Do I need a wedding bouquet? Yay or Nay alternatives for no-bouquet wedding

Guest post by Maya J. Mason
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A witchy elopement with a black dress, dark watercolors, and a cleansing stick bouquet
How about a dried herb bundle instead of a bouquet? Photo by Chettara T. Photography from this styled shoot

From what I gathered while watching friends plan their weddings, if you are having a traditional wedding, there are very few things you question. Most traditional aspects of a wedding are not considered to be a choice and options for customization still follow a theme. However, when you are planning a non-traditional wedding like myself, pretty much everything comes into question. I question many wedding traditions because of the distasteful history behind them… that’s made it easy enough to eliminate the concept of a bridal party and a white dress.

Looking into the history of bridal bouquets, however, I found nothing distasteful about it. Historically, bouquets served two purposes:

  • First, they were a good luck charm.
  • Second, bouquets just plain smelled good! The tradition is from back before perfumes were widely available.

So walking down the aisle with a bouquet was not an idea I felt immediately needed to be nixed… but at the same time, I realized, just because I didn’t hate the history behind them didn’t necessarily mean I wanted to carry a bouquet. So I started poking around the internet looking at bouquet alternatives, looking at non-traditional weddings, looking at low-budget weddings, etc. If you’re asking yourself “Do I even need a wedding bouquet?” here’s a shareable list of reasons for and against bouquets, along with some interesting bouquet alternatives.

Do I need a wedding bouquet? Top 4 reasons to say “Yay” to the bouquet:

  • Tradition: Just because you may be a non-traditional bride doesn’t not mean you want to throw out all tradition. Mixing some traditional elements into a non-traditional wedding can give those particular items even more meaning.
  • Beauty: Flowers are undeniably beautiful. You may not be interested in the customary flowers used in weddings, but there is so much variation in size, shape and color of flowers that there is an appealing flower out there for every bride.
  • Practicality: Let’s be honest, if you choose to walk down an aisle, you’ll need something to do with your hands. Bouquets are an attractive way to keep your hands occupied until you make it to the altar.
  • Symbolism: If you are the type of bride who really only wants to add elements to the wedding that have meaning, the bouquet is a great place to start, different flowers are said to signify different virtues, such as love, joy and hope.

Alternatives to walking down the aisle with a traditional floral wedding bouquet:

If you’re convinced that flowers are a great option at your wedding but you are still not convinced about the traditional bouquet, try these ideas:

One Large Bloom:
Instead of carrying a whole bouquet down the aisle, consider just one long stem large bloom. You still get some of the traditional bride feel but also a unique look at a lower price point. Hydrangeas, peonies, and magnolias make a good single bloom option. A more alternative option? One huge PAPER bloom.

A Heart-Shaped Hoop Bouquet:
Hoop bouquets have been on the scene for a while now. They are often a bit cheaper, they’re easy to carry and they are fun. Consider taking the idea of the hoop bouquet and transforming it into the heart-shaped hoop. A heart-shaped hoop will definitely add a little more romance to a romantic day.

Imagine walking down the aisle with one of these heart wreaths as a no wedding bouquet alternative?

Potted Blooms:
A small potted plant is more eco-friendly than a regular bouquet and is something you can take home to enjoy for years to come.

A Large Wrist Corsage:
Consider wearing the flowers on your wrist. This is a cheaper option and it means you can keep your flowers with you all night without having to hold them. You’ll still have to figure out what to do with your hands though when you walk down the aisle.

Added bonus? Make it an origami wrist corsage with pages from your favorite book, comic book pages, or sheet music from your favorite song!

As an added bonus if you’re having a no bouquet wedding, an origami wrist corsage like this only costs $20!

Do I need a floral wedding bouquet? Top 4 reasons to say “Nay” to the bouquet:

  • Expense: Flowers in general are expensive. The average cost of a bridal bouquet is $250! That seems like a lot of money for something you are only going to hang on to for a few minutes.
  • Predictable: Everyone carries a bouquet, it’s expected. But if you are a bit of an unpredictable bride, you’ll want unpredictable adornments.
  • Off-theme: Most weddings have some sort of theme, even if it is something more subtle such as love. However, if your theme is less subtle, you may want to choose something non-floral to walk down the aisle. Whether your theme is something more classic like music or winter, or something eclectic like Star Wars or football, there will be lots of interesting options to keep with your theme.
  • Sustainability: We all know weddings can be quite wasteful. While there are some options to make a traditional bouquet more eco-friendly, your most sustainable option would be to carry down the aisle something you already have around the house.

Ways to mix it up:

If you’re now certain that a bridal bouquet is NOT the way to go for you, here are some (mostly sustainable) options for you to consider:

A Book:
If you are a spiritual bride, you could carry a spiritual text down the aisle. This is especially sensicle if you plan to read from it during the ceremony. Or if you are doing a fantasy-themed wedding, carrying the Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland or a Harry Potter book down the aisle also makes an elegant flower alternative.

BOOKquet photo by One Eleven Images.

A Candle or Lanterns:
This sustainable option would beautifully illuminate a bride during a night wedding. However, even an unlit candle has the potential to look elegant. And if you are planning to light a Unity candle during the wedding, carrying it down the aisle yourself is also practical.

Photo by Tinywater
Photo by Tinywater from this wedding

A Purse:
You are likely to have some sort of bag hanging around somewhere on your wedding day to store some tissues, your phone and your lip color. Carrying it down the aisle with you is just sensible. If you can find a floral clutch, you can even maintain a little bridal bouquet feel.

Bonus points for the no bouquet bride? A personalized clutch. What if it had your maiden name on one side, and your married name on the other?

A Tambourine

We love us some non-floral bouquet ideas, and this one is just so rad. Imagine walking down the aisle, gently shaking the tambourines and making such a lovely sound. Guh. Love.

Who needs a bouquet when you’ve got a BRIDAL TAMBOURINE!?

Anything Grandiose or Meaningful:
If you want to make a real statement, carry something large down the aisle. Anything on theme will be lovely. Consider a conch shell for a beach wedding, a small tree for a nature wedding, or a guitar for a rock and roll wedding. The possibilities here are truly endless… we’ve seen brides walk down the aisle with their childhood stuffies!

LGBT viral wedding: Our wedding dresses were on fire, but that wasn't the most dangerous part
These two walked down the aisle together with their childhood stuffies instead of bouquets! Photo by Cukini Studio

A hand:
If you and your fiance choose to walk down the aisle together, then all you need is their hand! Or if you’re walking down the aisle with a parent, you can hold their arm like this bride did:

Here’s a bride who had a no-bouquet wedding, and walked down the aisle with her father… just holding her skirt. Photo by Andrew Bradley

So the final answer to “Do I need a wedding bouquet?” is ABSOLUTELY NOT… but you’ve got tons of options! Whatever type of offbeat bride you are, just remember, you have options. And as long as you feel confident about your choice, you will look beautiful with whatever you choose to carry.

Want even MORE inspiration for a no-bouquet wedding?

We have a whole archive full of bouquet alternatives… from Barbie dolls to bird cages to candy, we’ve got SO many no-bouquet wedding ideas for you.

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