Just as there’s no one kind of wedding style, there’s also no one kind of wedding bouquet. From multi-hued and asymmetric to monochrome and perfectly spherical, bouquets can take a variety of forms. But, when done right, they all serve to complement the holder’s wedding day attire and provide a sneak preview for the rest of the day’s decor.
“A bouquet brings life to the entire ensemble,” says floral designer Corinne Sebesta Sisti. “It also sets a mood, and tells people what to expect.”
Meet the Expert
Philadelphia-based Corinne Sebesta Sisti is the founder and lead floral designer of Sebesta Floral + Event Design and the creator of Spark Design Series. With over 20 years of experience in the floral and event design industries, her work has been featured in Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and more.
Ready to start brainstorming for your big bouquet moment? Read on for Sisti’s breakdown of the most common types of wedding bouquets, along with insight into the best wedding styles to pair them with, and which styles give you the most bang for your buck.
This petite floral grouping is the smallest bouquet type, and often only consists of a few stems of the same bloom. “It’s something to hold, but nothing overwhelming,” says Sisti. For that reason, nosegays are often reserved for flower girls or the mother of the bride, but they also make a lovely choice for a bride looking to make a quieter statement with her blooms.
The pomander bouquet is a ball-shaped floral arrangement that hangs from a ribbon worn around the wrist. It’s also most often carried by flower girls, but don’t let the small shape fool you into thinking it comes with a low price. With a pomander bouquet, you need 360-degrees of floral coverage versus the more standard 180, and a good amount of labor goes into creating the shape, so expect the costs to rise accordingly.
A posy bouquet is a classic bouquet style—so classic, in fact, that Meghan Markle opted to carry the style at her wedding to Prince Harry. The bloom formation is typically round in shape, while the stems are cut to the same length and bound tightly together. It has very minimal additional foliage or no additional foliage at all. “The style definitely has more of a traditional feel, but can veer romantic or glam,” says Sebesta, who also notes that posy bouquets are not a common choice for more boho weddings.
Another classic bouquet style, the round bouquet most often features one type of bloom—or blooms of a very similar color and texture—assembled tightly together in a dome shape. “It’s blossom on blossom, with no foliage,” says Sisti, who notes the style is most commonly seen at more classic weddings, especially with roses or ranunculus, but can veer glam with certain types of blooms, such as parrot tulips.
Per Sisti, the term “hand-tied” technically refers to any type of bouquet formed in the hand of a florist. (These days, that’s pretty much all bouquets, but up through the 90s and early 2000s, bouquets were often created and given to brides in plastic holders, so there used to be more of a difference.) The stems of hand-tied bouquets are commonly tied with ribbon. A more classic hand-tied bouquet will see the stems bound tightly together and almost entirely wrapped in ribbon, while a more romantic or rustic twist on this bouquet type might see the stems tied together just below the blooms and spread out at the base.
While posy and round bouquets are typically more floral-focused, the hand-tied bouquet is also where you start to see more of a mix of foliage and florals.
The most important thing to know about this increasingly popular bouquet style is, unsurprisingly, that it doesn’t look the same on both sides. That most often translates to one side on the bouquet being noticeably higher than the other, but it can also mean that one side of the bouquet has a major accent that the other does not. Like the hand-tied bouquet, an asymmetrical bouquet is typically a mix of foliage and florals, which allows for the variation.
A great option for a romantic or garden wedding, a crescent-style bouquet follows the shape of a crescent moon, with both sides curving down. A more organic-leaning crescent bouquet may see that curve come from cascading vines or foliage, while a more modern style might feature blooms throughout, and cascade them down in a very intentionally structured way.
The elongated cascading bouquet takes the shape of a waterfall, with a large concentration of flowers giving way to a looser spray that extends towards the floor. (Orchids are great for this because they already grow in a cascading shape.) A more natural cascading bouquet will use vines or foliage tendrils loosely intertwined with blooms to achieve the shape, while the more traditional take on the cascading bouquet, sometimes called a teardrop bouquet, is more formed and formal, with more defined shape and dimension to its outside boundaries. Either way, Sisti notes this bouquet type is not for the budget-conscious: “Because there’s a lot of wiring involved, these can get more expensive,” she says.
Also known as the presentation bouquet, the pageant bouquet is defined by how it’s held: Rather than grasped front and center with both hands, like most bouquet types, this bouquet is cradled in the crook of one arm (which means it typically veers longer and skinnier in shape). Per Sisti, it works well for a vintage-style wedding, but, when done with all delphinium or calla lilies, can also look wonderfully modern.
“This is where you take pieces of a flower and make them into a single larger version of that flower,” explains Sisti. “Composite bouquets are definitely more whimsical, and fun if you want to do something funkier.” That said, a lot of labor goes into shaping and gluing petals into the arrangement, which means they’re going to be expensive—no matter which flower you choose.
No surprise here: a single-stem bouquet is one large bloom, sometimes adorned with a little extra foliage to mimic a lush stem, and nothing else. “You have to make sure you’re picking the right flower—something big and interesting, with some weight to it,” says Sisti of the style. Dahlias, proteas, and extra-large peonies are all good candidates, and, unlike with the similarly shaped composite bouquet, much more affordable when you go this route.
A newer trend in the bouquet world, the hoop bouquet involves taking a circular base, typically made of metal or wood, and attaching blooms and foliage to it in a freestyle manner. It’s been especially popular as a bridesmaid option at boho-leaning or earthy weddings and can range in costs based on the types and amounts of florals used. Translation: it can give you a unique visually interesting look without breaking the bank. What’s not to love about that?
Dried Flower Bouquet
A dried flower bouquet is made of non-fresh blooms. Experimental and trend-forward brides love them for their unique textures, and, thanks to painting and bleaching techniques, color possibilities that range far beyond natural hues. Sentimental brides should know they can (and should!) be kept and displayed for months after the wedding, but budget-savvy brides should know the bouquet type won’t exactly help cut costs. “These can actually be more expensive because the flowers have to be processed and you have to have extra,” explains Sisti. “When flowers are dried, they’re more brittle and fragile, and you end up breaking a lot more than you’d think.”