The Ultimate Guide to Elopement Flowers

Over the last several years, the choice to elope and skip the large wedding with hundreds of guests has skyrocketed in popularity. More and more couples are deciding to make their weddings more intimate and personal and choosing to craft a day that embraces a new way of beginning their marriage. An elopement means you can include any elements that speak to you and skip the more traditional ones that don’t. This flexible freedom is one of the best features of an elopement and grants couples free range to shoot for the moon.

Elopements can be anything from simple to epic (taking a helicopter flight to land on a glacier!) but typically, the main elements that are carried over from big weddings are: elegant attire, stunning photography and luscious flowers. If gorgeous flowers are a priority for you and you’re thinking an elopement might be perfect for your personality, this is the post for you! The majority of elopements take place outdoors and that natural setting means there are several unique considerations to take into account when planning your wedding florals. So, I’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you understand the details and navigate through all of options to create gorgeous flowers for your elopement.

groom helping bride with the train on her yellow dress during colorado mountain elopement
wild hand tied colorado autumn elopement bouquet
bride in yellow dress holds an autumn bouquet while embracing her groom during their colorado elopement

Planning for Your Elopement Flowers

Without a traditional wedding venue in the mix, chances are most or all of your elopement day will take place outdoors. Because of this natural setting, it is vital to consider weather, location and altitude when choosing your wedding blooms. If you’re outdoors for most of your photos, you’ll want your bouquet to look very natural and jive with your scenery! I’d advise even pulling in some natural, seasonal elements to really bring your flowers to life. For a spring elopement, consider tulips, twigs, daffodils, and blooming branches like cherry blossoms. If you’re eloping later in summer, grasses would add interesting elements along with bright, vibrant colors like dahlias. All white bouquets are notorious for turning slightly brown throughout a wedding day – especially in warm weather – and will stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re going to get on a plane with your bouquet or pack it in a backpack for a long hike during the day, you’ll want to choose flowers that are hardy as opposed to fragile, exotic blooms.

Best Flowers for Outdoor Elopements

So, what flowers are best for getting married in nature?

These sturdy blooms are excellent contenders for your bouquet, flower crown or wedding arch and will look lovely throughout your entire day: Roses, tulips, ranuclouas, ball dahlias, eucalyptus, poppy pods, scabbiosa, allium, dianthus, succulents, baptisia foliage, lavender, yarrow, bunny tail, thistle, feather grass, zinnia

The following flowers are charming and, though less sturdy than the hardy flowers listed above, they will still do well in the outdoors under milder conditions (temperate locations, calm breezes): snapdragons, iris, clematis, helleborus, daffodil, lilies, foxglove, amaranths, lisianthus.

Fragile and dainty flowers do best indoors out of reach of harsh elements like whipping winds, unforgiving sun or freezing temperatures so I want to make sure you are fully aware of which flowers are in danger of drooping or being damaged during more demanding logistics. The following beauties are ones you want to avoid during more rigorous elopement days: anemones, hydrangeas, dinner plate dahlia, ferns, poppies, calendula, Queen Anne’s lace, lilac, lily of the valley, dusty miller, feverfew, nigella and cosmos.

nosegay bouquet of feverfew, pansies, bachelor buttons

Types of Elopement Bouquets

Let’s take minute to talk about the floral star of any wedding day: your bouquet! While considering which flowers might work best in your bouquet, you should also decide on which type of bouquet would match your style and work well with the logistics of your day. All of the bouquets I create, no matter the style and form, are hand-tied. This means there is no plastic or floral foam involved and each bouquet is tied-off with ribbon. Here are the most common bouquet styles and some of their best features when it comes to elopements.

  • Nosegay or Mini: Usually round in appearance and consisting of different species of flowers with complementing tones, nosegays are arranged neat and tidy, cut to a uniform length and tied together with using ribbon. These are wonderful for petite brides, and they are lightweight, easy to hold during your adventure and allow a more elaborate wedding dress to shine. These are also an excellent choice for flower girls, bridesmaids, mothers and gifting.

  • Posey (round, closed-form): Posey are the most classical and traditional bouquet style featuring rounder flower heads, tightly packed and short stems that are covered in ribbon (not visible). They are neat and orderly and are perfect for contemporary brides who prefer a clean, minimal look. Posey bouquets are similar to nosegay but there is less emphasis placed on the greenery in this style. While posey bouquets are on the smaller side, a large scale posey is often referred to as a “round-style” bouquet.

  • Garden Style or Open-form: These bouquets are wild and wispy, complex, elongated and wide. They usually contain a wide variety of flower species and complex color palette. They are a bit heavier but, well worth the extra weight for drop-dead gorgeous photographs. They work especially well for voluptuous women or wedding dresses with full skirts. I specialize in Garden Style bouquets and they comprise the majority of the work you see on my website.

  • Cascade, Shower, Teardrop, Waterfall: These are often knee length statement pieces where flowers spill down in a waterfall or vertical form with long, trailing vines and draping leaves. Their inverted tear drop shape pair well with wedding dresses.

