Unusual Bouquets

Modern wedding bouquet featuring unusual wire trails from Smithers Oasis

Modern wedding bouquet featuring unusual wire trails from Smithers Oasis

Unusual bouquets are not merely unique.  There is something very personal about your wedding flowers,  they are a statement of who you are, who you want to be and how you feel, all at the same time. Florists work hard to create a masterpiece for each bride, but if you’ve looked through the pages of a bridal magazine, you could be forgiven for thinking that most bouquets are very similar.

The posy or hand tied bouquet has been fashionable for at least the last ten years, but even if you want to stick to this shape there’s no reason your bouquet can’t be unique.

Even if you’re working on a tiny budget, and have decided to make your own wedding bouquet, even if your flowers began life  as a small, mass produced bunch of silk flowers, you can still turn them into something that is very you. You can even forget flowers altogether.

So what kind of bouquet should you have?

If your wedding is planned around an unusual theme, clearly you need the right bouquet: a medieval dress, deserves a medieval bouquet. A Lord of the Rings fantasy deserves something of the imagination, as does a gothic bride. And, of course, not all brides wear white.

Here are just some of the styles you could choose, but a good florist should be able to combine styles or add unusual flowers to make something that is uniquely yours.

Overarm bouquet made from tropical silk flowers, protea and dancing lady orchids

Overarm bouquet made from tropical silk flowers, protea and dancing lady orchids

The Arm Sheath.

The Arm Sheath became popular in the early 1900’s when it was known as a ‘Bernhardt bouquet’ , inspired by the many bouquets of flowers  presented to the most famous actress of the day, Sarah Bernhardt. The bride carries the bouquet cradled in the forearm, or if preferred it can hang from her hand. The forearm blooms may come in a neat cluster of long stemmed greenery and flowers, or they can be wider with loose trails creating a softer effect. This type of bouquet is very elegant, and worth considering, try walking around with something in your arm and see how you feel, many brides say it gives them a very regal feeling, and that is is somehow more natural than carrying a posy. Arm sheaths are elegant and very sophisticated, but can be made from almost anything.

The Ballerina Bouquet

The Ballerina is a round bouquet made up of masses of tulle or net and very few flowers. This style of bouquet was very popular during the 1940’s when flowers were very scarce, due to WWII. Although it can be very beautiful the tulle makes them very feminine and beautifully decorative if it is scattered with crystals or if the flowers are Roses the tulle can be strewn with tiny rosebuds. This bouquet is very adaptable  and if your florist has a great imagination there are endless possibilities for it. The Ballerina can be incorporated into most kinds of weddings including vintage as well as modern, after all they did come about around 70 years ago. Not only is this style beautiful but it is also very affordable for the bride on a small budget. Some gorgeous bridal bouquets in this style feature nothing but tulle, other fashion the tulle into flowers, others mix tulle and flowers. A gothic wedding might mix black tulle with red roses, or vice versa. A vintage wedding might mix rings of different shades of tulle, perhaps going from light at the center to dark at the outside, with a lovely rose in the center, or with crystals or pearls mixed in.

Unusual biedermeyer style bouquet

A biedermeyer style bouquet in pink

The Beidermier Bouquet

The Beidermier is European influenced and round in style, the flowers are tightly structured and carefully arranged, it is also entirely symmetrical with the flowers arranged in concentric circles and is unique because the same type of flower is used in a circular pattern. Each ring represents only one type of flower. You can have as many rings as you like, there are no hard and fast rules for this. You can also include other elements such as bouquet jewels for a sophisticated look or acorns, berries and nuts for a more more natural look.  The style originated in Switzerland in the late 1800’s and was named after a German style of interior design. Orange and lemon peel was often added for extra fragrance.

Bridal Bible Spray Bouquet type

Bridal Bible Spray Bouquet type from Enrights Florist of Rochester NY

The Bible Spray.

Truly different ribbon bouquet - Modern style with giant beads and ribbon. From Smithers Oais

Truly different ribbon bouquet – Modern style with giant beads and ribbon. From Smithers Oais

A  bible spray is demur and elegant; it also has two forms. The first is the prayer book, which is normally white, a fairly wide ribbon is attached to the inside of the book and a single flower or small corsage is attached to the ribbon where it falls. The next is again a prayer book, but covered with lace or material from the brides dress if it has been shortened or altered and the whole covered with a corsage decorated with ribbons and beads etc.

Match the flowers in both cases to your overall look. If however you want to keep either of these as a keepsake,use silk flowers. If you are having a registry office wedding, are not religious and have a favorite book that means a lot to you, cover it and use that.

The Composite Bouquet.

A composite bouquet is very pretty and perfect for a bride who is thinking of a vintage style wedding. It is made of hundreds of wired or glued petals around a single flower. When finished it aims to look like a large bloom with a ribbon attached to it. The best flowers to use for this type of bouquet are Orchids, Lillies and Roses, the end result can look very simple, but don’t be fooled, it’s not,  as any florist can tell you. Composite bouquets are very eye catching going down the aisle and will look stunning in the photographs in the years to come. They were very popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s and were known as Fantasy Flowers, Malmaison Roses and Glameliasas they were commonly created from Gladioli petals.

