What Can I Carry Down the Aisle That’s Not a Bouquet?


Do I have to carry anything at all?

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Q: A few weeks ago I found myself really stressed about a seemingly huge part of my wedding: the flowers. Or specifically, coming up with a bouquet alternative. We’re DIYing our florals (ish—my aunt and friend are both florists, so #connections), and the idea of making a bouquet myself just feels… well, I just honestly don’t want to do it. I also don’t want to pay anyone else to make one, and right now I can’t think of a compelling reason to carry one (other than that’s what you’re “supposed” to do).

I don’t have anything against flowers—they’re great! Our centerpieces are going to be gorgeous! But the bouquet question is just confounding me right now.

I searched online to see if I could find any examples of bouquet-less brides, and all I found were images of brides and bridesmaids carrying candles, or lanterns, or books, or puppies. I don’t want to do any of that. Can I just skip the accessory altogether? Is there a better wedding bouquet alternative?

did you carry a bouquet in your wedding? what do you think about a bride not carrying anything—at all?

If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • theteenygirl

    If you don’t want it.. skip it. Simple as that.

    If you’re walking down the aisle with someone, hold their hand!

    • Jay

      Yes, a friend of mine skipped the bouquet and held both her parents’ hands as she walked down the aisle. It was very sweet.

      • Abby

        I did this! no bouquet, linked arms with both my parents. Holding a bouquet would have made me hold them awkwardly close in order to hang on to both them and the flowers.

        • Ashlah

          Oh, I did this with a bouquet and it didn’t feel awkward at all! Essentially it resulted in my parents’ hands/wrists resting in the crook of my elbow. Only responding in case anyone else with this plan is suddenly worried :)

        • Leah

          I also walked down with both parents and a bouquet and…wished I didn’t have a bouquet. It was kind of a pain. Not like awful or something I really cared about – so don’t stress it either way for others who are still in planning mode – but had a moment there where I thought to myself that it would be nice if I didn’t have a bouquet in my hands and could just have one hand for my mom and one hand for my dad.

        • tilbury

          This always irrationally bothers me at weddings! I plan to walk down with both of my parents. I’ll hold my dad’s arm and hold my mom’s hand and she’s going to carry my/a bouquet

    • Sunni

      Totally. Hubby-to-be and I are walking down the aisle hand-in-hand I will still have a bouquet, but not necessary (and probably a bit of a hassle not to have a free hand).

  • rebecca

    I have recently decided to go bouquet-less (I think! lol still might change my mind). My skirt has crazy floral embroidery and I’m diy-ing (I have been a weirdly hardcore hobbyist florist for the past couple of years) and having a hard time coming up with anything I like that won’t clash with the skirt and I also just think figuring out what to do w/your bouquet is weird and idk…I love flowers but when it comes to a bridal bouquet, I just don’t wanna.

    So we’re going to walk into our ceremony together, holding hands, after his parents and my parents, which solves both my bouquet and feminist anxieties. Some people are like “but you *have* to have a bouquet, you loooooooooove flowers” but I’m like “exactly, that’s why they’re all over my damn dress”

    • idkmybffjill

      oooh I think you extra don’t need them when your skirt is floral! I liked mine cause of the pop of color pretty much entirely :).

    • scw

      kind of off topic, but I really hope you share photos from your wedding at some point–that skirt sounds amazing!

      • rebecca

        Thanks! I hope so! I was actually just wondering, what’s the best way to find your wedding in real weddings? It sounds great!

        • scw

          aw thanks! I’ll just link you to it… I *may* have already had it up as a result of this thread (and also as a result of my husband being out of town on business & being in a sentimental mood from just refinishing the office lol).

          https://apracticalwedding.com/castle-inn-wedding/

          • penguin

            Ugh your greenery crown is AMAZING, I love it.

          • scw

            thanks so much! I really want another excuse to wear one.

          • jem

            And the girl gang shirts! SIGH!

    • zana

      Flowers in just one colorway? Or no flowers, everything works.

    • I love that you and your spouse-to-be will be walking down the aisle together. I’m now considering that!

      • Rose

        We walked in together, holding hands, and it was lovely (we were each carrying a bouquet, too, but it was easy enough to just hold it in the other hand). I’d definitely recommend!

    • Jane

      Love that “exactly” the most.

    • Lawyerette510

      Ugh I wanted to walk in together holding hands do ended up compromising with my dad and walking in with him and my mom. Really the only thing I would change about my wedding is that…

  • idkmybffjill

    You can totally skip. But I LOVED my bouquet for photos. It gave me something to do with my hands, and was a really cool pop of color. Maybe I missed it – but couldn’t one of your florist connections whip one up for you? Mine doubled as a centerpiece.

