Royal Wedding Flowers: Wedding Bouquets and Trends Throughout the Decades

In Wedding Flowers by Kyla Helgeson2 Comments

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It might be Queen Elizabeth’s recent 90th Birthday celebrations in the news, which had me thinking about the royals.  Trends with flowers like fashion are ever changing and evolving over time, so I thought it might be fun to see what royalty decides to carry on their wedding day.  After all, they have the world’s top floral designers and the freshest blooms from anywhere in the world at their disposal, so let’s take a look back through time and see what they chose.

Royal Wedding Flowers | Image via www.dailymail.co.uk

Royal Wedding Flowers | Image via www.dailymail.co.uk

2000’s

In 2011 when Kate Middleton married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, she carried a surprisingly small wedding bouquet.  While her bouquet looks really simple, like a little hand picked garden posy, the construction of this bouquet was quite detailed with each individual stem needing to be wired then placed into the design.  Kate chose a divine mix of four British blooms, namely lily of the valley, sweet william (a sweet nod to hubby), hyacinth and myrtle.  It is a royal wedding tradition for a sprig of myrtle, from the bush planted at Queen Victoria’s home, Osbourne House, to be included.  The floral designer was Shane Connolly, who also famously installed maple trees inside Westminster Abbey, giving the overall effect of a country wedding which it has been reported that the couple really wanted.

Duchess of Cambridge. Petite Posy Bouquet | Photo by Getty Images (left). Photo by Ian West/PA Wire via www.usmagazine.com(right)

Duchess of Cambridge. Petite Posy Bouquet | Photo by Getty Images (left). Photo by Ian West/PA Wire via www.usmagazine.com(right)

When Australian-born Princess Mary, married Frederik, Crowne Prince of Denmark she carried a trailing bouquet.  It consisted of a combination of cream roses, stephanotis, white hydrangea and with a little touch of home, eucalyptus leaves.  I personally loved this design as I think it added interest to her simple elegant cream gown.

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Princess Mary. Trailing Bouquet | Image via www.theroyalforums.com

Princess Mary. Trailing Bouquet | Image via www.theroyalforums.com

Crown Prince Felipe of Spain married Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in Madrid, Spain in 2004.  They had a fairytale wedding which was watched by 25 million people in Spain alone.  Letizia carried a medium sized teardrop bouquet of roses, orange blossoms, lilies and wheat. Wheat is a Spanish symbol of hope, joy and fertility.

Spanish Royal Wedding. Teardrop Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos (left). Photo by Getty Images (right).

Spanish Royal Wedding. Teardrop Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos (left). Photo by Getty Images (right).

1990’s

Now to the 90’s when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.  This royal wedding was more of a low-key affair, it wasn’t a state occasion and therefore the Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair was not invited.  Hence not many details have been recorded regarding their wedding.  But as this image shows the bride carried a larger cascading bouquet design of calla lilies and roses.  I’m sure the traditional myrtle was included also.

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Countess of Wessex. Cascade Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos

Countess of Wessex. Cascade Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos

1980’s

In the 80’s everything in fashion was big.  Big dress, big puffy sleeves and big bouquet.   When Princess Diana married Prince Charles, she selected a large cascading bouquet of gardenia, stephanotis, freesia, odontoglossum orchid, lily of the valley, earl mountbatten roses, ivy, tradescantia, myrtle and veronica.  The wedding one of the most memorable and influential, watched by more than 750 million people.   Brides everywhere wanted to be a princess, following the trend set into the 90’s for more dramatic, bold big flower arrangements.

Princess Diana. Large Cascading Bouquet | Photo by Rex Features

Princess Diana. Large Cascading Bouquet | Photo by Rex Features

1970’s

Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey in 1973.  She carried a beautiful small spray bouquet of white roses and lily of the valley.  Interestingly though her only bridesmaid, Lady Sarah, carried a stylish floral pomander.

Princess Anne. Small Spray Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos

Princess Anne. Small Spray Bouquet | Photo by PA Photos

1960’s

The royals were now taking fashion cues from Hollywood.  In 1960, Princess Margaret carried a more restrained version of her sister’s orchid bouquet of 1947.

Princess Margaret | Photo by PA Photos

Princess Margaret | Photo by PA Photos

1950’s

Hollywood Princess, Grace Kelly, had one of the most elegant weddings of all time.  It also shows how fashion trends come full circle.   55 years before the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding and Princess Grace chose a very similar simple small wedding bouquet of white lily of the valley on a white prayer book for her marriage to the Prince of Monaco.

 Grace Kelly Simple Spray | Photo by Rex Features

Grace Kelly Simple Spray | Photo by Rex Features

1940’s

Finally the royal wedding with the bride that inspired this blog, Princess Elizabeth, who married to Prince Philip in 1947.  Her bouquet included white cattleya, odontoglossum and cypripedium orchids, plus ofcourse the traditional sprig of myrtle from Osborne House.

Queen Elizabeth Orchid Bouquet | Image via https://www.weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth Orchid Bouquet | Image via https://www.weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk

As you can see, the style, size and shape of royal bouquets throughout the decades have changed, there are similarities.  Many royal brides have chosen roses, lily of the valley and myrtle and all have displayed a simple elegant white and green palette.  Will we ever see a royal wedding with a bouquet of coloured blooms?  Which was your favourite?  My favourite was Princess Mary’s.

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Kyla Helgeson is one Australia's top wedding florists operating as The White Orchid Floral Design. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Kyla has studied in New York and is a former finalist in Tesselaars floristry competition. In 2015 Kyla joined the Tesselaars marketing team as our floral content advisor and has since authored over 50 popular floral style blogs.

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Comments

  1. Enjoyed this review very much. Having just returned from the UK and seeing the lily of the valley growing one can appreciate the delicateness of those small bouquets

  2. Author

    Thank you Alex 🙂 Yes, lily of the valley is very small and delicate to work with, I can imagine wiring a full bouquet of those would be quite challenging!

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