Flowers have been used for weddings since time began, with the ancient Greeks forming them into crowns for the wedding party to wear on their heads, a supreme gift of nature to be heralded. Later bouquets of spices, herbs and garlic were held by brides going down the aisle to ward off evil spirits, and because people only bathed twice a year, it was traditional to sew sweet smelling herbs and flowers into bridal gowns to keep everything as fresh as possible. Just a little fast forward takes us to the romance of Victorian times where flowers took on special meaning, each one ‘speaking’ to the world with colorful descriptions and the flower language of love itself. Today, weddings just wouldn’t be complete without flowers; they are pretty, they are feminine and they lend sophistication, class, fun, color and beauty to the festivities. Whether you opt for fresh or silk, chances are your bouquet will be some sort of flower arrangement, and that is just the beginning.
Bouquets can be elaborate or simple, solid white or multi colored, full of flowers you know or exotic species that lend a unique quality or just about anything you can imagine. Most times what to hold goes hand in hand with the shape and size of your dress. If you have a slim fitting, sophisticated dress with little to no beading you may opt for a bouquet that will be the focal point; trailing roses, ribbons, ivy, and a large ‘spray’ arrangement of flowers. Alternately if your dress is full and flowing or full of fine details, you may opt for a simple hand tied arrangement of roses or daisies that add color but don’t detract from the dress, commonly called a posy or nosegay. For a dramatic effect there is the Biedermeier Bouquet, a round display characterized by different colors and flowers in each round row, or the arm sheaf, where larger blooms on long stems are arranged together and meant to be held in the crook of your arm. Also called the presentation bouquet, this is a twist on the traditional bouquet but one that lends an air of sophistication to your event. For a pretty look on a budget, there is the option of having tulle as the main ingredient, with greenery and a few roses in the middle. Called the ballerina, this look is feminine and pretty, can be embellished with ribbons and pearl pins and is a great choice for the bridal party.
Hot trends this year for bridal bouquets include flowers with bling; that is beautifully rich colored blooms that have sparkle accents like beads and faux diamonds imbedded in their centers and on wires amid the presentation itself. Another trend is towards the English garden theme, with many different flowers coming together in a whimsical design and unlike its predecessor, actually structured instead of simply tied together with ribbon. Old world Victorian is also back in fashion as flowers that appear delicate and fragile come together in beautiful bouquets featuring many shades of one color and interspersed with beautiful greens. Kale and artichokes may be thought of as food, but they are slowly making their way into arrangements. In the case of kale, the ruffle like quality of the edges add depth and dimension, not to downplay its lovely green hue and in the case of artichokes, they are unique to look at and lend a quirky quality to an otherwise ‘flower-only’ arrangement. Trends towards botanical or exotic plants and flowers are also gaining popularity, as is incorporating grasses and feathers into existing bouquets for that ultra-modern look.
Usually those in the bridal party will carry smaller versions of the bride’s bouquet, or a posy of the same flowers. Alternately single blooms adorned with ribbons make beautiful arrangements for your attendants.
Boutonnieres and Corsages
The men and women of the bridal party aren’t left out when it comes to flowers. The bridesmaids and flower girl will have their arrangements and it is common for the mother-of–the-bride and mother-of-the-groom to have corsages of matching flowers to wear either pinned on or on the wrist. Fathers, the groom and groomsmen will have boutonnieres– coordinating flowers that are pinned onto the jacket lapel. Sometimes corsages and boutonnieres are extended to grandparents of the bride and groom as well.
If you are getting married in a church, or even if you aren’t, chances are you will have flowers at the site of the service. Pew bows or chair bows adorned with blooms add elegance to the day as do larger displays of flowers at the altar. Some outdoor weddings may take place under an arch, decorated with groupings of flowers, swags or hanging pomanders (flowers arranged in a ball so they are beautiful from all angles) that fill the area with pretty blooms.
Some brides opt for fresh or silk flower centerpieces for the tables at the reception venue. Because tall flower arrangements are slowly going out of style, a lot of brides opt for a low rise grouping of flowers, usually with candles interspersed throughout to give off a pretty romantic glow. You may also want to decorate your chairs with blooms or swags of flowers to tie the whole look together. For the head table, your bouquet and that of your attendants becomes the decoration, either lying together or in a group of floral bliss.
Flowers are a beautiful and natural accessory for any wedding, and throughout time while the reasons behind why we use them may have changed, nothing will change what they do for your special day. Whether you are traditional, modern, country or contemporary, there is a flower arrangement that will suit your style perfectly and add that special something to your wedding.