    • nobouquet

      This is a good point – why not just have the centerpieces as tied bouquets in a vase and grab one to take with you for photos if you would like flowers in them? My hair-flowers provided the “pop of colour” etc, but if you didn’t have any flowers as part of your accessories then commandeer a centerpiece for a couple hours :)

      Just make sure you don’t put water in the vases until after or else drippy plants in your pics… haha

      • Jess

        Even bouquets for carrying come in vases with small amounts of water in them… so the drips are still an issue.

        I always grab a few hotel towels for any wedding I’m in/helping with to mop the bottoms of the bouquets off before we leave for pictures/walk down the aisle.

        • idkmybffjill

          Yes! We carried some tea towels!

  • JustMe

    I didn’t carry anything. I walked down the aisle with a parent on each side and linked arms with them. Saves a lot of fuss passing a thing back and forth with a bridesmaid.

  • Just Me

    My sister forgot her bouquet in the dressing room and no one noticed (except for me because I was supposed to hold it for her during the ceremony, but I only noticed when the hand-off was supposed to occur!)

    My sister and I both entered our weddings with Mom+Dad and it was actually a little difficult for me to figure out how to hold my bouquet and both of their arms so I think my sis did it right!

  • Hayley Tuller

    I carried my prayer book instead of a bouquet. My wedding is on in the Real Weddings if you’re curious how it “looked.” If you’re from that kind of tradition, I think it’s a meaningful (and free) option! I’ve seen cases where florists made small but lovely sprays to decorate old family bibles just for this purpose.

    • Lisa

      My MIL offered me the prayer book she carried if I’d like it instead of a bouquet. I really wanted the flowers, but I thought it would have been a lovely alternative.

    • GotMarried!

      I carried a smallish white Bible.

    • Katharine Parker

      I also know of people carrying a rosary, if that is in line with one’s religious traditions.

  • april

    To build off of what someone said below about loving the bouquet for photos – if you do decide to skip the bouquet, consider giving your photographer a heads-up before the wedding. My bridesmaids and I actually had bouquets for the ceremony but we didn’t bring them to the reception, which was where we did most of our formal group shots. I think our photographer struggled to pose us/figure out what we should do with our hands. The pictures turned out fine, but I’m sure our photographer would have liked a little extra time to think about how to handle bouquet-less group shots.

  • scw

    I didn’t carry anything and neither did any of my bridesmaids! it wasn’t even remotely a problem–and like the person below, my wedding is also in the real weddings if you’re curious.

    • jem

      Oh you’re photos are so dreamy 😍

      • scw

        I’m glad you liked them! katch silva (photographer) was the best, we loved her so much. yours will be dreamy too! I’m glad your “to b(ouqu)e(t) or not to b(ouqu)e(t)” was resolved in a way that makes everyone happy.

  • nobouquet

    I didn’t have a bouquet and I had no regrets.

    I also didn’t have an aisle though (<40 people at a fine dining restaurant, when the service started everyone just moved to their seat and my husband and I made our way to the front. As soon as we were both there the officiant gently guided us to hold each others hands facing each other, so I don't know what purpose a bouquet would have served anyways as I would have had to put it down before people even saw it) as I didn't like the idea of being presented for marriage by someone else – I held fast to the idea that marriage was my choice and mine only and didn't want the appearance to differ from that.

    I loved the aesthetics of flowers so there were hair-flowers and corsage-flowers and centerpiece-flowers and all that, but I didn't see the point in $50+ to hold something when goodness knows I would be constantly hugging people and have a glass of wine in my hands all night. I also didn't find it necessary for photo posing (having a prop for photos is a big push for the pro-bridal-bouquet crowd, and that's valid) because I've got a good chunk of experience having my photo taken.

  • sofar

    Just a note if you’re the kind of person who gets stressed out by people arguing with you and saying, “But you haaaaaaaaaaave to have a bouquet:”

    If anyone asks you about the bouquet in advance, just say, “Oh I’m making something.” If they ask more specific questions (and some people do) about type of flowers, say, “I want it to be a surprise.”

    I guarantee you NOBODY will notice whether you carry anything on your wedding day, even the people who cared so much before.

    • scw

      this is such good advice. I should have told people our wedding colors were a surprise.

      “SURPRISE: we don’t have wedding colors”

      • Jan

        Yes. We aren’t having wedding colors and it’s bizarre how many people seem to have trouble wrapping their heads around that idea. I should have just kept mum.