The Bridal Basket

This is normally a beautifully shaped and shallow basket filled with flowers or rose petals and whilst it can be carried by the bride it is more often carried by junior bridesmaids or flower girls. If you intend to have flower girls take into consideration your wedding colors, wedding theme and size of the of the flower girl before buying the basket. Just like the brides bouquet, the size of the flower girls basket must be the right size for the child carrying it.

Did you know that the flower girl with her basket of petals is symbolic, and goes all the way back to Greek and Roman times. In those days young girls scattered grain and herbs to represent fertility. In the Middle Ages young girls walked before the bride carrying bunches of grain, and the traditional flower baskets didn’t come to the fore until the Victorian era when little girls dressed in white carried petal filled baskets or flower covered hoops representing eternal love.

It is wise to check with your church etc. about whether they allow the scattering of flower petals well before the wedding.

An unusual Cascade bouquet made from sunflowers

An unusual Cascade bouquet made from sunflowers

The Crescent / Cascade  Bouquet

This bouquet can be symmetric or asymmetric. A symmetric bouquet has flowers and greenery that arch at the same lengths at both sides.  An asymmetric bouquet has one side longer than the other. This is the ideal shape for a wedding dress with a big skirt and if carried just below the waist both the beauty of your dress and the bouquet will stand out. The Cascade tends to show greenery and blossoms in a very natural way.  Also referred to as a shower bouquet, cascades have numerous trails tumbling from the top; this style is also known as a multiple trail bouquet and can be  unstructured in appearance.

The Fan Bouquet

A fan style wedding bouquet is just what it says, a lacy fan and is so very feminine and romantic. You can buy these on the internet in paper, silk and carved wood; none are expensive.  The wooden ones are carved in lovely patterns but left natural. If you would prefer white  spray with white paint. After this point do not close it as you will use it fully open at your wedding. A small corsage of  flowers and ribbons or feathers is usually added, and this is one unusual bouquet you can definetly make yourself with a little preparation. Add pearls or a butterfly here and there, let your imagination run wild. Ideal fora bride who wants a vintage look, but also wants to be different.

The Free Form Bouquet

A free form bouquet doesn’t follow any specific rules, it has no defined shape and can feature any combination of foliage and flowers in a completely natural composition. They usually look their best with tropical and exotic flowers and can be used as a perfect compliment to an alternative or beach wedding.

This is also an adaptable style of bouquet and can  be integrated with other styles to give a much more unique look.  Unusual items can also be used such as moss, mushrooms, curly willow and tropical grasses. The sky’s the limit really. But one word of caution……..there is a very fine line between mayhem and free form so make sure your florist knows what she is doing.

The Handtied  Bouquet

The handtied type of bouquet is extremely popular with modern brides, there is no stiffness or exact placement of each flower. It has a natural feel and is unique in that almost any flower that can stay out of water and still be beautiful can be used. A lot of the charm of these bouquets is that they are always created with natural stems and with ribbons to hold the flowers together. You can add family heirlooms like a brooch belonging to someone you loved, a piece of lace from an old wedding gown or a rosary belonging to someone no longer with you or use decorative pins.  When finished, each one makes a statement and no two are ever alike.

The Muff.

The muff style is very popular in Europe where it is cold in winter and to some extent was created out of necessity. Wearing only a silk dress to your wedding in the midst of a European winter is not practical or wise but a bride wearing a silk dress covered by a cloak trimmed with fur and carrying a fur muff  is not only the height of good taste but stunningly beautiful. In the really cold parts of Europe, brides can arrive at their wedding in a sleigh pulled by white horses with tinkling bells around their necks and forelocks. But the ‘icing on the cake’ is the muff with it’s velvet pockets inside and beautiful corsage attached to the outside making this a magical day in every way. Whether you choose white flowers with green foliage in classic form, or a red bouquet with springs of glittered foliage, fir or pine cones, this looks stunning and feels very natural to hold.

A Nosegay or Tussie Mussie

A nosegay or Tussie Mussie is a very traditional design,  a small round bunch of herbs and flowers containing more greenery than other bouquets and usually carried in a Tussie Mussie, that would sometimes be given as a gift. Nosegays have existed in one form or another since at least medieval times when they were carried or worn on or around the bodice to mask the unpleasant smells of that time and literally to keep the ‘nose gay’. In their current form they rose to popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria and from 1837 onwards they became a fashion accessory. In the 1980’s they came back into fashion as a  tight posy of small flowers with a stiff tulle backing, because of  their small size, nosegays were popular with flowers girls and junior bridesmaids, however they can be ideal for medieval or fantasy weddings, or where the bride is looking for something natural with a woodland theme.

