Monday, April 11, 2011

Wedding Flowers Practice Day

Saturday was the day - I had no other obligations and my daughter Kate and my friend were both free to help me practice making a bouquet, a boutonniere, and the table floral arrangement for my son's up-coming wedding.  We got them all made and I have to say they worked out really well.  I'm going to show the pictures to Malcolm and Christie to see if there are any changes, but otherwise we are all set to go!

First thing in the morning I went to the local store and bought some flowers including:
  • a couple of large mixed bunches with red, orange, and yellow flowers
  • a bunch with red carnations (as that was what my son had requested for his boutonniere)
  • a small bunch of red-orange tulips

I wanted to re-use the flowers from one arrangement to the next, so I started with the bride's bouquet as it took flowers with the longest stems.  

First, I cut the flowers about 16 inches long and took all the leaves off the lower part of the stems.

Then I arranged the bouquet in my hand building slowly from the centre outward.  I tried to balance the bouquet for colour and had the tulips sticking up slightly more than the other flowers.   When I was satisfied with the arrangement, I wound the stems together with wire.

I then covered the wire with florist tape, pulling the tape as I went so it would stick to itself.

Finally, I wound white ribbon over the florist tape.  We did the ribbon-wrapping twice so I could perfect my wrapping technique.  It definitely looked and felt better when I went over the whole 5-inch area twice with the ribbon.  It helped to have two people working on the bouquet, so one could hold the bouquet and one could work on the ribbon wrapping.

I folded the end of the ribbon under and pinned it in place and then cut the ends of the stems so they were even.

And there you have it - a bright and beautiful bouquet!

After taking some photos, we took the bouquet apart - sniff, sniff - so we could use the same flowers to make a mock-up of the table arrangement that we will be using at the wedding.  I'm only going to give you a sneak peak, though, because I'm saving it for a guest post that I'm doing later this month.  

Then we made a boutonniere.  Malcolm requested that his boutonniere include red carnations so that was where we started.   I collected the flowers in my hand and arranged and re-arranged them until I was satisfied.  I started with a piece of fern, then added two carnations at slightly different heights, and some red berries for textural interest.  I wanted to include another colour in the boutonniere to have it move away from the Christmasy look that red flowers and green foliage can slip into.  I used some small yellow flowers that were perfect and helped tie the boutonniere in with the reds, oranges, and yellows of Christie's bouquet.  

I also wanted to add a little personal touch to both the bouquet and the boutonniere so I went out to the garden and clipped some thyme to use.  It seemed to be just the right touch, since it not only comes from our garden, but Malcolm and Christie love to cook.  

I was running out of time when I was making the boutonniere, so it isn't arranged perfectly and the thyme is hanging out the side at a bit of an odd angle, but you can still get the idea.

I sprayed the boutonniere with water and put it in a plastic bag in the fridge so I could see how well it kept overnight.  

Update:  I was relieved to find the boutonniere in good shape the next day and I took it to show Malcolm when we visited on Sunday. I pinned it on him and although it was a nice arrangement, the overall size was too big.  We decided that for the wedding it would just have one carnation, a tiny bit of fern, and a few yellow flowers.

The nice thing about spending the day arranging flowers are the leftovers.  We have bouquets all over the house and I was able to send my friend home with some as well.

All but the last two photos were taken by Kate.

Linked to Motivate me Monday at Keeping it Simple,
Handmade Tuesday at Ladybug Blessings
Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Try it Tuesday Party at Dot Dot Dot
Open House Link Party at No Minimalist Here
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage


  1. I love the bride's've missed your calling! How lovely that you're able to contribute to the wedding in this way. I'm impressed :)

  2. They are gorgeous! And thank you for tutorial - I had no idea how to pull it all together. Great job!

  3. Wow, you have some talent for this! You are quite the florist! Both the bouquet and the boutonniere were beautiful. Glad the practice went well. I'm sure the flowers for the real thing will be perfect.

  4. Grace, the boutonniere and bouquet are so pretty! You did an incredible job. WIll you have a link to the guest post? I want to see the flower arrangements in the blue vases :D

  5. Congratulations to your son and his bride! Your floral work is amazing. Second career, perhaps?!

    xo Elizabeth

  6. Great job & that is a good idea to do a 'practice run' getting ready for the big day. Congrats!

  7. You've done such a fab job - especially with the bride's bouquet, it's so lovely! Great way to spend a day, playing with flowers. Hope everything goes swimmingly on the big day :-)

    Jem xXx

  8. Wow what a savings that will be to make them yourselves. How far ahead can you make them?

  9. HI Grace, I saw your comment on a newbie's post and I had to come read your tips for a newbie, too. Great job with the flowers and I loved your post about going to Sarah Richardson's house. I have recorded her shows and I hope we get to see the new show in the US. I am a new follower. Come visit me at

  10. Hello Grace,
    How the colors!


  11. Great job! Love the blue vases.

  12. Stunning!! Oh you must be so ecstatic right now! What a wonderful time in your lives.

  13. It's a great idea to have a dry run like this so everything is perfect on the big day! Love the bright, happy flowers :)

  14. Such a pretty bouquet. You are very talented. I love that you did a dry run. Great idea.

  15. Hi Grace, Flower arranging has never been something I am good at and can you believe my grandmother was a florist! You did a great job with the flowers and I know the bride will love them. Thanks for joining the party!

  16. Lovely Post. Your arrangments are bright and beautiful.
    Best Carolyn

  17. You will save a ton of money doing those yourself. We spent a fortune on flowers at my daughter's wedding. Those looked great. Thanks for sharing at WUW.

  18. Your bouquet is lovely- and your table bouquets are beautiful as well! Thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

  19. Beautiful bouquet!! I love those blue vases too!! Thanks so much for linking up to Try it Tuesday! You are very talented!!
    Have a Happy Monday!
    PS-I am excited to be your newest follower and see all your other projects!!

  20. Completely lovely. Well done!

    Thanks for stopping by Always Springtime Flowers.

  21. It's a great idea to have a dry run like this so everything is perfect on the big day! Love the bright, happy wedding flowers :)