      • sofar

        “What are your colors?”

        This … this right here was the question that taught me to say, “I want it to be a surprise!” to literally every wedding question.

        … We also didn’t have wedding colors.

    • rebecca

      Hahaha this was my strategy until last weekend at my shower where my godmother started chanting “Secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone”

      • Wait what? Does your godmother, erm, spend a lot of time in the company of 2nd graders?

        (No offense to your I’m sure lovely godmother, just whut??)

        • rebecca

          Haha she is both lovely and 100% the person who does that, and if you want her at her best, you also gotta take her at her inappropriate nursery rhymes

          • Jessica

            This seems like a good epitaph

          • I guess to be fair, secrets are no fun… ;)

      • GotMarried!

        Secrets and Surprises are not the same thing! Surprises are short-term and will be revealed in good time. Secrets are forever.

        The mommy-blogosphere (ugh for that name) has multiple articles on how this distinction can be an important lesson for children … Someone touches you and wants to keep it a secret – NOPE. You and mommy buy a birthday gift for your friend – Surprise to be revealed in few weeks or similar time-frame.

        Example: http://denver.citymomsblog.com/parenting/why-we-dont-keep-secrets-in-our-house/

        • Nicole

          This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

        • Alli

          Wow what a good read!

      • sofar

        Your grandma sounds like SO many of my relatives.

    • Jan

      I love this idea, and it is 100% true. No one will end up noticing half the things they try to “advise” you on in the months leading up to the day.

  • Rebekah

    My husband is pretty seriously allergic to flowers, so it was something we were able to do without. I ultimately decided on handkerchiefs, for the moms and grandmas, and one for me. I had mine embroidered with the initials of the women in my family and my new family, and I put my initials in their own corner. If we have kids, there will be room to add any women who become part of our new family in that corner with me.
    I carried the handkerchief down the aisle with me, handed it to my MOH, and she handed it back when I inevitably began to cry.

    • Jane

      I have suddenly begun to get allergies (after nearly 30 years of no allergies and an intense love of flowers) and am now worrying that carrying the beautiful bouquet I’m ordering is going to turn me into a sniffly mess. So, solidarity. And good for you for coming up with a meaningful substitute.

    • Rose

      I was going to suggest a handkerchief, for someone who wanted something but not flowers. I’m pretty sure that carrying a handkerchief with a very wide lace border was traditional, at one point. My great-aunt (who I’m named after) sent my mom one for her wedding–it’s got handmade Carrickmacross lace as a border. Mom didn’t end up using it, but she gave it to me, and I carried it wrapped around my bouquet. But if you wanted something smaller, just the folded handkerchief would be lovely. And I love this idea with the initials!

  • Jessica

    I wish I had carried nothing–my mom’s friends were doing the flowers and were so so so excited that they made me a bouquet with bling on ribbon around the stems I felt obliged to carry it. I was looking at photos of the wedding a while ago with my mom and she said she was unimpressed with the bouquet and a little miffed at her friend for putting tacky plastic gems on it.

    But, it was made with love, and I wanted all of that I could get, so I carried it down the aisle.

  • honeycomehome

    Does your wedding have another kind of theme or vibe you’re going for? We ended our short ceremony with a champagne toast, so we carried glasses of champagne when we walked to the front. We then set them to the side, got hitched, and picked them up again to toast our guests.

    You could carry a book or beautiful paper that has your vows written inside. Or you could go for something unique and playful: a heart shaped balloon? A basket of confetti? Sparklers if you’re outside? Or something that approximates a bouquet: paper flowers? A lovely clutch that gives a pop of color/holds your vows, etc? A paper parasol?

    Nothing is also a totally good option! But I think it could be an opportunity to signal to your guests something special about the day, if that makes sense to you.

  • Angela’s Back

    You could totally skip carrying something down the aisle, but a folding fan (open or closed) might be fun, especially for a summery wedding. Or for a late fall/winter wedding, a faux fur or knitted muff.

    • ssha

      I love these ideas. That could be so lovely! I was at one (outdoor) wedding where the bridesmaids carried little pinwheels, and they spun in the wind.

  • zana

    You can totally and completely skip an accessory in your hand.
    Or just carry one flower? Or carry a purse? Or purchase a $40 dried flower bouquet on etsy? Designsponge had a series of lovely tutorials for making a variety of paper flowers…or carry a book?

    Or carry the readings/vows for the ceremony?
    Or carry nothing. You do you.

    • Jess

      It had long been my dream to carry a single giant calla lily. I did not, but still…

  • Megan

    If you have two people walking you down the aisle, it will be especially easy to have something to do with both hands and therefore not carry a bouquet!!

