“Ribbon is back with a vengeance, but today, its selection and use is a more integral part of the design process.” 

The wedding and event world is currently embracing fabrics and ribbons as key components. Although we have always seen colorful linens as part of wedding décor, 2019 is all about tactile layering. From velvet to faux fur, cashmere and even corduroy, designers are using these somewhat nontraditional fabrics at weddings to add richness, texture and dimension to the décor. At Christmasworld, Floradecora and Creativeworld in Frankfurt, Germany, in January, the increased popularity over the last few years of gauzy, airy fabrics and ribbons was shown stronger than ever. Now thicker, textural fabrics like these are on the rise.

Velvet is trending heavily in all areas of décor and fashion. Velvet’s soft, luxurious style makes it a perfect choice for linens, bow ties, accessories and bouquet ribbons.

In weddings, as in the rest of the floral world, designers’ appreciation of ribbon to add accents of texture to their designs is surging. These modern ribbons are not about popping a big No. 40 satin bow with streamers on a potted plant. The new ribbon accents are added with thought and purpose and respect for not only the beauty of the material but also the value it adds when it’s incorporated into designs.
Long, graceful ribbon streamers are the perfect complement to loose and airy wedding bouquets. Bouquets for 2019 and 2020 are scaling down to a more manageable size for brides to carry. They are still trending toward organic “gathered-from-the-garden” styles, just more contained and classic. This opens the door for ribbon and its texture, line and movement. Layers of ribbon in different widths, fabrics and opacities add a luxe feel to natural bouquet styles.
Today’s ribbon options are better than they have ever been. The abundance of choices gives designers a solution for every need. There are times when we need ribbon to hold a firm shape and times when we need loose and free-flowing lines of material. Now, we have it all. Wired ribbon versus nonwired is no longer a choice to struggle with. We need them both. Printed ribbon is being combined with solids to add to the trending layering effect in décor and events. We are seeing accents of animal prints and stripes blended with textural neutrals. Soft batik and watercolor-inspired patterns add soft ethereal print and color to coordinate with trending desert/glamping/forest styles dominating weddings and home settings.
Texture is king, with the popularity of velvet and contrasting soft materials like silk and sheer organza. Surprising “materials-turned-ribbon” are statement makers. Wool ribbon is a perfect accent for natural and organic consumers, and it comes in amazing color choices. We are seeing more and more fashion materials like tweeds and faux-fur textures, along with sweater knits, flannels, denim and corduroy. The heavier fabrics are perfect for late summer, fall and winter to add to everyday arrangements as well as special events.
Pattern blends beautifully with texture in the forms of lace and cotton cording. Macramé and lace are still trending and are considered part of the world of ribbon embellishment. Organic jute and rope also join the party with an abundance of widths and colors from which to choose. And we can’t forget yarn. A design staple for many years, we now have an abundance of yarns in super chunky widths; exciting new textures like loops, shags and chenilles; and colors that coordinate with everything imaginable.
We need to look to ribbon and textiles as fabulous fashion additions to our flowers. As with all fashion accessories, keep it simple, and allow them to effortlessly blend with the botanicals. Good ribbon has value; therefore, it needs to be used wisely and charged for accordingly. It’s like adding the perfect pair of shoes to a fantastic outfit. Don’t hide it, and don’t overdo it; just allow it to make a statement, and let it shine. 
Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI, are the creative directors behind Schaffer Designs, a floral event company. Bill and Kris are diverse contributors in the floral industry, specializing in not only trend translations, education, product development, and showroom and trade-show design but also commissioned floral installations as well as being award-winning authors. Email bill@schafferdesigns.com and/or kris@schafferdesigns.com