A bride asked me yesterday with assistance on helping her cut some costs from her wedding budget. One idea I had was to reduce the cost of flowers and bridesmaids bouquets immediately came to mind. If you have a big wedding party, this can really add up. I have had brides in the past chose to have their maids carry parasols and this can not only add some fun color to the day but makes for great photo ops. You don’t have to make them colorful or use the paper parasols. I really like this image I find out Google images (all the photos below were found by searching Google with the phrase “bridesmaid bouquet alternatives”

This is also a nice way to keep your maids cool while standing in the sun on the beach. Another cute idea for keeping them cool? Have them carry little fans instead.

They look great with a small touch of flowers or long trailing ribbons.

I was watching an episode of Four Weddings the other day (have you seen this show? It’s awesome!) and a 4th of July bride has her maids wear a deep navy color dress and then they held red clutches as they walked down the aisle. The look of the red against the navy was really striking. Not only was it an alternative to a bouquet, but it doubled as a bridesmaid gift. Now, I’m sure many clutches are going to cost about the same, if not more, than a bouquet, but at least you’re not buying a bouquet PLUS a maids gift.

This idea got me thinking about how a maids bouquet can serve multiple purposes. In my Google search I came across maids carrying lanterns down the aisle…

These could easily be reused at the reception as centerpieces! The photo right above, no, but those could be hung up around the reception. The ones with flowers though? Perfect for a centerpiece! Maids bouquets are always just left on a table at a reception and even when we provide vases to put them in, they don’t always look that great (they look like a bouquet stuck in a vase).

But even if you don’t like the look of lanterns, look how this bride used different elements, all of which can be reused at the reception

Those have a very “Alice in Wonderland” feel, don’t they? The brass candle stick holder is pretty cool, I can see reusing that on the tables will tall tapered candles.

Another alternative bouquet I saw was the use of books. Now for my own wedding, this would not make sense. I’m not sure my husband has ever read a book just for fun. I have no time to read books just for fun. But here’s the point: is there something that you and your fiancé love to do together? A hobby you both enjoy? Could you incorporate that somehow to really personalize your wedding day even more? I mean, I’m sure the bride that choses a book bouquet has a special meaning behind it. Maybe their are librarians? Met at a book store?

I was also drawn to these simple ideas. The pomanders like this can be done inexpensively and these could also be incorporated into reception décor.

And while this is technically a bouquet, it is far from traditional and a simple, inexpensive design.

I definitely recommend using Google images to find ideas for your wedding day. Even if it’s not your style, I find it so much fun looking at what others have come up with. Fun & whimsical, soft & romantic, bold & edgy, you’ll find it all!