Monday, September 29, 2008

DIY for dummies (like me!)

My good friend R got married last month. It was an intimate affair at a local park and we decided to do the flowers ourselves (including bouquets for the bride and her two girls). I was pretty nervous about creating bouquets but she had gotten an outrageous quote from a florist for doing three small, simple bouquets so we decided to go for it. First, I did a little searching online (as you know, I love Google). After reading through a bunch of wordy explanations I found this little slideshow and a little wine later I blithely thought, "I can totally do this!"

In the light of the sober morning I freaked out again but we were a go. The wedding was on a Friday evening so we decided to hit the Lake City Farmer's Market on Thursday afternoon to pick flowers for tables and hand-held bouquets. I dropped Monkey at A's house (thank you!) and we jetted off with buckets in the back of R's van. We didn't have a lot of preconceived ideas except for dahlias and something that would work with the sage and fuchsia ribbon R had bought to go with the dress sashes.

It was touch and go there for a while but they turned out beautiful in the end. I would advise anyone to make your own (or a friend's) bouquets. It's not as hard as we thought (and R's THANKFULLY not a picky or crazy bride - like I was). Here's what you'll need and some lessons learned:

1) Pick sturdy flowers (a flower that stays for a week or so in the vase). Don't pick anything too delicate.

Tip: Buy more flowers than you think you need. You can always put some in a vase if you have extra. Once you get down to the business of stripping the leaves, etc. there will be some breakage and some not as straight, etc.

2) Green florist tape (sites suggested wire but we didn't use any since we were working with sturdy stems)

Tip: it's easier if you have a friend to hold the stems tightly while you wrap

3) Ribbon to wrap stems (wider is easier)

4) "pearl" tipped pins

5) GOOD scissors to cut the ribbon

6) Crap scissors (or clippers) to cut the flowers

7) Hot glue gun

Creating the bouquets

Strip the flowers and set them out in bunches on the table. Start at the center and build out placing the flowers in a concentric circles until you like the shape. Keep a tight hold right below the flowers as you go. Tightly wrap with the florist tape (but not too low just yet as you'll be putting the flowers in water). Put the flowers in water until a few hours before the ceremony (we did this step the night before and wrapped them with the ribbon Friday afternoon). Sites suggested using florist preservative but we didn't have any!
Wrapping the ribbon

This was the scariest part for me but it wasn't that tough once I got going. First, choose thick ribbon. We had one thick ribbon (easy) and one pretty thin (harder to keep it straight). I made a practice bunch of stems to try out the wrap before doing the real bouquets.

First, take them out of the water and dry off the stems. Continue wrapping the stems with the florist tape to give your ribbon a smoother surface.

If you want to cover the end of the stems (and you don't have to) cut two pieces of ribbon and hot glue them in a cross on the bottom (go up the sides on each as you'll cover with the main wrap).

Start wrapping at the bottom and swirl upward. I folded a bit of the ribbon over to give a clean end, wrapped around a few times and then secured with a pearl topped pin. I continued up to the top (keep it tight and don't be afraid to start over if it gets loose). Once you get to the top secure with more pins (you can do a line of pins down the side or just keep a few at the top). We decided to put some tails on the end of each bouquet so I just threaded thin ribbon through the cross at the bottom and tied.

Now go out there and make a bouquet! I wish I had a little girl because it would be fun to make some for dress-up. Monkey's a bit more interested in throwing the bouquet than carrying it.


Adam said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow - beautiful success! Impressive. Great pictures.

katy said...

totally impressive! They turned out beautifully.

thanks for the offering your necklace. it sound perfect! I'd love to give it a try.