17 wedding bouquet alternatives for fearless brides

You can learn how to make this light-up Christmas ornament bouquet yourself!

I opted to not carry a bouquet; put something, anything, in my hands and watch me awkwardly bend, fold and fondle it into oblivion. Plus, for some strange reason, I didn't feel like spending a load of money for flowers that I was just going throw away at the end of the day. But if I wasn't so fidgety I would have definitely been one of those brides that opted for a bouquet alternative to flowers.

Since Offbeat Bride Kerry started a discussion called "Bouquet Alternatives" on the Offbeat Bride Tribe, a wealth of amazing offbeat bouquet porn has been popping up. I thought I'd share a few of the unique and inspiring ideas.

Tribe member Zan suggested making this bouquet out of "beautiful, cheap, fashionable feathers" that she'd seen at a craft store.

Another take on a Hobby Lobby feather creation by Offbeat Bride Tribe member Christina with peacock feathers and paper dollars "that just jumped out at [her]." Well it's a good thing they did because they look awesome together!

Offbeat Bride Tribe member Jennifer opted for a clutch bag. "…a silky/satin one in a pink to match the underskirt of my dress" like this one from Mabel Hand Bags.

Candy bouquets are an incredibly delicious option, like this one from Lin and Philip's wedding.

I can't help but notice the "button trend" that's been sweeping the offbeat wedding scene and I also can't help but love it. This awesome bouquet made of vintage buttons and a few leaves of reclaimed leather was made by Etsy seller Lil Fish.

And of course there's always Princess Lasertron's felt-and-button wedding bouquets!

Princess Lasertron bouquet

Fans… the ultimate alternative?

I'm a big fan of all the cool origami options.

Super-fun sparkly and festive beaded bouquets are like fireworks that you can hold! Or as Offbeat Bride Tribe member Reba Radey said, "Crystally clear glassy vintagey chandeliery glittery BLINGYNESS."

A seashell bouquet found by Offbeat Bride Tribe member Akaisha! "For all your beach wedding needs."

An idea that came from Offbeat Bride Tribe member Rebekah were to use these "Modern Victorian" bags filled with branches and feathers.

How about an eco-friendly alternative to parasols? I love the idea that OBB Kate presented of using these see-through biodegradable umbrellas.

Check out this post featuring these lovely bouquet alternatives.
wedding 108

Having a winter wedding? Why not carry a muff instead of a bouquet? It's warm and fuzzy and totally practical, plus think about how much fun it would be to toss! [Editor's note from Ariel: plus, you get to make muff jokes non-stop. And who doesn't like muff jokes at a wedding!?]

In my research I've also noted a lot of talk of lantern carrying. I haven't seen this in practice yet, but Offbeat Bride Tribe member Book_Thief provided a picture of a pretty one.

Then there's always the option to not carry anything! There's no rule that a bride has to be holding something, and we are a community of rule breakers, are we not?

And if this post isn't enough for you, make sure to check out the rest of the Offbeat Bride posts that deal with wedding bouquet alternatives for even more ideas.

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous!! I love the crystal vintage one, I love the feathers and the fan! Anything with a touch a glam is gorgeous!

    7 agree
  2. Mmm I like the candy bouquet, and I actually thought of it for my candylicious wedding, but I really love fresh flowers so I went with candy-inspired colours instead. :) Plus there was no guarantee that the bouquet would remain intact by the time I made it to the end of the aisle.

    8 agree
  3. I'm not going to be holding anything, no flowers, no nothin'. Apparently this makes me QUITE the rebel and my mother was a bit confused and I think disappointed we wouldn't be arguing over bouquets…lol.

    15 agree
    • This is how I think I'm going to roll, too. I just can't get past the feeling that the whole 'have to be holding something' rule just makes the bride look and feel more passive, more decorative, especially if she's holding something requiring both hands and it actually is purely a decoration. Now, holding something you're actually going to use somehow in the ceremony makes more sense to me. Or even carrying something that you then immediately place on the altar for the ceremony (flowers, a candle, a book to read from, a wine chalice, etc.) – at least then your carrying it served a real purpose, and you do something with it, as an active participant.

      Not to disparage anyone who loves the idea of carrying a bouquet or anything resembling a bouquet, it's just not my thing I guess!

      1 agrees
  4. Oh man, i love the feather bouquet, but me and my vegetarian ways won't let me have 'em. But, as a result of a Google search for synthetic feathers, here is one source suggested on DeviantArt that I hadn't thought of:

    "Pluck a synthetic bird."

