17 wedding bouquet alternatives for fearless brides

Updated Mar 15 2021

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. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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!

  3. 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."

    • 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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…*

  8. I'm carrying a bouquet of beaded roses. I think that although traditional flowers look pretty, alternative bouquets are so much cooler!

  9. 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!


  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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!

  14. Megan – great post! So timely for me, and clearly resonated with a lot of readers. You obviously did some awesome research. 🙂

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. And don't forget good old-fashioned French beaded flowers!

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. @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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

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