A trained florist who has been creating wedding bouquets for more than 17 years, Miranda Cornish of LoveFlowers in Queensland reckons she has helped at least 5000 brides with everything from bouquets and bouttonieres to sprays and posies for their big days.
Miranda says that while bouquets are a staple at most weddings, there are plenty of other ways to make your favourite flowers a part of your wedding day.
She now specialises in artificial bouquets and, more often than not, you can barely tell the real thing from the fake.
– and, particularly if you don’t want fresh flowers, or you’re allergic to them, you don’t have to use the real thing!
This small, round bouquet is a popular choice, not only for bridesmaids, but sometimes the bride. A good bouquet should look well-balanced and be as light as possible to carry. When determining the size of your bouquet take into account your body frame and the size of your skirt. As you would expect, smaller bouquets are generally suggested for petite brides, as is a larger bouquet suggested to complement a full, hooped skirt.
You can personalise your posies with your choice of flowers, foliage, ribbon colour and binding options. A more formal look is achieved with limiting the number of flower types and spacing the flowers tight and even. For a more relaxed and natural feel, mix different types of flowers and have the posies made in a looser, less structured effect.
The Arm Sheaf:
Autumn Harvest Bridal BouquetArm sheafs first became popular for brides in the early 1900’s under the name of ‘Bernhardt’ bouquets; inspired by the presentation bouquets given to the actress of the day, Sarah Bernhardt. This shape is held cradled in the arms, or, more recently, upside-down against the skirt of your gown. An arm sheaf bouquet is a good choice if you like the natural look of stems but want something a little larger and more unusual than a posy. Best with sleeveless gowns, if your dress does have sleeves make sure they are not a main feature of your gown, as they will be obscured by a sheaf bouquet. The binding treatment (where the stem are bound together) can be a feature in itself, so choose your ribbon carefully, or go for a natural effect with ivy or vine. From around $65.
The Crescent Bouquet:
Crescent BouquetA crescent-shaped bouquet may be suitable for the bride who wants a small, unusual bouquet with more structure than a posy. It’s perfect for complementing a slim waist and hips, as it has a dainty, curved line. Surprisingly, it has never been a common choice, which means that this bouquet will never date your wedding photos! From $189.
Longer Style Bouquets:
Shower bouquets replaced posies as the favourite bouquet for brides around 1910. By 1920 this style became quite exaggerated, with larger and larger bouquets almost concealing the bride! ‘Lovers’ knots’ were incorporated into the design; yards of ribbons streaming out of the bouquet featured knots along their length into which buds and foliage were inserted. Interestingly, the custom of tossing the bridal bouquet to unmarried girls is only half of the original tradition – the catcher of the bouquet was entitled to untie a lovers’ knot and the wish she made was said to come true. Lovers’ knots are the evolutionary forerunner of swing flowers; florets fastened to short lengths of ribbon or cord swinging from a bouquet.
Sweet Nostalgia Bridal Bouquet:
After reaching their peak in the 20’s and 30’, shower bouquets all but disappeared by WWII: their generously elaborate style at odds with the plain suits worn by war-time brides. Corsages and wristlets, today now the premise of mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom, were often worn instead of a hand-held bouquet during the war years. A few decades later, a new, smaller shower bouquet regained top position in the 1980’s. This then gradually gave rise to the popularity of the princess, teardrop, pendant, trail and cascade – all variations in proportions of the basic long style. The long, elegant line of these bouquets can often be more flattering to the figure than the plump, round shape of the posy and they complement elaborate and vintage gowns beautifully.
The Princess Bouquet:
Formerly known as the large, multi-trail bouquet, this extra generous bouquet constructed with several long, tapered trails of flowers was renamed the ‘Princess’ in honour of the late Princess Diana; she carried an extra large multi-trail which included gardenias, stephanotis, freesias, orchids, lily of the valley, roses, ivy and myrtle. From $239
The Trail Bouquet:
Princess Mary’s unique bridal bouquet has sparked new interest in the trail bouquet – essentially a cluster of flowers with a foliage trail often embellished with extra flowers. Popular in the 90’s in Australia, this bouquet is more cost effective than a princess bouquet of the same length. From around $84.