    8 agree
    • If you really like feathers but want to be sure the birds weren't mistreated find someone locally that raises exotic birds (FH's step dad does because he loves them) and usually they will let you have whatever feathers the birds naturally lose.

      7 agree
  5. really REALLY LOVE the crystals, seashells, buttons and muffs, but I keep thinking that lantern would be awesome with incense in it……
    just think, you walk in and the room is filled with your favorite scent!

    1 agrees
    • Oh, this link doesn't work, but I'd love to see it!

      4 agree
  6. Instead of an all-flower bouquet, mine had glittery roses and greenery with lots of silver, gold, and iridescent stars. Went well with our celestial theme.

    1 agrees
  7. We're carrying lanterns filled and overflowing with orchids and red roses (I don't trust myself with a candle)
    I'll post pictures once I get there (June 6)

    1 agrees
  8. aww, i feel so *sniff* special, haha.

    and i think i need a lantern for my dinner party…hmmm *off to think of a way to work lantern carrying into a party that doesn't involve an actual wedding…*

    0 agree
  9. I'm carrying a bouquet of beaded roses. I think that although traditional flowers look pretty, alternative bouquets are so much cooler!
    @~>~~

    2 agree
  10. I LOVE the leather roses but those bad boys run about $50 a piece! NOT gonna work with my budget. Time to put my DIY thinking cap on…

    0 agree
  11. Hey everyone! I'm so glad you enjoyed my first "big girl intern" post. I loved finding all of your creative ideas.

    @De good luck with that. I got SO MUCH crap from all angles bc I wasn't holding a bouquet. meh.

    @Courtney damn! I was traveling all day yesterday. I had been checking that discussion religiously until yesterday. Oh well, thanks for posting a link.

    @Courtney Lear make sure to post your DIY solution once you come up with it!

    @Danielle Thanks for the link! It looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

    -Megan

    1 agrees
  12. Random story…when my aunt got married in the 70's, her florist never showed up. My grandma improvised and handed my aunt her Bible to carry and saved the day. I'm not religious, but I think it's awesome that my grandma thought of something off the cuff and took away the panic factor for my aunt. That's just how she was. If she were still around, she would think all of our weddings rock. She was offbeat in her time too.

    6 agree
    • As a girl in the early 60's I was one of 4 bridesmaids to my cousin and we all carried little white and silver prayer books which the bride and groom had signed and dated so they were also a gift/keepsake as well. I still have it 40 years later.

      0 agree
  13. Great post! And thanks for the shout-out, courtney!
    :o)

    1 agrees
  14. Oooooo I like the lanterns idea – the last time I was at Ikea they had adorable metal lanterns in the perfect carrying size with etched glass panels for like… $5! Yay how perfect for a winter wedding! They're totally spray-paintable too.

    Here! I Found it…
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/26472200

    0 agree
  15. Feeling that flowers are a waste of money, we decided on crepe paper flowers. They're amazing, and will work as the bouquets, boutineers, and table decor. Hooray!

    1 agrees
  16. we didn't want flowers or bouquets. i kinda sorta wanted a parisol — but nixed that idea because i just wanted it for photos, vain as i am; and kinda sorta wanted to carry an antique hard-bound book – but didn't want anyone thinking it might be a bible! so we ended up doing the hold-nothing option we liked all along. bonus: holding both your partner's hands in yours and looking her right in the eye at the moment you say your vows.

    1 agrees
  17. I love the shells, so clever/creative and what a lovely keepsake after all is said and done (same for the buttons)!

    2 agree
  18. Woo! I guess I'm officially "fearless" now! :)

    I looooove the light-up/tulle, the seashells, and the candy! Oh hell, they're all awesome! Even though I've been married almost a year, I still hang out here because of all the beauty and creativity. Great job, alternative bouquet-ers!

    0 agree
  19. This is a great post. I love all these alternative, they make such fun details!

    1 agrees
  20. Megan – great post! So timely for me, and clearly resonated with a lot of readers. You obviously did some awesome research. :)

    0 agree
  21. @island_monkey thank you for the support girl! you know I adore ya. :)

    0 agree
  22. I embroidered a handkerchief for my sister that she carried down the aisle. In each corner I sewed initials – of my sister the bride, our mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. It was particularly sentimental because it was made from the cloth of her baptismal gown, and was a great conversation piece. Plus, it does double duty when those tears start flowing!

