8 Alternatives to Traditional Floral Bouquets

Someone holding three pink heart balloons against a blue cloudy sky.

Wedding bouquets never had set rules. In fact, they were born out of necessity. In the Middle Ages, brides carried bunches of spices and herbs to keep evil spirits away from their wedding. Bouquets of fragrant plants were also carried hundreds of years ago to mask body odor caused by infrequent bathing. The modern notion of carrying flowers down the aisle, however, began in the Victorian age with the marriage of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. During this time, flowers were especially significant because each type of bloom had a special meaning and lovers sent them to one another based on sentiment. If the tradition of a floral bouquet doesn’t appeal to you, take a fun and non-traditional route with one of these alternatives.

1. Burlap Bouquet

Hands holding a bouquet made of burlap flowers.

Because of it’s simplicity, burlap is all the rage when it comes to rustic weddings. Creating flowers out of this fabric and bunching them together creates a pretty bouquet. Twine and rope can be used along the stems to bring the piece of art together. You could even piece in a few real flowers for more texture. Best of all, you can keep the burlap bouquet forever and even use it as a decoration in your home in remembrance of your wedding day.

2. Balloon Bouquet

Why carry flowers when you can bring back childhood with a bouquet of balloons? A few colorful balloons are an inexpensive alternative to flowers, which any bride knows can add a lot to the budget. Whether a wild helium balloon in the shape of something you love or a few colorful balloons tied around your wrist, the balloon bouquet gives a whimsical touch to any wedding.

3. Felt Flower Bouquet

A bride and groom holding hands and a bouquet made of felt flowers.

Felt is a big trend with any type of artwork these days. As a material, felt is pretty, easy to work with, and available in many colors. Making a bouquet out of felt is a perfect DIY for the creative bride. Felt flowers are simply cut shapes placed together to make the perfect bloom—which can look pretty realistic! Like a bouquet made with burlap, the felt flower bouquet can be saved after the wedding as an heirloom piece.

4. Leather Bouquet

If you’re having a western, rustic, or farm-themed wedding, you may want to consider crafting a bouquet out of leather. While this certainly isn’t an option for the vegetarian bride, it can work for those who want some contrast against their dress. Leather can make precise petals and leaves, and will look beautiful with some lace or softer fabric worked into the design.

5. Paper Flower Bouquet

A bride carrying two large paper flowers as a bouquet.

This isn’t your everyday bouquet of paper flowers. This bouquet idea is a giant paper flower that certainly won’t get lost in the photos! Paper flowers are a growing DIY trend because they’re usually inexpensive and can be created with so many different colors and types of paper. Layers of tissue paper creating the blooms and leaves are a popular way to go that’s trendy, but pretty. Making these can be a party with your bridesmaids; it all comes together with a little glue and creativity.

6. Pizza Bouquet

A few years ago, KFC made headlines when they offered a fried chicken corsage. If you got hungry during prom, you just took a bite off your wrist! It sounds crazy, but people went wild for it. A New Jersey pizzeria decided this was genius and created a bouquet and a matching boutonniere out of pizza. The pizza was actually shaped like flowers with tomatoes as accents. The verdict is still out if the bride actually ran to the microwave after the wedding to indulge in her bouquet. (On the other hand, some people love cold pizza.)

7. Seashell Bouquet

A bouquet made of seashells and laying on sand.

A beach wedding calls for beautiful blooms that won’t melt and will stand out against the glistening water and sand. A bouquet made of seashells clustered together fits the bill. Work in some faux flowers for more color, or use spray paint on the shells if you don’t like the natural look. You can find a variety of seashells at craftstores, or use ones you’ve found on the beach yourself for free!

8. Stuffed Animal Bouquet

This might be one of the craziest ideas for a bouquet, but carrying a few mini stuffed animals or one big stuffed animal down the aisle can be fun and meaningful. One bride and her bridesmaids carried the same size of stuffed cats down the aisle because the bride loves cats and wanted to incorporate her animals in the wedding. Think of the smiles you’ll get walking down the aisle with a stuffed animal instead of flowers.

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