Asking Dad First…It’s Still the Thing to Do

Call us old fashioned…but the tradition of the guy coming to his girlfriend’s dad and asking for her hand in marriage, well, as outdated as you may think that sounds…we still like the idea! After all, this is a big step. It’s more than just dating. It’s a commitment. A lifetime commitment. And no matter how close your future husband is to your parents, and/or your dad in particular, we can guarantee, that almost always, the guy is going to be nervous!

Sure, dad always tries to put forth that “no guy is ever going to be good enough for MY daughter” attitude. He jokes around that he’s always got the shotgun ready. He talks about buying a t-shirt that has some saying on it about “50 reasons for not dating my daughter”. He probably even has one of the humorous “application to date my daughter” papers that someone gave him when his little girl was old enough to start dating…you know, the one that asks the guy if he has life insurance, if he’s ever been arrested, if he plans on getting her home every night at 8:00, and ends with “I’ll let you know if your application has been approved in ten years or so!”
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Yeah. That’s her dad. And since you love her more than anything and want to marry her, well, you have to go to him and ask HIS permission. Asking her might be easier. Because you’re fairly sure she’ll say YES! Dad may be a different story.

Before we go any further, yes we know that times are different now. There are lots of cases where she lives with her mom, rather than her mom and dad. Dad may or may not be in her life. Or if he is, he may live out of town and you may never have even met him. (In which case, a trip out of town may definitely be in order! With your soon-to-be fiancée of course!) Or dad may have passed away, and her mom is the one you have to talk to. Or maybe an uncle or a stepdad.

Gets a bit complicated here, doesn’t it?

Bottom line is, unless there’s a really, REALLY good reason…there’s almost always someone that she looks up to whose permission you should get before you propose! Not only are you making the first of many public statements of how you feel about her by asking permission to marry her, you’re also showing your respect. And believe me, even though you may think it’s not that important, trust us…it is. And it also establishes the tone for your new relationship. You’re no longer going to be regarded as that boy who’s dating his daughter. You’re going to be a family member. A son-in-law as well as a husband! You’re taking on a whole new responsibility.
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So what’s the best way and time to do this? Definitely BEFORE you propose to her. There’s that asking permission thing. Just be sure that she has the same feelings that you do! Because you don’t want to get her dad’s permission, and then find out SHE has no desire to marry you! But that situation is few and far between, as the saying goes.

Having recently gone through this, we do have some good advice for any young man who’s made up his mind that he’s going to propose. (And let me add one part here…our future son-in-law Chris did everything the right way – we were out of town on vacation, and he drove over an hour to get to where we were staying to ask Ben’s permission, even though we were coming back the next day! He’d made up his mind, and already had the ring, so he wanted to make sure all the pieces were in place, even though the actual proposal was some two weeks away!)

So you’re scared? Nervous? Don’t be. Well, if you haven’t been around her dad a lot, we can sort of understand your being a bit apprehensive, but still… And by all means, don’t do it over the phone or by text message or email! Don’t tweet it or post a message on Facebook to him! Unless you’re on two different continents, and there are no plans to be together any time soon, well, in that case you can hook up your Skype and do it that way!

You need to do this face to face. Eyeball to eyeball. In private. You don’t want an audience. This is one of the most important conversations you’re going to have. And guess what. You have to start the dialogue, because chances are, her dad is going to know immediately why you’re there! And he’s going to wait until YOU start talking, because he wants to maintain that last bit of control that he’s getting ready to lose.
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You may have rehearsed what you’re going to say a hundred times in your own mind. But guess what…when it’s time to actually say those words to your future father-in-law, you may forget everything you’d planned to say. Which is fine. Because you really need to speak from your heart. This is the time to tell him how much you love his daughter, and how sure you are that you want to spend the rest of your life with her. And if you stumble over the words, well, that’s ok, too.

Your heart is what’s important. And trust me, he’s going to know where your heart is as soon as you start talking. And he’s going to keep picturing that little girl playing dress up, while you’re picturing your future wife walking down the aisle in her wedding dress! Two totally separate pictures!

