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Do Bridesmaids Need Flowers? [Are There Any Alternatives?]

It is common for bridesmaids to carry flowers during the wedding ceremony. Besides, with the right bouquets, they can look stunning and provide a a level of sophistication to the service. But they do not come cheap! So much so that a common question is whether they are even required or can you forgo them altogether? I spent some time researching the possibilities and would like to share what I found here today.

So, do bridesmaids need flowers? Bridesmaids do not need to hold flowers. Instead, they can hold an alternative such as matching clutch bags or even a single flower. Equally, they could wear wrist corsages or not carry anything at all. However, most bridesmaids would prefer to hold something and it does give them somewhere to put their hands without looking uncomfortable.

Like many different aspects of your wedding, a lot comes down to personal preferences along with budget.

There are also a lot of different factors involved and to consider; such as your theme, the venue and what your bridesmaids actually want to do.

Besides, its not just the ceremony that the flowers are of use. They, or an alternative, do make excellent props in the wedding photography and make the pictures look a lot more natural!

Let us now take a closer look at the tradition of flowers at a wedding and why they are commonly carried to begin with. We will then look at whom typically pays for them and what you can do following with them following the ceremony/wedding day.

At the end, we will be covering those alternative options to bouquets; so be sure to keep reading to the end to find out all you need to know about the topic!

Why Do Brides And Bridesmaids Carry Flowers?

Brides and bridesmaids have been carrying flowers for generations, and the tradition actually spans many different cultures.

In fact, it is one of the oldest wedding traditions that is still largely followed to this day.

Historians have traced wedding flowers all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. For them, they carried different plants, herbs and spices as a means of preventing bad luck.

Flowers during this time also symbolized hope, happiness and as a gift, were a sign of fidelity.

As time progressed, flower bouquets began to be used as an art form. Brides did so to add color and beauty to the procession.

Interestingly, they have also been used throughout history due to their refreshing smell. Flowers were a simple means of masking body odors and displeasing smells.

Of course this should not be an issue today; but they still can and do bring color and joy to any wedding.

Who Pays For the Bridesmaids Flowers?

Traditionally, it is the bride and/or her family whom pays for the wedding flowers. This includes the ceremony and reception flowers, along with the bridesmaids bouquets, flower girls flowers and the the grooms boutonniere (which goes on his suit).

It is also the tradition for the groom and/or his family to pay for the brides bride’s bouquet, the boutonnieres for the rest of the groomsmen, the fathers and then the corsages for both of the mothers.

Although times have certainly changed.

These traditions are not always followed, and it has become more and more common for some of the costs to be shared with the bridal party.

For example, it may be the case that the bridesmaids will pay for their own bouquets, along with their dress, shoes and other accessories.

It ultimately depends on the bride and groom, the budget and what they expect of their bridal party.

Either way, if the bridesmaids are to be expected to pay for their own flowers, they should be made aware long in advance of the wedding. This will allow them to finance accordingly and prepare well ahead of time.

In the instance where bridesmaids purchase their own bouquets; this is usually coordinated by the maid/matron of honor, in accordance with the requests of the bride.

Bridesmaid Flower Options

There are generally three different types of flowers available that bridesmaids can carry. Each of which come with their own set of costs – depending on when and where you buy them.

That being said, it comes generally advised to budget between $25 -$250 per bouquet (or per bridesmaid).

Let us look at the different options available:

Real Flower Bouquet

Real flowers are typically the most expensive and require a bit of planning up front. These typically cost in the $50-$150 range depending on the flowers chosen for the bouquet and the supplier.

There is of course the option to make your own bouquets but this comes with its fair share of planning, while it does not always work out cheaper.

Artificial Bouquet (Fake Flowers)

Perhaps the most versatile option is to go for artificial/or fake flowers. These will vary in price depend on how realistic they look and where you get them from.

Some companies have been known to quote as little as $25 a bouquet, whereas others can even charge up to $100 each.

Again, it largely depends on the company selling them and how many you purchase (as some companies may offer discounts on a bulk buy).

Silk Flower Bouquets

The option that is perhaps somewhere in between are silk flowers. The idea here being that they look slightly more realistic than artificial flowers.

The price you can expect to pay for these kind of flowers will also range. I have seen silk flowers bouquets available for $30, but I have also seen them go for $150 a bunch.

Those at the highest end of the market can even exceed $350 each!

Generally, the better quality and more ‘real’ they look the more you can expect to pay.

Sometimes these are the priciest option, but they do come with their benefits like not needing to be fresh, easier to store, can purchase ahead of time etc.

What Do You Do With Bridesmaid Flowers?

There are many different things that you can do with your bridesmaid flowers following your wedding day.

A lot will depend on the type of flowers that you have on the day, with artificial or silk flowers being a lot less versatile.

For those, your options are relatively limited: to put them into storage, throw them away, donate or to sell them on.

But for real wedding flowers, your options are a little more exciting.

Perhaps the best way to put them to use are:

  • Air dry them; by hanging them upside down for 2-3 weeks. Its best to do so in a warm room but by the end of it you’ll have a range of decorative pieces,
  • Press your flowers; to preserve and flatten them. From there you can put them in a wedding book or even frame them to put up around your home.
  • Turn them into ornaments; there are a lot of innovative businesses that you can use whom will turn your flowers into ornaments such as floral paperweights.
  • Put them in resin; You can put your flowers into a resin mould to create letters, words or other interesting items. You can buy you own resin kits from Amazon for a great price and it makes a fun post-wedding activity.
  • Send them home with guests; especially if your bridesmaids have paid for them.
  • Take them to a nursing home; where others can benefit from what are likely to be beautiful bouquets.
  • Find a floral donation program; exist to help people learn all about flowers for experience within the flower industry.

What Bridesmaids Can Hold Instead Of Flowers?

While flower bouquets do look beautiful, unfortunately, they are expensive.

The truth is, the brides budget may not be able to stretch to cover the cost for each of the bridesmaids. Equally, there may be no to little desire to ask the bridesmaid to take on the additional cost.

But what are the alternatives?

Thankfully, there are several different options which we will now look at below:


The truth is, the bridesmaids do not have to carry anything. Although this can look odd and bridesmaids generally would prefer to have something to hold and somewhere to pout their hands.

Matching Clutch Bags

Alternatively, you could get your bridesmaids to hold a small clutch bag that match the dresses, wedding theme and attire.

This can work particularly well as it gives the bridesmaids somewhere to put a few extra items like lipstick or lip-gloss!

Wrist Corsages 

Wrist corsages are essentially a band of flowers that go around the wrist.

They look very elegant and are a much more affordable option. They typically cost between $15-$30 a piece.

Single Flower

If you like the idea or look of flowers but do not want or cannot afford an entire bouquet, why not opt for your bridesmaids to carry a single flower.

This will look as equally beautiful and again can cut the costs down dramatically. You’d only need to purchase 1-2 bouquets of the same fresh flowers and could split up accoridngly.


Bridesmaids do not need flowers, although they are a beautiful addition and there is a reason in why this tradition is still largely continued to this day.

If your budget is limited, then thankfully you have a number of different options available to you.

First and foremost, if you are willing and able, you could ask for your bridesmaids to cover the costs of their bouquets.

Although, I can fully understand if you do not want to explore this option. I personally would not feel comfortable in asking or having this conversation with my bridesmaids.

So in this case, you can consider matching clutch bags, wrist corsages or a single flower.

All work well; it just comes down to preference.

Other wedding flower guides you may want to check out: