What style of bouquet do you think would suit you?

The custom of carrying flowers down the aisle when getting married dates back from ancient times. In Ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands, believing that flowers signify new beginnings, fidelity and hope of fertility. (If you would like to learn more about where our wedding traditions come from why not read my blog here). Today it is rare for the bride to not carry or wear some kind of flowers down the aisle but the choice of style and variety of flowers available for the bridal bouquet is a little overwhelming. Perhaps this blog will help with your decision making. The choice of bouquet style and shape varies with time, I would like to share some of the classic shapes of bouquet which are popular today.


The most popular style of bouquet for my brides is a loose hand tie. It draws attention to the middle of the body and is held just below waist level. If this is likely to obscure an important feature of the wedding dress an alternative style should be chosen. This bouquet is good for those brides with beautiful hips and waist. It can be big, wild and blousy or a little more subdued. It is a versatile bouquet that I love to create.

An alternative to this natural, loose hand tie is this more formal, structured style hand tie or posy. It is held in the same way as above but might be more suited to the petite bride. This bouquet can also be fully wired, where the stems are fully removed and replaced with florists’ wire, which will create an even lighter, compact, easy to handle bouquet.

As a general rule large bouquets suit formal, long dresses while smaller bouquets are more in proportion to a knee length dress.

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Over arm bouquets became popular in the early 1900’s under the name of ‘Bernhardt’ bouquets, inspired by the presentation bouquets given to the actress of the day. This shape is cradled in the arms, or it can be held upside-down against the skirt of the dress. This is a perfect bouquet if you like the natural look of stems but want something larger and even more dramatic than a posy. It is usually larger than a posy and can be heavy, especially as one arm does most of the carrying. The ribbon can be a big feature with this style bouquet.

A composite bouquet is an almost forgotten style of bouquet that dates back from the early 20th century. Unable to source the wide range of colours and year round availability of roses that us florists can today, they created this ingenious method of constructing huge ‘roses’ from the petals of gladioli. These oversized blooms were then fashioned into a bouquet for that bride with an unlimited budget. This is a specialized and very time consuming technique which may never regain its popularity. I myself have only ever made one for a bride, alas no professional photo.

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Shower or trailing bouquets replaced posies as the bridal bouquet of choice around 1910. In later years this style became more exaggerated with bouquets so large that the bride could hide behind. It lost its popularity after WWII, this elaborate style did not suit the austerity of the time. It had a revival in the 1980’s when Princess Diana carried her impressive bouquet. The long elegant line of this bouquet can be flattering and compliment elaborate and vintage gowns beautifully. As with the hand tie these bouquets can have a more natural loose flowing style or a more formal, structured look.

Image by Rhodri Lewis.

Image by Rhodri Lewis.

For those brides that are after something a little different instead of a traditional bouquet you can carry a pomander, a floral hoop or perhaps a fan of flowers? A beautiful elegant bamboo fan embellished with jewel coloured orchids could be the perfect flower for the alternative bride.

The last couple of bouquets I will discuss I have never actually been asked to make.

The first is the Bible spray. When Gwen Stefani married Gavin Rossdale she carried a prayer book with a small spray of flowers attached to the cover. This ‘bouquet’ used to be popular choice for the devout bride, especially Catholics.

Image taken from  InStyle  magazine.

Image taken from InStyle magazine.

Lastly the Crescent bouquet, exactly as described. A bouquet that is wired and the flowers are manipulated to fall into a dainty, curved line. It will be suitable for a bride that wants an unusual bouquet with more structure than a posy. Surprisingly it has never reached the heights of popularity. Could this be the next trend around the corner?

Of course there are other ways to incorporate flowers into your bridal look that I have not covered here; wrist corsages, flower crowns, flower muffs for that winter bride and so on. What flowers did you choose or will you choose for your wedding day? I would love to know, especially if I haven’t covered it here.

If you would like to know more about any of these designs just drop me a line www.petalpowerwales@yahoo.co.uk

 Thanks for reading.



Hi! I'm Anne-Marie, Petal Power is me. I run my event floristry business out of Creigiau, Cardiff.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. Stay tuned for more.

Anne-Marie Merlini