Chances are by the time you’ve said all that, you’re finally going to be able to breathe again, because you probably won’t be breathing too well when you start the conversation.

Then you have to wait for his answer. And please be sure you actually ASK for his permission to marry his daughter. Because if you don’t ask the question, how can he give you his answer???!

Now you also have to remember there are a lot of things going through HIS mind as well! (And possibly one day you’ll be on the opposite end of this conversation!) He’s realizing that his baby isn’t a baby or a child any more. He automatically thinks about all the days with her when HE was her main guy! That’s sort of hard to take as a dad…or a mom. And there are a lot of thoughts in his head that he doesn’t know how to deal with either. And I don’t mean thinking about paying for a wedding, because that’s the last thing on his mind at that point!
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Bottom line…this is the time you and your future father-in-law really start to connect. Forget all the stereotypes you see in the movies, like where the dad yells and throws the guy out of the house, or threatens to have him disappear, or says something sarcastic like “I hope this time she actually goes through with it, instead of dumping you at the last minute like she did the other guys, because I think I actually like you!”

As much as you imagine in your mind all the bad ways this could go…it won’t. You’ll be fine. Her dad will be fine. Just be sure you make him promise not to say anything to his daughter until you actually get up your nerve to ask her!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: 2nd Row: miabridalcouture.blogspot- 3rd Row: 4th Row:; – 5th Row: via tumblr

Dad’s Idea of Buying a Wedding Gown

Not to pick on poor ol’ dad, but let’s face it! Sometimes they don’t see things like moms and their daughters do. Especially when it comes to wedding gown shopping! Not that I’m picking on anyone in particular, you understand…..but if the shoe fits…!

As soon as our bride-to-be (I just like that term!) got her engagement ring, we started talking about wedding gown shopping. We’d look at all the stores here locally, then venture up to Williamsburg, and then on to Richmond, and then probably the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas….oh yeah, we were going to make this THE shopping trip of a lifetime!
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We’d take some of the bridesmaids with us on each shopping trip. Of course! Part of their job is helping, isn’t it? And they also have to pick out some bridesmaid dress styles. Oh, yes, I envisioned all of these shopping excursions! Isn’t that a HUGE part of the fun of working with brides? Especially when it’s your own daughter!

Dad just didn’t understand all that. Or so he said.

His first suggestion…since one of our daughter’s best friends got married last year, and they’re the same size, he naturally figured that HER wedding dress would be perfect for Ashley to wear! After all, it’s only been worn once!

Really? Seriously here?

Yes, they’re the same size. Yes, her dress was beautiful. However….her friend is her Matron of Honor. Some of the same guests are attending Ashley’s wedding as attended Shadoe’s. And whether or not they remember the dress, well, it just wouldn’t be quite the same. That’s carrying “something borrowed” just a bit too far! (I do know there are brides who’ve happily done that, but this is not going to happen here.) We’ve actually heard for the past eight months or more about how she can wear her friend’s dress!

It’s not happening, Dad. Get over it! Move on!

Well, he did move on. Next idea was a consignment shop. “They’ve only been worn once. No one will know.” He may or may not have been serious. Then he went on to explain how she could get a $1,500 dress for probably a couple of hundred. And no one would recognize that one, because none of us would know where it came from!

“Really, dad? So you want me to wear someone else’s dress, who might have worn it and then gotten divorced so she’s selling it to make money? Maybe Chris should’ve gotten my ring at a consignment shop!”

Aha! Dad liked that idea and threatened to tell Chris, so he could exchange the ring he’d already given her. Not a wise move. (Dad just hasn’t learned the finer points of negotiating about wedding gowns. You’d think the husband of a wedding planner would MAYBE know a little better….?)

He even suggested that she could RENT a dress. After all, the groomsmen are renting their tuxes! (And up until a few weeks ago I didn’t know there was a place here locally where you could actually do that!) Then you can just return it afterwards. Sometimes he doesn’t know when to give up.

