Updated: May 28, 2020
Today we are going to give you a quick list that will help you plan, and prepare you to talk to your florist about your bridal bouquet.
STEP 1: FIND INSPIRATION
Before you can start picking out specific flowers, you need to find inspiration. This inspiration can come in many forms, and should apply to the overall feel of your whole wedding, not just your flowers. I love my brides to come to me with lots of inspiration and then we can fine tune it together.
Your inspiration could be a word that you want your wedding to feel like. "Playful", "Romantic", "Minimal", "Collected", "Clean", "Rustic", etc. This word will help you include or cut certain flowers that do not have this feel.
Your inspiration could come in the form of a picture. This picture could be a picture/pictures of specific bridal bouquets you like. When you have multiple pictures, ask yourself, "Why do I like this specific picture? Is it the colors, flowers, shape, mood, etc?" It could also be an inspiration picture with no flowers, but gives you a certain feeling. This picture might give you that word inspiration we mentioned above.
Inspiration can also be a specific flower that you are in love with. This would be that flower that you have been dreaming about forever, that you always knew would be part of your day.
Maybe your inspiration is a certain function that you want your flowers to play. "I want to be surrounded with the scent of lavender." "I want my flowers to give life to the room, and feel like they are growing up the walls." "I want my flowers to bring in the colors of my wedding."
Having inspiration helps to lead you in the right direction, and will help your florist catch the vision for your big day.
STEP 2: FOCAL FLOWERS
The first flowers that you will pick for your bouquet will be the focal flowers. These are the big star of the show flowers that you first see when you look at a bouquet of flowers. Examples of focal flowers would be roses, dahlias, tulips, carnations, lilies, ranunculus, football mums, orchids, king protea...and the list goes on. (There are many more focal flowers in the world than these listed...but as a very general springing off point, these give you an idea.) Focal flowers tend to be the largest flowers in the bouquet.
If your inspiration was a picture of a bridal bouquet, and you are not sure what the flowers are, ask your florist. They should be able to identify those focal flowers, even if you are not sure what they are called.
Focal flowers are important because they give our eye a place to focus. They are the flowers that people remember at your wedding. "She had a beautiful bouquet of Orchids" is what people will say, when in reality, there were at least 8-10 other flowers and greenery included.
Depending on the size of your bouquet and/or your inspiration you should chose 1-3 focal flowers for your bouquet.
STEP 3: SECONDARY FLOWERS
Secondary flowers are just that, the second (or third or fourth) flowers that your eye sees after looking at the focal flower. Secondary flowers can still be fairly large in size. (Especially if your focal flower is a dinner plate dahlia!) Secondary flowers and focal flowers sometimes overlap. Secondary flowers can also be line flowers that are full of blossoms. Examples could be roses, spray roses, Ranunculus, mums, lisianthus, pixie carnations, scabbiosa, queen anne's lace, snapdragon, larksupur, and delphinium. (Again these are just generalizations and there are many more variations and options.)
Secondary flowers help to bring more color into a bouquet and can also help transition color from one focal flower to another. (If you have a red and a white focal flower...it might be appropriate for your bouquet to have a secondary flower in a blush pink to help the transition from red to white.)
Although secondary flowers are not the first flower you see, they can still be very intricate and interesting flowers. They can also help to add movement and playfulness to a bouquet.
Depending on the size of your bouquet and/or your inspiration you should chose 2-5 secondary flowers for your bouquet.
STEP 4: FILLER FLOWERS & GREENS
Filler flowers are going to be the small flowers that add a little bit of color, and "fill in" spots of the bouquet that are without focal and secondary flowers. Although these might seem like unimportant flowers, they are very hard working flowers that really help to balance a bouquet. Examples of filler flowers could be baby's breath, misty white, statice, wax flower, and rice flower.
One way to create a little interest with your filler flowers is to talk to your florist about using different colors than you normally see. There are many died and pained variations of these flowers that pack a punch. 1-3 filler flowers would be sufficient for a bouquet.
When it comes to greens there are many options, and I usually tell my brides to choose contrasting greens to give their bouquets more dimension. If they are set on the pale green/grey/blue of silver dollar eucalyptus, I ask them to consider adding just a hint of a dark green like an italian ruscus.
Greens are usually considered to be green in color, but there are many variations of red and maroon leaves that add that dark dimension to a bouquet. Leaves in the process of changing color like maple in the fall are also very fun to use. We are seeing more and more dyed and bleached greens that add a great pop of color to a bouquet. Usually 1-3 greens give a bouquet enough variation.
STEP 5: TEXTURE
Without knowing much about flowers, you might leave out this step altogether. Texture is the way we break up the beautiful smooth petals and make something more interesting. Texture in a bouquet can come in many ways, but generally it is a shape or texture that feels different than the rest of the bouquet. Texture could come in the form of berries, branches, dried flowers, balls (like billy balls or boronia), seed pods, grasses, or even a flower shape that is different than the rest of the shapes in the bouquet. I love adding unexpected texture to a bridal bouquet. I think texture can be a real difference maker, and will make your bouquet one of a kind...so get creative!
Even one element of texture will make your bouquet feel special, but depending on the size and inspiration up to three or four would be appropriate.
We hope this list is helpful in getting your flower juices flowing. We believe that as the bride, you are going to know what best fits your wedding, and what best fits you. Use this list to help you get started...and then let your flower professional offer you more ideas to help create your vision.
Thanks for reading flower friend!