Alternatives to wedding flowers

Mar 24, 2010 at 12:26 a.m. ET

For many people a table just isn't set without a gorgeous floral centerpiece, and a bride isn't a bride without a beautiful bouquet. But, at we've been seeing some gorgeous alternatives to using live flowers for both centerpieces and bouquets. Some people choose alternatives because of allergies, for environmental reasons, others as a cost saving measure, and some people just love the idea of something so original.

Brooch Bouquets

Brooch Bouquets

Over the past few months, brooch bouquets have quickly become the talk of the Internet! These charming bouquets made from recycled jewelry (or seashells or other found objects) have an elegant retro feel. Because they're made from repurposed items and last forever, brooch bouquets are definitely eco-friendly. They can also be budget friendly, you can find versions priced from $100 to $500, but unlike floral bouquets, brooch bouquets can become a sentimental and valuable decoration for your home, or used by another bride. The look of the bouquets can range from this charming seashell bouquet (above) with matching boutonniere, from the Romantic Flowers Shop on Etsy perfect for a destination wedding, to this stark and elegant crystal bouquet (below) available from the store.

elegant crystal bouquet

Get Religion

Many religious brides choose to carry a family bible or Rosary beads in place of a floral bouquet (Melania Trump used a Rosary for her wedding). If these items hold meaning for you, carrying one can bring powerful symbolism to your ceremony. An old Irish custom has the bride carry a horseshoe for good luck. That same horseshoe can then be hung over the door to the couple's house.

Fruits and Vegetables

Want to save money on your florist bill? Consider replacing traditional centerpieces with bowls or baskets filled with beautiful in season fruits or decorative vegetables (like artichokes). After the reception the fruits can be donated to a food pantry, or taken home by guests. This is an especially good idea for a DIY bride. Too often brides assume they can do their own flowers the day of the wedding. However, this plan fails to take into account the amount of time creating a floral arrangement takes (and how hard it is on a manicure). Floral arrangements have to be created the day of to ensure that they look fresh. If you're considering being your own florist, reducing the amount of flowers you actually use will save you much-needed time. Other centerpiece alternatives include candles and small glass bowls of decorative stones.

Paper Flowers

If the words "paper flowers" make you think of a grade school craft project, you've got some catching up to do. Paper flowers range from sophisticated art works that are difficult to tell from real flowers to fun decorations. Although creating paper flowers that you want to display at your wedding can be time consuming, it can also be a fun activity. Paper flowers are non-allergenic and unlike real flowers are long lasting.

One final note: it's hard to match the elegance and beauty of real flowers and a professional florist can also help with other decorating needs. If you like the idea of one of these alternatives, consider combining it with more traditional flowers for a truly stunning effect.

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