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Alternative flower bouquets for bridesmaids

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Alternative flower bouquets for bridesmaids

Today, both brides and bridesmaids have a number of alternative choices in wedding bouquet styles; bridesmaid flower bouquet alternatives include flower balls (or pomanders), flower baskets, purses decorated with flowers, flower wrist corsages and the Victorian tussie mussie. Traditional flower bouquets can also be varied depending on the theme of the wedding, for example bridesmaid bouquets can be decorated with items such as beads, sea shells, Fall or Winter foliage.

Bridesmaid Flower Balls For Weddings

Flower Balls are based on the Elizabethan pomander; pomanders were scented perfume balls which ladies carried with them and were filled with ingredients such as Rose buds, Amber, Musk, Benzoin and Labdanum. Flower Balls are essentially ‘pomanders’ made from flowers and finished with a ribbon or tulle handle which slips over the bridesmaid’s wrist.

Roses are popular in flower balls but other flowers such as Carnations, Gerber Daises and Hydrangea can be used too. Flower balls may be carried by older bridesmaids but can be ideal for younger bridesmaids and flower girls, as the flower ball is easily slipped over the wrist and is not as cumbersome as traditional flower bouquets.

Flower Wrist Corsages for Bridesmaids

Flower wrist corsages are similar to flower balls in that the flowers are attached to the wrist, leaving the hands free; this too is an excellent choice for younger bridesmaids and flower girls. The flowers are secured to the wrist, ensuring that the bridesmaid doesn’t misplace the flowers. Flowers which are ideal for flower wrist corsages are Roses, Orchids and any flower which is not too large.

Bridesmaid Flower Baskets and Purses


Flower baskets have traditionally been carried by flower girls at weddings but can be an alternative for bridesmaids too; the basket may be filled with co-ordinating flowers to match the bride’s wedding bouquet and can be carried over the arm. There are a wide variety of baskets available for flowers in various sizes and styles.

For a more modern update on the traditional flower basket, consider color co-ordinated purses for older bridesmaids, decorated with co-ordinating flowers. There are many elegant styles of small purses to choose from and they provide a practical alternative for bridesmaids too, in which they are able to carry essentials for the wedding day.

The Victorian Tussie Mussie for Weddings

Tussie mussies were popular in Victorian England, although they initially emerged in Elizabethan England; tussie mussies were a small posy of flowers, traditionally exchanged between sweethearts and lovers. Flower meanings were of great importance in the Victorian era and flower posies were chosen carefully in consideration of meaning; a mis-chosen tussie mussie may have given the wrong intentions.

Today, tussie mussies are given for birthdays, Valentine’s day and used in weddings. Bridesmaids can carry any combination of flowers in a tussie mussie, depending on the bride’s preference and regard to flower meanings. However, some choices for Victorian tussie mussies included Roses, Lavender, Marjoram, Carnations and Orange Blossom.

Flower Bouquets for Themed Weddings

Some brides may have a particular theme for a wedding or a chosen location; for example, for a beach wedding, sea shells may be incorporated into wedding flower bouquets. Depending on the season, Fall or Winter foliage such as Holly, Ivy or Fall leaves may be used. For artistic brides, ‘flower’ bouquets may be beaded, in place of real flowers.

Bridal Bouquet Alternatives

Any of these flower bouquet alternatives for bridesmaids may also be used by the bride; flower wrist corsages have been worn by brides such as Bianca Perez Morena de Macias in her 1971 wedding to rock star Mick Jagger in St Tropez, France. For true Victorian elegance, the bride may choose to carry a simple tussie mussie as an alternative to a more elaborate bridal bouquet.

History of Wedding Flowers

The ancient Greeks are credited with the first recorded use of wedding flowers; it was more common to use herbs in a bridal bouquet than it is today. Bridal bouquets were originally formed from interwoven garlands and wreaths which were placed on the heads of both bride and groom. Herbs such as Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) were common in the bridal crowns of Greek brides, as well as other herbs, bulbs and garlic.

The Meaning of Herbs in a Bridal Bouquet

Many herbs were believed to have magical powers to ward off evil spirits and bad luck and were used to protect the future of the bridal couple. Dill (Anethum graveolens) was said to be the herb of lust and a bride would only lust after her husband if she carried Dill and garlic together; Sage (Salvia officinalis) was believed to be a herb of wisdom and the bride who carried Sage and garlic together was believed to learn goodness and gather great wisdom.

The Use of Wedding Flowers in a Kissing Knot

A Kissing Knot was made from tying Roses (Rosa damascena) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) together; it was then hung from the ceiling over the head table of the reception, where the bride and groom would sit. A kissing knot was believed to bring love and good luck to both the bridal couple and others sitting at the head table.

The Use of Confetti

Another ancient wedding tradition was the throwing of confetti over the bridal couple. Confetti means sweets in the Italian language but it was common to throw rice, grain, nuts and sweets as well as more traditional flower petals as confetti; the throwing of confetti was meant to symbolize good luck, fertility, riches and sweet experiences for the bridal couple.

The Use of Wedding Flowers in Different Countries

In Medieval times, a knight usually wore a Lady’s colors to declare his love for her; many flowers have been used in different countries to symbolize various meanings. In Victorian England, flowers in bridal bouquets were chosen with reference to the Victorian language of flowers. Another common English tradition was for a flower girl to precede the bride on the pathway to the church, scattering flower blossoms; this was said to bless the bride with a lifetime of happiness and flowers.

In India, the bride groom’s brother scattered flower petals over the bridal couple at the end of the wedding ceremony to ward off evil spirits. In Sweden, the bride groom traditionally carried Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) in his pockets and the bridesmaids carried bouquets of aromatic herbs to scare away any trolls.

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