hydrangea should be avoided but the rose stands up well. 'Start the preservation process one or two days after the wedding to keep the shape of the flowers.