Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eff the Bouquet

The other day, I mentioned that Jason and I had a tiff about my bouquet. He knows I'm into succulents, so he sent me this:

Whereas my succulent bouquet inspiration plays with shape and color a bit more:

Somehow, this aesthetic disagreement led to an argument, despite the fact that Jason was only trying to help.  It gets even worse, though.  Because not only did I behave like an ungrateful, frazzled, weddinged-out tool, but I DON'T EVEN WANT A BOUQUET.  That's right, we fought about aesthetics for something that is so unimportant to me that I don't even want one.  Sigh.

In my defense, I'd just spent the afternoon battling with my mother about not wanting a bouquet.  Because apparently not having a bouquet is a giant bridal no-no.  I find this idiotic, since no one I've asked (including my mother) can explain the purpose of a bouquet. Yes, the purpose. Since we're not tied to tradition-for-tradition's sake, the question "why bother" has become pretty important in this planning process.  As best as I can tell, a bouquet is simply a pretty bridal prop, and a fleeting, extraordinarily expensive, overly photographed one at that (sorry, I'm not in love with detail shots). At least it does have an interesting origin, if not a purpose, as Ellie from Wedding for Two described in a post about choosing traditions,
With bouquets - people used to bathe only once, maybe twice a year. Flowers covered the stench of a bride who hadn't washed herself in months. I shower daily. Therefore I do not need a bouquet. However, it will upset the moms if I don't have it. So I'm sucking it up.
Oh. So bouquets are simply vestiges of foul personal hygiene habits in a bygone era.  Awesome.  I'd now feel entirely justified in saying eff it...  except for that mother thing. (Perhaps Ellie is wiser than I, in that regard.) Let's assume for a moment that I'm willing to consider acquiescing to give my mother this small joy (since bouquets are not the hill I want to die on. We have the possible barbecue wedding battle to survive first.)  I still can't figure out what to DO with the darn thing besides hold it in portrait photos.  Some of you might say "carry it down the aisle, of course!" But that's not going to work for me, since I'll be holding BOTH my parents' arms down the aisle (in Jewish tradition both parents walk their child - bride and groom - down the aisle.) So I won't even have a place to hold the silly prop. 

This argument held zero water with my mother.  Instead, she demonstrated how I could loop my arms through both of theirs and hold my bouquet in the middle.  I foresee a klutzy train-and-heel-filled disaster whereas she's in proud-mama daydream land.  So, to bolster my case, I asked a few of my recently married girlfriends what they did with their bouquets. Almost unanimously, the responses were "I handed it to my maid of honor," " I held it in photos" and "I dried it afterwards and I have it as a keepsake." Note that I didn't mention bouquet tossing, because that's just not how me or most of my girlfriends roll. Also note that NO ONE actually held onto it for more than a few minutes all night.  To me, those few minutes are not worth either a) spending $150 on having a rad succulent bouquet made by a florist (because I know I'm not getting near this sort of DIY) b) dealing with finding organic flowers and making one myself the day before or c) making it out of sustainable materials ahead of time and having it as a permanent keepsake.  Until I came to my I-have-zero-time-to-thrift-for-brooches-and-what-would-I-even-do-with-the-thing-after-the-wedding senses, I was a little set on making one of these:

As with so much of this wedding stuff, a bouquet is not a requirement.  And if it's an aesthetic option without an intrinsic purpose to the day (besides reminding us to use deodorant), then I can't for the life of me figure out why I should give a damn.  I like pretty, but at this point bouquet-pretty and the effort to achieve it may be beyond my point of giving-a-damn. If anyone has a good argument for keeping the bouquet, I'm curious as to why.  And if you were remotely contemplating ditching the bouquet, please let me know.  I'm feeling like I've committed some weird bridal taboo for even bringing up my questions. And if there's a good enough reason or my mother reeeeeally cares that much, I can always throw together some farmer's market organic flowers that morning or go with a last-minute eff it.


  1. Ok, so I loved my bouquet, and I was into it because I love flowers, but they are, indeed, totally useless. Yes, it was awkward to hold while linking arms with both my parents walking down the aisle, and then on the way back down, I forgot it, and my mom had to bring it back to me. And then it was pointless. So it got like, 5 awkward minutes of play.

    Tell your mom a firm no. As you know, my mom was the queen of arguments over dumb shit like this, but everything that we yelled and screamed about before the wedding that she so objected to--she did not even notice the night of. No one will notice if it's missing. I know that doesn't help in the moment, when she's driving you crazy, but seriously. Bouquets are like the most superfluous wedding item ever (at least a dude will wear a boutonniere all night, you know?).

