Homemade Wedding Bouquets: The Basics
Want to create your own bridal bouquet? From single stem to blossoming bushel, just follow these simple instructions for a classic dome shaped wedding bouquet.
A simple single-flower wedding bouquet is not difficult to make, and the classic dome shape of this round bridal bouquet complements most wedding gowns. Be sure to stick to hardier flowers like roses, which are easier to arrange and can endure a little manhandling. To make a bridal bouquet about 8 inches in diameter, just follow the instructions below. This bouquet takes between 30 and 60 minutes to construct, and about 30 to 60 stems.
What You'll Need
- 30 to 60 stems of a hardy flower like the rose (20 to 40 for each bridesmaid bouquet).
- 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
Step 1: 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.
- Knot 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.
Step 2: 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. See other wedding bouquet shapes.
- Knot 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.
Step 3: 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 Step 4.
Step 4: Finish the Handle
- 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.
Step 5: 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.
Not the DIY type? Find a wedding florist.
Adapted from The Knot Book of Wedding Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2002).