Do Bridesmaids Need Bouquets?

Updated April 29, 2023

Flowers are an important element at any wedding. You’ve likely already chosen your bridal bouquet and are now wondering – do bridesmaids need bouquets, too?

Most brides give their bridesmaids something to hold in their hands, but it isn’t a law.

Bridesmaid bouquets have both pros and cons. They look beautiful in pictures, make your support team stand out, and are the perfect favors.

However, floral arrangements are also costly and may be uncomfortable to carry around.

While the good outweighs the bad, flower bouquets aren’t your only option; let your creativity flow – there is numerous more fun, comfortable, and long-lasting alternatives.

At the end of the day, you aren’t forced to get your bridesmaids anything at all.

Although this concern may seem highly important to you right now, your wedding guests likely won’t give a single thought to it.

Are Bridesmaid Bouquets Mandatory?

Some brides are worried that bridesmaids’ bouquets are a must, and the lack of them could be seen as disrespect for tradition or tackiness.

Indeed, some people, especially those of the older generation, may not understand your decision not to have bridesmaids’ bouquets.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and you can’t influence it. But your wedding is your special day.

To set things clear right away – no, your bridesmaids don’t necessarily have to hold bouquets. While you can come up with numerous points in favor of bridesmaid’s bouquets, they are in no way mandatory.

One point worth noting is that if you opt for a very traditional, formal wedding, giving your bridesmaids bouquets is considered good etiquette.

However, today, more and more couples refrain from this practice and replace bouquets with creative alternatives.

Make the Bridesmaids Stand Out

The first and foremost purpose of bridesmaids’ bouquets is to make your VIP-support team stand out from other guests (as if matching attires weren’t sufficient). Bouquets allow your bridesmaids to feel truly special and valued.

Of course, they can hold something else instead, such as clutch bags. But this won’t feel so celebratory and whimsical; furthermore, bouquets are a great sign of respect from the bride’s end.

By gifting your bridesmaids bouquets, you express gratitude for agreeing to stand by your side on such an important day.

These women likely mean a lot to you if you chose them as your bridesmaids, and flowers, being an eternal symbol of love, are the best way to show it.

Beautiful Pictures

Giving your bridesmaids bouquets is a guarantee of great group pictures.

Just imagine yourself standing in a white dress, surrounded by your loved ones in matching attires, all holding beautiful flowers. The pictures will inevitably turn out celebratory and dreamy.

If your bridesmaids all wear the same color, especially if it’s light, you may blend on group pictures. Flowers can add a pop of color, making you and each of the bridesmaids better distinguishable.

Remember that while the bouquet colors should be coordinated with the bridesmaid dresses, they shouldn’t be too matchy. The very purpose of bouquets is to stand out.

For instance, if the dresses are red, don’t just get red rose bouquets; opt for a combination of red and white instead.

A common issue with wedding pictures is that people don’t know what to do with their hands.

Without anything to hold, your bridesmaids may get confused – should they leave their hands hanging down? Should they throw them in the air or put them on their hips?

Bouquets can take this burden off your bridesmaids’ shoulders. With a bouquet, they don’t have to worry about posing at all. However, bear in mind that bouquets aren’t the only things your bridesmaids can carry.

Matching Style or Individuality?

Some brides don’t want to get bouquets for their bridesmaids, worrying that they will all look the same. Others, on the opposite, get bouquets for this very reason, thinking matching style looks better on pictures.

The truth is, no rule states that your bridesmaids’ bouquets should all be the same.

Allowing your bridesmaids to pick their own bouquets provides them an opportunity to express their individuality and style while matching the wedding dress code.

If you’d like to keep the bouquets secret until the wedding day, you may ask your bridesmaids what their favorite flowers and colors are and create individual arrangements based on their answers.

That’s a nice gesture showing that you value each one of them.

Consider the Costs

The main reason many brides are hesitant about getting bridesmaids bouquets is the added costs. Such a concern is justifiable – after all, a wedding is an already expensive event, and the costs tend to add up in a bat of an eye.

