Flowers can be living decorations at your wedding
For example, the wisteria (shown above) that grows at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut offers a delicate counterpoint to the stone pergola.
In addition to the natural beauty of your wedding venue, you will probably decide to carry or wear blossoms. If you have attendants, such as bridesmaids and groomsmen, they will probably have flowers, too. There are no hard and fast rules for wedding flowers.
Who should carry flowers and who should wear flowers?
Trick question! There are no “should”s. It’s your wedding, and you decide about flowers for the wedding party and honored guests.
Generally, the couple getting married has the largest or most eye-catching display, with their honor attendants (maid of honor and best man) having less dramatic blooms, and other attendants (bridesmaids and groomsmen) having the least showy displays. Most often the parents and grandparents (called “honored guests”) of the couple also wear flowers. Even if they do not have roles in the ceremony, siblings and children of the couple sometimes wear buds or blossoms.
The women and their flowers
The bride usually has the most impressive display of flowers. Traditionally, we think in terms of the bride carrying a bouquet of flowers tied with ribbon or held together with florists’ tape. Some brides carry a single flower, such as a sunflower. (You can see more about single-flower bouquets at WWW.Brides.Com/story/single-bloom-bouquet-bride.)
Some modern brides wear a crown of flowers in their hair. In some weddings, the bride will carry a bouquet and wear a crown of flowers as well. Often the crown echoes her bouquet. For example, you might include large white roses in your bouquet and tiny white roses in your crown. Or perhaps local wildflowers, such as daisies, in both bouquet and crown. (You can see photos and more ideas at WWW.TheKnot.Com/content/flower-crown-wedding-hairstyles.)
The maid of honor / matron of honor
The maid of honor usually carries a bouquet significantly smaller than the bride’s. The flowers may be smaller versions of some of the bride’s flowers or completely different. Unless all the bridesmaids were going to wear crowns of flowers, it would be very unusual for the maid of honor to wear a flower crown.
Bridesmaids carry the smallest or least spectacular of all the bouquets. Often the bridesmaids’ flowers repeat, in smaller scale, the maid of honor’s flowers.
The flower girl(s)
Flower girls usually carry baskets of flower petals, if flowers are to be strewn in the bride’s path. Otherwise, flower girls may carry wedding pomander balls. Flower girls have been known to wear small flower crowns, such as baby’s breath. It would be unusual for a flower girl to carry a bouquet.
Mothers’, grandmothers’, sisters’, and daughters’ flowers
Some ladies prefer pin-on corsages and others like wrist corsages better. Corsages for close relatives of the couple are usually composed of one bloom, with small flowers (or leaves) of similar or contrasting colors. A small calla lily with its leaves is one example, and a rosebud with lilies of the valley is another. (Caution: Lily of the valley is a poisonous plant.)
If the bride prefers, her mother (and perhaps the groom’s mother) may be given a small bouquet instead of a corsage. This is a non-traditional choice made by some modern brides. You can see more alternatives at WWW.MyWedding.Com/dresses/mother-of-the-bride/10-ideas-for-mother-of-the-bride-flowers.
Probably the most appropriate flowers for young ladies are simple flower crowns. For very young ladies, headbands with crocheted or knitted flowers would be more suitable.
The men and their flowers
The groom usually wears a boutonnière, what Wikipedia describes as “... a floral decoration worn by men, typically a single flower or bud.” (en.Wikipedia.Org/wiki/Boutonnière). Despite “boutonnière” being French for “buttonhole”, boutonnières and not worn in the buttonhole, but over it or on the lapel. A boutonnière almost always has its stem wrapped in florist’s tape. Do not put the stem though your lapel’s buttonhole. Boutonnières are always held in place with long pins. Ideally, the pin should not show. Most people put the pin behind the lapel, push it through the lapel, the boutonnière, and finally through to the back of the lapel.
The groom’s boutonnière frequently is one or more flowers very similar to ones in the bride’s bouquet. For example, if the bride’s bouquet contained pink tulips and baby’s breath, then the groom’s boutonnière might be a single tulip, with its leaves, and baby’s breath near the bottoms of the leaves. Likewise, if the bride’s bouquet were full-size black and white calla lilies, then the groom might wear one medium-size white calla lily, complete with leaves, and one small black calla lily. If the bride were to carry a single-flower bouquet, such as one large sunflower, the groom could appropriately wear a medium-to-small size sunflower.
Special tip: Men and their mothers will always treasure photographs of mothers pinning boutonnières on their sons. No professional photographer around?r A cell phone picture taken by a groomsman is much better than no photo at all.