The Parasol

Looking for a different and sophisticated look for an outdoor wedding? Something you can make unique without having it cost you a fortune? If so a lace parasol may be ideal.  What could be more practical as well as beautiful than a parasol in white Battenburg Lace which you can buy for around $30. You can leave it the way it is and it will still be lovely but decorated it can be stunning and take all your guests by storm. The first thing you would be wise to do is to attach a cord to go round your wrist to make it easy to carry by hand. The next thing you will need is a glue gun and crystals which you can stick on in the center of the lace patterns or flowers, leave to dry, next, take into consideration the length of handle you can see before it begins to turn. Using your wedding colors make a corsage to fit the space with silk flowers and trailing ribbons.  Stick in place with the glue gun or wire the corsage to the handle.  If the sun gets too much for you during the ceremony put it up and watch it sparkle. You could also use parasols for your bridesmaids and by buying in bulk you can even supply these to your guests, perhaps as wedding favors.

An Unusual Pomander Bouquet Made from Gerbera Daisies

An Unusual Pomander Bouquet Made from Gerbera Daisies

The Pomander or Kissing Ball Bouquet

The Kissing ball originated in England during the middle ages. It was a ball made of evergreens and hung over doorways as a symbol of good will. In time, lavender and rosemary were added to the evergreens signifying loyalty and devotion and the meaning began to change, the kissing ball began to symbolize romance. With romance as the main idea it is no surprise that kissing balls became popular at weddings.

The Kissing ball itself has now changed and is now usually made from  a ball of florists foam completely covered by flowers with a ribbon attached as a handle.  At first these were used by flower girls and small bridesmaids then they then grew a little larger and were used by the grown up bridesmaids and now larger still they have become popular for the bride herself. They also make a lovely centerpiece. Be wary of the weight. A really large Pomander bouquet can weigh a great deal. And if you plan to make one, be sure you have plenty of flowers. They use more than you think.

Modern pomanders are usually made using a single flower type and color, but there is no reason to stick to this, you can add trails of ivy and a selection of flowers for a truly unique bouquet.

wand-bouquets Wedding flowers that are just a little different. Design by Smithers Oasis

wand-bouquets Wedding flowers that are just a little different. Design by Smithers Oasis

The Sceptre or Wand style Bouquet.

Beautiful,  unusual and sophisticated, some dresses cry out for a sceptre or wand style bouquet. This is one of the most unusual bouquets to have, it gives a very dramatic accent to your wedding day, but is not the choice of every bride. The handles are extra long and can be entwined with beading, ornaments and ribbons or cording of all kinds, however you need to be careful as it can look top heavy.  On the other hand if your dress is ornate carrying a Sceptre will not obscure it. You can also ask your florist if there is such a thing as a stand you can hire for putting it in during your meal. Sceptre bouquets are suitable for any kind of wedding, but a must for a fantasy theme. They can also be carried by the bridesmaids.

The Teardrop Bouquet

Sister to the Victorian cascade, the teardrop’s cascade is much larger and not so structured. Modern teardrops are small and compact with a slight tear shape and usually more formal. It is rounded at the top coming to a point at the bottom. This shape is created by means of a foam form in order to get exact placement for the flowers and definition to the shape. They are the perfect shape for a small, petite bride who doesn’t want her flowers to overwhelm her and is really the traditional form of the modern crescent or cascade. These bouquets are very difficult and time consuming to make it is therefore not surprising that they are usually quite expensive.

Gerbera Corsage

Gerbera Corsage from Bunches Direct

The Wrist Bouquet or Corsage

Wrist Corsages are worn for many occasions, a wedding being the most important and are usually worn by the female members of the bride and groom’s immediate family but now a days the brides very close friends can be included too. Some brides choose a wrist bouquet for a second wedding. this is a great alternative to the traditional bouquet, it is usually no more than three flowers with a little greenery, attached to an elasticated bracelet and can be worn by all of the bridesmaids and even the bride. It is very adaptable can be all of one color or very colorful and decorated with beads, jewels and ribbons. The Corsage is normally worn on the left wrist because this is mostly the non dominant hand, leaving the dominant hand free for shaking hands, eating, drinking etc. Wonderful for the bride who is counting her pennies and delightful for a low key wedding.

Pretty hoop style bouquet ideal for Bridemaids

Bridesmaids Hoop for Newleaf florists in the UK

The Hoop

The flowers at Princess Diana’s wedding set the fashion of a generation. Her huge trailing bouquet made headlines, but so did the flowers carried by her attendants; the flower girls carried simple hoops, decorated with trails of ivy and other flowers. The great thing about hoops is that there is no ‘right’ way up, they are pretty fool proof to carry and can be easily made with a real hoop, some spray paint and some silk flowers, so a simple way to have something really unsual without breaking the bank.

Whether you choose one style, or decide to combine two or more, its easy to create an unusual bouquet by choosing a unique combinations of materials. Here are some suggestions

  • Ribbons
  • Feathers
  • Bows
  • Crystal strands
  • Sea shells
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Fabric
  • Butterflies
  • Moss
  • Gourds
  • Buttons
  • Vintage Broaches or earrings
Whatever you choose for your bouquet, whatever your budget, on this day of all days, don’t be afraid to be you.
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