March 1, 2022
When you elope, some traditions can stay! Adding a bouquet, boutonniere, or other floral decorations can really pull everything together. This guide will give you some ideas for an elopement bouquet and other florals, along with some alternatives and unique ideas!
When you’re talking to an elopement florist, or creating your own arrangements, here are some things to think about!
A bouquet is usually the first go-to when people think about flowers for a wedding day – and that can definitely be part of it, but there are some other fun ways to incorporate floral decor and accessories! Think about what you want for your day – some other ideas can include boutonnieres, floral crowns, floral belts, decorations for arches or arbors, a collar for your dog, and anything else you can come up with.
Remember – there are no rules when it comes to eloping, and as several of my florist friends, (Small Yard Flowers and Blooms & Twine Floral), often say, “Flowers are for everyone.” No matter your gender identity, you can hold a bouquet, pin a boutonniere, rock some flowers in your hair, and incorporate as many or as few florals in your day as you want!
One thing to consider is the color palette – are you going for something bright and colorful, or something more dark and moody? Thinking about the vibe you want for your day can help you narrow down what kind of elopement flowers you want, and Pinterest or Instagram are always good places to look for inspiration.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the colors you see in professional photos are likely edited – a bright magenta flower might become a red or purple flower after editing, so while you can definitely get inspiration from these photos, be aware that the reality might be a smidge different. Talk to your florist, and they’ll be able to help you figure out what’s possible!
When you’re thinking about elopement bouquets, another huge factor in how it looks is that shape! There are a few options for how bouquets can be styled, each one offering a different look.
My personal favorite for elopements is a free form bouquet – this one tends to be the most popular, because it’s whimsical and sort of “wild,” like your wedding day! It’s arranged loosely, to look a little more natural and less put together than a traditional bouquet. Cascading bouquets are similar, with a hanging cascade of flowers that flows over in front of you.
Round bouquets are the most classic, traditional style, with a neat, rounded arrangement that looks more put together. A posy bouquet is similar, but a little smaller – which can make it easier to carry!
Keep in mind that when you’re looking for elopement bouquets & flowers, some blooms might not be available depending on the season. The most sustainable way to make floral arrangements is from locally sourced flowers, so if you’re making your own, look for flowers at local markets or if you’re working with an elopement florist (which I totally recommend for amazing results!), talk to them about locally sourced, eco friendly arrangements.
Another important thing to think about when it comes to sustainability is Leave No Trace – if you aren’t familiar, LNT is a set of 7 principles that guides how we recreate outdoors to help reduce our impact on the environment, because sometimes we do more damage than we realize! Some sensitive locations won’t allow live flowers because seeds or leaves can fall and disturb the ecosystem, others will ban certain invasive species, and each location can have its own unique set or rules. Always be sure to pack out anything you pack in – it’s a common misconception that biodegradable items, like flower petals, won’t cause any harm, but anything that doesn’t belong in that environment shouldn’t be left there!
Eloping is all about getting creative – and you can definitely do that with your flowers too! Here are some alternatives to using live flowers and traditional bouquets for your day.
I absolutely love dry florals! You can use them for an elopement bouquet, floral crowns, and other fun arrangements. These flowers have several advantages for an elopement.
First, they’re lower maintenance – you won’t have to worry about keeping them in water so they stay fresh. They also last a lot longer than fresh flowers, so you’ll have them for a while as a reminder of your elopement day. They can even last for up to a year or two, so if you like having flowers in the house they can be a cute, sustainable alternative that you won’t have to replace for a while!
*Photo featuring dried floral elopement bouquet from Blooms & Twine Floral Design*
Another unique alternative to elopement flowers is to make them out of felt! Recently I had a couple commission an artist, Treehouse Felt Flowers, to make a flower crown and boutonniere inspired by different native wildflowers here in Oregon. It was a unique & stunning choice for their mountaintop elopement! Getting creative with different materials gives you lots of opportunities for custom designs!
Artificial flowers don’t have to be the cheap-looking plastic kinds – you can make a bouquet entirely out of fake flowers that looks absolutely stunning. I had a bride do it herself, but you can also get gorgeous premade bouquets on Etsy, or find someone to create a custom one with your palette! They’re usually made of silk, and look just as beautiful as live florals – and they’ll last way, way longer.
With artificial flowers, you can often rent a bouquet or floral piece as well, which is more sustainable and prevents waste. A florist here in Oregon, Century Decor Studio, has a big inventory of faux florals, including bouquets, boutonnieres, and floral crowns that you can rent or buy! Another great option for rentable elopement flowers is from Something Borrowed Blooms. Photo (left) shows one of my brides holding her silk flower elopement bouquet that she rented from SBB! I was convinced they were real flowers for the better part of the day!
Instead of making an elopement bouquet or other floral decorations, you can incorporate flowers by eloping somewhere with flowers! This is more eco friendly (using the natural backdrop and the flowers that are already there) than using farmed flowers or other materials, and you can take photos in a wildflower meadow outdoors, find a flower farm or rose garden, get married in someone’s backyard, or think of anywhere where you’ll find floral blooms!
*Photo featuring bride & groom in a sunflower field at Grateful Vineyard*
It’s important to think about seasons with this one – especially for wildflowers, think about when they’ll be in bloom at that location, and the best time to elope. This will usually be spring for lower elevations, and July or August for high alpine meadows – as an elopement photographer, I can definitely give you some guidance when it comes to choosing your date!
It’s also crucial to be aware of LNT – don’t pick flowers or trample meadows, because wildflowers are surprisingly fragile, and meadows can take years, even decades, to recover from damage caused by humans who have good intentions but aren’t aware of their impact. While navigating these fragile areas, I can help advise how to safely traverse the trail while positioning myself low to the ground for a visual effect (like the below photo) of a couple looking like they’re amongst the wildflowers.
My florist friend, Lexi of The Slow Cult, emphasizes the importance of hiring a florist who works regularly in wild environments and with local flowers when eloping. Lexi adds, “There are so many beautiful flowers and berries that can do serious damage to an environment if they drop out of your elopement bouquet. An elopement floral specialist will know exactly what to avoid to make sure you can feel ok about dropping a stem or two. If you decide you want to add a beautiful installation to your elopement day, it’s also a plus to choose a florist who has sustainability in mind, or to ask your florist to not use floral foam as it can cause harm to the environment it’s in.”
Hiring a professional elopement florist is always a great idea, as they’ll be the expert in everything you need for your flowers! As an elopement photographer, part of my job is to make sure you have everything you need to make your day absolutely perfect – which includes recommending the best vendors! I’ll help you find the right florist no matter where you elope, and ensure that they can create exactly what you’re looking for, while keeping sustainability and the environment in mind.