We may think of long-stem roses in the delicate hands of a blushing bride as the ultimate romantic expression, but the origin of the bridal bouquet is somewhat less rosy, as it turns out. Way back when baths were short and people smelled a bit high, carrying fragrant flowers, laced with spices, helped disguise the bride’s rather unbecoming BO. But while the tradition of the bridal bouquet may be a tad whiffy, we still think clutching a bunch of flowers is a fine sight. And to save your pretty pennies, why not have a go at creating your own bridal posy?
Posies, Hand-Tied Bouquets and Nosegays…
What’s the difference, anyway? Florists distinguish between, errrm, a bunch of different bouquet styles, ranging from the simple posy right up to the complex teardrop (a train of flowers cascading from the bride’s hands) or pomander (a bloom covered ball suspended from a ribbon). These styles take considerable skill to execute successfully – best left in the hands of a professional florist. Focus your efforts, rather, on making one of these:
- A nosegay – a small, round cluster of flowers of different types and colours, all cut to uniform length and tied with a ribbon
- A classic hand-tied bouquet – a bigger, denser version of the nosegay, and usually featuring just one or two colours.
What Will I Need?
You can get these items from floral distributors or wedding supplies wholesalers, or at a good hardware or crafting store:
- Floral wire
- Floral tape
- Gardening scissors
- Stem stripper (optional)
- Rubber bands
- A tussy-mussy (a silver cone into which you place your posy – optional)
- Satin ribbon or lace
- Pearl-tipped corsage pins
- Patient, artsy helpers!
What Flowers Should I Use?
Less practised hands should stick to sturdier flowers which can withstand a little manhandling. These include:
Grab your Maid of Honour and head off to scour the flower wholesalers or markets in your city or, alternatively, get what you need by dissecting supermarket-bought bunches.
- Read more about what wedding flowers are in season, when…
How Do I Make a Posy?
For best effect, keep it simple! Follow these rules of thumb:
- Choose two complementary colours of the same type of flower – for example, yellow and white daisies
- Choose one statement colour of different sorts of flowers of varying sizes, shapes and textures – for example, pink roses, pink carnations and pink peonies
- Place large flowers on the outside and smaller flowers on the inside
- Don’t cut your flowers to length until you’ve finished arranging and binding – and rather start longer and adjust than cut off too much in one fell swoop!
- Do a dry-run to eliminate stress and ensure you’ve got the technique down pat. This is particularly important as part of the work can only be done on the big day itself.
It’s As Easy as 1-2-3…
Steps one through three should be done the day before, with the last step the morning of your wedding…
Step One: Prepping the Flowers:
- Use your stem stripper or hands to strip foliage from the stems
- Nip a little off the stems at an angle near the bottom and place in cold water to invigorate the flowers
Step Two: Arranging the Flowers:
- Arrange the core of the bouquet by placing four flowers in one hand, and hold
- Add flowers to the core one by one, slowly building up your bouquet
Step Three: Securing the Flowers
- Wind a rubber band around the point where all the stems meet
- Take the floral wire and wind carefully around the stems a little above and below your rubber band. You may like to use some tape to soften the wire edges.
- Check how it looks in your hands, in the mirror, and make any adjustments
- Place your secured bouquet in water for some refreshing overnight TLC
- Cut a length of ribbon or lace to three times the length of the stems
- Cut another shorter length if you require a bow
- Set your ribbons aside until morning.
Step Four: Presenting the Flowers
- Remove your flowers from the water and carefully dab-dry the stems
- Cut the stems to the desired length
- Wind the ribbon or lace around the stems to form your handle, starting at the top and moving downwards, then upwards again, finishing up where you started
- Neatly tuck the ends away so they’re hidden from sight
- Use two corsage pins to secure the ribbon or lace in place
- If you wish, take the other length of ribbon and tie a bow roughly one third of the way down the handle
- Carefully wrap your posy in tissue and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to roll, then place into your tussy-mussy, if you’re using one
- Get your Maid of Honour to carry a spray bottle or two of cool water to perk up your posies throughout the day
- Smile and wave, beautiful bunch in hand!