From flower crowns to corsages, fresh blooms are one of the best ways to bring your wedding day style to fruition. When it comes to bouquets, not much has changed in terms of shapes and styles to consider, but there’s one trend that is making a comeback in only the chicest of ways: cascading bouquets. Wildly popular in the 1980s thanks to the royals (we’re looking at you, Princess Diana) the traditionally dramatic design has returned, in ways both subtle and straightforward.
What Is a Cascading Bouquet?
A cascading bouquet is an arrangement of flowers that literally cascades from the bride's hands, creating a natural, trailing effect.
“When done well, [a cascading bouquet] creates a visual line that draws attention to the person holding it,” says wedding planner and floral designer Shean Strong. “While recent brides may see this as a dated design, a cascading bouquet is a way to offer something eye-catching for those who want to add drama to their wedding day look.”
Meet the Expert
With a beautiful color palette, a modern-day cascade moves the design trend-forward, while still keeping it iconic. But where do you begin when attempting to make a decades-old design trend elevated and sophisticated for the modern era? Cascades of weddings past often brings to mind a typical color palette of white and green, and very (very) long cascades. An updated take on the trend could be a more petite cascade that serves to highlight the full bridal look.
Ultimately, your flowers should reflect your style, first and foremost. “I say the rules don’t matter when it comes to what you want for your wedding, so long as everything is done intentionally and purposefully,” encourages Strong. “Your refined, glam, boho, or romantic wedding can have a cascade, so long as your floral designer is giving you what you want while anchoring it to the aesthetics of the day.”
“For a traditionally inspired bouquet, you’re going to see a cascade that includes lilies, roses, stephanotis, and trailing greenery,” says Strong. “To update a cascade to be more of-the-moment for today, but still feel relevant in the future, it’s important to have a cascade predominantly of flowers that will fall effortlessly: think orchids, fritillaria, clematis, hellebore, blooming jasmine, or berries on the vine.”
From romantic to modern, here are 20 cascading bouquet ideas that will definitely turn heads on your trip down the aisle.
Play with Texture
Combining stems and vines with fluffy, full blooms and soft petals creates dimension thanks to layers and layers of texture.
Are orchids the ultimate showstopper? We can’t say for sure, but they are undoubtedly one of the best blooms for making a statement. Create the tip of the cascade with an orchid of any shade and you’ll definitely make an impact, especially for a tropical wedding.
Keep the Blooms Big
You might think a cascade means a tapered end, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Choose large blooms for the full cascade and make the ultimate statement.
Work with a Color Gradient
“This gradient cascade bouquet consists of many textural flowers to create a luxe and timeless feel,” says Strong. “I played with ranunculus and checkered fritillaria to give movement at its highest point and chose to put the most saturated shades of the ombre closest to her figure, which intentionally pulls the viewer's gaze towards the bride.”
Phalaenopsis orchids and jasmine vine give length, while garden roses, lilac, tulips, and double petal hellebore create the body.
Take a Cue from the Royals
Typically known for generous cascades, the royals are serving up major inspiration when it comes to bridal bouquets. This bouquet, composed of ivory roses and spray roses, white freesia, Italian Ruscus, white orchid blossoms, and variegated ivy, features tight clusters of gorgeous blooms—a royal staple—with greenery and ivy woven throughout.
“Move away from the traditional gigantic and white cascade, so large and white almost to the point it blends in with the dress, and opt to use preserved flowers,” Strong suggests. We’re major fans of keeping a memento from the big day (besides the marriage license, of course), which means a bridal bouquet that lasts well beyond “I Do” is a big win. A mixture of silk and dried florals, like pampas grass, brings texture and dimension to the cascade.
The ethereal, whimsical nature of ivy takes a floral design from just a bouquet to a cascading arrangement. The natural twist of the vines is a romantic addition no matter the wedding style.
Choose Vibrant Colors
We’ll admit: sometimes more is more. “Color is expressive and invokes a celebratory feeling,” says Strong. Pack a floral punch with bold color, like this fuchsia bouquet boasting a cascade of orchids with roses in cream, blush, red, and pink.
Go for Green
We’ve long loved letting greenery have its moment when it comes to bouquets. Lush greenery like smilax creates the perfect cascade to accent a modern design of calla lilies, tulips, scabiosa, gardenia, and stephanotis.
Use Asparagus Fern
Lace Fern, also known as Climbing Asparagus, is a natural choice for a cascading bouquet. It gives the illusion that it’s spilling out and around the blooms clustered at the center, and creates a feathery, lush arrangement; we love it for an outdoor, garden wedding!
Accessorize with Jasmine
A hint of the blossoming vine is just the touch you need for an organic, romantic bouquet. Whether you incorporate a little or a lot, jasmine works with almost any color palette, from purely pink to neutrals.
Make It Pastel
Tying the knot in the spring? An arrangement in variegated hues of coral, peach, and lilac is a refreshing color palette that’s sure to give you spring fever.
Want to pull off a modern, minimalist bridal style? “Consider a more simple cascade that trails slightly, and still gives you that big, dramatic feeling,” advises Strong. Get inspired by this architectural cascading bouquet with white calla lilies and crisp grass for a structured look.
Stick with Neutrals
If you’re considering a more subtle tone, you can never go wrong with the simplicity of neutrals. A bouquet of blush and white roses, dahlias, and cascading orchids was definitely the star of this classic, coastal wedding.
Make It Boho
Earthy and organic, incorporating palms into a cascading bouquet will play well into a bohemian wedding style. Boho weddings are known for their laid back, effortless elegance, and the fluidity of a bouquet in this style is the perfect embodiment of that.
Add Baby's Breath
Adding baby’s breath adds an unusual, airy texture, and coupled with pale blue and mauve, the combination creates something unique and fresh.
We’re big fans of all-white wedding decor, especially when it comes to flowers. The combination of textures within the same color scheme, even with a little greenery thrown in, keeps things interesting.
We love a little something extra when it comes to bouquets, and cascading ones are no exception. A few strands of silk ribbon tied around a cascading bouquet creates an even more dramatic lengthening effect.
Make It Peach
A peach color palette can only mean one thing: spring has definitely sprung. Try incorporating peachy-pink blooms like peonies, orchids, garden roses, and ranunculus as a breath of fresh air for a romantic outdoor wedding.
Remember Sometimes More is More
Clematis, California poppies, and garden roses can take a standard cascade and make it over the top. Creating a wild and organic shape, rather than tight and rigid, can be the difference between too much and just right.