Most brides have six to twelve bridesmaids. You likely already know how pricey bridal bouquets are (and if you don’t, bear in mind – the average price of a bride’s bouquet is $160!) and may be worrying that you would have to spend the same amount multiplied by at least six.

Thankfully, bridesmaid bouquets tend to be smaller and less intricate than the bride’s bouquet, and consequently, cost less. The average price of a bridesmaid bouquet is about $75.

Still, multiplying this value by six, you get an additional $450 to spend, and if you have twelve bridesmaids, that’s an extra $900.

That’s much more than most couples spend on their wedding cake and nearly as much as you would pay for a wedding DJ.

Of course, there are ways to lower the costs. You can choose minimalistic, small bouquets from seasonal flowers or go for artificial flower bouquets that cost about $10 each.

However, artificial flowers won’t be nearly as beautiful as real ones.

Constantly Holding Flowers Is Tiresome

Although holding flowers is the ultimate trick for good posing in pictures, a wedding involves much more than a photo shoot. Your bridesmaids will be walking around, fixing your train, drinking champagne, and what else.

Constantly holding flowers is tiresome. Your bridesmaids will want to leave them somewhere to free their hands for a while.

But since bouquets are pricey and symbolic, they will have to constantly keep them in mind and carry them around to avoid losing them.

Furthermore, your bridesmaids will likely want to bring a small clutch along to carry essentials such as their phone or lipstick. With bouquets, they will need an extra hand.

Thus, you may want to take care of your bridesmaids’ comfort and consider other options, such as flower crowns or corsages, to let them move freely. And if you opt for traditional bouquets, don’t make them too bulky.

Bridesmaid Bouquet Alternatives

Traditions matter, but your wedding doesn’t have to comply with the rules imposed by your parents or grandparents. If you don’t want to have standard bridesmaids’ bouquets, so be it.

However, I would advise considering alternatives to give your bridesmaids something to keep in pictures, show them your gratitude, and make your crew stand out.

The most common alternatives to bridesmaid bouquets are other flower arrangements, such as flower crowns and corsages.

Both options look just as beautiful and will add the necessary pop of color and individuality to your bridesmaid attires.

Flower crowns and corsages are creative yet traditional at the same time. Most importantly, they allow your bridesmaids to move freely without fear of losing the bouquets.

However, if budget is your main concern, keep in mind that corsages and flower crowns can be even more expensive than regular bouquets.

The average price of a flower crown is $90. Corsages tend to be cheaper, ranging from $20 to $55, but the price may skyrocket if you choose rare blooms or an intricate design.

Artificial flowers are an option, but finding fake blooms that wouldn’t look tacky is a challenging task.

Instead, you may opt for paper flowers – this Pinterest-worthy trend is affordable, fun, and your bridesmaids can preserve the bouquets for years to come.

After all, bridesmaid bouquet alternatives don’t necessarily have to be flowers. For instance, you can make your bridesmaids stand out and look truly glamorous with fur muffs, silk scarves, or feather boas.

Other popular bridesmaid bouquet alternatives are fans and lanterns. Both options are not solely romantic but also practical – fans can save your friends from the summer heat, while lanterns will add a subtle glow to your ceremony.

If you’d like to give your bridesmaids something to preserve, consider pearl bridesmaid bouquets. Today, you can easily find a talented crafter who will create your arrangements from jewels, baubles, buttons, or metal.

If you’re a crafty person, you can even make jewel bouquets yourself. One point to note is that such bouquets take a lot of time and tend to be very, very heavy.

If you’d only like your bridesmaids to hold something during the photo shoot, why not give them balloons?

That’s a perfect match for such a whimsical, dreamy event. Make sure to have some extra balloons and helium along and check the wind forecast beforehand.

With a themed wedding, you can get truly creative. Is your wedding theme Halloween? Give your bridesmaids small pumpkins. Do you want a wedding in Mexican style? Maracas are a humorous and non-conventional option.

Image credit: Pexels

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