Wedding Bouquet Styles

 Today's bride has a large array of wedding flowers to choose from for her bridal bouquet; however, the style of a wedding bouquet has changed over time, and each type of wedding bouquet has enjoyed the popularity of its time. Bridal bouquets used to be composed of traditional flowers, such as Rose, but today's wedding bouquets may include more exotic species of flowers such as Lily and Orchid.

The Victorian Wedding Posy

The wedding posy was a popular choice with Victorian brides. The Victorians used the language of flowers to choose the flowers in a bridal bouquet, with reference to the meaning of each individual flower; for example, some flower meanings for roses included:

Pink rose – romantic love

White rose – innocent love

Red rose – passion.

However, the language of flowers was a complex language, and there were many variations and different meanings interpreted for the same flowers, depending on the literature referred to at the time. Today, the flowers chosen for wedding posies are usually composed of flowers with reference to color and preference, rather than flower meaning.

The Fashion for Wedding Posies

Wedding posies fell out of fashion at the end of the Victorian era but have recently enjoyed a comeback. Wedding posies are made in a couple of ways by florists; they can be hand-tied, a natural and informal posy of flowers, or fully wired, a more formal affair where the stems of the flowers are cut, and the flowers are wired together. Both types of wedding posies can be finished with co-ordinating ribbon, lace or beading.

Wedding Shower Bouquets

When the Victorian wedding posy lost popularity in the early 20th century, the shower bouquet replaced it. Wedding bouquets became larger and more elaborate; a configuration known as a lover's knot was incorporated into the wedding bouquet. These were featured on the numerous strands of ribbon on the bouquet, into which foliage and flower buds were inserted.

Shower bouquets lost their popularity in the event of World War II when war-time brides were unable to afford such elaborate bouquets, and such extravagance was not suited to the dictations of war. However, various forms of the shower bouquets are now used by today's brides in trailing cascades of flowers, popularized in the 1980s by Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

The Wedding Biedermeir

The Biedermeier originated in Switzerland in the 1800s and is a variation of the wedding posy; the Biedermeier is very symmetrical in its composure, being made up of concentric rings of colored flowers. Each ring contains a different type of flower. Historically, Lemon and Orange peels were added to the Biedermeier to give fragrance.

Wedding Arm Sheafs

Arm sheaves were originally known as Bernhardt bouquets, a reference to the actress, Sarah Bernhardt, who received several presentation bouquets of this form; brides of the early 20th century popularized this particular type of wedding bouquet. Arm sheaves are cradled in the arms and held together by a ribbon; they make a dramatic statement but are a lot heavier than the traditional wedding posy.

Other Styles of Wedding Bouquets

Other styles of wedding bouquets that have enjoyed popularity over time include:

Wedding nosegays – the original bunch of small flowers and herbs carried by brides throughout history.

Wedding fans – popular in the 1980s were lacy fans of carnations and gypsophylia with lots of ribbons.

Wedding muff – popular for centuries in Europe at winter weddings, the wedding muff was both practical and pretty when covered in flowers.

Composite-flower bouquets – a popular choice of early 20th-century brides; florists created large 'roses' from Gladioli petals when they were unable to source the now year-round availability of hybrid roses.


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