Flowers and weddings go hand in hand, but that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to tradition. Here are 10 creative flower ideas that challenge conventional notions.
1. Mythical Maids
Instead of bouquets, have delicate wreaths created for your bridesmaids to wear in their hair. Think ancient goddesses or fairy princesses -- greens or blossoms will do the trick (try stephanotis, stalks of wheat, or yellow daisies). Give maids small purses to carry down the aisle, or advise them to clasp their hands as they process. Get more bridesmaid ideas.
2. Petal Power
For a visually stunning send-off, furnish guests with pretty paper cones or teeny baskets filled with rose petals to throw instead of rice or confetti (which can be dangerous for birds, not to mention uncomfortable if some falls down your dress!). Escape from your guests while being showered by a fragrant cloud.
3. Find Your Center
Sometimes the simplest flowers can look spectacular in multiples. As centerpieces, dense bunches of Queen Anne's Lace and variegated ivy look elegant and lush while imparting a rustic, au naturel feel. Cluster three glass tumblers full of flowers -- you can even use pint-sized jars or milk bottles if the setting is rural.
4. Blooms for the Groom
These days, stylish grooms and groomsmen are walking on the wild side, studding their lapels with mini calla lilies, mini sunflowers, and just about anything else. Exotic boutonnieres are bold and sexy and will refresh any tired tuxedo getup. Choose something special for the groom and accent it with a ribbon that matches his personality -- plaid for preppy; stripes for chic; or polka dot for the lighthearted.
5. Silky Solutions
For an exquisite postwedding keepsake that won't fade or dry up, many brides are opting for silk flowers. Boutonnieres and corsages can be created, and faux floral accents bring a touch of romance to ring pillows, shoes, gift packaging, place cards, and favors. Roses, orchids, peonies, poppies, gardenias, violets, lilies of the valley, and pansies are all up for grabs, but choose your craftsperson carefully. Silk flowers can be a cost-saver or a luxurious splurge, depending on bouquet size and the quality of the vendor's wares.
6. Tied and True
Show a little stem. Unstructured, ribbon-tied bouquets are all the rage, often in vivid, monochromatic tones. Wrap bouquets with colorful ribbons in sumptuous fabrics such as satin, velvet, or organza. Rummage at flea markets and antique stores for fine vintage fare, or check out a local wholesale dealer's fabric supply.
7. Added Arrangement
For the reception, consider decorating freestanding tables (bar, cake table, buffet, or guest book table) with different arrangements -- low bowls filled with ruby red roses and cherries to tall, cylindrical vases wrapped with filo leaves and filled with half a dozen calla lilies. The variety will add visual interest to your reception space. See more wedding reception ideas.
8. What an Honor
Know what types of flowers your grandma toted down the aisle in '39? Honor a family member through your wedding flowers. Incorporate their meaningful flowers into your bouquets and arrangements. Looking for ways to invoke the memory of a deceased loved one? Find out about the flowers the person loved. Maybe your great aunt was known statewide for her garden-grown camellias. Maybe grandpa always had a thing for rosemary. If you infuse your flowers with symbolism, they'll seem even more beautiful to you on the big day.
9. Finishing Touches
Whether you choose tussy mussy (cone-shaped, hand-held vases first became popular in the Victorian era and come in pewter, silver plate, porcelain, faux mother-of-pearl, and colored glass) or a fabric bouquet wrap, make sure your selected style is unique. One idea? Cover the bouquet handle with a dark, velvet fabric and braid another pale-hued one around it, corset-style. Talk to your florist about other presentation ideas.
10. Make It Last
Keep the memory of your wedding bouquet from fading by taking it to a flower preservationist. You'll want to find a professional who specializes in preserving to make sure the job is done correctly -- ask your florist if they can recommend anyone. If you would rather preserve the bouquet yourself, you can try hanging it upside down in a dark, airy spot, or disassemble it and air-dry the flowers individually, but keep in mind that many flowers won’t hold up without professional treatment.