11 Bouquet Alternatives for Bridesmaids | Trendy to Classic

If you guessed that we're big fans of flowers and elaborate arrangements, well, you'd be right! However, there are plenty of alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets, and most aren't even new ideas.

From bridal hoops bursting with greenery to traditional Chinese fans that have been around for centuries, history has seen a lot of bouquet alternatives for brides and bridesmaids. In modern times, Mason jars, lanterns, and other DIY ideas have been trending instead of bouquets.

From classic to creative, check out these unique alternative ideas for bridesmaids' bouquets-

Traditional vs. Alternative Bridesmaid Bouquets

Before diving into alternative ideas for bridesmaids' bouquets, let's take a quick look at the difference between traditional and modern arrangements.

Traditionally, a bridesmaid bouquet is a collection of flowers held by the bridesmaids during the ceremony. These arrangements are meant to be complementary additions to the wedding's theme and colors, the bridesmaid's outfits, and the bridal bouquet.

Two women in green dress each holding a green bouquet

While the origin of the bridesmaids carrying flowers tradition is not clear, it's assumed that they originally served similar purposes to a bridal bouquet: bringing luck and good fortune, decoration, and a general sense of romance.

Today, tradition is often molded (or ditched altogether) to meet the couple's individual needs. Which brings us to our next question-

Is it okay for bridesmaids not to have bouquets?

Many couples quickly realize that although bouquets are a beautiful accessory, the cost can add up. For those with especially large wedding parties, spending a huge portion of the budget on bridesmaid flowers might not be the best move. 

If you're feeling pressed, don't stress- it is okay for bridesmaids not to have bouquets! It's your big day, and the only standards you need to meet are yours. Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, not one of the most pressured. Ultimately, every couple should do what feels best for them.

A bride standing in front of a wedding arch

What is an alternative to a bouquet of flowers?

Okay, so now you're convinced that flowers are optional, but you're wondering what your bridesmaids should hold instead of a bouquet. Luckily, there are so many alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets that you can easily find something to fit your style and budget. These are some popular alternative ideas for bridesmaid bouquets-

#1 Single Stem: Can bridesmaids carry a single flower?

Yes, you can absolutely have your bridesmaids carry a single flower instead of an entire arrangement!

Actually, replacing the traditional bouquet with a single flower is a hip yet not-so-crazy alternative for bridesmaids. There are a few ways to incorporate a single stem, but choosing one particular flower from the bridal bouquet is the most common. You can also use one of the same flowers from the bridal bouquet in muted tones or go neutral with black, white, or beige.

Two women in white dress each holding a white bouquet

Another idea we like is having the bridesmaids carry a few single stems of one variety of flower or assigning each person a different species of bloom found in the bridal bouquet. Dress up your solo blooms with ribbons or strings of beads, a small balloon, or other on-theme accessories like shells for a tropical wedding. 

#2 Can bridesmaids have corsages instead of bouquets

Corsages also make excellent alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets and, like the single stem option, usually still incorporate buds. Graceful and stylish, corsages also have the bonus of being hands-free, meaning they can pre-arranged on the bridesmaid's wrist for their walk down the aisle.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when using corsages as bridesmaid bouquet alternatives:

  • Choose your florals wisely. When it comes to organic flowers, some naturally sit more flat than others and are easier to manipulate. Some species of organic flowers can only be without water for so long before wilting dramatically. For these reasons, artificial blooms hold significant advantages.
  • Make sure the corsage doesn't move. Always use multiple pins to fasten the piece in place. The last thing you want is for it to fall on the way down the aisle.
  • Make sure to match. Choosing flowers from the bride's bouquet is a safe route, but you can also go for similar blooms in muted, neutral, or contrasting colors.
  • Location, location, location. Think outside the box (or, well, wrist) and have your bridesmaids fasten their corsages to their shoulders or chest. If you do this option, go for scale (unless you deliberately want your corsages to look like boutonnieres) with larger, bolder, and well-integrated flowers. 
  • Share the love (of corsages). If you do go the corsage route, also consider using them for other wedding party members, like flower girls or ring bearers.
  • Match with boutonnieres. Match your bridesmaid corsages with your groomsmen's boutonnieres. To do this, simply use the same colors, accessories, or blooms.
  • Add small details. Use accent accessories to complement your floral and greenery choices for the corsages. Pick a few fun add-ons that will highlight the pieces, such as jewels, accent leaves, silk, bows, sparkles, or feathers.
Various corsages placed on a table

#3 Hair Pieces: Can bridesmaids wear flowers in their hair?

Yes, bridesmaids can wear flowers in their hair instead of carrying bouquets! Finding the perfect bridesmaid bouquet alternatives can be as simple as a single, strategically placed hair flower. If hair design isn't your strong point, you might be wondering where exactly 'strategically placed' is located on the head. Good news:

When it comes to bridesmaids wearing flowers in their hair, there are no set rules, just endless options! Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing-

  • One oversized flower as a statement piece. Similar to the style and color guidelines for corsage or single stem options above, make sure you select the perfect bloom for your wedding theme and color palette.
  • Floral bands or crowns. Combined with a wavy hairstyle and flowy dress, a floral headband creates an instant boho look. Small, muted blooms can be elegant and subtle for a more formal look.
  • Headdresses for drama. Headdresses are similar to a floral crown but usually much larger and more eye-catching. How many opportunities in life will you have for a perfectly legitimate reason to strut around wearing a floral headdress? Consider using slightly different designs for each bridesmaid!
A flower crown placed above a piece of paper

What else can bridesmaids carry down the aisle?

