I'm getting married in September and am thinking about not carrying anything (flowers, etc.) when walking down the aisle.


I love flowers, but I don't really feel like having something that I will only hold for about 10 minutes.

What are your thoughts?

Has anyone else done the same?


I've seen plenty of instances where folks replace flowers with something else — like lanterns, candles, clutches, feathers, and parasols. Some brides walk with a book in their hand (usually the bible, but could just as well be the Kama Sutra), framed photographs, or other family heirlooms.

…But that's not what you're really asking about, right? You want to walk down the aisle nothing in your hands at all, right?

I think it would be deeply romantic to walk down the aisle holding only the hand of your beloved. The two of you could enter separately, meet and clasp hands, and then walk toward the officiant together hand-in-hand. Very simple, very romantic, and no bouquet or other props involved.

There are hundreds of Offbeat Bride readers who have done similar. Here are a few of their stories:

We even have a tag archive for alternative aisle setups to make this even more interesting.

For more non-floral inspiration, check out our archive of bouquet alternatives and non-floral bouquets.

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Comments on Walking down the aisle without flowers

  1. Usually people are really excited and/or nervous when walking down the aisle, so holding something gives them a focus and maybe even something to fiddle with so they don’t feel so awkward or exposed. If you are confident enough to walk with your hands at your sides, then I think it’s a great idea. However keep in mind that holding something, anything, might be helpful in a security blanket way, should you want to calm your nerves a little. I mean I think people picked flowers back in the day because they were cheaper then books, and not everyone could read. I think it’s more about the holding something then it is about flowers. Mull it over, but really most traditions were started for very arbitrary reasons, it’s each individual that imbues it with meaning. So imbue your tradition with meaning, and don’t worry about someone else’s.

  2. A friend of mine did something very similar– she didn’t carry anything, just walked arm in arm with her fiance. I’ve always liked the idea of walking down the “aisle” with your spouse-to-be.

  3. “Karma Sutra”

    Aka: “What goes around Comes around”
    “Getting what you deserve…in bed”


  4. i think i’ve decided to go sans holdy-thing. probably go with the walking hand in hand (we’re in this together, it’s not just me making a commitment and walking the long walk alone!).
    my mom didn’t really get it at first, but why pay a zillion dollars for something that you pass off to someone else after 20 seconds. “but at the reception you can put it on the table and it looks nice…” ok mom, but isn’t that the purpose of centrepieces? she finally understood when i said, it’s not only about being cheap, it’s about trimming all the excess and being left with only what’s important: a big celebration with our friends and family. which i can have without carrying around flowers. (by the by, i think i’ll make purses for my ladies if they don’t want to feel hand-naked)

  5. I’m not carrying anything at all, myself. I also decided not to have flowers as decorations since the wedding is at a berry farm and we’re starting the day by planting trees. the idea of cutting a bunch of flowers made me uncomfortable.
    I like how Jennifer worded it – ‘trimming all the excess and being left with only what’s important…”

    I digress.

    I’m also skipping the walk down the aisle part and instead we’re having our guests bussed into the location where i will be sitting in meditation with my friends and fiance and officiants (there are two). I decided I was more comfortable with everyone else walking down the aisle toward me than the other way around!

  6. I’m getting married in August, and not having an aisle to walk down or a bouquet. When all our friends and family are there, we’re just going to gather everyone around and start the ceremony. I’ve seen others do this as well. The one thing I’ve learned from this site in particular is that traditions don’t matter unless they’re meaningful to you.

  7. What Tricia said is true – either keep a tradition if it means something, modify it so it does, or throw it out.

    I didn’t carry flowers, but I sang my way into my ceremony so I was carrying a microphone which was adorned in a piece of white, sparkly tulle. (Thank you Shannon for making that!) It would have been kinda silly to try to carry that with a bouquet (or shove the mic in the middle of one as one overly-helpful person actually suggested). Still, during the planning, I can’t tell you how many times I heard “what do you MEAN you’re not having flowers??” People may question you along the way, but if you do your own thing and stay true to yourself, it’ll work out just fine!

  8. I have to give a shout-out for the holdy-thing. My husband and I are chronic nail biters and kind of fidgety anyway. On the video my brother took years ago of my graduation from college, I was biting my nails the whole time and I looked like an idiot- and I was completely unaware I was doing it. Sometimes, you just need a woobie.

  9. i’m not carrying flowers, but in concession to the parents i’m having a wrist corsage of silk flowers instead. i don’t want to be carrying things or wasting a fortune on flowers that will only last the day

  10. I’m not carrying anything. It actually makes me feel less comfortable to have to figure out how to hold something while walking. I’d rather just let my arms flap 🙂

    I *really* want to walk Ginger Starfish Firefly Spoon, my dog, down the aisle, but Mr. Wolverine is concerned she’ll be snarfly. She’s rarely snarfly. Plus I think it’d be funny.

