Now I know what you may be thinking… what an odd, fussy topic, right? With all of the other things the poor bride-to-be has to think about while walking around on her wedding day – stand up straight! smile! where’s your train?! is your bodice slipping?! bra sweat!! MINTS!!! – why add one more worry for her to stress over? Hey, you know me, I like stress-free weddings and happy brides, but I also like thoroughness, and some people are concerned with the right way to carry a bridal bouquet (or groom’s bouquet).
After all, a too small bridal bouquet can look dinky and a too large bouquet can look overwhelming (and make your arms feel like they’re going to fall off). Carry a bridal bouquet too high up and the beautiful blue necklace you borrowed from your grandmother might not show up in your ceremony photos. Carry it too low, and your arms may fall asleep and your posture may change for the worse. And that’s just for your standard round hand-held bouquet. Choose one of the many less common types of bridal bouquets, and you run the risk of looking awkward.
I’m sure your know that there are lots of different kinds of bridal bouquets, from the regular (nosegays and cascade bouquets, for example) to the bizarre. How to carry some bouquet types is obvious – the arm sheaf and loose arrangements of calla lilies come to mind. But for other bouquets, a little help comes in handy. Before I lay out the help, though, a note about size:
Think about you, your gown, and your wedding when you choose your bridal bouquet – but remember that almost every wedding rule was made to be broken. Some brides treat their bridal bouquets like accessories capable of lengthening the body or even minimizing height. For example, cascade bouquets can be slimming and work great for tall brides, while petite brides should choose a round bouquet for balance. Have generous hips? Try a hand tied bouquet. Consider an inverse relationship between your wedding dress and your bridal bouquet. Pair a simpler bouquet with a fabulously embellished gown, and vice versa. Big brides and small brides should usually choose bouquets that are in proportion.
Now, on to how to hold that gorgeous bouquet.
Round styles: These bridal bouquets are carried in front using both hands and should be held low enough to let your guests see the details on the bodice of your gown. You can bend you arms a little – imagine resting your relaxed arms on your hip bones – but don’t bend so much that you end up with your bouquet at your waist or chest. Note: If you feel uncomfortable or your arms are getting tired, you may be holding your bouquet too high.
Cascade styles: This type of bouquet, on the other hand, should be held just slightly below the waist, and you should feel yourself ever so slightly pointing the bottom of the bouquet outward. Don’t exaggerate it… just feel it happening even if you can’t see much difference, since this will give your bouquet body. Also, a cascade bouquet should be held rather close to your body to create the nicest overall silhouette.
Arm sheafs: These bouquets let long stems shine! An arm sheaf should lie gracefully (and comfortably!) across the inner bend of your arm. Think of cradling it with the blossoms facing away from your body. It may feel like you’re favoring one side of the aisle over the other, but your guests will all get a great view of your flowers as you proceed and recede.
Tiny bouquets: Clutch bouquets, single flowers, and nosegays are usually treated like round bouquets, but may be held higher since they won’t obscure your wedding gown. With the smallest bouquets, you have the option of carrying your flowers with one hand – in that case, you should hold your arm so your forearm is parallel to the floor. Some brides will do a one-handed bouquet carry with their flowers held lower or at the hip, but this can lessen the impact of a tiny arrangement.
Pomanders: These can be carried in one hand held at your side (more common for adult attendants) or in front in the manner of a small bouquet (more common for young attendants like flower girls and junior bridesmaids). Children can carry a pomander in both hands if they feel more comfortable doing so.
Hand-tied bouquets: These bouquets can be treated like round bouquets, though you’ll get the most visual impact out of a hand-tied bouquet if you hold it more vertically than you would a round bouquet. Some brides tip the bottom of the bouquet toward their bodies while others hold them straight up and down. Both methods are correct.
So there you have it, pretty easy stuff. And personally, I recommend taking your bouquet for a test drive in front of the mirror before you walk down the aisle. How to carry a bridal bouquet wasn’t one of the things I worried about, and I don’t think you should worry about it, either.
Flowers by Cedarwood; Image by Krystal Mann