6 alternatives to traditional floral arrangements

You want to wow with your bouquet, so why not choose something other than roses or lilies? Floral alternatives are on the rise. The following are alternatives to traditional floral bouquets, but any of these options could be used with traditional flowers as well. Add something unique and special to your wedding theme with a creative approach to your choice of flowers.

Yes, it is finally time for millennials to start getting married, and they bring with them the trend of succulents. A succulent bouquet is a modern trend that will surprise your guests and won’t wilt like a traditional floral arrangement. Color-wise, a succulent bouquet is usually very green, and is a great option if it complements your general color palette. Succulent bouquets are beautiful, sleek and modern. Succulents are a low maintenance centerpiece for the reception, require little water and won’t stop looking fresh throughout the day. This idea will leave you with a home full of plants after the fact, or you can let guests bring home the arrangements as wedding favors.

Herbs and wheat

For a different look, try non-floral naturals. Herbs can create a very different and natural looking bouquet. These bouquets call to mind a farmhouse wedding in the country. Another option in the same vein is wheat. These bouquets look rustic and natural, as well as being very neutral in color. A bouquet of herbs and/or wheat is an non-traditional approach that will also give your wedding a taste of nature. Using herbs and wheat gives your wedding a more sustainable feel, and will really add something special to the right venue. Use herbs and wheat to take your outdoor wedding or rustic barn wedding to the next level.


There are many ways to incorporate fruit into your bouquet. A subtle option would be berries or grapes while a less subtle choice would be lemons, oranges or pomegranates. Citrus may look best in a bouquet cut open, while a pomegranate must remain whole to protect the dress from red stains. Figs are a beautiful fruit, especially when cut open as an accent in a floral bouquet and pair well with white flowers and blackberries, or other purple colored fruits or vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are increasingly being seen on wedding tables. We aren’t talking about those huge and colorful pineapple and strawberry bouquets, we are talking bouquets and centerpieces that look like they came straight out of a cornucopia. Rustic fruit is on the rise.


Cotton looks beautiful in a bouquet, and is far more original than baby’s breath as a white accent. This is a unique look that will give your bouquet an ethereal vibe. This is also a lovely and simple centerpiece option and general décor choice. Cotton stems look lovely in mason jars, but also in empty wine bottles. Add twine or burlap for a rustic look, or use glass and silver toned plants like lamb’s ear, dusty miller or lavender to create a more delicate aesthetic.

Books and paper flowers

This might sound a little out there, but how many literature loving brides would love to walk down the aisle accompanied by their favorite and most beautifully bound books? What book would you carry with you down the aisle? These book bouquets can take many forms. Handmade paper flowers made out of book pages are one option, but others include looping a ribbon through a single book and carrying it like a purse, with flower accents attached, or tying a few books of descending size into a stack with accents of ribbon and plants. Have each bridesmaid carry a styled book of beautiful binding that is important to you as the bride, or have everyone carry paper flowers. Old books make an interesting centerpiece, and it will make your wedding stand out. Stack books under compact or simple flower arrangements to give them some height. Old books add to a vintage aesthetic. Another option for centerpiece books is folded books, which are an artful way to imply you are opening your life to a new chapter. This theme of literature and words can really carry your wedding and opens many doors for general decorations, invitations and even wedding favors.


Feathers are a nice accent that can be added into a floral bouquet or combined with other non-floral alternatives. Different types of feathers will add to your aesthetic in different ways. Long, dark feathers will add drama and intensity, while small light colored feathers will lighten a bouquet’s aesthetic and add a delicacy to the look. Consider your venue when you consider feathers. Feathers may add to the rustic outdoors feeling of your wedding, or could add some vintage elegance depending on how you tackle your feathery bouquet.

Many of these options can stand alone as a bouquet, but feel free to mix and match as well. Fruit would look lovely with herbs and succulents, just as a succulent decorating a book would be a lovely surprise bouquet alternative. Using these options as accents in floral bouquets and centerpieces is also a possibility.
​Incorporating many of these alternatives will take skills and tricks like using hidden wires to secure fruits into a bouquet form, so it might be best to hire an experienced florist when trying for more complex mediums. If you plan on doing some or all of your arrangements yourself, make sure you are researching the execution, consulting a florist at the very least and leaving yourself plenty of time to practice.
Ask your florist what alternative mediums they are comfortable with and go from there. Botanikal in Bellingham provided us with our featured photos of alternative floral arrangements. Find other Pacific Northwest florists here.

Arrangements by Botanikal in Bellingham