    2 agree
  23. I'm sculpting flowers for my and my MOH's bouquet out of Deco claycraft air drying clay (there are several sellers on Etsy that work with this stuff…but it was cheaper for me to buy the supplies myself and make them). I'm doing wheat for the bouts, and for the corsages I will also work with the clay flowers, maybe some wheat, and maybe some of the dried lunaria (silver dollars) I have stashed away. In the end, everything can be a keepsake!

    0 agree
  24. I LOVE all these non-floral bouquet stuffs! Don't get me wrong, I love flowers, but like most of us, I want to be different and do not/cannot afford to spend out the ass for florals.

    I had two thoughts: One- Cost Plus World Market has these really awesome round paper lanterns with battery operated lights. They come in different colors and sizes; I think they would look awesome going down the aisle all lit up.

    Two- I know at rehearsals, most brides carry the ribbons from gifts they got at their showers. My thought is, why not carry that over on THE day? Get a crap load of different color/textures of ribbon to make lotsa pretty bows.

    Hope y'all like these ideas!

    4 agree
  25. I am TOTALLY planning on making my own crystal bouquets for myself, bridesmaids, and bouts for the groom and groomsmen. I'm a total nerd, I saw it on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and have been hooked every since on them.

    2 agree
  26. My aunt carried a large tambourine with long ribbons at her wedding. Us bridesmaids had smaller tambourines with glass beads around them and ribbons. The 2 flower girls had some other adorned noise-maker (I don't remember exactly what it was). Thought it was a totally random, fun, and different idea.

    1 agrees
  27. What an awesome idea for a post. I love all these original offbeat options. Super cool bouquets!!!

    0 agree
  28. The more I look at alternative bouquets the more I want one but I can make up my mind what I would want!!!

    So much prettiness!

    0 agree
  29. I carried a book of poetry – and read from it during the vows.

    1 agrees
  30. And don't forget good old-fashioned French beaded flowers!

    From ForeverFlowers on Etsy, wrapped together with my dad's favorite tie.

    1 agrees
  31. What about alternatives for the boutonnieres? I suppose you could do any of these for them too. I am making feather boutonnieres for all the dudes in my wedding.

    1 agrees
  32. these are all beautiful ideas and examples….it's amazing to see them gathered in one place…..i went the crystal bead route making my bouquet, bouquets for all 6 of the flower girl nieces and boutonnieres for my husband and 3 sets of parents…..they were fun to do…i saved money by using plastic AB beads (bought in bulk from joannes) for all the kids (it also made them less *weapon like* as they were lighter)….there are lots of photos here

    0 agree
  33. @Arwen- yes, definitely, most of these could be tweaked a bit (or, in fact stripped down) to be made into boutonnieres. If you can see in the second picture there are the bouts pictured next to the bouquet and in the origami example the link takes to you an example of an origami bout.

    0 agree
  34. oh yes, a few on OBT had the ideas of stacks of books, or vintage cameras. I love love love love the vintage cameras! I think Nina did this?

    1 agrees
  35. re: lollipop – I walked down the aisle during the rehearsal with the same lolli. :)

    0 agree
  36. Great ideas, my artist friend is making a bouquet out of swaroski crystals for me, I can't wait to see the end result!

    0 agree
  37. People react so strangely when I tell them I don't want to carry flowers! We're not walking down an aisle of any variety…we're just kind of going to gather people together at the gazebo where we will be having the ceremony. My mother and future MIL really can't handle me not carrying anything! People are so funny! We already have a 2 year old daughter and we want her to be with us so I just want to be holding her hand and my fiance's hand! Though I really do like a lot of what was pictured here I just want my hands free! Oh…though I will be carrying an embroidered handkerchief that was my fiance's grandmother's…I need something for my sure-to-come tears!

    0 agree
  38. if my wedding had been more toward the dusk time I would have used lanterns for the bridesmaids!

    0 agree
  39. I was at a wedding in December of 07 where the bridesmaids carried lanterns. The bride also wore a red dress, and the bridesmaids all wore white! At one point in the ceremony, all the guests held lit candles as well. It was beautiful!

    0 agree
  40. Somehow reading these posts just inspired me with a new (and oh-so-cheap!!!!) idea for our wedding:

    Our theme is "going back to our roots" with a tree motif throughout. I have been really struggling with the whole bouquet thing (expensive, may be hard to find organic flowers, blahblahblah). So, here's what I think we'll do:

    Each of us carry a branch (picked up from the ground somewhere) with family photos hanging from them. Once at the "altar," we'll put them together in a vase or some sort of container. Voila! Inexpensive, "green," and oh-so-symbolic!

