Nov 15

When Should You Carry Your Bridal Bouquet?

It seems like a pretty straight forward question and answer.  As a bride, you have a bouquet and as a floral designer, I’m going to encourage you to have flowers around you as often as possible.  But even with something as simple as a bridal bouquet, there are logistics and moments of practicality to consider and moments that you might truly want to have it by your side, even if you hadn’t previously thought about it.

When to Carry Your Bridlal Bouqet | The Day's Design | Bradley James Photography

Photography: Samantha James Photography

Getting Ready Photos

I like to drop off the bouquets sometime during the getting ready process rather than having the bouquets waiting at the ceremony location.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  First off, many photographers like to photograph the bouquet right away, along with the other accessories.  So many of the photographers I work with start the day off with “detail shots” – meaning photographing the bride’s jewelry, veil, shoes and dress before she puts it on.  The bouquet normally falls into this category and also adds some extra charm into these pictures.  Secondly, bridal party pictures with maids in matching robes and fun styled photos like this have gained so much popularity in recent years and often bouquets are also incorporated in as well.  And thirdly, if you’re doing a first look, sometimes locations have been known to change last minute due to weather or lighting or perhaps even running behind schedule.  Having your bouquet there and ready for you makes one less detail that needs to be re-coordinated if there should be a timeline modification.

First Look

I am a huge advocate for having flowers with the bride for this moment.  And I know not everyone agrees with me on this issue, but so much time, care and money spent on choosing the perfect blooms (or floral designer to choose the perfect flowers) and this is a highly photographed time so I think it’s only right that said blooms should be treasured and held in the bride’s hands. Furthermore, immediately following the first look is usually a small photo session of just the two of you and I really believe you’ll want your flowers accessible for this.

Wedding Party Pictures

Again, this seems obvious but the bride and her maids should have handfuls of blooms readily available for when their time in front of the camera arrives.  A couple of helpful hints with this – make sure vases of water are kept nearby and certainly make sure the entire bridal party is aware of all the happenings of the day so they’ll know to keep their bouquets handy for the most important moments of the day.  One of the most common questions I hear from the bridesmaids on a wedding day is whether or not they need their bouquet at any particular time and it can be challenging to communicate this especially with larger wedding parties.

The Ceremony

Smack me on the forehead and say “duh!” right now, because we all know the bride carries a bouquet during the wedding ceremony.  But the reason I bring this up is because often with modern timelines of the day (i.e. – doing first look and all bridal party pictures prior to the actual wedding), this becomes one of the last opportunities for the bouquet to be photographed however most brides find it the most important and they’re fearful that it will be wilted from all the activity earlier in the day.  In all honesty, this time isn’t normally about photographing flowers, and your guests notice your bouquet but don’t dwell on it.  This is the time to capture emotion and focus on the sanctity of marriage.  This is the time for you and your groom to shine, accessorized by the décor but not overshadowed by it.

Sunset Photos

Yes yes yes!  Of course you need to see your flowers shining in that glorious golden light.  But if you’re thinking you’re just over carrying the bouquet around all day, I encourage you to take it along anyway.  You don’t have to hold it for every single picture, but I think you’ll be glad that you have it within reach for at least a few.

If all of the above holds true, you’ve just held your bouquet out of water for nearly 4 hours or more on what might be a really hot day.  Here are a couple of extra tips for you to make sure that your flowers stay at the peak of perfection for as long as possible.

  1. Keep a vase of water nearby, for both you and your maids. Replace the flowers into the vases whenever you have a break from photos – touching up makeup, groomsmen photos, etc. Do not just ditch the bouquets on a nearby table and do try to find a shady spot.
  2. To help with that first tip – have each bridesmaid carry her own vase of water (which I’m sure it was delivered in) or if possible, designated one person to carry the entire box or basket of vases (I always deliver mine in a basket with easy carry handles). Transport that box/basket with you from getting ready location to photos to ceremony. This is a great job for that extra person who really wanted to be involved with your wedding but you just couldn’t find the perfect task for.
  3. Appreciate the beauty while it lasts. Many of my favorite flowers actually shine the brightest in the moments before death. They open the fullest, find the perfect drape and shout romance.  Embrace the fact that your bouquet will not look exactly the same at the end of the night as it did upon delivery.  And that’s okay, it’s just the beauty of nature.

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