Wedding Flowers

How to make your own bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces

Creating the floral arrangements for your wedding is fun and easy if you know a few tricks of the trade. Of course being your own florist can also help cut the cost of expensive wedding flowers. 

 

First and foremost is the process of selecting fresh cut flowers. California brides are particularly lucky, as California grows 60 percent of the nations' flowers. This makes flower selection and quality excellent. 

 

Flowers should be purchased about two days prior to the wedding. All flowers will need to be correctly conditioned.That is, cleaning and cutting the stems and then soaking them in water with floral food. Condition all the flowers and foliage in luke-warm water with either a store bought floral preservative or make your own by combining one gallon of water with a Tablespoon of sugar and a dash of laundry bleach. Let the flowers soak for several hours or overnight, so that they become well hydrated. Well hydrated just means letting them drink water for a long period of time so that they last and flourish on your special day. 

 

The instructions below give detailed directions on how to make a simple bridal bouquet, matching boutonniere and table centerpiece. A bridesmaid bouquet is simply made by using fewer flowers than the bride's bouquet and perhaps selecting different colored flowers.

Materials:

 

All supplies are available at florists and craft stores

 

  • 18 stems 'Anna' roses 

  • 10 stems pink bouvardia 

  • 10 stems variegated Pittosporum 

  • Rose stripper, available at craft stores or florist 

  • 10 1-inch diameter pearl or rhinestone buttons 

  • Twenty 18-inch long, 24 gauge straight wires 

  • ½ inch green floral stem wrap/corsage tape 

  • Approximately 7 rubber bands 

  • White ½ "bowl" tape 

  • 2-inch wide white stem wrap/corsage tape 

  • 2 yards white or ecru colored, 2-inch wide French ribbon 

  • Three 1.5-inch long pearl head boutonniere pins 

  • Floral clippers 

  • Scissors 

  • A large work surface

 

Directions:

 

Condition the flowers and greens correctly by cutting the ends of their stems, and then inserting them into clean buckets of luke-warm water that has been treated with flower food.

 

  • While the flowers are soaking make the pearl or rhinestone button decorations. Thread 9-inches of straight wire through the loop on the back of each button. Now bend the wires down straight so that they meet. With ½-inch wide green stem wrap/corsage tape, tightly wrap wires together. The stem wrap has glue in it to make it self-adhesive. 

  • To keep the button from wiggling, thread another piece of wire through the loop on the back of the button. This time wrap wire around the loop and then bend the wires straight to meet the other wires just taped. Now, using the ½ wide green corsage tape again, wrap and tape these wires to the previously wrapped wires. 

  • After allowing the flowers and greenery to soak for several hours remove them from the water buckets. Remove all the leaves from the roses and the bouvardia. Also remove greens from the Pittosporum, leaving just the tops full of greens. It may be necessary to use a rose stripper to remove thorns and greens from the roses. 

  • Separate flower varieties, laying them neatly on the work surface. 

  • Make small bunches of i.e. 2 stems roses, 1 stem bouvardia, 1 pearl decoration and 1 stem Pittosporum. All the heads of the flowers and tops of the greenery should be at the same height. Rubber band the lower third of each small bunch as it is assembled. Six small bouquets should be the goal. 

  • To make the one large bridal bouquet, begin assembling the small bunches in your hand. (If you are right handed hold the flowers in your left hand and vice-versa.) Keep all the flower bunches at the same height (the heads of the flowers should be at the same level) and the stems straight. Do not allow the stems to overlap or cross each other. Also keep in mind a round domed shape. 

  • When all the small bunches are used up, rubber band the one large bouquet to keep it together. With white "bowl" tape, permanently secure the bouquet together by neatly taping just under the blooms. That is, the tape should go around the stems at the point in which the bouquet will be held in the bride's hands. Make sure the tape is tight! Cut off all the rubber bands after the bowl tape is adhered. 

  • Over the bowl tape, wrap 2-inch wide white stem wrap. The stem wrap helps to keep the decorative ribbon in place. 

  • Cut 1 yard of ribbon and then tightly wrap the ribbon over the bowl tape. Finish the end of the ribbon off by neatly folding it back to make a clean edge. Then secure the ribbon with 3 pearl pins. The pins should be inserted at an angle so that they go into the bouquet almost vertically. Finally, with left over ribbon, tie a bow around the ribbon wrapped stems as you would tie your shoe. 

  • Re-cut the stems and place the bouquet in a clean bucket of water that has been treated with floral food. Be careful not to get the ribbon wet, it is best to wrap the ribbon in tissue, or tie it on at the last minute. Store bouquet in a cool location.

Groom's Rose Boutonniere

Materials

 

  • 1 'Anna' rose 

  • 2 leaves of Pittosporum and perfect rose greens (collect them from the discarded rose stems) 

  • 1 24 gauge straight wire 

  • ½-wide light green stem wrap/ corsage tape - 

  • Floral clippers 

  • Pearl headed boutonniere pin

 

Directions 

 

  1. Cut the rose stem to approximately 1.5-inches in length. Dry off the stem if it is wet. 

  2. Thread straight wire through the bulb of the rose. This is the large round part of the rose just under its' bloom. 

  3. Bend the wires down to meet the stem of the rose. 

  4. Starting at the bulb of the rose, tape over the wire with stem wrap. Pull stem wrap tightly to secure it to the stem. The stem wrap has glue already within it to help it adhere to stem and itself. Stop after you have taped about 6-inches. Tear or cut stem wrap free from the roll. 

  5. Add greenery by simply placing the foliage next to the rose. With another piece of stem wrap, catch the stems of the foliage and wrap down the wire. 

  6. To pin the boutonniere to a suit lapel, hold the boutonniere against the front of the lapel. Pull the lapel back; catch the boutonniere on the backside of the lapel with pin. This way the pin is not visible.

  7. Boutonniere Storage: Place boutonniere in a covered plastic or cardboard box (a shoebox works well) or inside a zip-lock bag. Fill box or bag with shredded paper to keep the boutonnieres in place. Place in refrigerator overnight.

 

 

My best,

The Bridal Bouquet: A Bouquet of Bunches

This bouquet is simply created by making several small bunches first. When these small bunches are combined they make one beautiful bridal bouquet. This floral technique delivers goof-proof results for a round, hand-tied bouquet that is approximately 10-inches in diameter.

Table Centerpiece

A Sphere of Flowers

 

A perfect round centerpiece is quickly and simply designed by using a 4.5-inch floral foam (oasis) sphere. These floral foam balls are available at craft stores or florists. Pre-ordering them from the florist may be a good idea, as they are not standard floral supplies.

 

Materials for One Sphere of Flowers 

 

  • 20 pink gerbera daisies 

  • One 4.5-inch diameter floral foam (oasis) sphere 

  • Floral clippers 

  • Vase 5-or 6-inches tall by approximately 3-inches in diameter.

 

Directions 

 

  • Soak the sphere in water for about an hour. 

  • Cut gerbera daisies to 1.5-inches in length. 

  • Insert gerbera daisies closely together into sphere. The very bottom of the sphere can remain empty (without flowers). 

  • Now set the flower filled sphere on the vase 

  • Store centerpiece in a cool location.

Note: California grows 250 varieties of gerbera daisies. There's a color to suit every taste!