How to choose a bouquet article by Sarah Schreiber
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Believe it or not, your wedding bouquet is an integral part of your big day. The arrangement has a few functions—the longstanding wedding tradition (brides have been carrying blooms down the aisle for centuries) has the ability to complete and polish a bride's ensemble and often references the event's overarching floral palette. The gist? It simultaneously identifies you as the woman of the hour and ties you into your big-day décor. Choosing your personal bridal arrangement, then, becomes one of the bigger decisions you'll make while planning. But where do you start? Do you choose a few of your favorite blooms and then ask your floral designer to create an arrangement based off your selections? Or do you work backwards and base the clutch off other major floral moments, like centerpieces or flower walls? While the latter two options are perfectly valid, we'd like to propose another method: Start by selecting your bouquet's shape. It's a simple enough approach—one that has the ability to make your wedding bouquet the best in can be. The reason? You can't choose a shape until you know a few key details about your big day: Your wedding dress silhouette (you don't want to choose a bouquet shape that conflicts with your gown) and your wedding style. Certain bouquet shapes connote different wedding types. A round iteration, for example, feels decidedly classic, while a crescent or dramatic cascade of blooms give off boho-chic vibes. To help you break down which bouquet shape best suits your event, we tapped two industry experts: Victoria Ahn of Designs by Ahn and Alicia Rico of Bows + Arrows. With their sage advice, you'll be able to identify the arrangement shape that best suits your bridal look and overarching wedding theme. Click through for your comprehensive guide to wedding bouquet shapes.
By far the most popular wedding bouquet shape, "natural bouquets are arranged more loosely to create an organic-looking shape," notes Ahn, adding that though the design is technically 360 degrees, there is typically a distinguishable front and back side. Bohemian brides, you'll likely gravitate towards these natural arrangements for the effortless, earthy aesthetic—but it's worth noting that the shape can skew classic, "depending on the flowers used and the way the bouquet is arranged," says Ahn, who actually arranged this beauty herself!
Another bouquet shape that toes the line between traditional and boho? The crescent. "This shape mimics the shape of a horizontal crescent moon," explains Rico. The arrangement may be tight and manicured at the top and cascade slightly on both sides and is traditionally held front and center. If you're a bride looking to recreate this bouquet, one of Rico's personal creations, bookmark the following blooms: roses, calla lily, clematis, tulips, and fritillaria, all of which work well for this type of arrangement.
"Cascades can range in length and fullness, and they typically work best in a more organic style (think trailing, vine-like greenery)," notes Ahn, who recommends adding in orchids, since they have a natural cascade to them already. You have a ton of options, though, notes Rico—think peony, holly hock, Japanese anemone, clematis, sandersonia, scabiosa, poppies, lupine, foxglove, and fritillaria. She would know: The cascade bouquet, like this one by Petals and Hedges, is her all-time favorite type to create. "The bouquet can look different from all angles and be held in so many different ways," she says. "I'm also able to use so many different blooms, making it so detailed and intricate with lots of blended colors."
Think of a teardrop bouquet as the precursor to the cascade trend. As evidenced by this gardena clutch by Keith J. Laverty, it's tighter than its successor, and though it has that signature slope, doesn't end in a floor-length sweep of vines and blooms. It's overall style comes down to the way it's styled, says Ahn: "This shape is round at the top and comes to a point at the bottom. It can be arranged tightly for a classic teardrop or more loosely for an organic feel."
If you're searching for a petite clutch to hold down the aisle, consider the nosegay, which is often tiny enough to hold in one hand. Another tell-tale characteristic? "Sometimes it's made with all one type of flower," notes Rico, who recommends achieving this classic style with bunches of ranunculus, sweet pea, hyacinth, and musicari. This particular bouquet shape is about to skyrocket in popularity, adds Ahn: "The new trend we're starting to see is less about shape and more about scaling down the size. We're definitely going to be seeing smaller bouquets in 2019." Monai Nailah McCullough was responsible for this salmon peony arrangement.
Carry this bouquet shape exactly the way its name implies—in the crook of your arm, as if you've just been crowned a pageant queen ("It's a showcase piece," says Rico). The modern design is meant to make a statement, so you'll want to choose dramatic blooms, like orchids, gloriosa lilies, peonies, or dahlias, if you decide to walk the aisle with a pageant bouquet. Sweet peas, as seen in this The Blooming Bud bouquet, are also a good option.
A round bouquet, like this one by Rosehip London Flowers, should connote a voluminous ball of blooms—it's 360 degree construction also eliminates the need for a front and back (it's a beauty from all angles!). If you're considering this classic type, know that "using only one type of flower can be really effective," says Ahn.
Now here's a bouquet shape that'll resonate with vintage-loving brides. The pomander is comprised of a ball of blooms attached to a string—brides wear or swing these arrangements down the aisle, instead of holding them in their hands. Though the pomander (typically constructed of roses, ranunculus, and mums, says Rico; baby's breath, used here in these Lush Floral Designs bouquets, is another option) isn't seen on many modern aisles, it's a common choice for another special member of the bridal party: the flower girl.