Choosing your Bouquet

Where to start? There are just so many gorgeous flowers available in fabulous colours, and lots of different styles of bouquet to choose from too. Deciding on your bridal bouquet will be one of the most important decisions to make as far as your wedding flowers are concerned - don't forget that your bouquet will be on show throughout your wedding and will feature in the photos you will be admiring for years to come. So my best advice is.... follow your heart!

When brides visit me for a consultation they often already have a clear idea of the sort of bouquet they long for - with the availability of websites, wedding blogs, pinterest etc., it's not difficult to find photos of bridal bouquets and some will usually stand out as the favourites. The challenge is in putting across to your florist what is in your head, as it will usually be an amagalmation of different bouquets that you have seen, with your own twist on it of course! Brides may not know the right terminology to explain what they are looking for and many do not know the names of more than a few flowers, or when particular flowers will be available. I tend to show brides examples of different styles and colours to get a good idea of what they are looking for, before we start talking about individual flowers - although, if you have a favourite flower you are keen to feature it's always a good idea to let the florist know as this can be a good indicator of your preferred style.

Here are some ideas to start you off:

Classic white hand tied bouquets

These are very classic hand tied bouquets made in what I would call a 'compact' style, where the flowers fit together quite neatly creating a smooth dome shape. Including some texture and variety of materials, touches of foliage and subtle colour variation adds depth and interest to the bouquet and makes it unique to you. Hand tied bouquets have become very popular in recent years and they do work well with most styles of dress - just make sure that your florist takes into account your shape and size and the style of your wedding dress when deciding on the size of bouquet and the materials selected, so that your overlook look is balanced - i.e. if you are very petite a more delicate bouquet with dainty materials will not swamp you as a large heavy bouquet might.

Colourful hand tied bouquets

You may choose to be more adventurous where colour and materials are concerned to work your bouquet with your overall colour scheme. Don't be frightened of colour - your florist will help to put colours and materials together in a way which creates the sort of impact you are looking for, whether you are looking for a subtle blend or something that shouts 'Hey, look at me!" Professional florists study the principles of colour and design as part of their training and experience will show which colours and materials work well together.

For the bouquet on the left we combined flowers in lovely dusky shades to create a subtle blend with a vintage feel, including favourite flowers peonies and hydrangeas. The bouquet on the right features the fabulous peach/apricot 'Vuvuzela' roses, which make such a statement in their own right that other materials were chosen to complement them without detracting from the beauty of the roses.

Full and fluffy bridal bouquets

I am quite often asked by brides to create a 'full and fluffy' hand tied bouquet. This style of bouquet has a very smooth finish with the flowers massed tightely together and not broken up with foliage. Big blowsy blooms are best to use in this sort of style, but I have created very similar designs at different times of year incoroprating seasonal materials where possible. And this sort of style does not have to feature flowers of just one colour, although it does work best where shades close to each other on the colour wheel are used.

The bouquet on the left is my all-white version created for a late summer wedding, using dahlias and hydrangeas as the seasonal flowers. The bouquet on the right includes roses and hydrangeas in gorgeous shades of lilac and mauve for a bride who really wanted her flowers to stand out!

Vintage style hand tied bouquets

Hand tied bouquets work well for brides that have chosen a vintage style for their wedding and are looking to incorporate flowers in gorgeous dusky shades. Roses are particularly good to use for vintage themes as they have the right feel of nostalgia and are the best flower for their fabulous range of dusky hues. Try adding spray varieties as well as larger bloom roses to create more texture and interest, and don't be frightened to add in other flowers too, such as dusky hydrangeas, scented freesias, and dainty gypsophila.

Natural spring hand tied bouquets

Moving away from compact or massed styles, hand tied bouquets can be created in a much looser, more natural style - I often describe these bouquets as having 'spriggy' bits! In this case it is lovely to include some seasonal flowers as it all add to the freshly-picked look. Both of the bouquets above were made for spring weddings and so you can see that using seasonal flowers does not limit the colours you can choose. These bouquets were beautifully scented too as they featured spring flowering bulbs, like narcissi and hyacinths.

Natural style summer bouquets

The natural, freshly-picked look works beautifully in the summer too. Brides often say that they want their bouquet to look as if the flowers have just been gathered from the fields and tied together - it's not quite as simple as that but I do my best! The use of different flowers and colours in this type of bouquet will still enable your bouquet to look unique and work in with the other decorative elements you have chosen for your special day - you can choose to tie your bouquet in different ways too, perhaps using lace or raffia (or both,as in the bouquet on the right).

For this style of bouquet it is good to choose some flowers that would naturally be found growing out in the fields and gardens, such as daisies, cornflowers, nigella, astilbe, astrantia, ladies mantle etc. And I always like to use a variety of shapes and sizes of flowers and foliage to give a more natural effect.

Autumn colours bridal bouquet

Hand tied bouquets can be used to create styles suitable for all different occasions. In this case I created a bouquet for a more mature lady to match her gorgeous chocolate brown wedding outift. A slightly smaller style was needed in this case as she was wearing a knee length outfit, but her bouquet of flowers was just as important to her as for a bride wearing a full white wedding gown. She was delighted with the bouquet I created for her autumn wedding - looks fabulous doesn't it!

Rustic bridal bouquet

And if you're looking for something a bit different a hand tied bouquet can easily accommodate a more unusual mix of materials as you can see from this rustic-style bouquet made for a winter wedding. All sorts of materials can be wired into a bouquet of this design - it is not necessary for them to be on stems as the more usual flower materials are. Let your imagination (or your florist's) run riot!

Shower bouquets

But before you think that the only choice to make is what sort of hand tied style to select, the choices don't actually end there! I am increasingly being asked to create shower style bouquets and from the images above you can see why - they really are gorgeous, and once again you are not limited by colour and choice of materials that you can incorporate. With this style of bouquet it is best to consider whether the shape will work with the style of your wedding gown. A shower bouquet can be quite full and flowing, and this does not always suit a slimmer style of dress - although your florist shoule be able to create a neater tear drop style bouquet if you have your heart set on a shower shape.

Nicola's white and green classic shower style bouquet featuring calla lilies went perfectly with her beautiful full-skirted wedding dress and you can see how this style of bouquet flows down the front of the dress with all the flowers on show. For the bouquet on the left I wired individual Vanda orchid heads into the design to work with the bride's Cadbury purple and white colour scheme - the results were stunning! And for the bouquet on the right, sprays of scented lily-of-the-valley were wired through the design to give a gorgeous vintage feel when teemed with the dusky roses - simply beautiful and gloriously scented too!

Designer shower bouquet

Most florists will like the opportunity to get creative - I know I do! So if you want something s bit special like this designer shower bouquet above, or the bouquets below, don't be afraid to ask!

Designer bridal bouquets

And if you need any advice from a professionally qualified florist, do come along and have a chat with me about your own ideas! You can contact me here...