    Oh ps, I tried to dry mine on a total whim (I just really loved it!), but it went totally brown. So it went in the garbage. I am content with the one photo I have of it. SUPERFLUOUS.

  2. I'm making a brooch one! just bid like crazy on ebay. I posted some pictures on my blog! also, even with the amount i've spent so far way cheaper than regular flowers

  3. I have to admit, I decided that I wanted a bouquet. The big to-do has been from my future mother-in-law, who is paying for the flowers - she can't understand why I'm doing fake (classy fake, not walmart fake) and why I'm not tossing the bouquet (um, none of my single friends want to jump for a frigging bouquet). We got over it, but it was a close one.

  4. i love love love the idea of the vintage brooches. or even handmade fabric flowers
    but, in the end, it your wedding day.
    if you don't want a bouquet...don't have one and don't apologize to anyone for your decision.
    that day is about you! do what makes you happy!

  5. I'm skipping the bouquet -- join the team!

    I'm doing a destination wedding, so the whole DIY bouquet thing is out (can't deal with researching flower markets in another country, and don't want me or my friends giving up beach / exploring time to fuck with shears and twine) as is the making fake bouquets in advance (don't wanna pay for shipping or extra suitcases). And for the $200 florists are quoting, I could get an awesome necklace, or shoes, or many of those things, that would last longer than a night. Or help pay for transportation between hotel and reception, which I'd really really prefer to flowers.

    Also, not gonna lie, I'm picky, so I'd want one of those rad saipua type bouquets and would be too snobby to go simple grocery or florist style, so more $$$ and research.

    But most importantly, I just really don't give a fuck about bouquets, and kinda hate having things to carry around and keep track of. So I figure, why bother? If it's not important to me, I'm not spending my time or money on it.

  6. i wanted a bouquet because i love fresh flowers, but right after the ceremony and photos, i really didn't care anymore. the weather was hot and the flowers began to wilt :( i say go with an alternatve bouquet (brooches, tissue, felt,fabric, clay) if you want a keepsake, or ditch it all together if it isn't important. i'm sure if you are firm, you mom will understand.

  7. Ha ha. I was going to tell you that the main function of a bouquet is so you have something to do with your hands as you walk down the aisle (did you see the 30 Rock episode where Jack is filming and needs two coffee mugs because he can't figure out what to do with his hands?) but since you're walking down the aisle with both parents, that won't be an issue.

    I say explain to your mom that you really don't want one, and that the expense just doesn't really fit in with your budget/wants. Or maybe ask her why the bouquet is so important to her and then have a discussion about it. Maybe she'll realize that she has a totally irrational desire for a bouquet and then give up. Or stand firm. But at least you'll have discussed it.

  8. I think it is fine if you don't have a bouquet. I don't really care about flowers either. I am having bouquets though. They are silk and I am making them myself for under $100. During the reception the bouquets will decorate the cake table and head table. Good luck with your mom.

  9. No bouquet here!

    Our "florists" (i.e. they own a flower farm and are supplying the bulk goods) asked if I wanted boutonniere for the groom? Me: Nope, he's not even wearing a jacket/tie. Bridesmaids bouquets? No, not having any maids. And the bouquet? Uh-uh. I can't see any logical purpose, except to keep fidgety hands busy. I'm walking down the aisle with the groom, so that takes care of that. And otherwise? I'd be stuck holding it or handing it off to someone. A pretty pain in the @ss, IMHO.

    If I REALLY want something for photos, maybe I'll grab a single flower out of a centerpiece or something. *shrug*

  10. The boy and I were talking about this yesterday. He doesn't understand why I don't care about all these little traditions and then I mentioned that bouquets here run around $200 and he totally got it. My big problem has been the bridesmaids. They really want bouquets, but I have 5 of them. Um, no.

  11. My best friend really, really wanted a huge pomander of orange roses as her bouquet. Because it was round we had to hang it in a closet so it would stay round for the ceremony. We almost forgot it was there, I was literally running for it as the other bridesmaids processed. The florist had soaked the foam ball in water to keep the flowers fresh and that sucker weighed, i kid you not, almost ten pounds. She carried it down the aisle and then I had to hold it for the entire ceremony (I resisted the strong urge to do bicep curls). It barely shows up in any of her pictures because it was so burdensome and was eventually hung on a tree and forgotten about.

    This is all my way of telling you to eff the damn bouquet. It's likely not the hill your mom wants to die on either, so stand your ground.

