outdoor ceremony with petal lined aisle

Photo: William Innes Photography

Flowers play a significant role at your wedding and can easily influence the look and feel of your big day. Regardless of the aesthetic you want to achieve, it’s important to think about the types of flowers you like and how you should incorporate them into your decor before meeting with your florist.

To help you decide which ideas best suit your style, we've listed all the different ways to include flowers at your ceremony.


Bouquets
Carrying a bouquet down the aisle is a tradition for brides that’s been around for centuries (although the exact reason why it started is a little unclear). Today, a bride’s bouquet is seen as a special wedding day accessory, not just a symbol of tradition. Bouquets can be made in a variety of designs and shapes, which means they’re easily customizable to any wedding style or theme. When the bride reaches the altar, she gives her bouquet to the maid or matron of honor who holds it throughout the ceremony. If there are bridesmaids in the wedding party, each one typically carries her own bouquet as well. These usually look similar to the bride’s bouquet, just on a smaller scale, but mix-and-match designs are becoming more popular. Lastly, the flower girl, mothers, and other important people can carry small bouquets if they aren’t tossing petals or wearing corsages.

Boutonnieres
Most grooms choose to wear a boutonniere, which is a small bunch of flowers or greenery that is pinned to the left lapel of a suit or tuxedo jacket. Each groomsman should also wear a boutonniere, in addition to the ring bearer and immediate family members, such as fathers and stepfathers. Some couples opt to have their grandfathers, ushers and officiant wear boutonnieres as well. Boutonnieres have recently become more personalized, with grooms incorporating decorative accents that reflect their favorite hobbies and interests. Some of our favorite ideas include adding fish hooks, golf tees, or feathers to the boutonniere.

Corsages
You might remember wearing (or buying) a corsage for your high school prom, but they’re also common wedding ceremony flowers. The small cluster of flowers is attached to an elastic band or ribbon that is worn around the wrist. Corsages are typically reserved for the mothers and grandmothers in both families. If you have junior bridesmaids, flower girls or young children in your wedding party, you can opt to have them wear corsages instead of carrying bouquets.

Flower girls
Traditionally, the flower girl walks down the aisle and scatters petals on the ground right before the bride makes her grand entrance. If you’re having a flower girl or junior bridesmaid at your wedding, provide a basket filled with fresh flower petals for her to carry. If you don’t want the flower girl to scatter petals (or if your venue doesn’t allow it), she can carry a small bouquet or pomander instead.

Welcome table
Greet your guests with a beautifully-arranged welcome table at the entrance to your ceremony. This is where you can display programs or cheerful signage, along with decorative mementos such as family photos and meaningful knicknacks. Dress up the table with lush greenery garlands for a boho-chic vibe or a classic floral arrangement (you can repurpose it later on as reception decor!).

blue suit with anemone boutonniere

Photo: Mandy Owens Wedding Photography

Welcome table
Greet your guests with a beautifully-arranged welcome table at the entrance to your ceremony. This is where you can display programs or cheerful signage, along with decorative mementos such as family photos and meaningful knicknacks. Dress up the table with lush greenery garlands for a boho-chic vibe or a classic floral arrangement (you can repurpose it later on as reception decor!).

Aisle entryways
Make your grand entrance by walking through a floral-covered entryway at the ceremony. If you’re getting married in a house of worship, ask the venue’s permission before placing anything above the doorway or on the ceiling. Create a beautiful aisle entryway with wedding ceremony flowers by draping floral garlands around the doorframe or stringing single blooms on long threads to create a curtain.

Aisle markers
Adding floral aisle markers to your ceremony seating, whether it’s wooden church pews or rows of Chiavari chairs, is an instant way to bring life to the space. A few popular options include pomanders (small spheres of flowers that hang from loops or ribbon at the top), tying flowers onto chairs with fabric sashes, and filling jars with fresh blooms.

Aisle runner
Looking for an ultra-romantic addition to your wedding ceremony flowers? Try scattering petals along the aisle. Place them in clusters along both sides of the runner, or ask your florist to arrange them in a swirling design that spans the aisle for a more dramatic effect.

rose aisle marker outdoor ceremony

Photo: Kari Dawson Weddings

Reserved seats
If you’re looking for ways to honor a loved one who’s passed away, one of our favorite ideas is reserving an empty seat and placing a single flower or small bouquet on the chair in their place. Add a sign explaining who the seat is in honor of or have your officiant make an opening remark so the rest of your guests understand the gesture. For an extra personal touch, use your loved one’s favorite flower or a bloom in their favorite color.

Altar arrangements
If you’re looking to create a wow-worthy setting for your vows, wedding altar flower arrangements are a great option. Have your florist create oversized arrangements and place them behind, on either side, and even hanging above the altar. Want to take it to the next level? Ask your florist to create a floral-covered wall (Kim and Kanye style) that you can stand in front of. Chances are, your guests have never seen anything like it and are bound to be blown away!

Floral arches, arbors and chuppahs
If you have empty space to fill at your ceremony venue, rent or build an arbor that can serve as a backdrop for your vows. This works especially well if your ceremony is taking place outdoors in an open area rather than inside an existing structure. Turn the arbor into a romantic focal piece by adding fresh blooms, greenery and even lightweight fabric to the structure. For Jewish ceremonies, the traditional structure is called a chuppah. It’s typically made using a cloth stretched over four poles, which are sometimes supported by the couple’s parents or close friends as they exchange their vows. Greenery garlands, decorative grapevine, crystal accents, and fresh flowers are all popular options for dressing up a chuppah.

Petal toss
If you want your guests to toss petals while you and your brand-new spouse make your way down the aisle, you’ll need to order them from your florist in advance. Some venues have restrictions about what items can be used for the toss, so confirm beforehand that yours allows flower petals.