Saturday, 14 November 2015

Flukey Floristry: DIY Bridal Bouquets

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been helping a friend prepare for her wedding. She's proud to be a very savvy lady, and this skill was extended to some aspects of her wedding preparation. Rather than spend who-knows-what on having a florist make her wedding bouquets and buttonholes, she decided to spend a fraction of that money on going to a 2-day wedding flower course. She then taught her mum, sister and myself everything she had learnt about hand-tying bouquets and bought all of her flowers at wholesale price from the flower market - smart lass.

Whilst practicing a few weeks before the wedding with some supermarket flowers I felt fairly confident however on the morning of our flower-arranging day I was struck with self-doubt. So I ran to Morrison's bought a bouquet and spliced it with some flowers I already had to practice some more. I managed to make a pretty reasonable posy secured with an elastic band, so having made a grand total of two bouquets ever, I was ready for the real thing.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowersDIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

The day before, the bride had already "conditioned" all of the flowers - meaning she removed all of the foliage below the "pinch point" where the bouquet will be held. She then left all of the flowers in buckets of water in her parents' cool conservatory to keep them fresh. It seems obvious but it was very helpful that she kept the different types of flower separate so that we could see what we had to work with.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

From memory I can tell you we had: cream roses, "antique" roses, lisianthus, freesias, wax flower, stocks, and some gorgeous agapanthus and very chic veronicas. For foliage we had leather leaf, rosemary, a kind of bushy plant and another with very dark green oval leaves.....foliage is much harder to identify!

We watched the bride to put together her own, larger bouquet with a view of making smaller versions for the five bridesmaids' bouquets. I planted myself (pun intended) in amongst those buckets of flowers and just went for it.

It's tricky to explain without photos but I started with two larger flowers - a rose and a stock - to base the bouquet around. Gripping these lightly in my left hand, I added foliage and flowers, rotating the bouquet each time to get an even, round bunch. I took full advantage of my mouth as an additional flower-holder.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers

When adding foliage I was careful to avoid "clumps" of greenery by pushing and dispersing the thin stems of green in around the larger flowers. It helped to continually look down onto the bouquet to ensure that it was looking balanced and it is also important to try to make a kind of spherical shape with the flowers rather than having them all at the same height.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus

To give the bouquet more structure I tended to wedge the floppier flowers, like freesias and listianthus, in with roses as or stocks as they had stronger stems. I finished around the edge of the bouquet with plenty of foliage, like a frame. As the bouquets got more towards their finished size - as determined by the bride - I did struggle due to having child-sized hands.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus

When it came to tying up the bouquets I had to enlist help from the bride's mum whilst I held the bouquet with both hands. Normally one would then wrap the stems in floristry tape, which is stretchy and sticks to itself, before wrapping ribbon neatly over the top of that with double-sided tape. However in this case we liked the rustic look of the rafia we had used to tie the bouquets so we left them looking natural.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus

After all the bridesmaids' bouquets were done, there were still loads of flowers left and I was on a roll, so the bride asked me to make a "throwing bouquet". Still raring for more and with some roses, freesias and lisianthus remaining, I made a small posy for the bride's nan to hold.

DIY wedding posy roses freesias lisianthus

I probably would have kept going but the flower supply had finally been depleted. If you can't tell I absolutely loved making the bouquets. It wasn't anywhere near as technically difficult as you may think and in my opinion relies more on a good eye than on any special skills - although I'm sure there are many florists who would set me straight on that!

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus stocks

I think the guests would have been none the wiser that the flowers weren't done by professionals had we not been so proud of our work that we had to tell everyone. I am sure the bride would agree with me too that the flower-arranging afternoon was a really nice start to the wedding weekend, and like many things there was as much joy in the making as there was in the final product.

DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus


DIY bridal bouquet wedding flowers roses freesias veronica lisianthus agapanthus