We’ve taken so much space talking about boutonnières because they are de rigueur for men at formal events or celebrations. To learn more about boutonnières and fashion, please visit WWW.ArtOfManliness.Com/2010/07/09/boutonniere-buttonhole.
The best man
It should come as no surprise that the best man would also wear a boutonnière. Just as the maid of honor’s bouquet is smaller and / or less ornate than the bride’s, the best man’s boutonnière does not rival the groom’s. If the groom’s boutonnière were to wear a red rose with baby’s breath, then the best man’s boutonnière might be a red rose bud with leaves and very little (or no) baby’s breath. If the groom were wearing a single flower, such as sunflower with leaves and a stem, the best man may possibly wear a smaller sunflower. If the groom wore a white calla lily plus a black calla lily, then the best man might wear a white calla lily to contrast with his black tuxedo.
The groomsmen’s flowers would usually be even more sedate than the best man’s, typically smaller versions with only one bloom.
The ring bearer
If the ring bearer wore a jacket and tie, he would probably wear a single blossom, probably a carnation, usually white, pink, or red. If the ring bearer did not wear a jacket, he probably would not wear a flower.
Fathers’, grandfathers’, brothers’, and sons’ flowers
At most weddings, the male relatives who wear flowers wear simple white or pink carnations on their lapels.
Never buy inexpensive wedding flowers via the Internet.
The most important reason: Your wedding day may arrive before your flowers do.
Chances are that when the flowers do arrive, they’ll be in such bad shape that you’ll end up buying replacements locally. (I witnessed exactly this problem personally. The bride was sobbing, and the groom was outraged.)
Important: This advice does not apply to flowers from reputable companies such as FTD.
Local wildflowers are a very economical alternative to commercially-grown or imported flowers.
An Internet search for “What wildflowers are native to Connecticut?” will bring you many examples of native species. For example, USwildflowers.Com/wfquery.php?State=CT shows some wildflowers which may be familiar, and many that probably will be new to you. You may find beautiful flowers in your own garden, or a relative’s or neighbor’s. (It goes without saying that you’ll get permission before picking other people’s flowers.) You can see real wildflower bouquets at RusticWeddingChic.Com/wildflower-wedding-bouquets.
Caution: Some Connecticut wildflowers, such as goldenrod (and even chrysanthemums), cause allergic reactions in some people.
Choosing flowers that are locally-grown will save you a substantial sum. In Connecticut you’ll find fresh, local flowers during three seasons of the year.
Yes, you can have roses for a December wedding. You’ll pay a high premium, and you’ll get flowers that have been shipped from South America or somewhere even farther away, giving your wedding a huge carbon footprint.
Your home-town florist is bound to have good suggestions for your wedding flowers, and probably some non-flower alternatives!
There are several benefits to using silk flowers at your wedding. (For our purposes, “silk flowers” means any commercially-produced artificial flowers made from fabric.) These days, decent silk flowers look real, even from a short distance. Silk flowers won’t cause allergies to flare up. Silk flowers are available in as many colors as “real” flowers. No matter what the season or the weather, silk flowers always look fresh. You and your friends will have special keepsakes of your wedding that will look good for many years.
Silk flowers will also help your wedding budget; even high-quality silk flowers are usually less expensive than cut flowers.
Yes, you read that correctly: flowers made our of wood. At a January wedding the bride’s beautiful bouquet was entirely wooden flowers and the groom’s boutonnière was also wooden. Both the photographer and I were amazed because we couldn’t tell from a short distance that they weren’t cut flowers. Sorry that I don’t have pictures!
Because you’d like to know where the outstanding wooden flowers came from, I asked the couple. You can get good wooden flowers from a woman named Ashley who is based out of Florida. She has photos on both Facebook and Instagram. (Full disclosure: I have no financial nor other interest in where you purchase your flowers, wooden or otherwise.)
While not as durable as silk or wooden flowers, paper flowers will probably hold up well during your wedding. Of course, paper flowers know no season. If you or your friends are crafty, you can find many patters on Pinterest to make your own paper flowers.
Paper flowers can be made can be made from many kinds of paper, from tissue paper to construction paper to card stock to the pages of a book. There are more colors and styles to choose from than you’ll find in any garden. Paper flowers are also a very budget-friendly option.
Non-flower flowers (alternatives to wedding flowers)
In the colder months, you may want to use pine cones or fir needles for boutonnières. One recent December wedding was held at a Christmas tree farm, and the farm owner made corsages and boutonnières for the wedding party from small pine cones, whole raw cranberries, pine needles, and ribbons. The contrast of the red and green against the bride’s white dress and the groom’s black jacket were both exquisite.
A Google search of “fir boutonniere” will give you lots of ideas. Pinterest also had a lot of do-it-yourself suggestions for alternatives to wedding flowers.