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Selecting Your Bridal Bouquet
Kim McMullen,
Something Spectacular Custom Floral Design

Once you've set the date, selected a location, chosen the formality, and selected the perfect bridal gown and bridesmaid gowns that will set the mood and main color scheme for your wedding, you'll begin thinking about your wedding flowers. Since a walk down the aisle would not be complete without flowers (and a beautiful bouquet always complements the radiant glow of an ecstatic bride), your bridal bouquet is probably the first floral arrangement you will begin formulating in your mind.

Generally, the wedding style and formality you choose will influence, if not determine the style of bouquet that you select. For example, if you are planning an ultra formal wedding, it's likely that your wedding gown will have a royal or cathedral length train and you'll wear a long veil. Your bouquets and other floral arrangements should also reflect this formal style.

In contrast, for an informal wedding where you'll be wearing a suit or a simple dress with a sweep train or perhaps no train at all), you'll likely select a smaller bouquet, nosegay, or single-bloom style. A good rule of thumb is that your train length and wedding formality should determine the formality of your bouquet. Bouquets vary in size from small to large, but they should always be proportional in size to the person carrying it.

There are many shapes and styles of bouquets from which to choose. Here are a few of the most popular styles:


Simple, traditional, round-shaped bouquet that is suitable for both formal and informal weddings. This type of bouquet does not have to be perfectly round in shape and can be designed as a tight cluster for a denser look or loosely arranged for an "airy" feel.


A small, round-shaped, cluster of flowers often not as dense as traditional round bouquets. Nosegays often include more greenery, ribbon streamers, and are sometimes mounted in a tussy mussy.


A European-influenced bouquet with blossoms of different type and/or different color placed in a defined circular pattern.

Hand Tied

Generally round in shape, hand tied styles are also referred to as clutch bouquets. This type of bouquet consists of a simple gathering of flowers, which is bound and tied with ribbon with stems left exposed.


This sophisticated and elongated style features fullness and an abundance of blossoms at the top of the bouquet then tapers downwards with flowing foliage, floral streamers, or ribbons at the bottom. This bouquet can be designed very dense with flowers and foliage or can be more loosely arranged for an "airy" or "wispy" look.


A dramatic bouquet of arching flowers and foliage that extends from the center of the bouquet and can be designed to project a traditional or contemporary look. A symmetrical crescent features a balanced look with arched blossoms and foliage of the same length on both sides. An asymmetrical crescent features arched blossoms and foliage of different lengths so that one side of the bouquet is longer than the other.


A romantic, alternative shape bouquet, featuring two, full, arched shapes at the top while tapering down to a point at the bottom of the bouquet. Typically the traditional shape, often seen at Valentine's Day, symbolizing love and romance.


Also known as a presentation or pageant bouquet, arm bouquets feature a gathering of long-stemmed flowers that rest naturally across the inner bend of the elbow. A ribbon or bow is generally used to keep the bouquet together.

Freeform / Contemporary

This bouquet is a hybrid of both a cascade and a round. It is elongated in shape, but features rounded shapes on both the top and bottom. Generally the bottom is narrower than the top, but the overall shape resembles an oval.


A flower or foliage covered ball or cone suspended from a loop of ribbon

Single Stem

While not technically a bouquet, single stem arrangements have gained in popularity over recent years, as simplicity has become the trend. Single stem designs generally feature a unique design element, such as an intricately wrapped stem (for a long-stemmed flower), elaborate bow, streamers, or a decorative lace bloom collar to give the design more interest and appeal.


A bouquet where the focal area is a large flower that has been created by assembling together detached petals from numerous flowers.


A small bouquet or cluster of flowers attached to an elaborate fan. This style of bouquet is reminiscent of the Victorian Era, and is popular for vintage style, Southern style, and Asian-inspired weddings.


A round bouquet composed of masses of tulle or net and few flowers. This type of bouquet was popular in the early 1940s when flowers were scarce due to World War II.


Flowers arranged and carried in a shallow basket and often used in a garden or garden-like wedding setting.

Wreath or Hoop

Made popular by the wedding of Britain's Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson), this "bouquet" is a large ring decorated or intertwined with foliage and flowers. Generally thought of as a symbol of eternity with no beginning or end.


A small prayer book or bible used as the platform upon which a small bouquet is placed. The design may be composed of a small cluster of flowers or may be featured as a small cascade.


Technically more of a corsage than a bouquet, this style is comprised of a small floral arrangement, mounted on a small base that is attached to a strong elastic bracelet, worn on the wrist.  Worn by brides and bridesmaids who want something near their hands for the look of a bouquet, but want the freedom of having both hands free from carrying anything.

Kim McMullen
Something Spectacular,
Custom Floral Design located in Warren, Michigan.

Photos provided by Jennifer Stauffer,

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