From ceremony arches to reception centerpieces, fresh flowers seem to make every aspect of the wedding day a little more beautiful. If you're looking for a statement-making bouquet option, consider a trend that's making a comeback: cascading bouquets. Wildly popular in the 1980s thanks to the royals like Princess Diana, the dramatic design has returned in ways both subtle and bold as of late.
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
Shean Strong is the floral designer and creative director behind Shean Strong Design, an Atlanta-based wedding and event planning company.
While these bouquets were traditionally white and green, with very long trailing designs, you shouldn't feel tied to tradition; what's more, a few simple updates can bring a cascading bouquet into modern territory. Designed to fit your day's color palette, this bouquet style can work beautifully with your contemporary wedding look.
Ultimately, remember that your flowers should reflect your style, so it doesn't matter if something is trendy or not if you love it. “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 traditional 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.
Highlight the Texture
Talk about texture! Combining stems of eucalyptus, wispy astilbe, and vines of clematis with a variety of different fluffy roses creates dimension in your bouquet.
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.
Embrace an Organic Approach
Let pieces of greenery hang loose and wild, with a few pieces trailing outside the center of the bouquet for a modern, organic take on a cascading bouquet.
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 body in a bouquet.
Make It Autumnal
For fall nuptials, consider using an autumnal palette like this bride did at her Ojai wedding. “We wanted the florals to feel both earthy and light,” she said. “We focused on warm neutral earth tones in sun-faded terracotta, copper, sage green, and bronze. We went for traditional wedding flowers like roses, lisianthus, and ranunculus, but accented them with wild grasses and cocoa-colored autumnal foliage for an organic styling.”
“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.
Stick to Greenery
If you don't love flowers, there's no need to have any blooms in your cascading bouquet. This Brooklyn bride carried only greenery in her beautiful trailing arrangement, and the final look was just as statement-making as one studded with lots of bright flowers.
Play With Texture
Let your bouquet bloom as a wild and organic work of art. Get creative with the textures used within your arrangement, using a mix of flowers like roses and hellebore, dried grasses, leaves, and fluffy greenery.
We’ve long loved letting greenery have its moment when it comes to bouquets. Lush vines 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. The greenery, which was paired with peonies, anemones, and ivy, gives the illusion that it’s spilling out and around the blooms clustered at the center, and creates a feathery, lush arrangement.
Loosen Up the Stems
One way to create a cascade effect within your bouquet is to not secure the stems of your blooms too tightly. This autumnal wedding bouquet of butterfly ranunculus, honey dijon roses, lisianthus, black scabiosa, and ruby silk grass let the long stems drape further from the center to create a modern look.
Bring on the Pastels
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. We love how the mix of dahlias, scabiosa, foxgloves, and roses trail down the length of this lush arrangement.
Go for Length
If you want a bouquet that makes a big statement, flowers down the full length of the arrangement are a must. Orchids are the primary flower here that add more length to the bouquet design.
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 Bohemian
Earthy and organic, incorporating palms into a cascading bouquet will play well into a bohemian wedding style. Bohemian weddings are known for their laid back, effortless elegance, and the fluidity of a bouquet in this style is the perfect embodiment of that.
Incorporate Baby's Breath
Adding baby’s breath lends an unusual, airy texture to any bouquet. We love how it was coupled with blush and mauve blooms, like carnations and roses, to create this fresh and unique arrangement.
We’re big fans of all-white wedding décor, especially when it comes to flowers. Stick to all one hue of orchids for a dreamy modern look that definitely won't clash with your dress.
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 arrangement creates an even more dramatic lengthening effect.
Play With 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.
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.