  • Brittany

    I photographed a friends wedding where she had last minute gotten a bouquet made, and she completely forgot to carry it down the aisle. She didn’t realize until later, nor did any one else. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/44b77c1b6c57a82be75d79cb8a4acdcd847a798e22a63da59fb807a28a3b7557.png
    (Apologies for the screenshot, but wanted to attach a photo of a non-bouquet or book or puppy carrying bride)

  • NotMotherTheresa

    Is it that you truly don’t want a bouquet, or is it that you don’t want to mess with the hassle of A Bouquet? Because if it’s the former, congratulations, you don’t have to have anything in your hands! It’s not like people won’t be able to figure out that you’re the bride!
    If it’s the latter, on the other hand, and you do sort of halfway like the idea of a bouquet, but you just don’t feel like messing with it, remember that a bouquet doesn’t have to be this big, glorious, complicated thing. Pick up a $10 bundle of grocery store flowers, quickly tie them together with a pretty ribbon, and voila! You have a bouquet to walk down the aisle with.

    • Lawyerette510

      On the note of grocery store flowers, I hadn’t planned to have a bouquet. A dear friend was making a floral piece for my hair and a boutonnière for my husband. Because she was nervous and wanted to make me multiple options to choose from, we bought one bunch of peonies and one bunch of spray roses at Whole Foods and she the best made me 4 different options for my hair. She brought them to my room when I was getting ready and along with them she brought the remaining flowers she had arranged in a glass. Well they looked so pretty I asked her to tie them up as they were so I could carry them. It was a little mini bouquet and she was kind of irritated because she had asked me so many times if I wanted a bouquet and I had said no, but then seeing something that looked like a bouquet about 30 minutes before the wedding made me change my mind. I’m sure I wouldn’t have missed it had I not had one, but it’s just an example of how simply a bouquet can be. Here I am asking for my last minute bouquet. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/301c86cf559435f65c256707d19b1d03f1d10d518311f7497c08ef1a1177c644.jpg

  • Jenna

    My bridal party and I carried paper pom poms. http://www.paperlanternstore.com/12-tissue-pom-poms.html

    • penguin

      Did you have one giant pom pom each? Or like a bunch of them?

      • Jenna

        We each carried one of the 12-inch poms. They were pretty big, so if you wanted something a bit smaller, the next size down (I think 8 inch?) would be good.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I love those things.

  • Jayne

    I’m a wedding photographer, and I would expect without a bouquet or something else to hold, a bride might not know what to do with her hands and feel awkward coming down the aisle, which will translate to looking awkward in photographs. If you’re being walked by someone, you can naturally hold their hand or their arm, but you might think of something meaningful to you to “bring with you” into the relationship – a book, a framed picture of a loved one who’s passed, any sort of treasured family heirloom, a religious symbol, etc. I’ve seen pictures from a wedding where the bride and her ladies carried puppies, which I only wish I’d thought to do!! Beyond this, there’s no reason to have a bouquet if you don’t want one!

  • jem

    Hey I’m the LW! So… lame follow up. My mom really wanted me to carry a bouquet, so she offered to find a florist and pay for them herself and I’m going along with it. Thanks, mom! I’m realizing this is probably for the best for fidgety hands/photos/no more arguing reasons, so I’m at peace. Plus, the florist she hired is a super cool lady.

    • idkmybffjill

      Yay! Everyone wins.
      It’s my favorite thing when someone anties up for something they MUST have. We had that happen with flowers too!

    • jem

      But! I hope this post helps brides/grooms to be who are mulling over this question and don’t have a magic mom who’s willing to whip out her checkbook– this thread definitely the best feedback/suggestions/support I’ve seen on the internet on this topic and I did a LOT of google searching before mom settled the issue.

    • Jess

      Ha, sometimes just doing the thing to stop the argument is the way to go.

    • Eenie

      I’ve personally always felt awkward holding a bouquet. For pictures someone told me pretend it’s a flashlight at your hips so you don’t hide your face?!? I’m glad mom solved the dilemma for you :)

      • jem

        Yes! Always have felt awkward carrying a bouquet! Will take the flashlight advice, thnx!

        • Lisa

          Also when you walk down the aisle, hold your hands around your navel. It will feel awkwardly low, but if you have the bouquet higher, it will cover the top of your dress/neck. I can tell from my photos that I remembered halfway down the aisle (long walk) because all of a sudden you can see all the beadwork on my neckline, ha ha.