Then he saw a show on TV about a bride-to-be getting her dress at a pawn shop! There was this back room, and there were a bunch of wedding gowns on sale for $99. He was absolutely enthralled! And when the bride-to-be ended up getting her dress for only $49 because it was stained with beer and she had to get it cleaned, well…that just started him off again! Not to mention that the rest of the show dealt with having the ceremony on a basketball court and the reception dinner being twinkies and grilled cheese sandwiches. The whole wedding cost under $500. You could just see the wheels turning….

Should I even mention that he also suggested Ashley could wear the wedding gown I’ve had in storage since 1972? It’s not quite her style, since it’s long sleeves and lacy and heavy and well…a bit dated. But isn’t that why we have them preserved? For our daughters to wear for their weddings?
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Fortunately, as you can imagine, our bride-to-be ended up going shopping with me and several of her bridesmaids and found her dress. Her never-worn NEW dress. Unfortunately for me, though, we only went to two stores before she found THE one!

Which has been ordered. And is now ready to be picked up. (But as one of dad’s friends told him…don’t worry, if it hasn’t been altered yet, you can still convince her to return it!)

Sorry, Dad. But I did like the look on your face when she tried it on when we went to pick it up. Aren’t you glad you let her get what SHE wanted?

And isn’t she going to be a beautiful bride?

NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with getting your dress at a consignment shop, borrowing from a friend, or even renting it! Lots of brides happily do that, for various reasons. It’s what YOU want to do. Because it’s YOUR wedding!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: Blackburn Bridal Couture – London – 2nd Row: Personal Files – 3rd Row: 4th Row: – 5th Row: Personal Files

The Proposal

March 20 was National Proposal Day. Somehow we missed it until it was a bit too late to get this written and posted on Proposal Day. But better late than never, right?

We’ve heard a lot of great proposal stories….at the ball park with the announcement on the big screen (what if she’d said NO???), in Disney World with Mickey Mouse in the background, on the beach while fireworks were shooting off on the 4th of July, dropping the ring in a glass of champagne (and worrying that she’d swallow it by accident!), etc. We particularly like one in which the guy had t-shirts made for a bunch of their friends, each with a word from the phrase “I love you. Will you marry me?” and everyone putting them on at the same time and lining up while he got down on one knee. These are actually all real stories we’ve heard from friends or actually been a part of.

There are as many stories about how he proposed as there are engaged couples. Think about it. To be engaged, someone has to ask someone else. And yes, it’s almost always the guy asking the girl.

Now the trend is for someone to secretly photograph the event. Which is usually a bit tricky, because if she sees a photographer or someone with a camera and all of a sudden her boyfriend starts acting a bit strange, well it’s almost a giveaway that there’s something getting ready to go down. And usually the next step is him going down on one knee, and well, you know the rest!

I love hearing stories of how our grooms proposed. It’s one of the first questions I ask. It helps to get to know the couple better, and really gives a lot of insight into how they want their wedding to be.

The trend today for getting engaged, is not just for the guy to buy a ring and present it to her at the right time. Today a lot of proposals are very well thought out and planned in advance. Lots of wedding planners even get involved in planning proposals! While we haven’t done that yet, there’s always a first time!

But back some thirty years ago when my husband and I got engaged, these special event proposals weren’t the trend. In any way, shape or form.

But then again, I do have to say, that my husband has always been very creative, and a bit on the cutting edge, shall we say. And his proposal to me was something I never, ever expected. Sure we’d done the customary looking at a few rings (after all, we’d met at a local mall, and there were a lot of jewelry stores there), but we’d not really talked much about getting married.

The “engagement day” started out like any other typical Monday morning at my office. I was working as a property manager in the Washington, DC area then, and Monday mornings were always office days to catch up on any disasters from the weekend! Monday morning meetings weren’t unusual, either, although I didn’t know there was one scheduled that morning. And I thought my boss was in an unusually good mood, not typical for a Monday morning at all!

But I thought nothing of it. So when he came over to my desk and said we were all getting together in the conference room for a quick meeting, I didn’t think anything about it.