  12. I am not too concerned about the bouquet. I think most people have them nowadays to keep their hands busy.

  13. I am having a bouquet cause I love flowers and think they'll look pretty. Having said that, I think you should do what you want. If a bouquet seems useless to you then don't have one. Its your wedding so you get to pick what you like and don't like. If you are getting pressure from your mom on the day though, I think your suggestion of the farmers market flowers works great.

  14. I'm sick of the are you having a round bouquet or a dropped bouquet? How the eff should I know? I'm really not used to carrying a bunch of flowers around for the day it isn't what i usually do. I suspect I'll still have a bouquet because the flowers are beautiful but I've no idea what they are useful for. Plus walking down the aisle I'll be holding on to my Dad's arm or maybe my Dad and my Mum thats what I'll be doing with my hands.
    If it isn't right for you don't do it. x

  15. I love the brooch bouquet pics you posted! So unique and gorgeous. Stick to your guns, I say. I don't want a big cake, and my mom is not happy about it. But I am putting my foot down here. (I'm having a bouquet b/c I love flowers and I'm walking myself down the aisle, so I need something to do with my hands!)

  16. Brooch bouquets are very cool and definitely a possible keepsake. And I'm not quite sure how they're made but perhaps they can even be broken apart and redistributed as thank you gifts after the big day?

    I am having a bouquet simply because I am a traditionalist who loves the details. Funny thing is, I don't typically like flowers at all. I tell Mr Fix It not to even bother getting them for me because they just die after a few days and then it's one more thing I have to clean up. The thought is nice but I would much prefer he pay for me to get a mani/pedi or a facial than blow money on flowers.

    However, for wedding day, I just gotta have 'em. That said, who cares what everyone else says? If you absolutely feel the need to have a bouquet to appease mom, then I would definitely suggest trying to find a place at the reception for it to do double duty as decor so you don't feel like it gets thrown aside and wasted somehow. I am using my bridesmaid bouquets to beautify either the cake table or the fireplace near our sweetheart table. You can always find a use for things that seem wasteful.

  17. Thanks everyone for the support! Everyone's feedback is such a breath of fresh air in the middle of wedding nuttiness.

    And I just wanted to clarify that I LOOOOOVE flowers, but the bouquet just isn't a priority for me when measured against everything else. I'm too practical-minded to want to spend time or money on something that will be a hassle/minimally important/expensive for the wedding.

    Though, given all the bouquet images in my inspiration file, I've clearly given it some thought. Because they are truly pretty.

  18. Ohh, this is late in the game, but I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring as well. Outside of noticing those cool brooch bouquets floating around the interwebs, I'd given zero thought to the bouquet issue until I read your post just now. And you helped me decide: no. It's not worth it. I just can't bring myself to care that much about it. So thank you for that.

    You know, people keep warning me -- "Well, it's OK to get your flowers from the market and put them in vases yourself, but make sure to hire a florist for the bouquets and bouts!! It's just too important!!!" Eh. Important is a state of mind. I like what Meg said up there about grabbing a flower out of a centerpiece if needed for photos. I need to keep my hands free the rest of the night. For drinks.

  19. So I've decided to have one for 2 reasons. I'm not going to pretend they are GOOD reasons, but they are my reasons.
    1. My mother-in-law stopped fighting our meatless wedding so I'm giving her this. She thinks you can't have a wedding without a bouquet, so yeah, sucking it up.
    2. My dress has a basque waist. I hate it. And there's nothing I can do about it and how much I dislike it was not a reason to not buy my cheap wonderful soft romantic dress; but it can't be altered and everyone says it makes me look skinny. So I was resigning myself to just dislike my dress in the pictures. (It feels so good on, I don't care.) Then I was looking at a friend's pictures, and her dress had a basque waist, and I was trying to get a closer look and then I realized - in all of the pictures, her gorgeous bouquet is held exactly where the waist is. Problem. solved.

    Also, both my parents are walking me down the aisle. I had your thoughts, and then I watched the friends wedding and Monica's mom doesn't even hold her arm, just walks beside her. It looks fine.

  20. I'm a sucker for pretty, cut flowers.
    I'm also a sucker for indulgences at appropriate times.

    The thought of getting some super-pretty cut flowers to carry around with me, just because it was my wedding, was too good to pass up.

    And, though it was expensive, it was just a drop in a gigantic bucket. I got to the point where I just said: I want what I want. Conversely, you don't want what you don't want. So skip it and buy some rockin' shoes, or whatever.

    In our photos, I like the bright colors of the flowers against the more subdued white and tan of our clothing.

    (Ultimately, though, the bouquet ended up in the compost heap. A fleeting indulgence. It was a pain to pull out all the pins!)