          • Kara Davies

            YES! Sooooooooooooooo many brides/maids hold their flowers up by their faces and it doesn’t look right. I was in a wedding where the (I think) coordinator said “think long and lean, hold your flowers down by your belly button, long and lean long and lean long and lean”. For my brother’s wedding, I was helping the bride and told all the bridesmaids (who had never been in a wedding before) “hold your flowers down by your belly button, think long and lean!”. :p

        • Greta

          someone told me “Think pubes, not boobs!”
          I was literally chanting that to myself during photos…

          • Ilora

            Same!

    • Hannah Paige Woodard

      Glad it worked out, and +1 for the fidgety hands thing, haha! This is like the number one reason I like bouquets as a photographer. There are other alternatives of course, but it just expands the posing possibilities… when people don’t have SOMETHING to do with their hands, whether it’s having them in pockets, on your significant other, or holding a bouquet, they often feel awkward in pictures. So hooray for that :)

  • Eenie

    Carry a bottle of water so you stay hydrated!

    Signed,
    A bride that didn’t have a bouquet, and regretted my water consumption on the day

    Seriously though, carry nothing if you’re walking in with someone/not processing. Otherwise practice what you’ll do with your hands during the solo walk so you feel comfortable the day of.

    ETA – you won’t have any awkward “what do I do with this bouquet” pictures from the day!

  • Nicole

    I totally agree that you don’t need a bouquet if you don’t want one! And I also wanted to pop in and comment about what we did in case there’s someone who might want a bouquet as long as it’s cheap and easy, I had a bouquet and we bought it at a market for $5 the day before, cut down the stems and wrapped a ribbon around them, so it doesn’t have to be fancy or hard or expensive to make it happen.

  • sahara

    I agree that it’s fine to carry anything you want or nothing at all! For my part, I really enjoyed carrying my bouquet for the reasons people have mentioned – it gave me something to do with my hands and it was pretty in the photographs. (Though I also walked down the aisle with both my parents and found it really difficult to link arms with them AND hold my bouquet.) But even beyond that it felt like a bit of a shield – it meant that not quite as much visual attention was focused on my body. Not that I was hiding behind it, but it was a beautiful object that made *me* feel like less of a beautiful object, and more like a human being. And I could look at it if I was getting a little overwhelmed by the people around me, and it brought me back to the moment.

  • Katharine Parker

    If you don’t want a bouquet, there is no need to have one. I’d think through your walk down the aisle–are you walking alone? With your partner? With one or both parents or someone else significant? How long is the walk? Are you doing a full processional? Will you have bridesmaids or attendants processing before you? Will they be alone or with a groomsman or in pairs? If you (and any attendants) are walking with someone else, you don’t need anything–walk arm in arm with the other person. If you’re doing a processional and walking alone, and if your attendants are walking alone, think about what you would want to do with your hands. I would find it awkward to hold nothing and do the slow, formal walk, but you may find it to be totally fine and natural.

  • Laura C

    I didn’t carry anything. I had this plan to make bouquets with my bridesmaids on the day before and then realized who am I kidding, I would much rather have a boozy relaxed lunch with my bridesmaids, so I did that instead. And I think it made things easier. I walked in with both my parents and not carrying anything meant I could be arm in arm with both of them without figuring out what to do with the bouquet, didn’t have to hand it off to anyone, etc.

    • Abby

      I had a lot of fun making bouquets with bridesmaids for a friend’s wedding, but that maid of honor knew what she was doing (and was willing to make all the bouquets if the rest of us just drank afternoon champagne), which took a lot of the pressure off. I got married with zero florals except for super basic centerpieces my mom threw together, and even having a ton of fun making the bouquets for my friend’s wedding I have zero regrets that I chose not to spend the $ or stress on flowers for my own wedding.

      I also have zero regrets about the afternoon I spent painstakingly making Lego roses to dress up our table number while my husband built all the other table numbers (also out of Legos).

  • Cathi

    I just held my parent’s arms :) And my sister/MOH just stood with her hands politely held in front of her body, like the groomsmen usually do. You want an image of a bouquet-less bride? Here I am! If I only walked with one parent I might have used both hands to clasp their elbow. And if I’d walked alone I probably would have been waving enthusiastically at everyone, including but not limited to my almost-husband. I was pretty excited.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edf6f823501d5c6806e99a5694f0f093606af004698ea833455affb34a65bff7.jpg

  • I’m getting married in the desert and have entertained the idea of carrying a potted cactus down the aisle because we’re not decorating the space with florals anyway (only cacti) so it would be fitting. Plus I think it’d be kind of hilarious to walk down the aisle with a cactus.