Imagine my surprise when I walked in, and the ENTIRE office was in there. And I was pointed to a chair in the middle of the room full of people and told to sit. Uh oh….what have I done now? Then I saw someone with a camera. I was really worried then.

All of a sudden, the door opens, and here comes a man in a white tux, complete with white bow tie and tails, a white top hat and a cane! (His name was Mr. Wonderful, and was from a company called Eastern Onion! I have a certificate saying that somewhere!) And he came over to me, asked if I were Deborah Chapman, and then said, “I have a message for you from Ben Newell.” Oh. My. Gosh! What now? And before I could even react, he started singing to me about how much Ben loved me, did some dance routine, and then got down on one knee in front of me and said Ben sent HIM to ask if I’d marry him! And he handed me this beautiful ring that we’d been looking at! Do I remember the song? Heck, no! I was in total shock, and speechless, and for those who know me well, you KNOW that is a totally unusual occurrence!

Of course there were pictures being taken, and to this day I have no earthly idea where in the world they are! I would really, really like to see them again!

He ended his routine telling me that Ben was waiting for his answer, and then bowed, and left! While I sat there in shock, and embarrassment (yes!), and wondering what I was supposed to do next, while everyone in the room was applauding and congratulating me! They’d all been in on it, and how they kept it all a secret, I have no idea.

Naturally when I walked out of the conference room, I expected Ben to be there. Well, wouldn’t you? I mean the man had just asked me to marry him! But no, he wasn’t anywhere to be found. OK. Maybe he was at my desk waiting to surprise me. No. OK.

Since it was prior to the days of cell phones and instant contact, all I could do was try to call him at his office. And of course his secretary put me through. I could tell from his voice he’d been expecting my call. And what’s the first thing I say? “Where are you?” Uh….you called me at the office so where do you think I am? “Why aren’t you here?” Why should I be? “I just got a visitor. The one you hired.”

I could hear the smile coming through the phone. “And did you like the visitor?” Of course I did! But why aren’t you here? “Well, I figured you’d call me after he left. What’s your answer?” Well, it’s yes, of course, but did you think I’d say no so you decided not to come in case I that’s what I said? And the ring is beautiful but it needs to be sized!

Oh yeah. I said that. How romantic!

But the rest is history, as the saying goes.

We both still laugh at that story, and it’s been almost thirty years. Ben was certainly ahead of his time in that one. And it’s never been a dull moment since! I may pick on him a lot, but yes, I still love him!

And I’m glad I said “YES!”

Photo Sources: 1st Row: Claire Durkin Photography via; via flickr- 2nd Row:; 3rd Row: Otta;

Barking Down the Aisle?

What happens when the bride really, REALLY wants to have her dog(s) included in the day’s events?

We know that all those pictures on Pinterest of the brides with their dog on their wedding day are absolutely beautiful. We particularly like the ones that show the dogs as ring bearers (some even with a ring pillow on their collar!) or flower dogs with a wreath of flowers around their collar. You’d never even think that those adorable four-legged balls of fur would ever, EVER, do anything to mess up your wedding day. Right? They just love you and your fiancé so much that they’d never EVER embarrass you!

Well…not always. In your dreams your dog will walk perfectly down the aisle and go right to you and sit where he/she’s supposed to be. Or your dog is brought in with one of your attendants, walks perfectly down the aisle, and sits/stands right where he/she’s supposed to be through the whole ceremony. That’s the way it’s supposed to go. Right?

Are you really seriously thinking that? Are we talking a 5 pound Yorkie or an 80 pound Golden Retriever? Or something in between?

Before we continue, let me say this. I love pets. We currently have two dogs, and three cats. They’re part of our family. We’ve had cats and dogs for as long as I can remember. And you know your family is supposed to be part of your wedding day. Right?

