Eloping may mean a smaller ceremony, but it doesn’t mean you should sacrifice having gorgeous florals to add to the experience. Cutting costs when it comes to booking a venue and feeding 200 guests means you get to invest in the things that matter to you, and bouquets and boutonnieres are a wedding day staple that will make your day feel even more special. But choosing flowers for an elopement can be tricky, unless you happen to be well versed in botany! Here are some tips for finding your elopement flowers.
Color Palettes for Elopement Flowers
A great place to start when it comes to your search for the perfect elopement flowers is to think about your color palette. With an adventure elopement, I recommend sticking to neutral colors that complement the nature backdrop. Pinterest and Instagram are always a great place to start looking for inspiration – save some photos that you like, and as you keep searching you’ll notice patterns in the types of floral arrangements and color palettes that you’re drawn to.
Elopement Bouquet Styles
As you look for colors that you like, pay attention to the style of the florals you’re drawn to as well! There are all different types of arrangements – so if your elopement plans include a bouquet, think about which one feels right to you.
Round bouquets have a really classic, formal look – which works well for high end traditional weddings, but may look a little out of place on an adventure elopement. I love bouquets that are less structured, like cascading bouquets that have a loose, relaxed feel, or boho style bouquets that include different types of flowers to give it a “just picked” vibe.
Consider Leave No Trace Principles
One element that often gets overlooked when couples are choosing elopement flowers is Leave No Trace, or LNT. If you aren’t familiar with LNT, it’s a set of guidelines that help reduce our impact on the outdoors – because a lot of damage happens simply because people aren’t aware.
One of the main principles is to leave things in nature the way you found them – which means not leaving behind trash, or flowers.
While you may think that flower petals are biodegradable and therefore harmless, that’s often not the case! Some locations have specific rules about which flowers (if any) can be brought in, so when you apply for your elopement permit, make sure to check for any restrictions before you start shopping for elopement flowers.
Flowers or even petals left behind can sometimes introduce invasive species to protected lands, and some are even poisonous for animals! Avoid flowers that have big, “floppy” petals, as these tend to fall apart easier. Hydrangeas, tulips, and lilies are all beautiful in a garden, but because they require a lot of water, they don’t do well in bouquets and will leave petals behind throughout the day. Not only will you end up with a bare-looking bouquet, but you may also cause damage to native wildlife. Roses are used so often in floral arrangements because they hold up so well!
Lilies are extremely toxic, as are chrysanthemums – so when you’re looking for elopement flowers that you want to use, avoid anything toxic and anything that could end up on the ground. Check for specific rules and requirements at your elopement location!
Make sure to check out this post to learn more about creating a sustainable wedding via Leave No Trace.
Choose Sturdy Flowers
Making sure your bouquet stays put together isn’t just important for LNT – it’s also important because elopements tend to cause more wear and tear than traditional weddings. On an elopement day, you’ll likely be moving around a lot – hiking, climbing, adventuring. You may need to tuck your bouquet into your backpack or secure it while you hike, so it’s important to choose elopement flowers, and arrangement styles that will hold up well throughout the day. There’s a reason why roses are so popular!
Some flowers won’t be available year round – so be prepared to find backup options if your favorite blooms aren’t blooming. Peonies, for example, are really popular – but they’re in short supply as they are usually only available for a few weeks in the spring!
Using flowers that are in season is ideal, because these flowers will be easier to source, which means your arrangements will be less costly.
Budgeting for Elopement Flowers
It’s easy to assume that elopement flowers will cost less than ones for a traditional wedding – but because florists usually have to buy flowers in bulk, you should budget about the same amount for your florals. Using locally sourced, in season flowers will be best to keep costs lower, so talk to your florist about different options!
A fun way to add more florals into your elopement is with accessories! You can do a flower crown, or a hair clip that matches the boutonniere, or even a floral dog collar! These additions are perfect to tie the little details of your elopement together.
Finding a Florist
You can find a florist on Google, or on social media as you’re searching for elopement flowers that you like and want to use as inspiration. They’ll be the expert on which flowers work best, and can usually offer alternatives if a flower you like isn’t in season. Make sure to talk to any potential florist about how they source flowers (locally sourced is best for the environment), and about the ways that elopement flowers differ from traditional wedding flowers. Here’s my favorite florists in the Portland, Oregon area that I work with.
Hire a Photographer Who Works With Elopement Florists
As an elopement photographer, I’ve talked with several florists about their picks (pun intended) for elopement flowers. And because a big part of my job is helping couples plan their elopement day, vendor recommendations come along with that! If you’re ready to start planning your elopement day, I’ve got florist recommendations and more planning tips ready – so get in touch!