A Glossary of Wedding Flower Terms

Types of Bouquets


Think of an overflowing, waterfall-like spill of blooms and greenery anchored in a handheld base. Cascade bouquets resemble a miniature floral train.


A handmade creation in which different petals or buds are wired together on a single stem, creating the illusion of one giant flower.


A dense gathering of “just-picked” blooms tied together with wire or floral tape and finished with ribbon.


A small, round cluster of flowers, all cut to a uniform length. Usually made with one dominant flower or color, nosegays are tightly wrapped.


A bunch made up of concentric circles of different flowers for a somewhat striped effect.


This bouquet of long-stemmed flowers is cradled in the bride’s arms, Miss America style.


A bloom-covered ball suspended from a ribbon, perfect for child attendants in lieu of baskets.


Posies are typically smaller than a nosegay but similar in design. Petite roses or grape hyacinths are ideal floral varieties.


Similar to a nosegay but generally larger and usually consisting of large, loosely arranged flowers, like peonies or roses.

Centerpiece Shapes


A few arrangements, usually short in height and containing different floral varieties, are grouped together to make one centerpiece.


This is based mostly on the shape of the vessel, which looks like a trophy or pedestal. Flowers tend to cascade over the sides for a dramatic look.


This floral configuration is similar to a tiered cookie plate — a series of arrangements are stacked in tiers, small to big, giving the centerpiece a slightly triangular shape.


Flowers are arranged in a mounded circular shape or rounded vessel.


These arrangements are wider at the top and narrower at the base — just like the namesake instrument — balancing the shape of the vase containing them.


A floral centerpiece created at the base, neck or top of a multi-armed candelabra. Oftentimes, greenery or ribbons are used to embellish the base of the vessel.


Garden-style centerpieces typically feature an abstract collection of wildflowers. The composition is airy and less full than other designs. Lisianthus, hollyhock, rambling roses, digitalis and smilax are well suited to this arrangement style.

Fish bowl:

Low centerpiece style with flowers clustered in a glass bowl.

Types of Vessels


A popular choice for casual receptions, this vase has a spherical shape. A line of them along a rectangular banquet table looks gorgeous, no matter the formality of the occasion.


This modern shape can hold its own in the middle of the table, but a few small ones around a tall, slim vase are ultra-chic too.


Named for the narrow-bottom, wide-mouth beer glass it resembles, this vessel usually holds flowers loosely packed in a round shape.


Medium in height, this vase features a shape similar to a trophy. It looks great with flowers and greenery dripping down its sides.


The tube-like shape is ideal for showing off submerged blooms, like tropical orchids or calla lilies.

Other Arrangements


A single bloom (or several small buds) attached to the left lapel of a jacket. Boutonnieres are usually worn by grooms, groomsmen, ushers, and the bride and groom’s fathers.


A single bloom (or small cluster of blooms) arranged with ribbon or tulle. Corsages come in pin-on, wrist and hand-held styles and are typically worn by mothers and grandmothers. Orchids, roses and gardenias are popular flower choices.


A strand-like arrangement of greenery and flowers, garlands are typically used to adorn pews, doorways and chair backs. They can also be paraded down the aisle by two or three children attendants.


A wedding canopy decorated with branches, greenery or flowers. It’s an integral part of the traditional Jewish ceremony.


Japanese-style flower arrangements that are said to be in unison with space, size, earth and air.


Flowers or foliage trimmed into shapes, often resembling miniature trees or animals.


A woven wooden frame that works as a support for climbing plants and flowers. These are often used as ceremony backdrops at outdoor weddings.


Similar to the evergreen arrangements you’ll find adorning doors at wintertime, wedding wreaths are rings of flowers or other decorative materials that can function as a centerpiece, headpiece or door hanger.

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