Your bridal bouquet says a lot about you

If the bride is the star of the wedding, flowers play the supporting role and make everyone and everything else look just as beautiful.

Everyone in your wedding party will either carry or wear flowers, from bridesmaids to groomsmen to parents. And don't forget the arrangements that will dress up the wedding site and reception hall.

From a simple nosegay of wildflowers picked along the side of the road to an opulent cascade of magnolias and roses, flowers help set the scene and complement the decor.

Knowing how to work with the floral designer who will create your boutonnieres, bouquets and centerpieces will also create just the right mood for your wedding. Bride's magazine says you should first define your wedding style, whether natural, traditional or dramatic, so that your florist can help you realize your dream.

To find a florist, Bride's suggests asking around. Do you have any recently married relatives or friends? Ask them which floral shop they used and if they were happy with the results. When you find a florist whose style you really like, be ready to talk about your budget. And before you sign on the dotted line, Bride's says to make sure all the details are in writing, including total costs and payment schedules, the deposit and when it's due, your first choice for flowers and unacceptable substitutes. The details include even the number and color of each flower that is to be used in bouquets, centerpieces and arrangements.

Brides can cut costs by selecting flowers that are in season and avoiding a wedding date that is near a big flower-buying holiday such as Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. They also can arrange to share flowers and costs with another bride who will be getting married before or after you at the same venue. Bouquets also can double as centerpieces on banquet tables.

Once the details are in place, you may want to choose flowers that have special meaning to you, such as your state flower or you mother's favorite blossoms. But flowers also have a long history of conveying unspoken emotions — everyone knows a red rose means love.

When putting together your bouquet you might like to keep in mind the meanings behind the beautiful blooms. The Knot, a wedding-planning Web site ( gives these examples:

*Freesia symbolizes innocence.

*Gardenia stands for purity and joy.

*Iris represents faith and wisdom.

*Tulip means love and passion.

In the same vein, if you're superstitious you'll want to avoid larkspurs, which represent infidelity; marigolds, which symbolize grief; and yellow roses, which stand for jealousy.

The Knot also provides a handy glossary of bouquet terms so you can start planning the style you want for you and your bridesmaids.

*A nosegay, popular in Victorian times, is a small, round cluster of flowers that are all uniform in length. It is generally made of one dominant flower or color and wrapped with ribbon or lace.

*A beidermeier is a nosegay using different flowers arranged in concentric circles, which creates a striped effect.

*A cascade is a dramatic waterfall of flowers and greenery designed to spill down the front of your gown when you are holding it.

*A composite is a bouquet of petals or buds wired together to create the illusion of one large flower.

*A pomander is a ball of flowers hanging from a ribbon. It's a perfect accent for very young attendants.

Finally, before you take a deep breath and walk down the aisle, get a grip on your beautiful bouquet. Bride's offers these tips:

*Rest your forearms on your hips, palms up.

*Casually grasp the bouquet directly in front of your pelvis.

*Hold a nosegay with one hand, any larger bouquet with two hands.

*Make sure you tilt a rounded bouquet slightly forward so guests will see all the flowers, not the stems.