Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trials - purple wedding bouquet for my friend Sandy

Went to the Oakland flowermart to do a trial run for a purple wedding bouquet. Started off with some lavender roses and snap peas. The bouquet is a hand tied bouquet wrapped with a satin ribbon. I was pretty excited as this was my first wedding bouquet attempt using fresh flowers.

It was fairly easy to make and took approximately 45 minutes for my first time. I would say that the area that took the most time was wiring the snap pea stems to give each one enough strength to hold in the bouquet.

If using all roses only, I would estimate that it would take 20 minutes tops to create a hand tied bouquet on your first try following these instructions. Using a hardy flower like roses, will save you the time of having to wire each stem as roses naturally have a strong stem.

30 to 60 stems of a hardy flower like the rose (20 to 40 for each bridesmaid bouquet)
Bucket Paper towels Ribbon (in a complementary color),
1 to 2 inches wide Rubber bands or green waxed floral tape
Stem cutter or very sharp knife
Stem stripper
Straight pins or pearl-tipped corsage pins

The inspiration photo: with purple roses, pink snap peas, magenta calla lilies, and pink cymbidium blooms.

Preparing the Flowers:

Use your hands or a stem stripper to remove excess foliage and thorns, and pull off damaged or unattractive outer petals. Fill a sink or bucket with water, and holding the stems underwater use the stem cutter or knife to cut the stems at an angle about 2 inches from the bottom. Allow the flowers to drink for a few seconds with the stem ends underwater, then place the stems in a bucket filled halfway with cool water until you are ready to use them. Note: If you're working with roses and the heads aren't open yet, you can force the blooms open by placing the stems in a bucket of hot water; but only do this for a couple of minutes just before you are going to use the roses, or you might kill them otherwise. Keep the stems long while you work with them and trim them to a shorter length when you've finished constructing the bouquet.

Here are the flowers awaiting to be arranged:
I started off with taping the rose stems in bundles of threes.

Assembling the Flowers:

Take one stem at a time with one hand, and use your other hand to hold the flowers in place. Assemble four flowers at an even height in a square shape -- these will be at the center of the dome. Arrange the other flowers one by one around the center flowers to create a dome shape. Note: To better see what the bouquet will look like in your hand, stand in front of a mirror as you construct the bouquet to observe how the shape is progressing.
Then in the other bundles, I added some snap peas into the bundles.
Then taping each of the bundles together to get a round shape.

Securing the Bouquet:

Use a rubber band or floral tape to bind the stems at the spot where they naturally join (about 3 to 4 inches below the flower heads). Repeat the binding toward the end of the stems, leaving about 2 inches of excess stem beneath the bind to trim later. Either place the stems in water and wrap them later or continue to next step.
After getting the bouquet to the round shape I wanted, I added the final touches of a double faced satin ribbon. Starting from the mid section of the bouquet, I wrapped the ribbon around by looping the ribbon over one another and criss crossing the ties alternating on the front and back of the bouquet.

Finish the H

Cut the stem ends so they are all the same length, about 7 to 8 inches long. Dry off the stems with a paper towel. Cut a length of ribbon about three times as long as the length of the stems. Tuck the end of the ribbon inside the top bind and start wrapping in a spiral down the length of the stem. When you reach the bottom, wrap in a spiral back up the stem. At the top, tuck the cut end of the ribbon underneath and secure with a couple of pins pushed through the ribbon and into the stems. If you'd like a bow, cut a separate length of ribbon and tie it just beneath the flower heads.

Then tied the extra of the ribbon into a bow. Added some pearl pins to the bouquet handle for detail.
Preserving the Bouquet:

Wrap the bouquet in tissue. Store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to leave for the ceremony. For ultimate freshness, it's best to make the bouquet the morning of the wedding. Once the bouquet is constructed, keep the bare stems in water as long as you can and mist the heads well. Then when you're ready, wrap the stems.