    Wow, I feel better.

    2 agree
  41. hi
    Love your ideas here!
    I am definitely adding a link to your blog.

    Keep these great ideas coming

    0 agree
  42. Wow! Those origami flowers look amazing!
    Great collection of creative ideas there.

    0 agree
  43. For the vegan who loved feathers, instead of searching for "synthetic feathers" why not do a search on "cruelty-free feathers". Like hair, feathers also fall out on their own, or birds die of natural causes, and Peacocks being revered birds, I don't think they are usually slaughtered for their feathers. But I could be wrong on that. Anyhow, just a thought. I'm not vegan, but I also would avoid feathers if I thought that my acquiring them had caused an innocent animal to suffer. Good luck!

    0 agree
  44. Mileah…I LOVE your idea. Our theme is "Retromantica Carnivàle" and we'll also be including as much family memorabilia as we can round up. You could make vintage style mini photo frames for your pictures too, by cutting recycled cardstock. And I've seen vintage looking "frame" stamps at the craft store…. There is a special embossing ink you can use, and then dust with a metallic pigment. It makes kind of a relief design. That would be so neat! Also, I'd say print duplicates and do them front and back so they don't get flipped backwards. OK, now I'm gonna have to do this with our photos. I love how ideas evolve on OBB!!! Thanks for the inspiration! Good Luck!

    0 agree
  45. This is exactly why I heart your blog. =) Keep these great ideas coming!

    0 agree
  46. fantastic list! i love the parasol idea. and candy bouquet too! yum :D

    interesting blog you have here.

    0 agree
  47. I'm making my bridesmaids carry parasols with ribbon and flowers wrapped around. I'm carrying flowers and maybe a pretty lacy fan too. My favorite of these ideas is the outrageous fake flowers and the ball bouquets. they are so fun.

    0 agree
  48. Totally creative. I love it. For my wedding, I made the bouquets and used feathers and flowers. I thought they turned out rather well. I generally go for things that are unique. I absolutely love the brightly colored balls for a bouquet. They add a vibrant fresh look to the whole scene.

    0 agree
  49. I'd love to find out where to get the black lantern pictured in the post…

    1 agrees
  50. A good friend told me her best friends wedding bouquet was made from one flower from each person who attended; so each person was asked to bring one of their favorite flower. It was beautiful and what a great way to include everyone by carrying a favorite flower of everyone in attendance? :-)

    3 agree
  51. How about hand held candle with holders like they sometimes do with christmas caroling, decorated with maybe flowers or ribbons. Of course with careful walking while doing that. I was thinking of doing that for my outdoor wedding coming up in stead of silk flowers or a fan, I even wanted to do a paper parosol too. I think I have to chose which ones since thats alot to hold……

    0 agree
  52. I love the feather and crystal bouquets. Fabric or ribbon bouquets can also be a good alternative.

    0 agree
  53. A simple and elegant wedding bouquet is the perfect accessory to compliment your gorgeous gown and smiling face… Thanks for sharing!

    0 agree
  54. I am planning a very OBB wedding in Northern Portugal. I have designed my dress to be in shades of blue, cream, butter yellow, and periwinkle (this will match the blue and white tiles and the gold leaf on just about every surface of the church). The dress will have a corset (removable), and for modesty, a medieval style hooded cape with late medieval/early renaissance sleeves that would be awkward with a bouquet. Because I'm doing the medieval/renaissance look to go with the church (circa 1400s) I'm doing a faux flower head wreath for myself as well as my attendants. I made them, they're easy to carry, affordable…and when done can be hung on a wall or reused (either in the home or to wear)….so they will double as a 'thank you' gift for the bridesmaids (my sister and nieces.) The other challenge, and reason for not carrying a bouquet, is that I am doing a bilingual ceremony and will have to carry a 'cheat sheet' of vows etc. in Portuguese (which I will disguise in some kind of nice leather-bound journal or prayer book thingy.

    0 agree
  55. these are really inspiring! I wonder if brides ever thought of carrying a giant candle! might be risky (of flames blowing out) but the illumination effect would be spectacular especially at sunset

    0 agree
  56. Years ago, when I was both engaged and working as a cook, I was going for an all-vegetable "floral" theme–a bouquet made of crudites and sort of a harvest cornucopia effect at the chuppah. The wedding didn't happen in part because my MIL-to-be thought the vegies (and me, and my friends, and my folks, etc.) would embarrass her in front of her family; my intended agreed with his mom, and this is too much information, isn't it? Sorry.

