Wedding Bouquets & Alternatives to Flowers

Why do brides carry them?

Incorporating flowers into wedding ceremonies has been seen, since Roman times, as a symbol of fertility, which meant that herbs, orange blossoms, garlic and other similar plants were included in the wedding preparations.

Both Greeks and Romans thought that their smell would keep the evil spirits away from the bride, therefore guaranteeing happiness and loyalty in the marriage. However, the exquisite combination of herbs was not carried by the bride in her hands, but, instead, worn under the form of a garland in her hair. At the end of the ceremony, the edible herbs were given to the newlyweds to eat, as they were also supposed to increase their sexual desire.

But, throughout the Victorian period, the practices changed. Queen Victoria herself carried a bouquet made of a few herbs and mostly fresh flowers, thus making fashionable the bouquet as it is known today.

The bouquet was also the bearer of a message since each flower had its own special meaning. In some parts of the world, only certain flowers were considered to bring good luck for the marriage (such as daffodils, daisies, irises, magnolias, orchids, roses), while other flowers were forbidden from being displayed in the wedding bouquet (like lavender, poppies, marigolds).

Wedding flowers - JB Moments Photography

Fresh Flowers

There is no doubt that fresh flowers are beautiful but when choosing your wedding flowers, it’s not only about picking blooms that complement your choice of wedding dress and overall wedding theme, but it’s also important to consider whether they’re even available. Here’s a list of wedding flowers by season in the UK.

While certain blooms such as roses are available all year round, most other flowers are only available during particular months and seasons. In some cases, however, it is possible to import flowers that aren’t in season from another region or country.

Wedding flowers - JB Moments Photography

Importing flowers that aren’t in season in the UK is not possible for all flowers, and can sometimes be a costly exercise, so it’s important you consult your florist to see what your best options are. Sometimes your florist may be able to suggest a flower that is very similar in appearance but won’t cost as much as it’s imported lookalike.

To help you better understand which flowers are available the month of your wedding, here is a list of some of the most popular wedding flowers based on availability by season.

Winter
December

Poinsettias, Hellebores, Winter Camellias, Muscari, Aranthera, Acacia, Phalaenopsis Orchids

Winter has officially arrived and of course, your wedding will be close to Christmas. But winter flowers are available with Winter Camellias being a perfect example. Poinsettias have gorgeous red and green foliage making them perfect for a Christmas themed wedding. Hellebores come in some 20 varieties and their small colourful blooms are perfect for adding wintery-tones and texture to your bouquet. Winter Camellias are so-called because these evergreen shrubs produce gorgeous blooms in the cold weather. They are known for their unique, paper-like petals and sturdy nature.

January

Hyacinths, Chrysanthemums, Tulips, Sunflowers, Phalaenopsis Orchids, Cymbidium Orchids

Hyacinths are flowers which people love to grow in pots and if you are growing some yourself, you can simply cut them fresh just in time for your big day. Chrysanthemums come in large or small blooms and they last for a long time. Tulips come in all sorts of varieties and colours to match and these blooms are one of the most popular wedding flowers in the UK.

February

Anemone, Delphiniums, Banksia, Bottlebrush, Calla Lilies, Roses, Lilac, Lisianthus, Protea, Narcissus 

Valentine’s Day is in February, so, if you are after red roses for your wedding you may need to place your order well in advance! Anemone sometimes called the ‘windflower,’ is a delicate flower that comes in a variety of colours, cream and classic white. This flower is particularly recognisable for its black centre. Delphiniums are tall sturdy, stalk-like flowers which are known for their vibrant shades of blue, purple, violet and pink. Banksia Bottlebrush is a red, fluffy bloom which is cylindrical in shape. It hails from Australia and is well known for its exotic appearance.

Spring
March

Marigolds, Carnations, Lily of the Valley, Queen Anne’s Lace, Paphiopedilum Orchids

Marigolds are a bright, and warm orange bloom which have a creased appearance due to the pale yellow edging on the petals. Carnations provide a very classic bridal aesthetic, and similar to Hydrangeas, these soft, fluffy white flowers look divine when mixed in with fresh white roses. Lily of the Valleys are small white flowers which appear as though they have been turned upside-down. They are delicate and sweet and can look great in a bridal bouquet or even placed in a bridal hairstyle or flower crown.

April

Spray Carnations, Forget-Me-Nots, Genistas, Oncidium Orchids, Ranunculus

Spray Carnations are a smaller version of traditional carnations, and they look great mixed among other varieties of flowers. They come in lots of different colours too. Forget-me-nots are tiny flat flowers known for their soft blue colour. Genista makes a wonderful filler with its leafless stems and masses of tiny flowers.

May

Peonies, Agapanthus, Waxflowers, Sweet Williams, Roses, Moluccella, Hydrangeas

Agapanthus is a huge flower, sometimes known as the African Lily, and its large impressive blooms are long-lasting. Waxflower is ideal for multiple uses as its small sweet-smelling flowers can be used in fillers and bouquets. Sweet William is an ideal country garden flower with so many gorgeous blooms on every stem.

