Loose ends in your wedding style? Tie them up with ribbons

Trailing Ivory ribbons complement the gowns. Photo: Marissa Joy Photography

Trailing Ivory ribbons complement the gowns. Photo: Marissa Joy Photography

Ribbons have always had two purposes in wedding bouquet design, style and service. With the latest trends, ribbons have become another key accessory for brides and bridesmaids. Yes, these trends have added a few more items to the list of things you’ll discuss with your designer. But ribbons are a great tool for us to use to personalize your flowers. The first time I saw a bouquet with long, trailing, colorful ribbons, I said, “perfect – another beautiful way to accessorize the dress.”

Ribbon has a very practical use in floral design. When making “hand-tied” bouquets, designers literally gather as many as thirty to forty stems in their free hand. They strategically create the focal point for your bouquet as they add each individual stem. The method of securing the woven stems into a tight 6-to-12 inch “holder” requires tightly wound floral tape. Floral tape is strong and durable and fairly unattractive. The ribbon allows us to cover the floral tape and add additional durability to the arrangement. It’s practical and beautiful.

Two key ribbon decisions: color and length

Whites, ivories or accent colors 

You can blend the ribbon with your dress by choosing to use a matching color. Brides that are planning an elegant wedding will often choose white or ivory to avoid distractions from their dress and flowers. As you start to add colors, like peach or pink, you begin to make a bit of a statement highlighting the softer florals in your bouquet. 

Brilliant blue peeks out.

Brilliant blue peeks out.

With a deeper hue or contrasting color, you are beginning to tell a story about your own personal style that you will be able to carry throughout the day. These pops of color can show up in your actual bouquets and arrangements, linens, butcher string on favors, soaps for the restrooms… the list goes on and on. Burgundy, turquoise, coral, red and blue are very popular darker-hued ribbon choices.

Photo: Lisa Robinson @lovesomelisa

Photo: Lisa Robinson @lovesomelisa

The navy and white striped ribbon shown here was very important to this bride and it created a perfect contrast to her blooms. With these bouquets, we really see the personality of the wedding couple. Another bride used blue and white ribbon and the groom’s mother made table runners from the same fabric: a very special and individual touch.

Length: How much ribbon do you want to see in your bouquet?

Just wrap the handle 

For many brides, ribbon wrapping the stems is just enough (see the photos on this page). A bit of silk showing below the hands is elegant and clean. A look that David Tutera, renowned wedding flower designer, suggested is important for a "city" or ballroom bouquet style. (I recently attended a conference where he spoke.)

There are brides who don’t want much ribbon at all. I am making a hand-tied bouquet this summer for a bride who wants her hand to completely cover the ribbon. A minimal amount of ribbon wrap is very organic and will appeal to you if you like the natural look of the stems. As greenery becomes more and more popular for bouquets, we are using large leaves and grasses to accomplish the same mechanics that we achieve with ribbon. Twine is yet a third alternative for a more rustic wedding. Twine adds unique texture to the arrangement.

Trail some ribbons

ivory trailing ribbons

Some of the photos in this post show shorter trailers that allow you to add the satiny, luxury of ribbon without the longer length. Many of our brides take that approach, but I do expect to see length for some time yet.  Our designer, Katie Elliott, describes the long, trailing ribbons as perfect for the bride who is trying to achieve a more bohemian, whimsical style. I agree, and I also suggest that it is elegant in the same way that vines or drooping branches in nature look so romantic and ethereal. If you trail white or ivory ribbons, you create elegant movement. If you trail colored ribbon you draw attention to your dress as the eye is drawn to lighter colors first.

Photo: Mike Sperlak Photography, @mikesperlak.com

Photo: Mike Sperlak Photography, @mikesperlak.com

If I am meeting with a bride a year before her wedding, I spend more time discussing the style, design and colors for her bouquets and arrangements. I think details like the color and the length of ribbon are better suited for the follow-up meeting. You have so many important details to discuss in all of your initial consultations. After you have decided on the important things like what to eat and where to eat it, you can relax and explore the smaller details that personalize your day.

Designer Katie Elliott discovered this plant-based, hand-dyed, silk ribbon company.

We love sharing amazing things when we find them. Click the image below to view their web-site.

This is the ribbon Katie is using for her own wedding. 

This is the ribbon Katie is using for her own wedding.