If I said it once, I said it a thousand times and no doubt will be repeating this for the next fifty years. NO BRIDE NEEDS A BRIDAL BOUQUET. This little 'tradition' no doubt was started by florists looking for yet another way to milk brides of more money.
Flowers are lovely in fields and on shabbas tables (unless you have cats, small children or clumsy husbands, but that's another story). Let me explain. That lovely bunch of flowers, tried with ribbon, weighs only a few hundred grams, tops. They look lovely as they leave the florist. They are then handed to the smiling bride. She is thrilled. They are the 'perfect' addition to her gown. They will look fantastic in the wedding pictures. They will add the finishing touches to her outfit. This will be the perfect Kodak moment.
Then, magically, the bouquet begins to grow heavy. They begin to bloat like they're suffering from PMS. And our bride has better things to do then schlep them around with her or even hold them while she is greeting her guests. On one hand, she 'cannot' set them down anywhere because they'll 'get ruined' and on the other hand, she somehow continues to believe that they add to her 'bridal look'.
And so the bridal bouquet 'hot potato' game begins. At first the mother of the bride holds this little ball of joy. The flowers are then passed around to the bride's entourage in order of importance (beginning with best-best friends and from there on to good friends and then on to well-meaning friends the bride hasn't seen since high school). From there they bounce (sometimes literally) to aunts, cousins and even grandmothers/great-grandmothers; who may hold them the longest, if they are not moving around too much (if you know what I mean). Amazingly this bouquet, that at the beginning of the day was held as if it were a day-old baby, held delicately and lovingly, can now be passed around like an old volley ball.
Once the hot potato game is over (in the recorded history of brides and bridal bouquets, no one individual has ever been known to hold these lovelies throughout an the entire reception – including the badekin), bouquets traditionally find their way from behind the bride's back in the bridal chair to somewhere around her feet.
Now, just to make my point a little clearer: Once the badekin is over, the bride is then escorted down to the chuppah by her parents or the mothers, usually SANS the flowers, as (you guessed it) they were forgotten on the bridal chair.
Once the chuppah is over and the happy couple is off to the yichud room, the bouquet finds its way to heaven along with single socks, library books and every pen you have ever bought. No one remembers the bouquet or cares.
If you still insist on spending this money. Call your favorite florist; get a quote for a bridal bouquet (code for spending too much money for some twenty flowers) and then donate that sum to tzedakah. Or order a floral display for a hospital ward or old age home.
Now ask me: "one bride and two bouquets"? My daughter's wedding was held in the south (home of my son-in-law), but the wedding gown was rented in a salon in Netanya. On the day of the wedding, she dressed at the salon in 'north', while her father and I were already in the south (near the hall) preparing for the ceremony. My only-daughter calls us in the early afternoon of the wedding distraught, she is on her way to the salon and (gasp!) does not have a bouquet. The all consuming importance of ordering a bunch these allergy-ridden weeds was forgotten by all. The frantic call came at around two in the afternoon and her father and I found ourselves frantically running around Ashkelon looking for a flower shop that is a) open and b) willing to sell us a no-doubt overpriced bridal bouquet of anything that even vaguely resembles flowers.
We found a shop willing to help us part with several hundred shekels for my daughter's happiness. They were willing to create a bouquet on the spot (you usually need to order these pollen-holders days in advance, go figure).
Successful in our mission, we brought this ball of the bees' best friends to the hall and what do we find out? The salon provided our daughter (unbeknownst to her) with a bridal bouquet as part of their package deal. And so now, my dear daughter was the proud owner of, not one, but two bouquets. Let me tell you, it's a good thing she has a lot of friends, it's not easy to have two bouquets passed around for the two-hour reception!
And as a fitting and final tribute to this bridal vegetation tale: the bouquet we bought was a ball of white and purple flowers. In the wedding pictures, the bouquet looked like a very feminine basket ball. In fact, the first time we saw the shots, we really thought that she was holding a ball and could not figure out where she got it and why was she holding it.
So just repeat after me: "I will not buy a bridal bouquet. I do not need a bridal bouquet. I will not buy a bridal bouquet. I do not need..."