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Image Credit: Sincerely Liz Photo 

So, you’re chatting away to a fellow bride-to-be and you get to discussing bouquets. She knows exactly what she wants: eucalyptus leaves, raspberry coloured peonies, finished off with a single hibiscus for that burst of Hawaiian beach cool… and you’re stood there like, ‘Yeah, I have no idea’. Ever been that girl? Yeah, me too. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE fresh flowers, they’re absolutely divine. But I just couldn’t find something that was quite right for our ceremony, know what I mean? Well, if you do, this post’s for you.

There’s a major trend coming through for the ‘alternative bouquet’. Don’t freak, I’m not talking weird fabric arrangements with diamantés scattered across every leaf, no I’m talking chic, boho alternatives to suit any kind of festival style wedding. If you follow us on Instagram, you might remember seeing a stunning image a few weeks ago of bridesmaids carrying lanterns instead of bouquets, we’ve taken that idea and run with it, but don’t let us limit you, this concept is full of super cool potential… basically, if it’s pretty and easy to hold, you could replace a bouquet with it! Check out some of our ideas… 

Oriental Cool

So I think it’s fair to say that some pretty beautiful things come out of the orient and these two beauties are topping that list: ornate fans and Chinese parasols. These trends have been around a little while, but we’re giving them a fresh, gorgeously bohemian edge for you ladies to lust over.

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Image Credit: Etsy

So last summer, my husband and I went to a beautiful wedding in Malmsbury, Wiltshire, and my goodness did the sun shine for that couple! I happened to have my trusted wooden fan with me, forming the perfect accessory to a simple, lightweight maxi dress with its hand painted design fetching many a lovely compliment. Put simply: fans are elegant, works of art, that (as an added bonus) keep you cool – in every sense of the word! I love the one above from Olelé, and they do a whole host of other beautiful designs.

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Image Credit: Engaged In Paris 

The parasol is another fabulously delicate piece, perfectly complimenting your maids in their wonderful dresses. If you’re going for a varied palette of across your bridesmaids, parasols are a fantastic opportunity to play with bursts of complimentary tones. They’re so striking in brights as well as deeper jewel hues, both setting off the white of your dress just wonderfully, not to mention the photo opportunities, the picture below… I mean!

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Image Credit: Engaged In Paris

Woodland Wonders

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Image Credit: ironaworks via Etsy

The Noah bell. Originating from ancient India, these beautiful brass bells are believed to have divine powers and have a distinctive, gently melodic tone. I love these bells, they’re humble, rustic beauties and I imagine them to create a magic, ethereal vibe to any woodland wedding. Plus, they’ll form a beautiful piece of home décor post wedding, a lovely gift to your faithful maids!

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Image Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

Antlers remain a huge trend, that’s not particularly fresh news. They’re rather popular as a component of the table décor, or even as a photobooth prop, however, this is one of the only instances that I’ve seen them used in place of a bouquet. Aren’t they beautiful? When I first laid eyes on this image, I had a major ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!’ moment. The sweet floral accents bring them to life, whilst still allowing the antler to sing for itself; perfect for an autumn wedding.

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Image Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

Another firm favourite in the wedding world: the humble pine cone. Whilst I’ve seen these beauties across many a reception table, either as a sweet place name holder or adorning a gorgeous centre piece, it had never occurred to me to create a ball of natural gorgeousness as an alternative bouquet. If you’re looking for low cost, or if your maids are wearing natural creamy tones, the pine cone is the perfect accent.

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Image Credit: Paper Doll Romance

There’s no hiding it and it’s certainly no secret that here at Festival Brides we’re serious feather fans. In your hair, on your table, invites illustrated with them, hanging garlands of them and now: bundled up as a bouquet. Uh, I’m in love. Coordinate them with divine feather boutonnières for the guys, use nature tones for a truely Native American feel or bright dyed hues for a hippie festival vibe. They’re versatile and they’re gorgeous… any excuse for a feather, right?

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Image Credit: Paper Doll Romance

Wow Factors

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Image Credit: Twigs and Sand

Last minute change? No worries, doll face. Welcome the cute little flag; super available or if you feel so inclined, super DIY-able. The above little beauts are an Etsy treasure by Betawife. Pennant flags are the hottest of hot right now, and set to be bang on trend for the summer and these little handmade babies are customisable and easily put on a stick if you’d rather! So whether you have them adorned with exaltations of happiness or your names and date, a flag alternative is an easy, but oh-so-cute way to liven up a bridal party.

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Image Credit: Brooke Schmidt Flickr

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Image Credit: Betawife via Etsy

Ye olde faithful balloon, how we love thee! Single handedly the most versatile bouquet alternative, the balloon, in whatever shape, size or colour you choose, will never fail to immediately add that burst of fun and freedom to your wedding. One of the best photo props out there, you might’ve seen some of the stunning images we’ve been re-pinning recently, they’re just so sweet. We love these matching, totally spherical pastel balloons. They’re the grown up elegance of the balloon world; just beautiful.

