Clark Flower & Gift Shop presents….
Why EVERY Bride Should Carry Fresh Flowers…. and
Tips for Selecting the Perfect Bouquet
for the Perfect Wedding Gown…
by Deborah McCoy, President, The American Academy of Wedding Professionals™
Ó 2008, AAWP. All rights reserved.
Flowers, their natural beauty, colors and quantities make a wedding different from any other occasion that a woman celebrates in her lifetime. On her wedding day she will carry a bouquet—the only time in her life.
Beforehand she will spend long hours selecting just the right boutonniere, corsages and bouquets for her cherished family dearest friends. And she may never again be so frivolous when it comes to decorating or purchasing centerpieces for her reception. Flowers make weddings special. For centuries, they have added beauty and bestowed grace upon the bride. They will always remain an integral part of the festivities.
The first bridal bouquets were made up of herbs—not blooms—because ancient peoples believed that herbs could empower the wearer with their special attributes. Garlic, for example, was said to cast off evil spirits and was very popular as were sage, the herb of wisdom and dill, the "lusty" herb. Flowers eventually replaced herbs in bouquets (thank goodness!) and acquired a symbolism all their own.
Orange blossoms, so popular in the 1800s and early part of the last century, trace their history to mythology. It is said that Juno gave them to Jupiter on their wedding day. The tradition of the fragrant blooms survived the ancient world and even holds a place in our history.
Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, carried orange blossoms at her White House wedding as did Frances Folsom, Grover Cleveland’s much younger fiancée, at their historic wedding; he was the first U.S. president married in the executive mansion.
When Jacqueline Kennedy wed Aristotle Onassis in a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony, crowns of orange blossoms were placed on their heads symbolizing happiness and fertility. Today, we rarely see orange blossoms in bouquets although the beauty of fresh flowers, their symbolism and the important role they play in weddings has continued to blossom.
Fresh Flowers and Bridal Parties
Fresh flowers are required for weddings no matter how large or small, formal or informal because they make a wedding festive and unique. Every bride should carry a fresh, floral bouquet (even a simple nosegay) whether she is marrying for the first time or the third. Bridesmaids should carry fresh flowers. The flower girl should carry a basket of flowers and the ring-bearer should sport a boutonniere. All members of the immediate families (including step-relatives) must have corsages and boutonniere.
Flower requirements vary depending on the size and type of the wedding. A large, formal wedding with a regal bride and six bridesmaids will require full-floral bouquets styled to match the formality and design of their dresses. A simple corsage worn by this bride or a single rose carried by these bridesmaids would look out of place.
For an informal wedding, on the other hand, the bride may wear a simple corsage and the maid of honor may carry a single rose flanked by decorative ribbons or pearls. This would be perfectly appropriate.
I stress fresh flowers for your wedding because it’s the one day in your life when you should carry them! They don’t need to be elaborate or expensive, but a bride and her bouquet should go together just like "...love and marriage."
Silk Flowers and Weddings
To save money many brides consider using silk flowers because they erroneously believe that they’re less expensive. This isn’t the case. Good "silks", the kind that look real, can cost up to three times more than their fresh counterparts. Inexpensive silks used in bouquets or centerpieces will look it! Silks have no place at weddings. If you want to save money, use fresh flowers.
BRIDAL-PARTY FLOWERS: Gowns, Bouquets and Style
Formal wedding gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses require formal bouquets. If the look is ornate the bouquets should be too. Casual, loose bouquets and formal, imposing gowns don’t mix.
A bouquet with that straight-from-the-garden look is appropriate when carried with an informal or semi-formal linen, taffeta, or cotton wedding gown or a simple suit. It’s also appropriate for cotton or floral printed bridesmaids’ dresses. It’s not appropriate for a heavily beaded wedding gown where the flowers require a tailored, deliberate look. Nor would it be appropriate for long, iridescent taffeta bridesmaids’ dresses where the mere formality of the fabric requires a more formal design.
Many people equate "formal" with dollar signs; however, a daisy can be formal if styled regally. It’s all in the design. It’s important that your florist cares about you and what you and your maids are wearing. It’s critical that your bouquets are styled to your gowns.
Bridal Bouquets and The Wedding Gown
The three basic types of bouquets are the presentation (arm bouquet); the nosegay (round); and the cascade (long and flowing). Your florist will work with you to design bouquets best suited to your gown and your size. (See examples, following.)
The Presentation Bouquet
© The presentation bouquet should only be carried if the gown’s bodice is plain. If the bodice is embroidered or appliquéd with lace, this bouquet, that rests in the crook of your arm, will hide detailing and detract from the gown. If the dress is plain, however, a presentation bouquet of white Calla lilies or roses can be dramatic, elegant and complement the gown’s simplicity.
The florist must take your size into consideration. If you are tall and of medium build, for example, the bouquet should be fuller than if you were short and slight.
© The nosegay lends itself to any type of wedding gown and may be composed of any type of flower or a combination of flowers. It’s usually six to ten inches in diameter, is tailored and should be scaled upward or downward, proportionately depending on the bride’s size and the size of her gown.
© The cascade is also popular and comes in varying designs and lengths, normally falling from the waist to whatever length the bride prefers and the florist recommends. It may be large or small, loose or tailored. It may be shaped like a crescent or teardrop or be freeform in design. (If the gown’s skirt is heavily embroidered or appliquéd, a nosegay might be the best choice.)
A beautiful well-designed bouquet will relate directly to the size of the bride and her gown. A small woman wearing a ball-gown should have a fuller, shorter cascade or nosegay than if she wore a sheath that requires a slim cascade or a small nosegay. (And don’t forget the presentation bouquet if the bodice is plain.) But whatever you decide, always discuss your options with your florist who can best advise you!
The Romantic Meanings of Flowers:
White Carnation — remember me
Deborah McCoy is the author of four, major bridal reference books for mainstream publishers, and is the author of the premier course on how to become a professional wedding planner. www.aa-wp.com