Every wedding is as unique as the couple who is celebrating their marriage. Of course, flowers are one of the most traditional elements of wedding decor, but that doesn’t mean that they are the right choice for everyone. Some couples may decide they need to supplement their flower choices with other unique elements in order to reduce their budget.
In contrast, others choose to eliminate flowers from their wedding completely as a sustainability effort. Regardless of your reasoning, there are plenty of creative alternatives available. In fact, wedding flower alternatives show off your personality as a couple and create a unique experience for you and your guests.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for flower-less or flower-minimal decor.
Photo Credit // Three 16 Photography
Flower Alternatives for Wedding Bouquets
One of the best ways to reduce flowers at your wedding is to create your bouquets out of new materials or to replace them with a completely new element. This has become an increasingly popular trend among couples as a way of incorporating meaningful design elements into their weddings.
Paper Flowers: Thanks to special rolling and folding methods, such as origami, paper can be shaped to appear like flowers. Whether designed to look like roses or another popular bloom, using paper to create your bouquets offers many different options to achieve a variety of looks. For example, using colored paper, you can select from nearly any shade imaginable to create bouquets that perfectly match your color scheme. As with real flowers, you can mix and match colors, or use a more creative design such as ombre colors. Alternatively, creating paper flower bouquets using sheet music of your first dance song, pages from your favorite book, or colorful comic strips can add a far more personal touch. While these paper elements can be used to create a traditional looking bouquet, making one large paper flower would be a statement-making piece.
Ribbon Flowers: Ribbons can also be wrapped to give the appearance of flowers. Again, as these fabrics are available in all colors, they are a versatile choice. Bright multi-colored ribbons will bring fun, youthful energy to your ceremony, while silky neutral ribbons accented with jewels can easily be incorporated into a more elegant and extravagant celebration.
Burlap Flowers: The perfect addition to a rustic-themed celebration, burlap faux flowers will make as beautiful a bouquet as they will larger arrangements and displays. Plus, chances are if you are designing for a rustic wedding, you will be able to use extra burlap in other design elements, allowing you to place a large, budget-friendly order.
Seashells: For seaside and coastal weddings, carrying a carefully crafted bunch of seashells down the aisle is a whimsical way to stay on theme and utilize natural elements. In some cases, you may be able to collect the shells yourself, completely eliminating one item from your total budget.
Broaches: A fun way to possibly incorporate something old into your wedding is to use broaches for your bouquet. Whether they are painted or jeweled, broach bouquets are a stunningly unique way to walk down the aisle. You can even incorporate them into a corsage or boutonniere.
Lanterns: For evening weddings, and particularly those outdoors, a lantern is an exceptionally unique item to carry in place of flowers. As your wedding party walks in front of you, they will quite literally be lighting your path towards your new life as a married couple. Plus, the pictures will be stunning.
Parasols: Another fun option for outdoor weddings, specifically those occurring during the day in warmer months, are parasols. Not only will they give your ceremony and photos a fun, whimsical charm, but they will function to keep you and your wedding party cool and shaded from the sun.
Pinwheels: Though similar to the idea of paper flowers, pinwheels are a slightly more youthful touch to bring into your wedding. Carrying a batch of colorful or monotone pinwheels as a bouquet is a cost-effective alternative to flowers and will look amazing in photos.
Fruits and Vegetables: As odd as it may sound at first, utilizing fruits and vegetables in your floral bouquet can create a spectacularly unique effect. For example, a single sizeable geometric artichoke would be a statement-making accessory for your celebration.
Many of these ideas will also work as creative boutonniere alternatives. Some additional ideas unique to boutonnieres include using colorful golf tees as a fun way to incorporate your love of the game, knotting sailors rope into intricate designs for a coastal celebration, and pinning mini air plants to your lapel for a burst of delicate greenery.
Wedding Flower Alternatives for Decor
If you want to carry your lack of flowers over from your ceremony to reception, there are a lot of creative ways to design centerpieces and other displays without a single flower in sight. As with flowers, you will want to think about how to coordinate your non-floral elements to create a cohesive look and design before deciding which alternatives to use at your wedding.
Books: Stack old books together to create a simple centerpiece, especially for an antique or eclectic style wedding. The books can be combined with candles or vintage vases to fill out the center of your tables. Plus, table numbers can be stenciled onto the front of a book or placed in a frame on top of the stacks.
Dried Grasses: If you are having an autumn themed or rustic wedding, filling your vases with dried grasses, wheat, or branches can create elegantly simple centerpieces. For a more rustic theme, include burlap placemats, milk bottles, tin jars, and apples in your tablescape.
Giant Palm: To make a statement with your centerpieces and other decor displays, a combination of palms, banana leaves, and other lush, tropical greenery will give your tabletops a bold and dramatic yet refined look.
Seaside Items: If you’re having a coastal themed wedding, using items typically found along the seashore, such as seashells, driftwood, and coral, provide effortlessly elegant decor throughout your reception. To create varied height and interest, seashells can be used to fill vases of different sizes around your tables.
Garden Tables: If fruits and vegetables are more to your style, casually placing those items in the center of the tables with other gardening items is a good option. Wood blocks with metal numerals attached can be used to designate table numbers, while greenery or succulents can overflow from stone or terracotta pots to complete the design.
Feathers: For a more glam style, using large feathers in tall vases will give your decor a 1920s vibe and put everyone in the party mood. A cost-effective choice, feathers are also available in every color, from pure white to rich jewel tones and can be patterned, such as bold peacock feathers or stripped quail ones, so you will be able to find the perfect match for your wedding theme.
Candles: Perhaps the most popular floral alternative decoration for weddings is to use candlelight. From the color of the candles themselves, to the candle style, to the vases or stands which hold them, there’s a wide variety of options when it comes to using candles. Tall, tapered candles will add height, while small votive candles can be scattered across the table to create a soft glow. Mercury glass vases or stands can create an elegant atmosphere, or you may opt for natural wood candle holders for a more rustic theme. Best of all, candles make an excellent decor element alone or as part of more extravagant designs.
Photo Credit // Casey Hendrickson Photography
Even though fresh flowers are the traditional choice for wedding decor, you shouldn’t let them limit your creativity when it comes to designing your celebration. While many of these ideas will create a beautiful atmosphere all on their own, they can also be used to supplement your wedding florals. The choice is up to you as a couple to decide what best represents your style.