Here’s how you imagine it. It’s almost ceremony time. You’ve already had the pre-requisite pictures taken in your beautiful wedding gown with your wonderful golden retriever looking lovingly in your face, maybe even putting his paw in your hand, licking your face, or even posing beside your very fragile bouquet. Then you and your faithful friend go out, and he walks down the aisle (wearing his best wedding bow tie) with one of your bridesmaids and takes his place beside your mom on the front row so he can watch everything. After the ceremony he’s there for more pictures, and you and your groom have some great shots with the dog looking lovingly at both of you. Then there’s the picture where he’s balancing the rings on his nose….

You get the picture, right? That’s in the perfect world.

Who really lives in that perfect world? Who has a dog that’s trained that well to behave like that? Without being on a lot of doggie tranquilizers, that is! And who would want to do that? No matter how well trained your pet is, there are just so many things that can go, well, wrong.

Let’s imagine how it would really go. You’re getting dressed on your wedding day. Just a few hours to go. Your hair and makeup are perfect. Your dress is gorgeous, and fits perfectly. In comes your dog, who sees you and promptly wants to jump on you, because, well, he’s a dog, and he’s excited! Even on a leash, he’s still going to be excited and jumping! And unless you have a little tiny dog, can you imagine what would happen next? And how you’d fix the dress so no one can tell? He or she may be cute and adorable, but at that particular moment, CUTE is not in your vocabulary!

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Or let’s say you just want the dog to walk down the aisle and carry something (and please NOT the real rings!). Tied to his collar, of course, because I don’t know any dog that’s going to cooperate enough to carry something in his mouth the whole time without ruining it! Or dropping it along the way. You sure don’t want one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids to be your dog handler, because they’re going to have enough to do, and they certainly won’t want to risk getting their clothes messed up either! (Well maybe a little dog might be more cooperative, but that’s still questionable!) And there certainlly isn’t any guarantee that your flower girl or ring bearer is going to be successful!

Maybe hire a professional dog handler to do it, and hope your four-legged friend cooperates? That’s all well and good, but when Rusty sees everyone sitting there, what’s the first thing he’s going to do besides try to run over to everyone and kiss them? In their good clothes? BARK! And the sound of barking to the wedding music is not exactly something you or your guests are going to enjoy! And if you were to try to have him sitting and watching the ceremony…he’d be thrilled to bark while you’re saying your vows…IF he decides to sit still! And what about when he sees something that distracts him? He BARKS, and wants to go chase after it!

And what if your dog is at an outside ceremony and there’s, well, shall we say, a call of nature???

Pictures afterwards? You have the same situation. Wanting to jump, and now, not only is your dress in danger, so are your flowers, your new husband, and your bridesmaids! And as good as your photographer may be, he/she is going to quickly lose patience trying to get the dog to cooperate…it’s hard enough sometimes with the wedding party! And that’s going to mean most likely your pictures are not going to end up looking like you’d planned!

Not to mention that most venues frown on having animals there, unless it’s an outside venue. If you’re really insisting your dog be a part of your day, ASK before you commit to your location, and be sure it’s in writing! And you certainly don’t want to have the dog attend the reception! After all…..

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So….what’s the solution here? You love your dog. You want him or her to be part of your day. But you have to remember, he’s a dog, and he doesn’t understand what’s going on! There’s so much excitement and so many new people, he’s not going to know what to do!

There are other ways to include your dog. Engagement pictures are a great way! You’re not wearing the most expensive dress you’ve ever worn, and there aren’t a zillion people around to distract and excite him/her. Just you and your fiancé and the photographer. And that’s still an interesting time, because he/she is still going to be excited, and trust me, dog cooperation is NOT going to be the rule at the photo shoot! A good photographer can get some good pictures with you both and your dog(s), but they aren’t necessarily going to be what you envisioned! Our daughter’s engagement photographer Amanda Hedgepeth was excellent, and she got some great pictures with the dogs, but they still didn’t cooperate the way Ashley expected them to! (But aren’t they cute?)