  21. I say eff the bouquet too. I had one. Was weird to hold it. Hardly in any photos anyway. Did look nice in the middle of our table in a vase at the reception. But seriously - just a waste of money.

  22. I'm having one too--for no particular reason i guess--which is funny for the woman who questions every single wedding tradition. I guess, I like flowers?? I'm not spending a lot of money--going to the organic flower farm and buying whatever they have the day before. I may also throw in some of my mom's lavendar and some herbs--which is what was originaly used in the bouquets to cover up peoples's smells so I'll have the added bonus in case my deodorant decides to fail that day!!

    The thought of making one of those brooch bouquets or one of those other permanent ones you mentioned makes me break out in hives!

    With both your parents walking you down I can totally see the awkwardness of having a bouquet--my friend did it last year and it did look a little weird.

    Traditions are that funny thing--who is it important too? How much are you willing to compromise?? I ask myself all the time!!

  23. I didn't have a bouquet and I can tell you I was glad I didn't bother. Why pay money for something that you have to hand off to someone else?
    I walked down the aisle with my husband and it was so much nicer to hold his hand than some flowers.
    As for your mum remind her that she's had her wedding and this one is yours.

  24. LOL. Hopefully I'll have time to shower regularly between now and the wedding! Seriously- I'm having a bouquet only b/c I want to make one of those broach ones AND have already been collecting 60's enameled broaches forever! That's all. I think like all decisions/traditions wedding related though it's important to pick your battles. That's to say if you REALLY hate a bouquet then absolutely don't have one. If you just can't quite justify/define a reason for a bouquet, but don't hate 'em then maybe it's not such a terrible compromise?

  25. I've been reading a lot of wedding history these days, and that's not exactly the history. In ancient times (at least going back to the Greeks) flowers were really closely associated with weddings because 1) they celebrated fertility, and 2) They were what people had on hand to decorate. Their seem to be historical descriptions of brides holding flowers going back thousands of years.

    But, in Western culture, it went out of fashion somehow, long ago, and the concept of brides holding bouquets came back in roughly 100 years ago (*after* queen Victoria's seminal wedding, interestingly enough). Until the turn of the last century brides held a embroidered handkerchief or a prayer book, if they held anything.

    On a, you know, practical level - it's not so tricky to hold it going down the aisle Jewish style. I didn't even really think about it. Some people loooovvvveeee theirs (ESB) but I held mine during pictures (it was a pretty flash of color) down the aisle, during the ceremony most of the time, and then as I left... that was it. It's VERY do-without-able. I think most people will end up (gasp) not noticing. I have some bouquetless brides on the site, and honestly *I* never noticed till someone pointed it out to me.

    Totally hear you on picking fights though... if your mom is willing to pay for it, you can just have it for her, and hold it when you feel like it. I made mine, which was easy, though flowers themselves were quite the project.

  26. I'm seriously considering nixing the bouquet. I just have no interest in it. I was thinking maybe a corsage? Since the flowers are DIY then the girls can have a bouquet if they want one but it just seems like a waste (albeit a pretty one) to me. Really the only reason I would get one is to be able to make one. Cuz I'm crazy.

    Also, I think the tradition has something to do with the meanings of the type of flowers and attracting the magic fertility fairies or something.

  27. or you can go waaaay back and carry stink herbs and garlic to fend off the evil spirits!

  28. I don't care so much about a bouquet either. Not enough to pay for one at least. I think they are pretty and since we'll be growing flowers for decor, if we have time, i'll whip one up for me and my bridal party. I don't like the perfectly rond florist look anyway. So a fresh picked from the field look will be perfect. But we don't have time, i don't think i'll really care.

    When i told a recently married friend about this she said a bouquet was absolutely necessary because it gives you something to hold during the ceremony and especially the cocktail hour. She said that she'd found it great since she had no handbag, no pockets, and would have felt selfconscious just not having anything in her hands.

    I'm betting i will have either a drink or a child in my hands so that won't be a problem for me lol !

  29. Holy crap! We have like the same brain. Not really, but these are my thoughts on bouquets, EXACTLY. Minus the rediculous moms, because when I told my mom and mom-in-law-to-be I wasn't having bouquets (for me or my 'maids), they didn't bat an eye. I'm lucky, I guess. I don't know what I'd do with the stuid thing. I feel like it would be ten times more awkward to have one than not. And I had no idea what purpose it served. In searching for a good reason to carry one, I found the exact post you quote above and similar things on other sites. I don't really have a point here, but I was so excited that someone wrote exactly what I have been thinking for months (and feld like a weirdo for) that I just had to say something. AH! This is so exciting!


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