Good morning! After a VERY busy Christmas season I am so happy to say that we are back to our weddings, doing what I truly LOVE! Last summer my good friend (and talented photographer) Lindsay Nickel of Lindsay Nickel Photography and I teamed up for a fun session to provide brides with a unique insight into what it looks like to build a bridal bouquet. If you are thinking of doing your own wedding flowers this post will show you the steps it takes to make this bouquet and help give you the confidence for you to try it out for yourself. So here we go!
It is always best to start with a nice, clean work space. As you process the flowers (cutting the ends with a nice sharp knife and put them into clean buckets of water) separate the blooms you plan to you by type and by color. This will make it easy to find and grab what it is you want as you go.
Be picky when choosing the flowers for your bridal bouquet, you want them to be PERFECT!
Before you get started, make sure to have your vase of water handy to place your finished bouquet in. Trust me, I have missed this a few times and it is always much more of a pain to do while also holding onto a big bridal bouquet!
All your flowers flowers are going to have to be prepped before you use them. For some this will simply mean removing of the leaves, for others a little more work like wiring. We like to prep our roses by removing the leaves, thorns (this is done with a sharp floral knife, you can use a paring knife from your kitchen) as well as wiring them with a thin gauge wire. We wire them because their heads can break off relatively easily – not something you want on your wedding day! Adding the wire provides extra stability to the stem. With your roses you can also remove the outer guard petals (they are usually greener, more wrinkly, and a little less pretty) to ensure they look their most beautiful.
Now it is finally time to start building! For this bouquet we are using a curly willow armature (grid) as the base. This helps to separate the flowers and give a looser more natural feel to the bouquet. Fresh curly willow is great for this because it is super flexible so you can shape it at will. Then use bind wire (available from your friendly neighborhood florist) to tie together at a few key points.
With my armature ready to go I can start adding in greenery. For this bouquet I am using silver dollar and seeded eucalyptus, my favs! I love them because they are super versatile, hang beautifully at the edges of a bouquet, have amazing colour and they can also stand up to our crazy Alberta summer heat!
Once you have all your greenery in place, you can begin to add blooms. I always like to start with the largest flowers first and work my way down to the smallest. In this bouquet, I am starting off with these gorgeous coral charm peopnies.
After these are in place you can add in more blooms, in this bouquet we use large White O’hara garden roses next. As stems are being inserted, continually check along the way that they are fanning out nicely and creating a spiral pattern. This makes the bouquet stronger and prevents flowers from getting squished which can cause broken stems.
Fill in with all of the smaller blooms, in this bouquet we used veronica, blushing bride and astilbe. Make sure you are continually turning your bouquet as you are adding stems to keep your spiral pattern! Try to make sure the different stems are evenly dispersed throughout your bouquet and not all lumped on one side. Once you are finished putting all of your flowers in and are happy with their placements, give it a final look over. Tip – it can be hard to see how everything looks in your hands so looking from a little further away in a big mirror can help you see if you have any areas that need work. Now it is time to bind the stems!
I like to use parafilm to bind the stems. It is similar to floral tape, but much more stretchy and way less sticky – another item you can get from your florist. Tightly wrap around the stems, starting just above where you were holding the stems and carefully working your way down approximately 3-4″. The parafilm provides a really nice smooth surface for your ribbon to go on top, how long you want the wrap is totally up to you! For a larger bouquet I usually do a shorter wrap.
Next we cover up the parafilm, there are tons of options you can go with from fabric, yarn, burlap, ribbon. For this bouquet we decided on a beautiful satin ribbon with a lace overlay. I like to use a glue gun to attach it to the top of the parafilm wrap and tightly bind it all the way down to the bottom, covering up any of the floral “mechanics”.
If you like this is a great time to add on any fun finishing touches such as trailing ribbons, pearl pins, brooches or things of that nature.
Finally we trim off all of the stems to the same length. Trim up to the shortest stem so that when the bouquet is placed in water, all of the flowers are able to drink. Some stems can be tough to cut through so make sure you are using really sharp pruning shears, not scissors. And finally, our finished product!! A stunning hand tied bouquet you can make yourself!
Now this is only one way to create one style of bouquet! Please keep in mind that we do have services to help out a DIY bride. We can sit down for a consultations, lasting about an hour to talk about your floral vision, giving guidance on floral selections, helping breakdown materials needed and if desired ordering bulk flowers for you). We also offer Tips + Tricks classes in which we come to your home with the supplies needed and help you (and your friends!) learn some arranging techniques and give tips on floral care to ensure they last all day for you.
Contact us today to learn more about our services for DIY Brides!