7 New Twists On the Bridal Bouquet

It's been awhile since bouquets got a makeover, so we took the liberty.
by Andrea Fowler

Looking for that final ingredient to make your bouquet stand out? Think outside the garden—inspiration can come from the most unexpected of places.

  1. 1. Feathers

    Unique bridal bouquet with bright blooms and feathers
    photo by LAURA IVANOVA PHOTOGRAPHY

    Some pretty plumage can change the entire vibe of a bouquet. To achieve a rustic style, try pheasant quills. Their black and brown color pattern is striking, and the spear shape will create an unexpected silhouette. If you're going for glam, an arrangementof ostrich feathers will have dramatic volume and old-world charm. Want a detail that's a little more offbeat? Try iridescent peacock plumage for extra depth and style points. Clean white feathers with gold-dipped tips are whimsical and understated—perfect fora boho-chic affair. A big pro to using feathers is that, well, they'reas light as a feather. Add as many as you want to achieve your look.

  2. 2. Fruits and Vegetables

    Bridesmaid bouquet with succulents
    photo by Annie Mcelwain photography

    The farm-to-table movement is in full swing, and as a result, people are more aware of their community's local goods. So if you're going for hometown charm, the farmers market is a good place to start. Leafy greens like kale, cabbage and Swiss chard are all beautiful substitutes for lush foliage. When it comes to making a bold statement, half-cut fruits like pomegranates or figs add a fresh architectural element to the bouquet's texture. Choosing your produce (and blooms) based on what's in season guarantees the freshest options at the best quality and price. Keepin mind, fruits and veggies are mostly water, so they'll add some weight to that pretty bouquet. You won't feel it at first, but after 30 minutes of posing for pictures, you may be singing a different tune.

  3. 3. Succulents and Air Plants

    Whimsical bridal bouquet with air plants and king protea
    photo by Tamara Gruner Photography

    Besides the affordable price tag, one of the most popular reasons to include succulents in an arrangement is their structural diversity. Some varieties, like echeverias, grow leaves in tight rosettes and maintain a flowerlike appearance. Others, like sedum burrito, grow vinelike stems that can add to a cascading bouquet shape. For a more whimsical look, air plants (aka tillandsia) are similar to succulents in that they need very little water and stand up to a range of weather conditions, but they have a more wild structure. Most succulent or air plant varieties can be repotted or propagated after the bouquet is deconstructed, serving as home décor for months to come.

  4. 4. Cotton

    Bridesmaid bouquet with dusty miller, berries and cotton
    photo by Freshly Bold Photography

    A few cotton wisps are perfect for a winter fete. Go for a whitewashed look with peonies for a romantic vibe, or play up the circular shapes with ranunculus, berries and Echinops (aka globe thistle). Consider wrapping the bouquet with raw silk ribbon—it has a rough texture that will juxtapose the fluff. Bonus: Bundles of cotton make for an awesome boutonniere alternative.

  5. 5. Herbs

    Wedding bouquet made with herbs
    photo by Elizabeth Messina

    Herbs range in color, texture and size, making them a great foliage option. A lesser-known benefit? They can provide mood-altering aromas or keep pesky bugs at bay, depending on which variety you choose. Mint and lavender, for example, are closely associated with a calming effect, while catnip is known to repel mosquitos. Or choose herbs based on their sentimental meaning: Parsley invites festivity, basil means good wishes and dill wards off evil. Want some color? Consider flowering herbs like feverfew, which has buds that resemble tiny daisies, or meadowsweet, which has white, frothy-looking blooms.

  6. 6. Grains and Grasses

    Rustic bridal bouquet made of grains and grasses
    photo by Delaney Dobson Photography

    From dune grass to organic straws of grain, grasses are perfectly suited to a range of wedding themes. For a seaside affair, lookto blue lyme or tufted hair grass for a tall and wispy addition to your bouquet shape. Or ask your florist to get creative and crafta bouquet wrap out of a handful of strands. If your beach wedding is of the destination sort, a big elephant ear will amp up the tropical ambience. On the other hand, if a low-key ranch soiree is in the works, wheat and barley are pure magic when arranged with fresh lavender and finished off with gingham ribbon.

  7. 7. Seedpods

    Modern bridal bouquet with succulents and seed pods
    photo by Kevin Le Vu Photography

    Looking for something different to contrast with your blooms? Seedpods add some serious intrigue. And depending on which variety, they can help build the bouquet up (height) or out (volume). For a fuller shape, opt for lotus, scabiosa or poppy pods. To construct a taller arrangement, dried protea, okra or trumpet pods all have taller, slender constructions rather than short and wide.

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