  • Pageant or Presentation: These are large floral arrangements that evoke a lavish, extravagant look that you cradle in your arms and often drape over.

mini bouquet of white and pink roses
nosegay bouquet with feverfew, pansies and bachelor buttons
round posey bouquet of magenta peonies and pink
garden style open form bouquet of yellows and greens
large cascade waterfall bouquet with white blue and purple flower
teardrop style bouquet made of pink and peach roses
large pageant style bouquet with magenta peonies
stunning presentation style bouquet with roses and foxtail lilies

Complimenting Your Dress with Your Flowers

The kind of flowers and the type of bouquet you choose directly correlate with what sort of dress are you wearing. There are so many wedding dress fabrics and styles to choose from these days and you’ll want to make sure your personal flowers (bouquet, crown, corsage, boutonniere) blend well with the style and material of your wedding attire!

Local Colorado elopement photographer Adventure Instead has a wonderful post that breaks down the different styles of dresses that are perfect for elopements dresses which can help provide you with a frame of reference: Once you have an idea of your dress material and style, we can decide on all of the unique characteristics of your flowers from colors and design shapes to fabric ribbon ties on your bouquet.

How to Hike or Travel with Your Flowers

Once you’ve made all of your decisions on color palette and blooms, just leave the rest to me! The night before your elopement, I finalize all of your floral designs and place them in a special hydration system that will keep them fresh and vibrant for as long as possible. For safe travel and longevity, I wrap your bouquet in an eco-fresh bouquet warp. This is a bio degradable product that holds moisture and delivers water to your flowers throughout the day.

While you’re traveling or hiking, your bouquet will stay in the water source until it’s time for your photos to begin. When it’s go time, you simply take the hydrating wrap off the stems and let the bouquet breathe. The water source is good for a full 12-16 hour day and, if it begins to feel dry, you can easily rehydrate the wrap by pouring water onto it. If you’re planning to off-road or do considerable driving in a car, I can also pack your flowers in a box or provide a vase that fits in a standard cupholder.

pink and yellow elopement bouquet laying on eco wrap for keeping elopement bouquets hydrated throughout the wedding day
eco wrap for keeping elopement bouquets hydrated throughout the wedding day

How to Hold Your Elopement Bouquet

Another important aspect of your elopement flowers is how to properly hold your bouquet throughout the day – especially during photos! The best way is to grip the stems in one or both hands and simply relaxed them at hip level. When standing still for a forward-facing photo (or while walking down the aisle!) the key to remember is keep your flowers over your flower. 😉 While walking, you want your bouquet to look natural so I’d advise you hold them in one hand resting near your hip, slightly hugging your body, stems wrapped around the back of your leg or in the cradle of one arm. This is especially relevant with larger bouquets as it’s much easier to hold them at your side to avoid choking up on your torso. After all, you found your dream dress and you don’t want to cover all of it up! When in doubt, trust your photographer to guide you on how best to hold your bouquet. Just remember, bouquets are meant to accentuate lines of your body, not hide your face, neckline or waist!

large vibrant magenta and purple wedding bouquet
bride holding a small purple garden style bouquet
women in grey dress holding a dusty pink rose bouquet at her hip

How to Get Your Wild Blossoms Flowers

My floral studio is located in north Fort Collins and you can pick up your flowers at any point that works for your elopement schedule. Alternatively, I can ship them to you overnight in my complete flower packaging that will protect them during transit. If you decide you would like them shipped, be sure to unwrap and recut the stems and put them in water overnight so they can drink and rewrap the bouquet in the morning for maximum freshness. Here’s a video I made that shows you all the tips and tricks for How to Prep Your Flowers.

I am also happy to come out to your elopement location to create a floral backdrop, arch, or installation. These backgrounds add a wonderful focal point for photos, and can easily be reused at a second location for a mountain side picnic or reception.

Elopement Bouquet Preservation

If you’re choosing to begin your marriage with an elopement, chances are the main elements you’re investing in are photography, attire, activities and flowers. Since elopements keep things more simple and intimate, you are likely opting out of elaborate décor, table rentals and all the extras that go along with a large, traditional wedding. That means that your flowers are one of the most important design pieces you have and are a meaningful element that truly expresses your style and spirit.

Since flowers are one of the intentional design elements you’re investing in, I urge you to consider preserving them after your elopement day is over. I am one of the few floral design studios that offer bouquet and floral preservation: using the blooms from your elopement, I create a unique piece of pressed or dried art out of them that will brighten your home for years to come. To learn about all the details, you can visit my Bouquet Preservation Page and we can start planning your elopement flowers with preservation art in mind from the beginning.

Wild Blossoms Elopement Packages

If you’re choosing to begin your marriage with an elopement and you want your flowers to be meaningful and to reflect your style and personality, head on over to my Weddings & Elopements page for all the information elopement packages or reach out and we can begin the process of bringing your floral vision to life!