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Image Credit: Sincerely Liz Photo

I won’t lie to you, I’m pretty stoked on this little find: the Yarn Pompom Bouquet. Courtesy of an adorable little Etsy shop, StephLovesBen, these perfectly crafted pompoms make the sweetest little bundle. We love the fall palette of this particular arrangement, it’s eye-catching yet so soft. StephLovesBen also does bouquets in a winter palette; think snowy white, mint and peach, or alternatively the shop sells complete mustard sets. Pompoms are the cutest, and are alternative without wandering too far from the idea of a bunch of colour. Oh, while we’re here, I might mention this super sweet pompom hairpiece DIY I stumbled upon the other day over at Treasures and Travels – wouldn’t it be a sweet little accompaniment?

Beach Brides

Flowers are gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but one might argue that they don’t really belong in the sand amongst shells and salty air. But have no fear my beautiful beachy brides, because these little items were born to be down on the beach…

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Image Credit: Future Wedding via Tumblr

Totally loving this. A whole new way to wear a sleek, simple dress: holding an anchor in front of it. Who’d have thought it, but it SO works! There’s a risk this could end up kinda heavy looking, but the light washed out blue of the metal really compliments the fresh white. I think that’s a key to remember when considering the alternative bouquet trend: go for complimentary colours, and the larger and heavier the item you choose in place of a bouquet, the lighter and more gentle its colour should be, we don’t want to overwhelm your beautiful maids!

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Image Credit: Steph Loves Ben via Etsy

Those brides going for a boho beach vibe: firstly, high-five you fabulous creatures and secondly your bridesmaids need to carry a dream catcher. Imagine those delicate feathers gently blowing in the breeze, subtly picking out your colour theme in the beads and feathers… it’s too good, I die. There’s just one simple rule to remember: dream catchers don’t work with intricate, patterned dresses. Keep bridesmaid dresses simple to really allow the dream catchers intricacy to be seen, that way there’s also no risk of it becoming overdone.

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Image Credit: 100 Layer Cake

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Screaming ‘Afternoon by the sea’, the pinwheel is a fantastic bouquet alternative. Wear them oversized, with a pop of colour and perhaps a small pattern on the inside, as above. They’ve got a lovely 1920s vibe to them, and add such a playful element to your bridal party. We love them!

Funked Up Flowers

I’m gonna bend my own rules a little bit for this last section and say that although we’re saying ‘No way’ to bouquets, flowers can still be totally alternative and oh my goodness, the alternatives are simply glorious!

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Image credit: Rule 42 via Etsy

First up, can we talk about wreaths? Those of you that know me, know I’m a huge advocate of the wreath. Aside from how aesthetically pleasing it is, the circle also has some beautiful symbolism behind it depicting eternity, unity and wholeness – which all sounds pretty good to me! To top it all off, the wreath is majorly trending for Spring/Summer and makes an easy to carry, elegant alternative to the bouquet. Classy stuff.

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Image Credit: Ruffled

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Image Credit: Jaiswalmano & The Lane

So, I’m sure you’ve heard of a corsage. Are you seeing high school prom girls? Yeah, me too. You’re gonna have to trust me on this one, done correctly the corsage can be a delicate, wonderfully boho addition to your maid’s attire. As far as I can see, if you stick to a single colour, always (and I mean ALWAYS) use real flowers and choose medium sized blooms, you’ll achieve the look you want. The single colour choice creates unity throughout these smaller arrangements and the use of slightly large blooms gives a less structured, more carefree look to the corsage, creating that sweet hippie vibe. I think they can be super gorgeous, but if you’re still not convinced, try wearing it as an upper arm bangle for a real bohemian beat.

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Image Credit: Buzz Feed

It’s simple. It’s natural. And it’s just beautiful. For the minimalist, meadow-bound bride, this bundle of wheat is just parfait. Wheat comes in such a warm golden tone, which wrapped simply with a piece of loose weave burlap and tied with brown string is sure to compliment any little white dress. Pastoral chic at it’s finest, ladies; the humble grain of Wheat.

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Image Credit: Oh Lovely Day

So that’s my round up, and I’m pretty certain it is merely the tip of an incredible iceberg! Around halfway through writing this post I had to start seriously curating my own ideas, and even then we found ourselves sharing this concept across two posts. If you choose to embrace this concept, it’s a truly marvelous opportunity to let the free-spirit in you really go to town. Mix it up, why have all bridesmaids holding the same object? As long as there’s a sense of uniformity and cohesiveness you really could do anything. And why be wholly for decoration purposes? There’s something seriously luxurious about a gold sequin covered clutch, held however your maids choose, it’s a practical addition too!

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Image Credit: Indulgy

See, I could go on and on, there’s so much potential. I hope I’ve inspired you to allow your ever-creative self to really run wild with this one!

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