Bridal bouquets are a popular DIY wedding project, but they can be very stressful for the bride who waits to finish her own bouquet, and the ones she needs for her bridesmaids, at the last minute.
How long in advance you can make your bouquets depends on how fresh the flowers are, and the environment where you’re getting married. For example, you shouldn’t make up bouquets more than 24 hours ahead if you’re getting married someplace very hot or tropical, and you still need to store them in a cool place until it’s time to head down the aisle.
Because of the difficulty associated with creating “perfect” DIY bouquets on a wedding weekend timeline, a lot of brides have embraced trendy alternative bouquets instead.
Silk flowers come in very high quality varieties now, and unless you choose to use aqua flowers (or any other color bloom that doesn’t exist in nature), it’s unlikely that your guests will be able to tell the flowers aren’t natural from a distance. Some bouquets look so real that nobody knows they’re fake unless they touch them.
Broach bouquets became popular a few years ago, and now brides are planning ahead to DIY their own. In fact, build-a-bouquet bridal shower themes are popular, where every guest is asked to bring a sparkly contribution for the bride to incorporate in her bouquet. It can be as subtle, or as BLING, as you like. Just keep in mind that big broach bouquets are heavy. All those rhinestones and crystals, mounted on metal fastenings, plus the form and handle you’re attaching them to, can become a 10-pound handful quite quickly. And it takes a lot more broaches than you realize to create a few bouquets. I recommend hitting some estate sales that feature costume jewelry. Some girls have found them on EBay.
If you’re determined to use fresh flowers and make a DIY wedding bouquet, consider exactly which blooms you’re going to use, and practice with them in advance. Different flowers have to be handled in different ways, and some are time consuming.
If you’re new to making bouquets, you’ve probably never stripped roses. I hadn’t, before I started planning weddings. It’s an absolute must-do for ALL roses being used in bouquets. Thorns can be a tragic problem if somebody gets pricked and bleeds on the bride’s wedding gown.
The old-style way of stripping roses, and probably the fastest, involves using a floral knife. It’s also the most dangerous method, because you’re whacking away with a knife at a pretty quick pace. I don’t recommend it for DIY brides and grooms. I never let my interns strip with knives (yeah, read that again lol).
They sell all kinds of different devices for stripping roses safely – there are two I’d recommend. One is faster, but dulls eventually. It’s a plastic tube you close around the stem, and then pull down removing the thorns. The other, almost like a double sided plastic sponge with fingers (featured in the how-to YouTube video below), lasts forever but takes a little more elbow grease to strip a stem completely in one swipe.
It takes some practice to make sure you’re grasping the stem in the right place, so you don’t pop the head off the rose in the process. Too much pressure, and you’ll be dropping the rose bloom in your bucket to shred for your aisle later. Not enough pressure, and you have to do each stem several times.
You don’t need to strip your rose stems for centerpieces or arrangements, but you should still be careful when you’re making them. It’s not uncommon for newbies to come away with a lot of scratches and dings. Not so pretty when your hands are being photographed with your wedding rings in a couple of days. Some DIY bouquet brides even wear gloves.
Orchids, for example, are wildly popular in wedding bouquets. But if you’re carrying a round, front-held bouquet, you’re need to create faux stems for each orchid bloom that goes into the bouquet. Orchids come on long stems with multiple blooms, and if you just try to use them as is, you’ll waste most of the flowers by burying them inside the bouquet.
It’s not difficult to create faux stems for your orchids, and you’ll save a lot of money doing it, especially if you’re making multiple bouquets, but you need to do it a certain way.
- Flower tape
- Small water tubes
- Flower scissors or knife
Step One: Choose a stem of orchids. Carefully snip the blooms off at the stem, giving yourself as much stem on each little blossom as possible.
Step Two: Assemble six water tubes to start, by filling them with water, snapping on the caps, and enlarging the opening in the cap a little bit with the tip of your flower scissors. You can figure out how big it needs to be EXACTLY after you’ve done the first one. Dendrobium stems are much smaller than Cymbidium orchid stems, for example.
Step Three: Insert a bloom through the cap, making sure the stem is submerged (add more water if it’s not). Hold a stick up, alongside the water tube. If your stick has a pointy end, insert the tip under the edge of the rubber cab to avoid the bride or bridesmaids getting poked.
Step Four: Starting wrapping your green floral tape around the water tube, firmly attaching the stick (which is your faux stem) to the tube. You must wrap the top of the tube completely in order for it to be camouflaged in the bouquet.
Tip: If you’ve never worked with floral tape, play with it a bit. It only works when your hands are wet. You should keep a cup of water handy for dipping your fingers into as your proceed through this project. The tape becomes sticky and flexible when you wet it, and you can easily cover the flower tube and securely attach your stem. Don’t worry if the first ones turn out a little bit ugly, nobody is supposed to see the water tubes and stems. We cover them so that if anything does show through the bouquet, it’s camouflaged as greenery.
Before you get started, I strongly suggest that you watch this tutorial I created with my interns a couple of years ago. It’s funny, but it’s also super helpful in that you’ll see what I mean about how to attach the water tubes and play with the tape.