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The other suggestion, if you really, really want pictures of your dog with you while you’re wearing your gown…do it AFTER your wedding day. You’ll be more relaxed, and not quite as worried about your dress. Your hair may not be quite the same style, and you may need to use a silk bouquet instead of your real flowers, but isn’t that better than risking disaster on your wedding day? You can even make prior arrangements with the tux rental store to have your fiancé keep his tux a few days extra, or he can just wear a suit for the pictures. Either way, it’s still going to accomplish most of what you wanted! You’ll have wonderful wedding photos, and you’ll also have great pictures with your four-legged friend!

And no memories of barking down the aisle! Arf!!

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Photo Sources: 1st Row: Apollo Beach Wedding Photographer on WordPress; Christine Farah Photography on StyleMePretty; Flickr from The Cottage Cheese – 2nd Row: RuffledBlog; Pfeiffer Film Photography on GreyLikesWeddings; Lynn Brubaker Photography on EastonEvents – 3rd Row: MichelesCottage on Etsy; Milou and Olin Photography – 4th Row: Source Unknown; HeartLoveWeddings – 5th Row: – 6th Row:; Ira Lipke Studios on InspiredbyThis – 7th Row: – 8th Row: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography – 9th Row: Source Unknown

Adventures of a Dad at a Bridal Show

As you can very well imagine, as a part-time wedding planner, I’ve attended many, many bridal shows. Some as an exhibitor or to visit other exhibitors, and others with my brides!

A few weeks ago I actually attended one with someone who’s never been to a bridal show before. That would be my husband, the man who’s writing the checks for our daughter’s upcoming wedding! She was sick and I casually asked if he’d like to join me, and he said yes!

Hopefully not an up and coming Father-of-the-Bride “zilla”. He’s been good so far!

And yes, it was quite an adventure, because I never ever thought that almost every booth we stopped at where they didn’t know me, they’d ask us when we were getting married! Really? Well, I guess considering there weren’t many men there other than exhibitors and a few young grooms who seemed to have rather been anywhere but at a bridal show, well, maybe they were thinking they had a great opportunity for a big sale!

We probably should have started going along with them and seeing what they had to say! But we’ll leave that for another time.

If you’ve never taken a guy to a bridal show, much less your husband of almost thirty years, it really is an adventure of sorts. Especially when the first thing he does is ask the ladies at the Maya Couture Bridal booth if they have camouflage vests available with their tux rentals, because he and his future son-in-law want to wear them, even though his daughter doesn’t even want to consider it! (Of course they did, and of course that’s the first thing he said to Ashley when we got home, just so he could start something with her!)camo vest

He did like the Ice Art sculpture display and decided our bride and groom needed an ice sculpture deer rather than the carved marlin they’ve already decided on. Yes, our future son-in-law is a hunter; my husband isn’t. That isn’t stopping him! (Somehow hunting and a beach theme don’t go together too well!)

On to more vendors…fortunately he walked past the photographers since that’s already handled, but then he found the DJ booth. By the time we were through with that discussion (even though we later booked these DJ’s because of how much we all liked them!), he’d already planned part of their playlist to include Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” and Blake Shelton’s “The Boys ‘Round Here”. With a bit of Toby’s “Trailerhood” thrown in for good measure! And since these DJ’s are known for their signature hats, he’s already planned to give them camo hatbands to wear….

Time for the bridal fashion show event now. (Getting him away from the vendor booths! Before he found the wedding cake display and inquired about a camo wedding cake!)

At most bridal shows there’s about half an hour of entertainment before the actual event, and of course this was no exception. Ben had never experienced the “before show” show, and he thoroughly enjoyed watching as the DJ’s selected some unsuspecting brides to go onstage and dance to some of the more popular reception songs. (Some of them were actually rather good!) And he really enjoyed their version of “The Newlywed Game”, especially when one of the DJ’s came offstage and asked the audience to ask questions, and he got to ask one!

Of course the highlight of the event for him was when they brought up some of the grooms on stage to dance! One of the “volunteers” was a gentleman probably in his late 60’s, dressed very casually in his jeans and t-shirt, and going by the name of…what else…”Junior”! Well, Junior was amazing, and easily won the contest against all the younger guys. I actually thought Ben was going to try and introduce himself to him, and see if he wanted to talk about adding camo to HIS wedding!

