Until recently the only choices brides had for a bouquet were real or silk flowers. But times have changed and we have lots of choices when it comes to planning our weddings, especially flowers. I chose to have organic fairly traded roses when I got married a couple of months ago. Nothing beats the fragrance of fresh flowers, especially in the winter! And silk flowers will always have a place especially if you are travelling to a destination wedding. The quality of silk or everlasting flowers has so dramatically improved that you often have to take a second look – they look so real!

You'll need to take a second look to be sure these flowers aren't "real". A lovely cream silk bouquet from debbiecoflowers.com

Roses are the most widely produced fair trade flower followed by carnations and chrysanthemums. But you can also get fair trade geraniums, poinsettias, and lilies. Photo ~ clareflorist.co.uk.

I’m finding that today’s bride, like myself, is a different breed from their motheror grandmother. We think more about the environmental footprint our wedding is going to leave. We think about the work conditions of those who work for growers and about the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers growers around the world are using and workers are exposed to. Just as we are more aware of the issues in the coffee, sugar and chocolate industries, today’s bride is more aware of the big picture, the footprint a wedding can leave.

If you do some planning you can have flowers from your garden or a friends for your wedding including your bouquet. This takes being a little more realistic because you can’t expect to have tulips in October. While hydrangea bloom for most of the summer and into the fall, the blooms are fragile and need lots of water the day of your wedding. But they are well worth the planning! Find a friend or family member who is knowledgeable about flowers in your area and you will be surprised at the lovely boquet you can have. Below are some stunning garden bouquet arrangements from www.manolobrides.com and weddingbycolor.com.

Beautiful garden bouquets from http://www.manolobrides.com and weddingbycolor.com!

On last week’s post I pointed brides towards a very unique designer, Autumn and Grace Bridal listed on esty.com. Autumn will take lace from your mother’s or grandmother’s gown and turn it into a stunning bouquet that will become an heirloom in your new family!

Vintage lace bouquet from Autumn and Grace.

Canadian floral designer Joanne MacDonald of Silver Leaf Designs suggests that adding a heirloom brooch or jewels to your bridal bouquet is another way of remembering a loved one and adding something extra to your bouquet. For a vintage feel choose soft colours like ivory, cream, light pink or lavender and choose vintage flowers like hydrangea, or peony (when in season), or roses.

Photo ~ bride.ca

Another bouquet concept I’ve seen more of are crafted or paper flower bouquets. You can purchase origami bouquets on-line from many sites: origamidelight.comSophistica on Etsy, eCrater or Origami USA.  Or, if you’re the creative type try making them yourself! Simply google “origami bridal bouquet instructions” for lots of sites with excellent directions and suggestions. The most popular and easiest paper flowers to make are lilies.

This tiger lilly origami bouquet is accented with gold tone wire and copper Swarvoski crystals. Designer: Lilies by Lisa

The designer of this stunning “something blue” bouquet is Tony Cheng/Origami USA with photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien for TIME.

Don’t limit yourself to designs and concepts from Canada or the USA. There are many international floral designers who are using/recycling environmentally friendly materials for unique “show stopping” bouquets.

Designs by Andy Djati Utomo

These fascinating bridal bouquets are the creation of Indonesian designer Andy Djati Utomo.

Just loving these alternative bouquet ideas. So many on Etsy. Here are two more before I sign off.

All the best! Jordin