Wedding flowers  - JB Moments Photography

Summer
June

Marigolds, Gloriosas, Iris, Arachnis, Viburnum, Sunflowers, Muscari, Delphiniums, Aster

Gloriosa or the ‘Glory Lily’ hails from Africa and is striking with its petals being ringed in yellow. Iris has long been a very popular flower although it’s important to remember it has a short shelf life.

July

Lily of the Valley, Hyacinths, Tulips, Kangaroo Paws, Gypsophila, Nerine, Strelitzias

Tulips are almost never out of season and certainly never out of fashion. Strelitzias are bright orange and are unique in shape. Their pointy and geometric petals work well in a contemporary style bouquet.

August

Cornflowers, Roses, Mint, Prunus, Godetia, Hydrangeas, Phlox, Agapanthus, Bouvardia

Brides have a wonderful choice to choose from in August. Cornflowers have a fairly large head and are a distinctive blue colour. Roses are always available in lots of colours, shapes and varieties. Mint may seem like a peculiar choice, but the herb actually makes for a gorgeous bouquet filler and has the bonus of its refreshing aroma.

Autumn
September

Amaryllis, Aster, Helenium, Achillea, Cattleya Orchids, Eryngium, Spiraea, Vanda, Cosmos

Autumn is beginning, and fruit and flowers are in abundance. Amaryllis is perfect if you’re looking for something dramatic because these large trumpet-shaped flowers really make a statement. Aster also known as the Michaelmas Daisy makes a perfect filler for your bridal bouquet and bridal table. Helenium epitomizes autumn with daisy-like flowers offering the colours of the season.

October

Gladiolus, Freesias, Helleborus, Papaver, Skimmia, Tuberose, Ornithogalum, Calla Lily

Gladiolus is a traditional flower which is often used for decorating the church or reception venue. Freesias are always popular, not just because of their delicate, feminine petals, but their powerful scent is so appealing.

November

Moluccella, Gomphrena, Solidaster, Triteleia, Veronica, Lisianthus, Amazon Lilies

Moluccella from across the sea, are the Bells of Ireland and are eye-catching with their masses of flowers resembling bells. Gomphrena has the advantage of being able to be dried easily so if you want dried flowers for decoration or as a filler, the Globe Amaranth is the ideal choice. Solidaster is a soft yellow bloom which is very tiny and is a great bouquet filler. Solidaster is often mistaken for Aster.

Faux Flowers

Artificial flowers are becoming increasingly popular as a beautiful, long-lasting, and often cheaper, alternative to fresh wedding flowers.

If the tacky fake blooms you see in a pound shop spring to mind, think again! The artificial wedding flowers on the market today are high quality, great value and totally realistic in both look and feel.

Most brides do go for fresh flowers on their wedding day as the scent and natural beauty is hard to beat, but there are downsides. Firstly, they’re more expensive than artificial flowers; they’ll eventually wilt and die, and your chosen blooms may not be at their peak or even available at the time of your wedding.

In contrast, there are so many advantages to choosing artificial flowers and, with the huge leap in quality and realism, you may not notice much difference with the real thing. You can even replicate the scent with a floral perfume!

Here’s why artificial flowers might be right for your wedding:

  • You can precisely colour-match artificial flowers to any shade so they can work with your colour palette
  • Artificial bouquets are allergy-friendly so there’s no chance of a red nose and streaming eyes down the aisle
  • They don’t attract wasps or bugs so you don’t need to worry if you’re having an outdoor wedding
  • You can get the bloom varieties that you want, even if they’re out of season, and they’ll always be in peak bloom
  • Artificial wedding flowers won’t wilt or die so they’ll look perfect on the day
  • There’s a risk that real flowers could stain your dress, whereas artificial flowers won’t
  • Artificial flowers travel well, so they are ideal for destination weddings
  • You can keep your artificial flowers forever
  • They can be cheaper than fresh flowers
  • If you get good quality fakes, then your guests may not even notice you’re not using fresh!

Wedding flowers - JB Moments Photography

What if I don’t want a traditional bouquet?

The good news is that if you still want to carry something down the aisle there are loads of alternatives.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Paper – your favourite text, music scores, colours can be made into flowers or any other shapes you fancy to walk down the aisle. Perfect for a literary or music themed wedding.
  • Food – Foodies shouldn’t shy away from carrying something edible down the aisle, whether it’s a bundle of herbs, doughnuts (yes, doughnuts) or a single, geometric artichoke.
  • Balloons – Nothing says “celebrate” like a cloud of bright balloons. Also great for flower girls (or should that be balloon girls)!
  • Pom-poms – Showcase your crafty side with an architectural bouquet of pom-poms.
  • Brooches – You can never have too much bling, especially on your wedding day. Great for a vintage or forties inspired theme.
  • Sea Shells – Shells make a beautiful and unexpected accessory for couples saying “I do” by the sea. You can also add starfish and seahorses to continue a nautical theme.
  • Lanterns – Your wedding party can light the way with vintage lanterns (imagine how gorgeous they’d look at a nighttime ceremony).
  • Feathers – on their own or mixed in with brooches, bling or anything else.

Wedding flowers  - JB Moments Photography