The Cascade Bouquet:
The cascade features waterfall-shaped dimensions, the width across the top not much more than the width below. This gives a more natural, flowing look. From around $145.
The Pendant Bouquet:
The pendant is a short, wide bouquet – think a heart shape without the cleft in the top. The effect is generous and lush and especially suits a monochromatic selection of flowers. From around $159.
The Teardrop Bouquet: TeardropPopular in the 80’s, a teardrop is best in smaller size as it is a tighter style with a definite tapered point. If you are after a bouquet longer than 35cm consider the looser style of the cascade, or the cost-effective trail. From around $125.
Sweet Nostalgia Flowergirl’s Halo: Young flowergirls are best suited to a hoop (from around $49), wand (from around $49), tiny posy (from around $23) or pomander ball (from around $49) which are all easy to hold. A small size is recommended for easily-tired little arms.
From around the age of eight or nine they may prefer to be ‘junior bridesmaids’ and carry a smaller version of the bridesmaids’ bouquets. Complete your flowergirl’s outfit with a pretty halo or alice band (from around $25).
Spring Celebration Hair Blossoms: From the earliest times, brides have adorned their hair with flowers. There is nothing more beautiful than flowers in your hair, and your wedding is the perfect day to truly indulge this romantic look. The “soft and a little messy” as well as the more structured retro hair styles fashionable this year work well with a handful of tiny florets, or one single large flower. Hairflowers look best if they appear to have a purpose. For example, holding a lock of hair in place, or tucked in the side of a chignon. If you chose to wear a veil, a cluster of bud pins tucked in front of the comb embellishes the veil beautifully – this is remarkably simple to do. From around $9.
Remember with silk flowers it’s easy to practise beforehand, so have a trial with your hairstylist in advance of the big day. And for those on a budget, compare the cost of hairflowers with a crystal or pearl headpiece – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Corsages, Wristlets and Buttonholes
Stephanotis Corsage: These small items are all an easy way to make parents, grandparents, ushers, and step-parents feel welcomed and special.
Something Blue ButtonholeCorsages are given to the mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom, and worn just below the right shoulder. They may, of course, be given as a special recognition to any of your lady guests you wish to honour. From around $7.50. Alternatively, they can wear a cluster of flowers on the wrist – this is called a wristlet. From around $14.
The groom’s flower, worn on his left lapel, usually matches one of the flowers in his bride’s bouquet. Likewise, the groomsmen’s buttonholes often match the bridesmaids’ bouquet colour. For an extra degree of difficulty, the fathers’ and grandfathers’ buttonholes can match their partners’ corsages, however, unlike diving you will not score extra points and it’s usually easier to stick with one or two different colours of buttonholes. From around $6.
The Fan: The fan enjoyed a fleeting popularity in the late eighties. Lacy plastic fans were embellished with carnations, baby’s breath and plenty of tizzy ribbon. Around the same time, some other unfortunate brides (badly affected by frizzing and teasing their hair once too many) chose to carry flower-filled baskets. The sight of what appeared to be an overgrown flower girl walking down the aisle confused wedding guests already traumatised by the sight of the groom in his pale pink tux.
With those days safely history, it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to imagine a bevy of bridesmaids carrying elegant bamboo fans embellished with jewel-coloured orchids and rich, two-tone ribbon. Now that’s a worthwhile 80’s revival! Spray to attach from $23.
The Bridal Handwarmer: A unique choice for the individual bride. Far more popular in Europe, where it was borne out of necessity centuries ago, a handwarmer embellished with a floral feature is an unusual, yet perfect choice for a winter wedding. To continue the look have your bridesmaids wear evening gloves; everyone’s fingers will be toasty! Spray to attach from $23.
The Prayerbook Spray: The Prayerbook or Bible Spray is a small arrangement of flowers attached to a prayerbook or bible’s cover. A long-time favourite of devout brides especially Catholics, it’s seen as a traditional choice, but the flower spray can be designed in a contemporary fashion. From around $29.