Flower talk: Your guide to wedding flower terms

Flowers - flower talk - a guide to wedding flowers
Flowers are so important at weddings. Not only do they look beautiful, they can round out a wedding theme perfectly. Oh, and the smell!

They can be used so many ways, be they carried by the bride or worn in the groom’s lapel. You may also have them form part of the decor for both the ceremony and the reception.

However, they also come with a whole new language that explain size and arrangement and, if you’re not au fait with flower talk, it can be a little overwhelming.

So, before heading to your florist to talk blooms, be sure to familiarise yourself with the following floral terms.

Altarpiece – The altarpiece is the floral arrangement that will adorn the altar during your wedding ceremony if, obviously, you’re holding your wedding ceremony somewhere that has an altar.

This is usually a long and low arrangement which could be moved to the reception to dress the main table.

Bouquet – Bouquet is pretty much a catch all term for the type of arrangement that the bride and, perhaps, her bridesmaids will carry.

There are actually various types of bouquet, some of which are featured below. Popular variations of bouquets include the arm sheaf which is laid over one arm and cascading bouquets which include trailing flowers or foliage.

Bouquets are, traditionally, many flowers, but some brides prefer one giant bloom.

Boutonniere or buttonhole worn by a groom
– The boutonnière (also known as a button-hole) is traditionally worn by the groom and key male wedding party members such as ushers, fathers and groomsmen. However, it is becoming increasingly common for women, particularly the Mother of the Bride, to wear one too.

A boutonnière will usually feature a single bloom that matches the bridal bouquet along with some foliage or other decoration and is pinned to the left lapel, which sits above the heart.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a single bloom. As you can see from the picture above, it can be berries, or even superhero figurines!

Centrepiece – Centrepiece arrangements are the floral decor that will adorn your tables during your wedding breakfast and/or reception.

They will usually match the bouquet, but they needn’t be floral at all. There are lots of quirky alternatives out there, including candles and feathers that make lovely centrepieces.

A corsage worn by a bridesmaid
– Traditionally, the bride and groom would provide corsages for all female guests, but these days it has become the norm to give them only to key members of the bridal party – usually the Mothers of the bride and groom and, perhaps, some female relatives (for example grandmothers).

A corsage should be pinned to the left shoulder, although there is also the option of including a ribbon to tie it to the wrist if the corsage is particularly heavy or the woman’s dress is particularly delicate.

Nosegay – A nosegay bouquet is a round arrangement that is usually densely packed with blooms.

They tend to be on the smaller side of bridal bouquets and will often be of a simple design involving just one or two varieties of flower. It is common for bridesmaids to carry a scaled down version of the bridal nosegay bouquet.

Pedestal arrangements – These are the large arrangements that will sit atop a pedestal, perhaps at the doors or on either side of the altar or during an outdoor wedding ceremony.

Often the flowers will be arranged to offer a lovely, delicate cascading effect.

Pew ends – If you are marrying in a church, then you may wish to dress the aisle with flowers.

The most common way to do so is to use pew end floral arrangements that match the overall colour scheme of the wedding and the bride’s bouquet.

A posy is not dissimilar to a nosegay
– A posy is a style of bouquet that is not all that dissimilar to a nosegay in that it takes a slightly domed shape.

They are often hand tied incorporating ribbons in the bridal colours.  These are very popular because they are easy to carry and can be scaled down for bridesmaids and flowergirls.

Toss bouquet – The toss bouquet (also known as the throw away bouquet) is a relatively new inclusion in the packages offered by bridal florists.

Many brides want to participate in the tradition of throwing the bouquet for the single ladies to catch, but want to keep their own bouquet as a memento.

To solve this problem, you can choose to have a toss bouquet to use instead. This is often a simplified version of the bridal bouquet or an exact replica if you can afford it.

Flowers - flower talk - a guide to wedding flowers

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