If you're not feeling the single stem, corsage, or hair accessory route, no problem. You'll find endless bouquet alternatives for bridesmaids that you can personalize to meet your needs.

Try these clever alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets:

#4 What bridesmaids can carry instead of flowers: going green

When it comes to floral substitutes, going green is always a good idea. Eucalyptus leaves are one of the most commonly used types of foliage for wedding flower arrangements due to their pleasing shade and circular, romantic leaves.

Single stems are also excellent alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets. For example, a large Monstera leaf or Palm fan is perfect for a tropical wedding or an evergreen branch for a winter ceremony.

Three palm leaves put next to each other

#5 Most trendy alternative: hoop bouquets

The bridal hoop is one of the most trendy alternative ideas for bridesmaids' bouquets.

A hoop bouquet (also called a bridal hoop) is a wreath-like arrangement, usually made from wood or metal, decorated with foliage or buds. Vines like English Ivy or Silver Dollar Eucalyptus are also good choices because they're versatile and simple to DIY. Other items to dress up your hoop bouquets include feathers, fringe, ribbons, bows, berries, branches, and shells.

A women in red dress holding a hoop bouquet

#6 Feminine bridesmaid bouquet alternatives: feathers

When using feathers as bridesmaid bouquet alternatives, couples tend to take one of two approaches: showcasing a few eye-catching feathers or an entire bouquet of plumage.

Quill feathers will add a dash of rusticism, and Ostrich (or anything fluffy) will create a feminine, graceful appearance. Peacock feathers are naturally glamorous and will pop dramatically against a neutral color palette or fit right in with blue, green, or teal.  Other options include using feathers as embellishments for a few choice flowers or creatively dangling them from a hoop bouquet.

A few white pampa grass put into a white vase

#7 Rustically romantic with Mason Jars

When it comes to wedding DIY or decor, Mason jars can be repurposed into almost anything: candle holders, centerpieces, hanging vases, cocktail glasses, and, yes, bridesmaid bouquet alternatives.

To get your Mason jars aisle ready, consider painting them to match your color palette, tying them with ribbon, adding an (electric) candle, or filling them with baby's breath or lavender. For tropical or beach weddings, layer jars with sand or shells.

#8 Lovely lighting: lanterns as bridesmaid bouquet alternatives

Traditionally, Lanterns symbolize good luck, health, and prosperity in most Asian countries and cultures around the world. If your ceremony is in the winter months or the evening, lanterns make romantic alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets. Imagine your bridesmaids glowing their way down the aisle like fireflies at dusk. You can also use clusters of flowers or a few feathers to personalize the lanterns.

A man lifting a lantern wrapped with flower garlands

As a bonus, lanterns are easy and quick to repurpose as lighting for the reception.

#9 Floating elegance: Balloons as bridesmaid alternatives

Nobody buys balloons for unremarkable days. 

Whether filled with Helium or Nitrogen, balloons have always been guests at celebrations and special events like weddings. There are many ways to use balloons as bridesmaid bouquet alternatives, from using singles to combining them with flower arrangements. Balloons in the shape of letters, numbers, flowers, or hearts can be a fun and creative way to add a personal touch. You can also decorate your balloon bouquet with ribbon or silk or match them to your wedding color palette.

#10 Wedding fans as alternative ideas for bridesmaid bouquets

Let's make one thing clear: at Ling's Moment, we are big fans of fans.

Wedding fans have been around forever. In China, brides have historically used elaborate, oval-shaped silk fans called Tuanshan to symbolize union and happiness. In England, handheld fans were a fashion statement throughout the eighteenth century, especially popular at royal weddings.

Today, wedding fans are beautiful and elegant accessories that can be used as bridesmaid bouquet alternatives and are simple to match with any theme. Try a woven fan for a laid-back beach ceremony, or go all lace for a glam wedding. Or use colored paper hand fans for a budget-friendly way to reiterate your color palette. With various shapes, colors, and sizes, plus personalized options, you're sure to find a fan to fit your needs.

#11 Modern alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets: paper flowers

No, not Origami (but that would be cool, too!), more like the modern trend you've probably seen all over Pinterest. 

There are dozens of ways to go paper for your bridesmaid bouquets, with lots of room for customization. Just like choosing fabric, selecting the right texture of paper is critical. For example, cardstock, parchment, crepe, and tissue paper all create different looks. You can add words, such as your wedding vows initials or any desired image, to the paper. For the budget-forward bride, paper bouquets might be easier to work with than other commonly DIY fabrics.

Keep the inspiration going

Okay, so now you know there are some truly amazing alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets, and you're feeling inspired! We love to hear it and can't wait to see what you've come up with. Tag us @lingsmoment on IG to show off your bouquet alternatives!

Two women in purple dress sitting next to each other

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