  11. I am definitely NOT doing a bouquet. It just isn’t me. Instead I’ll be escorting my mom and dad, both of whom are somewhat disabled. My sweetie will escort his parents out right before me. My first thought was for us to walk out together but we like the idea of ‘presenting’ our parents since most of our friends have never met them. It’s also just a nice gesture of acknowledgment even though we’re basically taking care of the wedding ourselves…we know it means a lot to them.

  12. No flowers or books for me/us either! I guess I haven’t been to too many wedding b/c I never even considered it…. Perhaps that fact that we don’t have any ‘attendents’ has curbed the issue further.

    Anyhoo, thanks to the first comment….I didn’t really consider the nerve issue. With a little concentration, I trust that our arms and hands will behave themselves. 🙂

  13. I carried no flowers. All I had was a handkerchief, since I knew I would cry. I walked in with both my parents and it was nice to be able to hold their hands.

  14. I will be carrying lilies. It was kind of a no brainer for me, although I have thrown around some other ideas. When it comes down to it though, I’m named after them and that’s important to me.

    I have also researched flower carrying traditions, and I like the fact that it started out as brides carrying herbs to ward away bad spirits. Later it became flower to ward away bad BO ;).

    To that effect I will be tucking some catnip in with my lilies as it symbolized love and happiness, and it’s a little memento for our kitties that won’t be there.

    Seriously though, only do what it meaningful to you. Flowers are meaningful to me because I’m named after one.

  15. No attendants, and no bouquet here, either!

    I’m tossing around the idea of carrying a single rose… if I can find a good-looking one on the day of. I *do* get fidgety, so carrying something may not be a bad idea 😉

  16. i like the idea of a wrist corsage. i had been thinking of grabbing flowers from the local grocery and carrying those, but it’s just going to be us and our parents and officiant. and i would like to “walk down the aisle–whatever that ends up being” with both my parents. thanks for the idea!

  17. I won’t be doing the bouquet either. Instead, I’m wearing a wreath of them on my head. I don’t like the veil thing, and I also don’t like having to hold something. But I LOVE flowers. Think about Maid Marion in Prince of Thieves. Gorgeous no? Good option for those of you who need your hands free but don’t want to give up the florals.

  18. Oh wrist corsage thingo, don’t go there! well go there if you want, but I was a bridesmaid about a year ago and had some flowers that were tied to me wrist with ribbon, it was pretty, but then never stayed put, they kept slipping and falling, it was SOO annoying.

  19. I bought a bouquet of vintage button flowers from Lilfishstudios on Etsy and she’s thinking of using them as her bridal bouquet. That might be an option if you wanted something pretty and quirky that will last a long time.

  20. I carried gifts for my mother and mother-in-law. Both were tucked in a silver recipe card box tied with ribbon. When I got to the “altar,” I opened the box, handed gifts to the Women Up Front, and joined my now-husband up front! See it here!

    Other options I considered: A glass sphere lit by hidden LEDs. A glow stick bouquet.

  21. Hindu brides wear garlands of flowers (kind of like leis, but heavier and more elaborate) like long necklaces … very pretty and keeps the hands free at the same time! I always thought that was a great idea.

  22. Yes, I love the idea of holding the hand of your spouse-to-be,as I did in my wedding 2 years ago,it gives a sense of calm that we are in this together, and the feeling was nice when he holds your hand tight and I felt really secured.

    I couldn’t agree more that the meanings often imbued by you but not the traditions. If you feels right, just go with it, everything will turn out fine for you.

  23. I made a bouquet of feathers, and was pleased with it. here is a link if you’re so inclined to peek at it.

    But really, it’s up to you. I’ve seen many weddings without something (my BM’s didn’t have anything, either) and it was just as beautiful, and truthfully I don’t think I noticed.

  24. Recently I was at a friend’s wedding and she and her husband just walked down the aisle together holding hands. Why not? It’s the two of them who are getting married! Together! If I were actually walking down an aisle at my wedding I’d do the same.

  25. […] Hi, Ariel. I just wanted to express thanks to you for saving me from my mother. She had been pestering me to carry flowers, which I had absolutely no interest in at all, whatsoever. After many impassioned pleas and fights, I decided to email her a link to offbeatbride — particularly the response you wrote to the girl who didn’t want to carry anything on her trip down the aisle. […]

  26. I just wanted to comment that my mom & stepdad walked each other down the aisle hand in hand, in a Catholic ceremony back in ’87. They also both hyphenated their names. As I plan my own offbeat wedding, I’m inspired by their example. (They met in a womens studies course!)

  27. another flowerless bride here. i am walking down the aisle with both of my parents and plan to hold their hands. probably giving my girls parasols or fans to hold so they have something to do with their hands, though i did see a picture of someone holding a coconut with flowers in it, but it seemed awkward to carry.