    • zana

      Bare cactus with a ribbon tied around it, hardcore. lol

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Imagine the bouquet toss.

      • scw

        LOL

    • AP

      Just gonna leave this right here: http://zitaelze.com/blog/2016/07/10/cactus-queen/

      • Omg that cactus fascinator. These are great ideas, thank you!!

        • AP

          I know, right?! I live in the southeast, but I go west whenever I get the chance! Just spent a few weeks in the Grand Canyon/Canyolands area and obsessed over every cactus I saw. They were all in bloom and so gorgeous! Love your cacti instead of florals idea!! I used a lot of succulents in our florals, which were beautiful, but if I’d know stuff like this existed…

    • Lawyerette510

      Please do this, and then post the pics in happy hour! I’m picturing the cactus in a really delightful pot.

    • Kara Davies

      Do it!

  • Obligatory and unoriginal, but just felt the need to highlight that traditionally groomsmen walk down the aisle and pose for pictures without the aid of a bouquet or bouquet substitute.

    Like, personally I LOVE a good prop, but woman-hands are not inherently any more in need of an accessory than man-hands ;)

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Oh my gosh, yes!!!
      On one hand, I get it. Particularly for pictures, it’s nice to have something to do with your hands. But like, come on now–did you have a bouquet of flowers for your senior pictures? Do you carry a bouquet with you whenever you go on vacation so you’ll have something to hold in those pictures? Do you just carry a bouquet everywhere so you’ll always be prepared?
      I mean, if you do, that’s cool. I’m not judging. But come on now. You’ve spent your whole life bouquet-less, and it hasn’t been *that* awkward. Why do we assume that when people become ~Brides~, that normal ability to function without flowers goes out the window?

      • Alli

        Wait so it’s just me that has moments of “what do I usually do with my hands?” regularly?

        Lol I totally get this point though!

        • Hahahaha my bridesmaids legitimately took a Ricky Bobby “I’m not sure what to do with my hands” picture.

        • NotMotherTheresa

          Haha, no, it’s definitely not just you!
          Come to think of it, maybe I should just start carrying a bouquet everywhere…

    • Hannah Paige Woodard

      Man-hands often have pockets to go in, which is one of my go-to’s as a photographer. Totally wish all bridesmaids’ dresses and wedding gowns had pockets too!! (That said, yeah, you totally don’t HAVE to have bouquets. There are other options for pictures, etc :) )

  • Jackie

    I have been looking at bouquets and love the ones for me but the ones I’m leaning toward dont really have good matches for the bridesmaids. My flower girls are already carrying lanterns cause they’re going to be dressed kinda like fairies (all flowy floral dresses and light up sneakers). So its leaving me a bit torn about what to have my bridesmaids carry if anything at all… I’m about ready to just decorate some marshmallow guns or other toy weapon to make them fit in the theme and have them be battle maidens. I’ve already joked about it a few times but its a serious temptation when bouquets don’t match well (look over whelmed next to the one I want for myself) and things like matching purses are kinda blah (I’ve thought about decorative fans but the price of one dramatic enough to look cool is kinda more than I was planning on).

  • Esther

    I got married last year and it was the first thing anyone asked about – have you got your dress sorted? What about flowers?… to which I tried to reply as gracefully as possible “oh we aren’t having flowers, I’ve got a really amazeballs glittery clutch”. It was super practical and meant I had all my essentials with me at all times. Bottom line – do your own thing. There will be about 3 people who notice you don’t have a bouquet, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks at the end of the day. Just do your own thing!!

  • janie

    A lot of people have said similar things down thread, but it actually simplifies somewhat to not have a bouquet to hold. For me, my dress was a TINY bit too long, and I had to go up some steps during my ceremony so I was holding my dads arm (and bouquet through that arm) and held up my dress a tiny bit in the other hand. I think the effect worked, but would have been a little more elegant if I wasn’t shifting the bouquet all over the place.

    Also good advice for people with too long of dresses, just hold it up a little bit. More elegant than tripping.

  • Lexi

    I felt weird about holding a bouquet, so I didn’t have one. I walked down the aisle with both my parents, so I held their elbows, followed by my husband who walked with both his parents. But you could walk with your partner down the aisle, or a bridesmaid, or nothing at all! You have to make your wedding work for you!

  • Sarah E

    I just carried my clutch with me, and didn’t have any flowers. I had decided in particular to carry it (and yes, it had my phone-silenced- some chapstick, and my hotel key), and I had it for pictures, carried it up and back, and had a table near our chairs at the front to put it on during the ceremony. I’m sure it seemed to most people like I carried nothing, as that was in one hand and the other held the hand of my partner, both on the way in and on the way out.

