Let Loose with these Alternative Bouquets

Jackie Mantey
Jackie Lieberman's bridesmaids carried small arm sheaf bouquets, also called pageant bouquets.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published June 2019.

Tidy, round bouquets are classic for a reason, but today’s modern brides are gravitating toward loose, wild bouquets and other atypical arrangements that feel at once chic and totally unique.

“We are seeing more and more of this loose, wild style in our client requests,” says Kasey Conyers, owner of Orchard Lane Flowers in Clintonville. “We have a lot of fun creating one-of-a-kind bouquets and designs for our clients.”

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Whether it’s in an alluring, cascading bouquet, a thoughtful arrangement designed to look plucked from a field of wildflowers, pageant-style bouquets to adorn bridesmaids’ arms or floral hoops for the flower girls, an atypical or alternative look can be achieved with almost any bloom a bride or groom wants, Conyers says.

The difference is in how they’re assembled: often a mix of blooms and wild, wispy greens, like different varieties of eucalyptus, vines such as jasmine or Smilax, or grasses including wheat and pampas. Conyers’ favorite flowers to incorporate in an atypical arrangement are garden roses, ranunculus and scabiosa.

“Asymmetrical bouquets are definitely on trend right now,” agrees Kim Meacham, owner of The Paper Daisy Flower Boutique in the Short North, adding that the look can be achieved by incorporating negative space and placing blooms at varying depths.

They’re an ideal style for making a statement—or incorporating a statement flower, like a tropical king protea, Meacham says.

“It’s a great option for brides looking for something a little less traditional,” she adds.

It's Your Day Weddings and Events created floral hoops for Jackie Lieberman's flower girls. (Photo by Forget Me Knot Photography)

Choose the Right Approach

The beauty of atypical bouquets—beyond their blooms—is that they can be styled to fit any couple’s dream look. The glam or low-key vibes of these floral arrangements can be perfectly tuned to complement the other visual elements of a wedding.

“My dream always was to get married with a cascade bouquet, taking advantage that the trends of the ’80s are back,” says Claudete Lima-Ramsey, who married James Ramsey on Oct. 7, 2018. “I thought that format would be perfect, because I’m a big fan of glamorous things.”

To build her arrangements, Lima-Ramsey and her bridesmaids worked with The Flowerman, a DIY flower concept with a location in Columbus. Her bouquets blended Italian ruscus, Israeli ruscus and silver dollar eucalyptus with luxe, colorful blooms: peach and blush lisianthus, lavender statice and stock.

Brittney Fauss-Johnson, who also went to The Flowerman, chose her flower design based on one very important factor: her wedding dress.

“My dress was a soft, clean A-line,” she says. “Having a more simple dress, I wanted a bouquet that would accent and formalize the dress, adding a rustic yet elegant look.”

Because her wedding was outdoors, Fauss-Johnson also thought the atypical design provided an organic aesthetic that looked lovely in a natural ceremony setting. Her arrangements combined pink larkspur, light pink ranunculus, dusty pink roses, hypericum berries, white lisianthus, white snapdragons and silver dollar eucalyptus.

“In adding the different types of flowers,” she says, “we were able to naturalize the bouquet and incorporate the dusty rose color of my wedding. I really loved using the white snapdragons to add volume and length to the bouquet.”

Hypericum berries were in-season and added texture to the bouquet, while the whimsical shapes of the eucalyptus added to the free-flowing feel of the overall look.

“I wanted everything to be carefree and enjoyable,” Fauss-Johnson says. “I am more of the athletic, tomboy type of girl, yet I like to dress up and look gorgeous as well. I felt that with the dress and the bouquet combination, I was able to meet both of these characteristics in myself.”

Cascade bouquets from The Flowerman added drama for Claudete Lima-Ramsey. (Photo by Hillary Ferguson Photography)

Floral Factors to Consider

Keep in mind that atypical floral designs, particularly bouquets, don’t offer the equal weight distribution of a cleanly rounded style.

“I loved my bouquet, but it was slightly heavy, with a thick base of stems to carry,” Fauss-Johnson says. “The weight of the bouquet will not only tire out your arm over time, but can affect how you hold the flowers and how you look when posing for your pictures.”

Hiring a professional florist instead of going the DIY route can help ensure the functional aspects of a floral arrangement are maintained as well as the beauty.

“I had scheduled an appointment with another florist that someone had recommended, and after talking to the florist on the phone I could tell we were not vibing,” says Molly Patridge, who married Rob Patridge on Dec. 8, 2017. “She had all this pre-meeting homework, and it just felt like work to me. I ended up cancelling the meeting.”

Instead, Molly found her flower designer, Bear Roots Floral, through Instagram, having followed the account before she even got engaged.

“With flowers or anything that you’re doing for your wedding, I think chemistry is important,” she says. “I am not a florist, nor do I know a ton about flowers, so I was pleased to have an expert make suggestions for our wedding flowers, all while making the experience enjoyable.”

Though she had a December wedding, Molly didn’t want an overtly Christmas look of green and red. Thus, Bear Roots Floral created a color palette of deep maroons and purples with lush greenery. Ivory peonies, peach spray roses, maroon ranunculus, cappuccino roses and huckleberry greens created a gradient effect, which enhanced the loose look. A long, hand-dyed silk ribbon from The Lesser Bear gave the bouquet some extra whimsy and intrigue.

“I cannot say I would do anything differently about my flowers,” Molly says. “Just maybe figure out a way to have them stay fresh forever.”

Evergreen Flower Co. created loose bouquets with lots of greenery for Sarah Hackett and her ’maids. (Photo by Derk’s Works Photography)

Winterizing the Wedding Flowers

Other than color scheme, atypical bouquets are in need of some fall or freezing temps foresight, too, particularly when considering your budget. Those peonies Molly used? Beautiful, yes, but not the most economical choice outside of their peak season of May.

“We always recommend using seasonal blooms, if possible, instead of using out-of-season blooms that can be expensive and hard to find,” Meacham says. “For example, in fall we suggest using dahlias for brides who want peonies. In winter, evergreens and pinecones can be added to bouquets to help build asymmetry.”

Conyers says seasonal flowers for fall and winter include ranunculus and certain proteas. While roses and hydrangea are easy to find year-round, dahlias are great for fall, as well as darker sunflowers, she adds. For a winter look, berries and different types of greenery can be incorporated to evoke a subtle, snowy season romanticism.

Discussing these seasonal considerations with your florist can be a great starting point for a style discussion on arrangements and flower selection.

When Sarah Hackett approached Heather Edgar, owner of Evergreen Flower Co., “I told her I wanted roses and eucalyptus, but also maybe a hint of fall in there as well.” Edgar then had Hackett add to a Pinterest board images of colors—not necessarily images of flowers—that she liked.

“This is how we picked my color scheme,” Hackett says. “I told her I wanted a loose, semi-structured bouquet rather than a perfect circle. That was all I really said, and she did the rest.”

The result was a gorgeous bouquet of white mums, Queen Anne’s lace, silver dollar eucalyptus, quicksand garden roses and majolica spray roses, giving Hackett the fall look she wanted in an atypical design she desired.