In the changing game of wedding bouquets, the brides of today have so many options: fresh flowers as is tradition; faux flowers to keep forever; or something else – something unique, something new, something totally personalised. Here’s my perspective as a photographer, but ultimately the choice is yours – fresh, faux or far out? (pictured above: Kristie and her girls’ Aussie native bouquets by Floral & Mineral)
Always the most popular choice, fresh flowers will never go out of style – you’ll also see them at some weddings adoring the arbor, the tables, the aisle, the ladies’ hair and more. Originally brides carried flowers, herbs or spices to make themselves smell nicer in an era before bathing daily, or as a means to ward off evil spirits. It was in the 1700s that brides began carrying a pretty bouquet just for tradition, and it’s one that has carried over to today. If you’re a bloom-enthusiast, you might want to take your favourite flower’s seasonal availability into account when choosing your wedding date – some flowers, like peonies, are only available at certain times of the year.
One great thing about fresh flowers is that they ALWAYS photograph well – just make sure you dry off the stems before carrying them, or you may end up with water marks on your dresses!
Recently I’ve seen a trend toward brides making their own bouquets with flowers sourced from local markets the day before the wedding. If you have a creative streak, it can be a great way to keep costs down – but beware the day-before frazzle! Make sure you’ve given it a practice run or two in advance, or delegate it to a handy friend or bridesmaid. The last thing you want is to be up until all hours assembling bouquets and tearing your hair out the night before your wedding! You might have saved a few dollars, but are the dark circles really worth it?
Above: Amelia’s daisies and ferns by Jacqui M Designs.
Fresh flowers pros: Classic, timeless and highly customisable to your theme.
Fresh flowers cons: Can wilt through the day (especially in summer heat), seasonal availability for certain types of flower, won’t last as a keepsake (unless preserved), large bouquets can be HEAVY!
Above: Janis’, Samone’s and Eva’s faux flowers all DIY’ed by the brides. Samone’s are silk flowers and Janis and Eva’s “real touch” lilies.
We’re a sentimental bunch, us romantics, and sometimes being able to keep a token from the big day is an idea that really appeals to us. Enter faux flowers – which, when done well, can be extremely convincing and even pass for real flowers to those who look but don’t touch. They’re significantly lighter than their fresh counterparts, which makes carrying them all day much easier, they can be DIYed well in advance for the thriftier brides, and totally eliminate the seasonal restrictions of fresh flowers – meaning you can get the look of any bloom at any time of year. “Real touch” flowers or flowers made from silk will be your best bet – try to avoid polyester or plastic as their texture and finish are less convincing. Remember – photographers love to capture every detail of your day, so your flowers will need to look great even in a close-up photograph!
Above: Samone and her girls’ silk flowers DIY’ed by Samone.
Faux flowers pros: Lighter than fresh flowers, will last as a keepsake, can be obtained well in advance, highly customisable to your theme, can be used decoratively in your home later.
Faux flowers cons: Can look fake, difficult to buy online with confidence – it helps to see these in person first.
Above: Cathy’s brooch bouquet from Etsy, and Jennifer’s DIY button bouquet.
There’s so much more out there than just flowers these days! Modern brides looking for something different can choose from paper flowers, brooch bouquets, button bouquets and even lollipop bouquets to carry down the aisle. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. My personal favourite is the brooch bouquet – an extremely elegant and shiny option where brooches and beads are wired into the shape of your choice. I think a brooch bouquet will be what I carry down the aisle one day! They make a great decorative piece and talking point for your home down the track, look spectacular in photographs and will stand the test of time. If an offbeat bouquet is for you, thousands of options are only an Etsy or Pinterest search away.
Other options pros: Allows huge scope for creativity, can minimise costs (though options like brooch bouquets can be quite expensive), highly personal, huge range of options, custom-made, most will last as a keepsake, can be used decoratively in your home later.
Other options cons: DIY options can be stressful, some bouquet types are perishable, brooch bouquets can be HEAVY – even moreso than fresh flowers!
Still not sure? Feeling overwhelmed? Then you can always be like rockstar bride Brooke above – ditch the bouquet and go hands-free. Your wedding day, your rules.