I have to say, though, the hubby really enjoyed the fashion show, and was actually looking at each dress trying to figure out whether Ashley would like it or not. And wondering why they didn’t give the prices out….

And, the highlight of the show was at the end when all of the models came out carrying their bouquets, and tossed them into the audience! Guess who caught one! No, not Ben…but I did! That was a first!WIth Bouquet

So…since we’re already married…maybe that calls for a vow renewal ceremony? And Ben can have his camo for that!

What are YOUR thoughts?

Bouquets – Beads, Buttons, or…Corks?

Back when our grandparents, and even our parents, got married (or, let’s be honest, that can also include my husband and I and lots of our friends) there was absolutely no doubt about what our wedding bouquets would be…a collection of gorgeous fresh flowers, usually mostly roses, and almost always in white! After all, it was a wedding, and usually the only colors in the wedding party were worn or carried by the bridesmaids!

While I’m not fortunate enough to have photos of my grandparents’ weddings, and I’m not sure there were any photos even taken that long ago, I do have a couple of pictures of my parents’ wedding day, and you can see what her bouquet looked like! They were huge, and gorgeous, yes, but my how times have changed!


Almost thirty years ago when my husband and I were married, I carried a simple arrangement of just five RED roses. Perfect for the small family ceremony we had.

These days, though, brides and florists are much more creative with their bouquets. There’s no right or wrong color/style anymore. Many brides elect to carry arrangements with pops of their wedding colors along with the traditional white flowers, while others will carry bouquets all done completely in their bridesmaids’ colors and have their maids carry all white arrangements. Or each bridesmaid carries a bouquet in matching flowers with different shades of the wedding colors. The variations are endless!


Flowers are not always the bouquets of choice for today’s brides. More and more brides are electing to carry jeweled brooch bouquets which can be placed on permanent display after the wedding, and easily passed on from generation to generation as the “something old” for the bride to carry. Many brides even use jewelry passed on from their mothers and grandmothers and other family members to construct a very special piece just for them, while others commission these bouquets to be custom made, or even make them themselves. Some even use a combination of real flowers with a smattering of jewels!
Brooch Bouquets

Don’t worry….these brides also use a smaller “toss bouquet” made from either fresh or silk flowers when it’s time to throw the bouquet! Otherwise, there could be problems!

Buttons are even being used to make bouquets. My grandmother had a huge collection of buttons she’d saved over many years, although I have no idea where those buttons are now. I can only imagine what a bouquet could have looked like made from that collection! Would you like to carry something like this?

Button Bouquets

Many beach brides elect to carry bouquets either made entirely from seashells, or incorporating sea shells into the overall design…either in a traditional bouquet itself, or even simply carrying a large conch or nautilus shell filled with beautifully arranged flowers.

Shell Bouquets
Since we love flowers here at The Beaded Cork, we came up with our own unique bouquet style, combining beaded corks (what else!) with either silk or fresh flowers to create gorgeous bouquets, with table centerpieces to match.


These are perfect not only for a wine themed wedding, but also add a unique touch to any bouquet for the bride who wants something just a bit different and unique. Beaded cork picks, as well as silk bouquets made with the picks, are available in any number of styles and colors and of course are ready to be inserted into your bouquets by your individual florist.

And of course, coordinating wine cork boutonnieres are also available for the guys in various styles and colors! Or just come up with an idea of your own and we can make it for you!

Cork Boutonnieres

What ideas can YOU come up with for bouquets and boutonnieres for your special day? Remember…it’s YOUR wedding! Your style.

Now….I’m sensing another new bouquet style waiting to be created. Check back with us!

Photo Sources: Parents Wedding Photo: Personal files – Row of Bouquets: Google Images- Hydrangea Bouquets: – Row of Brooch Bouquets:; bluepetyl on etsy; silverstems on etsy- Flowers with jewels: Button Bouquets: – Row of Shell Bouquets:; BoHo Bridal on etsy; Nautilus: Boutonnieres: Personal Files