By Josette Keelor
Underneath its bright floral colors the bridal bouquet looked real -- and tasty too.
Designed by Farozan Jivraj, owner of Cupcake Novelties in Stephens City, cupcakes iced like colorful fall mums sat in a bed of grass leaves.
"It looked like fresh flowers, but it was edible," Jivraj said.
As part of an attempt by brides to do something different, Jivraj said cupcake bouquets are reflective of a trend by couples to make their big day stand out from the rest.
These aren't your usual wedding bouquets, boutonnieres or table centerpieces. They're full of personality and, if done right, they are memorable.
The trend suits couples looking for creative ideas that will save them money and also give them a hand in the design of their own arrangements, said Kristen White, an employee at Fussell Florist in Front Royal.
"I will tell you the turquoise color is everywhere," she said. "[It's] not only a trend for weddings, it's a trend for proms, anything like that."
Monochromatic bouquets are also in, hailing from TV shows like "Downton Abbey" and movies like "The Great Gatsby," according to Heather Merchant, owner of Love Flowers Shenandoah in Winchester.
"Baby's breath is coming back, which was kind of outdated before," she said. It used to be used more for filler or left out entirely, but now, "I've seen it be like a focal flower."
Evocative of English-style gardens pinks, whites, nudes, champagnes and blushes have overtaken brighter colors.
"And then hydrangeas," she said. "They're huge this year." They were big before, but now they figure in 80 percent of her weddings.
Pairing with the theme are bell jars, which White has used for holding centerpiece flowers at country farm weddings.
Merchant has made bouquets using tattered fabric or burlap that she burns on the ends to add to the vintage look. A bouquet she featured at the recent Blue Ridge Bridal Show used hand-stitched blue, pink and champagne fabric flowers detailed with white pearls and beading, brooches, lace and tulle.
She custom designs them for each bride and explained brides sometimes include their own family brooches, lockets or other trinkets along with fabric their mothers or grandmothers wore in their weddings.
But more than that goes into the look.
"We're seeing a lot of mercury glass as centerpieces," Merchant said.
Metallic flower holders inspired by "the whole old Hollywood glam" are reflected in bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses that include lace, crystals and a shift away from pure white to off-white and ivory. Topping off the look are crowns of flowers.
"TV definitely has an impact on it," Merchant said. "Culture as a whole is really big. It all kind of fits together."
In other themed-weddings, White said brides will bring her extra material from their maids' dresses to use around the stems of bouquets, or they'll add in buttons, pearls or gem stones to give fresh flowers more texture.
Couples also bring pictures they found online to illustrate what they're looking to incorporate into their own weddings.
White notes that most brides are coming in to order flowers to show their personality. That could mean anything from soft, romantic flowers like peonies, ranunculus and roses to "playful, arty, bright" bouquets with gerbera daisies and fruit, she said.
"They're coming in and really trying to make an impression," she said.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org