  28. I think it depends on the wedding

    we are doing a halloween masquerade..

    So I had wand bouquets made for them on sticks so that they can hold them with the masquerade masks (also on sticks) as they walk down the aisle

  29. I posted the question about the flowers and I want to thank everyone for commenting. I feel even more secure in my decision to not carry anything down the aisle.

  30. No bouquets for me either. I’m from Hawaii, so I carried a maile lei for my groom and gave it to him at the end of the aisle.

    All attendants wore lei (parents too). No bouquets for the bridal ladies (none of them are maids!). I was surprised at how many people asked “What will the brides maids do with their hands?”. Really? Dont they walk around all the time without carrying bouquets of flowers? No one asked what the men would do with their hands.

  31. So I just got engaged to the most amazing man, ever!
    We’re planning on getting married in January.
    I like the idea of bouquets of flowers, but at the same time, I always like to be a little different [without going overboard] So at the moment, I’m considering fans and/or a mix of flowers. =]

  32. we are getting married october 19th, and to go with the fall theme we are making bouquets out of branches, wheat and grass. i might find some dried lavender to keep with the symbolic feel of the bouquet though. or add a sunflower or some leaves to give it color. something simple and fall!

  33. Myself and my bridesmaids are rocking out wrist corsages instead of carrying bouquets. I’m not big on the idea of carrying something or having to hold on to it…plus, the corsages are simpler, stay out of the way and cheaper to make.

  34. I will be holding flowers, calla lilies actually. I toyed with the idea of axing flowers altogether and just holding my dads elbow down the aisle, but I like flowers and buying by the stem instead of florist arranged makes them afordable

  35. Since I’m having a beach wedding, I’ll be making a seashell bouquet. Costs less than a flower one, and I don’t have to throw it either(can you imagine throwing a seashell bouquet? many lives would be lost). Some decorate the bouquet with pearls and small flowers.I personally would want something to hold,because I wouldn’t know what to do with my hands!

  36. great article, makes me feel much better : ) i'm allergic to pollen and was dreading having to hold a bouquet even though i'm not doing the whole, aisle thing I'd like something to hold. considering the crystal bouquet or something similar as i make things like that, or as we are having a handfasting featuring candles, perhaps a candle or lantern.

  37. FH and I are walking in together, holding hands. Both of us are incredibly shy and neither of us want to do the him-waiting-at-the-top-for-me because we’d just hate the attention, especially me as I walked in (on my own).

    I do love flowers though and have thought about artificial anemones because they come in bright jewel tones that will look good with my purple dress. FH won’t be carrying anything though (not his style) so it’ll be a very last minute decision. I might just put them in my hair instead.

  38. Hi, I’m getting married in 2 weeks and have yet to decide..but after finding this website (why didn’t I find it sooner!?) I think I’ll give flowers a miss, as I’m not a flowery girl. We’re meeting together at the top of the aisle as I hate the idea of walking alone on show. I wanted my dog to walk with me, but but register office won’t allow. I still feel I want “something” to fiddle with ‘cos I know I’ll suffer with nerves and end up fiddling with my dress & looking like a schoolgirl. Books? No..nothing holds significance. Fans? Nope. So any more cool ideas, please shout up. Thanks

  39. I’m going to begin my walk down the “aisle” empty handed, then have each person hand me a flower as I progress the walk (we are having a small ceremony with about 15 guests). By the time I reach my groom I will be holding a full bouquet of various wildflowers!

    • I like that idea. Some of the prettiest bouquets my FH has ever given me are the ones he picked from a field behind my old apartment, which seemed to grow different flowers every other day. They put the purchased ones to shame despite being smaller and sometimes housing bugs. wildflowers are wildly underrated sometimes!

  40. Don’t know if I’ll carry a bouquet, I’m thinking about going for a flower wreath instead. I’m hoping to have both my parents walk me down the aisle, so I can just hold their elbows instead of flowers.

  41. My sister just flat out forgot her bouquet (probably bc both my mom and dad walked her down the aisle so each hand one of her arms) and by the time someone noticed and ran up to grab it, it was just about time for her to make me hold it for her anyway hahaha.

  42. I’m not carrying flowers. I’m carrying my son who will be 15 months and walking hand in hand with my daughter who will be 11. I think that’s way more important to have our son in my arms going to his daddy, And having my daughter escort us they are the most important part of this union.

  43. i didn’t carry anything! I’m not a huge flower person and I don’t really get the point in bouquets – floral or otherwise! I just made sure that my arms were by my sides in a comfortable / natural position. Although I decided to throw a shape mid walk down the aisle, then they were in the air ;D

  44. I didn’t carry anything at my first wedding and I don’t plan on carrying anything for my second wedding this fall! You go girl! It’s completely unnecessary to carry anything with you but the love in your heart for your future spouse.

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