Once you have confirmed the members of your wedding party and their attire has been chosen, the fun part of designing gorgeous flower accessories begins. According to ancient Roman law, ten witnesses were required at every wedding in order to outsmart the evil spirits believed to attend marriage ceremonies. The bridesmaids and ushers dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom to confuse the meddling forces, and wedding bouquets were made of such strong herbs as thyme and garlic to further frighten the spirits away (and to cover up the body odor that resulted from infrequent bathing!). Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since those traditions, and couples can be free to tailor the look of their wedding parties to be individual and stylish without worrying about function. The following are some creative ideas:
Stand-Out Bridesmaid Bouquets
Create a monogrammed pendant for each bridesmaid with her initial(s) and attach them to each bouquet handle. They can double as gifts after they are removed.
Go one step further and add a cameo with a photo of each bridesmaid with the bride to the pendant.
“Shade” the colors of the bouquets. Start with the deepest color for the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle and gradually lighten the shade until you reach the last woman. For example, if your color scheme includes purple, have the first bouquet be a deep plum and transition to purple, soft purple, and lavender, until the last bouquet offers just a hint of the color.
Give each bridesmaid a bouquet made of only one type of flower in the same color. If your color is pink, one can carry all-pink hydrangea, one all-pink roses, another can carry pink tulips, another pink orchids, and so forth.
Add some sparkle, such as a rhinestone brooch or rhinestone buckle, to each bouquet handle -- simple and elegant touches that will get noticed.
Create boutonnieres with natural elements other than flowers, such as suede, twigs, berries, feathers, shells, or “monkey tail”(a type of fern shoot). This is a great alternative for those grooms who don’t want to wear flowers, especially when you can incorporate a guy’s individual style or personality into the design.
Design each groomsman’s boutonniere to complement (but not necessarily match) the bouquet of the bridesmaid with whom he is paired. Again, if the bouquets are purple, boutonnieres of lisianthus or a sprig of lavender herb will provide an elegant, yet masculine, touch.
Wrap the base of the boutonnieres in ribbon that coordinates with the bridesmaids’ bouquets (a color other than black). Consider tying this into the “shaded” look described above.
Style each of the flower girls differently-- they don’t all have to have carry the same colors and flowers as they walk down the aisle. If one of the girls is old enough to toss petals, the other can be just as cute holding a small “kissing ball” of tightly packed flowers hung from a ribbon.
Consider an all-flower girl wedding party. This is a great option for couples whose friends are older and have kids -- it gets your friends involved without their direct participation as bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Have an older girl carry a basket of flowers and pass them out to guests as she walks down the aisle.
Create a custom silk box with a lid that is covered in orchid petals. Or use one large bloom, moss with flower accents, or a bunch of rose heads.
If your ring bearer is old enough, have him pull a wagon down the aisle with the flower girl sitting in it (if she is young enough). Decorate the wagon with tons of flowers, ribbons, and greenery. Use a family heirloom pillow and ask your florist to dress it up with favorite flowers.
As attendants, your sisters, brothers, and best friends have agreed to stand up to support you, evil spirits and all, and a great way to add personality to your wedding is to treat their flowers as extensions of your décor. Let their bouquets and boutonnieres speak to your overall design and celebrate each attendant.
Opening photograph by Danny Weiss