    This isn't exactly non-floral, but I did see a more a successful wedding in which the bride–a neuroscientist marrying another neuroscientist–carried a bouquet made of coxcomb celosia in the form of a brain, with the major lobes color-coded.

    1 agrees
  57. Years ago, when I was both engaged and working as a cook, I was going for an all-vegetable "floral" theme–a bouquet made of crudites and sort of a harvest cornucopia effect at the chuppah. The wedding didn't happen in part because my MIL-to-be thought the vegies (and me, and my friends, and my folks, etc.) would embarrass her in front of her family; my intended agreed with his mom, and this is too much information, isn't it? Sorry.

    This isn't exactly non-floral, but I did see a more a successful wedding in which the bride–a neuroscientist marrying another neuroscientist–carried a bouquet made of coxcomb celosia in the form of a brain, with the major lobes color-coded.

    1 agrees
  58. I'm still carrying flowers, but my bouquet will be hand assembled with dried flowers with wheat instead. I love the look for my fall wedding, and that way, I don't have to worry about trying to dry them or preserve them later!

    0 agree
  59. Until the system can reliably demonstrate that it is free of problems, the retesting is continued. ,

    0 agree
  60. I made button bouquets for my own wedding and LOVE them. One has a collar of white ostrich feathers and the bridesmaids one have tulle. I love the look so much.

    I have recently made some for other brides one featuring a collar of doileys, its so cute i love them.

    I also really love the look fo the crystal bouquets, i think i will have a go at these soon as a gift for my mum for house decoration.

    0 agree
  61. Ok So i want to give my girls flasks and I was just reading on how the gifts can double as the "bouquets" and I am sitting here talking to my fiance about it. What if the girls carried flasks and the groomsmen carried 2 shot glasses! At the end of our vows when we say our I do they take a shot! I love this idea. Cheers!

    0 agree
  62. At my wedding, the flowergirl and I carried Kusudama balls that I made (Kusudama is a Japanese paper folding craft like origami, only it uses glue.) while the bridesmaids carried lanterns.

    0 agree
  63. I've been thinking about holding a single helium filled balloon, the oversized brightly colored kind that look like paper lanterns, instead of flowers.Flowers are pretty and they smell nice, but they're so expensive and they die.

    2 agree
  64. Thank you so much for this! I am very allergic to flowers so when I told everyone I didnt want them in my wedding, the first question was, "What are you going to carry?" Thanks to this, I will have an answer!!!

    0 agree
  65. How do I make the candy bouquet? That is very unique and pretty! I would love to do that for my wedding!

    0 agree
  66. I'm carrying a crystal bead bouquet, but mine is packed tightly, not firework-ey. I'm going to make a candy bouquet to throw, since out wedding is on Halloween. It's cheap, and it totally fits! :)

    0 agree
  67. hi how much are your Christel bouquets and how do I order one thanks

    0 agree
    • We don't sell the bouquets themselves, but you might be able to find one on Etsy like this.

      0 agree
  68. Seriously crushin' on that seashell bouquet.

    0 agree
  69. I wanted an alternative because my nan died last year and my mum has kept a portion of her inheritance back to pay for my flowers so I am definitely keeping them forever!!! I'm happy to see no one has done my idea yet. Will have to submit a pic when we've made them! :-D

    0 agree
  70. Does anyone know where I can get the seashell bouquet, or a pattern to make one?

    1 agrees
  71. I also loved the pic I saw on here a while ago of a monarch butterfly bouquet, it was seriously gorgeous!

    For myself, I'm planning on having parasols, but I'm trying to decide if I want to incorporate flowers into that to give my bridesmaids more of a bouquet feel (although I'm sure they won't mind either way…) I'm still not sure. I'm definitely avoiding fresh flowers as much as possible, and I LOVE the look of paper flowers.

    0 agree
  72. The caring a lantern idea I did for my wedding. All of my bridesmaids carried glowing lanterns. Each lantern decorated a little differently for their personalities. I've submitted my wedding to OBB already…

    0 agree
  73. I made for me and my bridesmaids yarn pom pom bouquets. They are so inexpensive to make and look gorgeous for displaying in a nice vase after the wedding.

    0 agree

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