  • Amy March

    I find it hard to believe that your florist aunt and friend wouldn’t insist on making you a bouquet unless you are strongly strongly opposed to it.

  • xena warrior princess

    My bridesmaids carried in balloons! They were a great prop for pictures, and the bridesmaids’ balloons were part of the backdrop for our ceremony (so they handed them off to my brothers/groomsmen, who placed them in the right spots right before my partner and I entered!). We had balloons everywhere for the day, with only minimal flowers which we DIY’ed from the local flower market the day-of. I will say, it was BEAUTIFUL and so me (I’m so not a *flowers* girl) but DIY’ing our florals was MUCH easier than acquiring a big helium tank to fill dozens of large balloons (including backup balloons should some pop). Helium is expensive, and one of those 5 gal party tanks isn’t gonna get you very far. But picking up one of those giant helium tanks teenaged ASB students use to decorate prom is kind of a nightmare – they’re huge and you need at least 2-3 grown people to lift a helium tank! All to say, I am SO thrilled with how the pictures of my bridesmaids turned out, and everyone (including my girl gang) loved the originality of balloons, in execution, it was a bit of a drag haha.

    All to say, maybe consider a 5 gallon party tank or two (you can get them at Target or most party supply stores) and fill a couple of those giant round balloons for yourself and any bridesmaids you want. I guarantee they will be a hit! Look at how cute these photos are! http://bit.ly/2rt2Dkn

  • Anon

    I was sure I didn’t want to carry anything. We didn’t even hire a florist for the wedding. Then, after an informal walk through two days before the wedding, I had to sheepishly admit that I needed to hold something. When I hooked each of my arms through one of my parents’ arms (walked in with both), my hands came together awkwardly in the middle. I almost needed to clasp my own hands together – also awkward. So, my mom bought grocery store flowers the morning of the wedding and followed some simple bouquet instructions from the Internet. It worked great. I handed them off during the ceremony and forgot to take them back when I walked back up the aisle with my husband (less awkward to hold an arm on just one side). So: I don’t think flowers or things to hold are important. But there are practical reasons for some wedding traditions, and maybe don’t make a huge deal about it in case your family makes fun of you forever for changing your mind.

  • BJ

    I was told that I had to carry a bouquet because “what will you do with your hands??” which I now think is a total con. No one worries about what the men do with their hands. Everyone’s just attached to all these ideas about what weddings and brides are supposed to be/do. My bouquet was fine but I resent the fact that I “had” to do it when the man didn’t. He was actually way more nervous than I. Whatever. We were also told that we “had” to use an av system so everyone could “hear our vows” but I’m happy I stood my ground on that. Also overall, just wished I’d had a different coordinator who fit me better, was less traditional.

  • Penny7b

    Grooms manage to walk around at weddings without holding anything (except people’s hands sometimes), it doesn’t seem that hard, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  • Kelly

    I just ordered the flowers for my upcoming wedding last week and decided at the last minute that I don’t want a bouquet either (I’m planning on walking in with both parents and had no idea how to hold their hands PLUS flowers). I still wanted flowers, so I’m getting an elaborate flower crown made instead! #winning

  • Sunni

    Not exactly not flowers, but a friend of mine had a bouquet made out of paper flowers (and the bridesmaids had smaller bouquets of paper flowers) – took a lot of the hassle out of everything and it was a LOT less expensive than a bouquet.

  • I want something to do with my hands, and we’re not having flowers (winter, allergies, costs, environmental impact etc), so i’m DIYing a bead bouquet. It’s going to look fab, but weigh a ton! I knew I wanted something that I could keep after the day and put on display, and it’ll be nice to have a vase somewhere in the house that isn’t full of half dead flowers (I just… I like them, but I am so bad at looking after them, and I always feel like to get my money’s worth they need to stay in the vase until every last one is dead).

  • Nichole

    I don’t think anyone has to carry a bouquet. I’m ehn on flowers that I will only get to enjoy for one day and they were expensive so here’s what we’re doing: my fiancee and I will be carrying teddy bears. We specifically went for build-a-bears because we could dress them up in outfits that vaguely match our wedding dresses (as in, they’re the right colors) and because they still cost less than flowers so we were okay splurging a little.

    Members of the bridal party are carrying swords. (Supplied by one of the members of the bridal party because he owns plenty of them for us to borrow a few for a day.) It’s going to be fantastic.

