This warm, creamy bouquet composed of off-white roses, feathery chrysanthemums and carnations gives the traditional bridal color a subtle glow.
Carrying a bridal bouquet is a tradition as old as marriage itself. Holding the fruits of nature’s abundance just below the waist may no longer be meant overtly to invoke fertility, but it continues to symbolize celebration, beauty and happiness. Whether delicate white or blazing with color, dainty clusters or big, buxom blooms, the trends in bridal bouquets are more than mere decoration—it’s an important marital medium for personal expression.
Surrounded by snow, it’s clear how an achromatic bouquet can instantly elevate the tone of your event to a white tie affair. Snowy white or a rush of color, the single-color bouquet is in.
One of the simplest, most elegant trends in bridal flowers is a monochromatic bouquet. A minimal palette can add a striking splash of color in contrast to a white dress, and lends itself well to a gown with an ornate or lace-trimmed bodice that might look busy with a more riotous flower arrangement. This is the bouquet for a bride who wants a clean-cut, formal look.
The monochromatic bouquet doesn’t have to be as pared down as a bundle of red roses, though this may be just the classic effect you’re going for. You can get creative with the variety of flowers in your bouquet and experiment with shape and size while sticking to your chosen color. Match or highlight the wedding décor or stand out with something completely different. Explore the seasonal offerings: crimson amaryllis with frills of red sweet pea and red hypericum berries give a burst of festive color to a winter wedding.
Perhaps the most popular and modern incarnation of the monochromatic bouquet is pure white. Sleek and classy, white bouquets let the bride’s beauty take center stage. Surrounded by snow, it’s clear how an achromatic bouquet can instantly elevate the tone of your event to a white tie affair. Snowy white or a rush of color, the single-color bouquet is in.
The meandering twigs of a willow give a spontaneous, plucked-from-nature feel.
Flowers aren’t the only plants with panache. Lately, bouquets have been laden with a wide range of natural accents that offer blossoms a boost of organic variety. Chunky items like lotus pods, pinecones—even airy clouds of cotton add weight to bridal bouquets, while more delicate additions include ferns, berries and herbs. The effect of adding various natural elements to your bouquet can range from the wild to the rustic, to the contained richness of the hothouse. The meandering twigs of a willow give a spontaneous, plucked-from-nature feel. If you delight in disorder, spangling your flowers with twigs or berries can make it look as if you gathered your bouquet on a stroll through enchanted woods.
Authenticity is in right now, with many brides planning weddings with a homespun feel. Lavender and herbs like the rosemary peeking out of this arrangement of white roses and pink-tinged hydrangea add an aromatic, antique romance—sweet and simple.
Succulents come in so many shapes, colors and textures, they could make up a whole bouquet themselves, but they also add a lush beauty to a bunch of flowers, as they do with this boisterous bouquet of pink peonies spiked with blue sea-holly and buttery yellow flowers.
Even the plants usually reserved for the dinner table can find their way into a creative foodie’s flowers. Stalks of wheat are quaint and hark back to the earliest wedding traditions, life-affirming symbols of prosperity. Purple kale, artichokes, carrot tops—the possibilities are endless when it comes to the world’s wealth of flora.
These richly-hued bouquets of delicate pink orchids and roses graduating to a deep purple frame are a gorgeous example.
When it comes to color, flowers are the undisputed champions of the natural world. Florists can get you blooms in any hue imaginable, leading to a trend playing up the vast range of shades at your fingertips. Ombré bouquets arrange flowers of the same hue by the strength of their color, tones graduating from dark to light. The trend that has been making waves in the world of fashion has made its way to wedding flowers, and the effect is a dramatic, eye-catching splash of watercolor, simple yet stunning.
Whether you go from left to right, or start dark at the top of your bouquet, the flowers seeming to fade as they drip from your hands, ombré exudes a playful sophistication. It works particularly well in a Beidermeier bouquet, a European-style arrangement made up of concentric circles, each of one kind of flower. These richly-hued bouquets of delicate pink orchids and roses graduating to a deep purple frame are a gorgeous example.
Though the idea limits you to one color family, there are ways to experiment with ombré bouquets, and they’re perfect for adding glamour to a simple palette. A soft look can be achieved by choosing colors so close to one another they seem to melt together, while clearly distinguished groups, such as a vivid red, orange and yellow, will be bright and fun.
Some brides also find ombré bouquets an ingenious approach to bridesmaid’s flowers. Giving each bridesmaid a bouquet of flowers in a different shade creates a lovely picture and lets each one stand out a little.
Try researching the language of flowers and you can assign each bridesmaid a variety that speaks to her personality and what you love about her.
Your bouquet is the jaw-dropper for this event, but you’re probably putting a lot of thought into those bridesmaids’ bouquets, as well. After all, these are your closest friends and family, your homegirls, and you want them adorned accordingly.
One thoughtful way to unify the bouquets in the wedding party while treating each bridesmaid to a personal touch is to make each of their bouquets from one type of flower included in yours. Perhaps you have a wildflower bouquet and give one bridesmaid daisies, one red poppies and one cornflowers. You can use this concept simply or with more elaborate floral compositions. This bridesmaid’s bouquet of lavish peonies and tiny waxflowers subtly echoes the bride’s dainty white and pink confection.
The ombré trend marries well with this one: carry a mingled bouquet while your bridesmaids’ flowers intensify from one to the next, using blossoms from your arrangement. It’s a good time to get sentimental with your best friends. Try researching the language of flowers and you can assign each bridesmaid a variety that speaks to her personality and what you love about her.
Vintage is all the rage, and not only because we have a lot to learn from the flair of fashions past. A vintage approach to wedding flowers can mean drawing on history or the legacy of your own family. Reusing cloth or ribbon from a hand-me-down or a vintage shop satisfies an eco-conscious bride’s preference for low-impact options.
For a bouquet evocative of old timey understated glamour, choose tea roses or Lily of the Valley. Like a faded postcard, many vintage-inspired bouquets feature pale and pastel flowers, washed out pinks, blues and yellows reminiscent of a hand-painted Victorian teacup. Discolored lace and other fabrics wrapped around the bouquet’s stem really impart that old-fashioned charm, as in the pastoral nostalgia of this arrangement of roses, hypericum and bright pink gerberas.
If you want to include your heritage in your bouquet, a vintage style might mean securing your flowers with a piece of grandma’s lace, perhaps sealing it with an old brooch. Ties to the past bring a spirit of context and permanence to the wedding ceremony.
A wildly popular addition to your arsenal of bouquet components isn’t grown in a greenhouse but foraged from the decorative items at your disposal. Bouquets made up entirely of vintage brooches have been sweeping the altar, but for a tiny touch of glitz it’s not unusual to see flowers studded with a single pearl or just a few gemstone pins amid clusters of flowers. Crocheted, paper and felt flowers appeal to the DIY bride, but even in floral arrangements, brides are becoming more adventurous with the materials accentuating their bouquets, and the results are edgy and unique.
Cheerful buttons, seashells, even cute doorknobs and drawer pulls have made their way into today’s bouquets, but if that’s too out there for you, a natural choice is the borrowed finery of the bird. The animal elegance of the feather adds new texture to the usual array of petals and leaves. You can get cruelty-free feathers in a range of styles almost as broad as your choice of flowers, accommodating a dreamy, vintage look like these, a flash of macaw feathers or the neutral tones of a very earthy arrangement.
What you wrap your bouquet with is almost as important as the flowers themselves, especially when you can tie it all together with the right fabric. What may appear to be a rather modest bouquet of white flowers acquires extravagance when wrapped with a voluminous satin bow.
by daisy willis | photography by alison conklin