Choosing a wedding day bouquet to hold down the aisle is a fun and exciting activity for couples getting married. But, it can be easy to make a few mistakes in the process. Not only can selecting certain blooms add major weight to your budget, they also can make a bouquet heavier to carry for hours on end. And, when your wedding day comes around, you can make even more mistakes that could leave those pretty blooms looking less than their best.
Since we don't want your bridal and bridesmaid bouquet dreams to wilt, we asked a few wedding and floral pros to share their insights. Ahead, see their tips on mistakes to avoid and how to ensure your blooms will flourish throughout your wedding day.
Meet the Expert
- Erice McNeff is a Southern California floral designer specializing in refined, organic, and artisanal designs. She is the owner, operator, and lead designer of Everbloom Floral Design.
- Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht is a celebrity floral designer and the owner of floral design studio Wild Bloom in Seattle, Washington. He also is the head judge on the Netflix series The Big Flower Fight.
- Erin Taylor is the founder and creative director of Bustle Events, a full-service wedding planning studio in California.
Expecting Your Bouquet to Look Like an Inspiration Photo
We absolutely think it's helpful to get inspiration from real wedding photos and see other bouquets that can inspire your own. However, florists advise not getting your heart set on an exact look. "I see so many brides find an image they love online and they are set on having that exact bouquet," says Erice McNeff of Everbloom. "The hard part is no designer can create the same bouquet twice. Even ones we personally make can't be 100-percent replicated because there are too many variables. There might be one special stem that grew with a particular curve to it that we can't find again—things like that matter so much in bouquet design. So, it's challenging when a bride wants something really specific."
Her advice? "They're best set up to love their bouquet when they have conversations about size, color, and general style with their florist," advises McNeff. "Maybe pull three to five images of bouquets they love and let us create something that marries the versions together."
Only Wanting Specific Flowers
Love peonies? Unfortunately, the popular bloom is only in season in spring. "Specialty flowers usually have such a short window of availability," says McNeff. "Even if you're getting married within that time frame, it's still hard for us to guarantee we can get specific flowers. We all know weather has been so crazy the last couple of years and that directly impacts floral availability. Definitely have a conversation with your florist about flowers you really dislike so we can avoid those, and then offer a few suggestions of flowers you do like and why you like them so we can do our best to source them or find something similar that won't leave you disappointed."
Thinking Seasonal Means Less Expensive
While choosing seasonal flowers might be helpful to make sure your floral designer can more easily find certain blooms, it doesn't necessarily mean it will make a smaller dent in your budget. "If you are on a tight budget and looking for ways to save on flowers be sure to clearly communicate your needs with your florists," advises Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht of Wild Bloom. "Simply requesting 'seasonal' is not a code word for 'budget friendly.' Depending on factors that are beyond the control of your florists, in-season dahlias can be just as expensive as in-season peonies. A good florist is there to educate and help you make thoughtful design decisions that align with your needs."
Designing a Bouquet Without Movement
Want to have your bouquet look it's best? Make sure you can really let the florals show off their petals. "When you are working with a florist and designing the bouquet, make sure it has movement. The floral should never feel forced or overly structured," advises wedding planner Erin Taylor of Bustle Events "Allow the flowers to really show off with their natural movement."
Not Considering Your Attire
While you definitely want to make sure your dress is tailored to perfection, you also want to consider if the scale and style of your bouquet complements your outfit. "I always ask my brides for a photo of their dresses and their bridesmaids dresses so I can take the whole look into consideration when designing," shares McNeff. "Even the build and body type of my brides affects the size and style of the bouquet I'll design for them. I want their bouquet to look more like an accessory to their entire look—not something to compete with them, or their dress. Trusting your florist will really help you win in this area, we know what we're doing and you can trust that we'll design something that will be perfectly suited for you!" Taylor echoes, "Your bouquet should never compete with your dress. It should perfectly complement it."
Not Hydrating the Bouquet
Unless you are carrying a bouquet full of dried florals and greenery, you will need to keep those blooms fresh and alive. "Often a bouquet will be delivered by the florists a few hours before to the ceremony in a vase of water to keep the blooms hydrated. If you plan on taking photos with your bouquet prior to the ceremony, be sure to immediately put the flowers back into water when you are done," recommends Griffith-VanderYacht. "After all, there is nothing worse than discovering your fresh bouquet has turned into a wilted salad."
Holding the Bouquet Incorrectly
Once you have your stunning bouquet to walk down the aisle, you want to show it in the best possible light. Taylor notes that she commonly sees brides holding it wrong. "The bouquet should be held at the belly button and slightly tilted forward. This ensures the full bouquet really gets seen," she shares. "I also always make sure to ask the florist which side is the front to make sure you are holding it forward the way the florist intended it."
Repurposing the Bouquet
One sustainable and budget-friendly trend right now is to reuse blooms in different parts of your wedding. For example, a floral arch can be repurposed to frame your sweetheart table. According to McNeff, this trend should not apply to your bouquet. "I know, they're so pretty so you might as well get as much use out of them as you can, right? This trend really makes me cringe and I always advise against it," she says. "Bouquets are designed to be held and they look best when viewed that way. They don't look great when placed in a vase and used as a centerpiece. As designers, we design centerpieces and bouquets very differently."
Hydration is also an issue in this situation. "By the time your reception takes place, those bouquets have been out of water for hours. They were held and photographed before the ceremony, kept out of water during the ceremony, and still kept out of water during cocktail hour, while you took more photos with your partner and family members," McNeff shares. "By that time your bouquet flowers don't look their best and to have them sit up close and center at a guest table where everyone can see them isn't the best idea."