    • penguin

      I really want to see this teddy-bear-and-swords wedding!

  • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    I’m sure other’s have said this but: You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do on your wedding day. Full stop. Don’t want to carry anything? Don’t! (If people get really weird about, get a floral comb or necklace–florists loving doing that kind of stuff). Don’t want to dance? Don’t!

    Seriously. You do you. Grandma’s pearls will survive the clutching.

  • Nicole

    I made a bouquet out of vintage brooches because I love vintage jewelry, but it was very labor intensive, but totally awesome. (I’m allergic to flowers.)

    I think it’s 2017, and it’s your wedding, and you can do whatever you want. What about carrying a small clutch bag, or a candle, or a lantern, or even your favorite book. Or, if you’re writing your own vows, just carry those.

  • Huckleduck

    The good thing about carrying something down the aisle is it will give you something to do with your hands, especially if you’re walking yourself! when I’m nervous I never know what to do with my damn hands, so if you’re like that as well it’s something worth considering. But you could just carry a single bloom and not worry about putting a bouquet together if that’s what’s stressing you out.

  • Rebecca

    Nope. Definitely not. I didn’t have a bouquet or a bouquet substitute. We even kind of skipped the aisle, we walked onto the beach together and everyone else followed, and then we stood around waiting for my sister, who was accidentally late but also my bridesmaid. And.. nobody cared. I don’t think people look at you, this person they care about taking a big step to commit themselves to another human for life, and thinks “gee, she really doesn’t look like a bride without something in her hands…”

    Plus if someone is walking you down the aisle you can just hold their arm with both of yours.

  • Kelsey Mapes

    This is something I struggled with as I planned my wedding. I wanted to be untraditional while still having a wedding (which by nature is traditional). For all the wedding traditions, I looked up why are they traditions and made a decision on whether or not to keep them. The bouquet was traditionally herbs used to ward off the evil spirits (and probably to make the bride smell good too). I really liked that idea and decided to have a lavender bouquet to walk down the aisle with because I don’t want evil spirits at my wedding ; ).

    So perhaps, a small bundle of herbs would be an alternative to flowers. Of course, I don’t think you need a bouquet at all and no one will notice it is missing, nor say anything to you about it the day of.

    We are certainly skipping the bouquet toss at my wedding because that tradition has nothing to do with evil spirits.

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  • notquitecece

    I had both my parents walk me down the aisle, so I really didn’t have an extra hand to carry something. It worked great.

  • Loran

    For those deciding to carry a thing: has anyone suggested ceremonial sword yet? Or lightsaber? Or paintbrush? Or treasured object (stuffed animal, jewelry box, portrait of loved one)? Or goblet? Goblet of wine/whiskey/beer/juice/water? Cookie? Ooh Candle??? Or lantern? And carrying something down the aisle, doesn’t necessarily mean hanging on to it for the rest of the ceremony – it could be used in the ceremony! I.e. bringing a locket of passed grandparents to place at a table/altar at the front. Or bringing a goblet for a wine ceremony. Or a candle to light candles for a memorial or or unity ceremony. Satchel of sand for sand unity thing??

  • fanoffans

    I carried the fan that my aunt and mother carried in their wedding – it was lace that had yellowed some over time but it was beautiful. We had some flowers attached to it and it made for a really special “something old.”

  • Trinity

    I carried a really pretty clutch purse that my cousin made–it allowed me to keep my lipstick and vows close. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dcb9595e8a06554a4cec8ca367e50f078790eb69b428b87cd6083e3c93933f09.jpg

  • Heather Wallace

    My paternal grandmother did not carry flowers. She wore a business suit (with a skirt) and had a corsage…..in 1943…. (My grandfather was an atheist and they had a small city hall wedding).

  • jackie

    I’m planning a wedding in September and we, both brides didn’t want bouquets so instead we’re
    going to have big bold gorgeous corsages and I can’t wait!

  • Alex

    I’m not planning on carrying a bouquet. I’ll do a flower crown/some sort of hair flowers and have my hands free for arm linking/hand holding/hugging and I’m pumped for it.

  • Paige

    I didn’t carry a bouquet or anything else- like you, I didn’t see the reason and wanted my hands free! All the ladies had corsages instead of flowers to drag everywhere. Absolutely no regrets!! If you don’t care about flowers, don’t have them :-)

  • JamieBea

    I was 100% with you in spirit when planning my wedding, but I was unable to ever find an alternative that seemed cool and actually saved money. So to save costs I eventually decided to carry a bouquet, but to reuse that bouquet as a centerpiece at the head table. Same with all the bridesmaids bouquets.