Fresh flower basics: How to make your own floral wedding bouquet
Making your own bouquet is an economical and fun way to put a creative touch on your wedding. It’s simple to do!
So, your wedding budget is getting a little out of control and it’s time to incorporate some do-it-yourself projects. Not sure what you can do? Floral costs are often high because of the labor charges florists add to the bill. The bridal bouquet alone can run $75 to $250 or more, depending on the size desired and flowers used. Most brides might not ever consider doing their own wedding flowers, and definitely wouldn’t trust themselves to create their bouquet. But it’s easier to do than you might think! Making your own bouquet is a wonderful way to add some creativity and personality to your special day.
Step 1- Preliminary Planning
The first thing you must do is decide what type of flowers you want for your wedding. Once this is accomplished, decide which colors, species, and sizes of the flowers you will use. For example, if you want roses, you must be specific, such as large-headed, long-stemmed, dark red. Use books or websites as a guide. If you want more than one type of flower, decide in what ratio they should be. It looks more aesthetically appealing to have a majority of one flower and to use the others as accent flowers.
Next, you should decide how large your bouquet will be. This can be dependent on the formality of the wedding- larger for more formal weddings, and smaller for less formal. It can also depend on your size; if you are short and petite, a very large bouquet will overwhelm you. If you are taller, a small one will be not be noticeable enough. If you are going for a simplistic, modern look, you could go with just a few colorful calla lilies or roses hand-tied.
The final aspect of your decision process is what shape the bouquet will be. The easiest shape for DIY flowers is a round bouquet. Other options are a cascading bouquet, a long bouquet meant to be cradled in your arms, or a completely free-form bouquet with no particular shape at all.
Step 2- Finding the Flowers
Now that you have the vision of the bouquet in your head, you need to find the flowers to make it happen! You should locate the place you will order from at least six weeks before the wedding. Most cities have flower markets or wholesale florists which can order most any flowers. These places can be found in the yellow pages. In addition to this, there are multiple wholesale websites which you can order from. However, some of these only take bulk orders, so unless you are doing all of your flowers, it might not be an option. Plan for the flowers to arrive at least two days before your wedding.
Use the person you are ordering from as a resource. Tell them your ideas and ask their advice about how many of each type of flower to order. As a basic guide, a medium-sized bouquet will normally use two to three dozen roses. Ask a lot of questions, and get an order form with complete details on it. This will prevent any potential problems with the vendor. If you can’t find your specific flowers, ask the specialist what flowers are a good substitute or to help you find other flowers of the same color.
Once the flowers arrive, pick them up and follow the care instructions given to you by the market. Most instructions are specific to the type of flower. In our rose example, you would cut the stems under water, add floral food to some buckets of cool water, pull off the guard petals (outermost petals), and allow them to soak for a day or two.
Step 3- Creating Your Vision: a Round Bouquet
In order to begin work on your bouquet, you will need floral shears, floral tape, and ribbon that matches your wedding colors. If you are using more than one type of flower, make sure you have the quantities you desire of each type ready to go. Take one of the flowers that will be the majority and hold it in your hand. Use this flower as a guide, letting it represent the tallest point of the bouquet. Add a couple more flowers, different types if desired, around the first to create the full center. Keep adding flowers, positioning the various colors and types in random patterns for a natural look. Trim the stems as you go so that they are even at the bottom. Once the bouquet is large enough, double-check for roundness and evenness. Have someone else look at it from the front or you can look at it in a mirror. When it is finished, have somebody help you wrap floral tape around the middle of the stems. Then you can cover the floral tape with your ribbon, and either wrap the entire stems or leave some stem showing.
If you are making the bouquet the night before the wedding, place it in a vase with a small amount of water and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise you are ready to go!
Creating Your Vision: Cascading or Cradle Bouquets
For these types of bouquets, you will need flowers and filler with long stems. For a cascading bouquet, you will also need to purchase a bouquet holder, which is basically a plastic handle with a piece of foam inside. When beginning the bouquet, you will cut the stems before placing them in the foam. Use caution not to cut them too short too soon! Begin again with the middle of the bouquet, which will also be the roundest part. Add more flowers, allowing them to point slightly up at the top of the bouquet, and down at the bottom. The stems will need to have more length the further you move from the center. Use some long stems and filler pointing downward to make the bouquet descend as far as you desire. This bouquet should be made the day of the wedding because the stems are unable to be soaked overnight.
For a cradle bouquet, lay some long filler pieces down on a table. These will be the longest pieces in the bouquet, so adjust them to your desired length. Begin to lay flowers down, making them slightly shorter for each layer. A cradle bouquet looks best when all the layers are visible and it does not look too busy. When you reach the number of layers you want, use floral tape loosely around the middle of the base of the stems. Then you can tie your ribbon around the tape, making sure it doesn’t pull the stems too tightly together. This bouquet should also be made the day of the wedding, because it is normally too long to fit in the refrigerator.
Have fun and be imaginative attempting your own bouquet! If you wish to practice before the big day, buy some flowers from a grocery store and give it a shot. Remember, flowers look beautiful on their own no matter what, so don’t sweat getting it too perfect. Good luck!