My daughter’s friend, Megan, was in panic mode. She is engaged and the wedding is March 31st. Her nerves are fraying (ever so slightly!) and the second florist she hired to do the wedding flowers just called to cancel. Kiki, my 28 year-old daughter, emailed me to give me the news and asked if I knew anyone who would make a bunch of bouquets for Megan’s wedding.
Megan needed a bridal bouquet, 6 bridesmaid bouquets, 7 boutonnieres, a Mother-of-the-Bride corsage as well as a Mother-of-the-Groom corsage. Wow, I thought. That’s a lot of flowers. And, I’ve never done this before.
Of course, I didn’t know anyone who would take the job on such short notice, especially since Megan didn’t have an unlimited flower budget. As I contemplated the fix that Megan was in, I “time-traveled” back in time.
Megan lived one street west of us when we lived in Ballwin. Megan’s parents divorced and Terry, Megan’s Mom, moved close to her parents so they could help with childcare. Megan’s grandparents lived on our cul-de-sac of 10 homes. Megan was supposed to go to her grandparents after school, but she spent most afternoons at our house, where she and Kiki became fast friends.
Megan was (and still is!) a toehead blonde with oodles of personality and a bundle of energy. As a 5 year old she’d prefer to be outside on her bike, on the swing set or roller skates. Megan is a natural athlete who excelled at everything she attempted. If you remember a period in the early 90’s when the city was covered in ice, Megan still managed to get around. She put on her ice skates and skated to our house. That was our Megan!
So, fast-forward about 20 years. Megan and Michael are getting married and they need help. In fact, they need it badly. I felt so sorry for them, and I love making flower arrangements, so I offered my services. I told Megan to come over with photos and ideas for the flowers she wanted to use for her wedding to Michael.
Luckily, Megan knew exactly what she wanted; nothing was outrageously expensive or elaborate. She totally abhors flowers that are “sticky-outie.” That means that they poke out of the arrangement. Think Snapdragons. They’re “sticky-outie!” We made a date to meet at the wholesale flower shop, Baisch & Skinner.
I wanted Megan to have the bouquet of her dreams, so I told her that we needed to pick her favorite flowers, as well as assemble a bouquet before the big event.
Megan knows exactly what she wants - her flowers had to be shades of yellow and white. She honed in on some enormous “Pom Pom” chrysanthemums she just had to have in white and yellow.
We also found brilliant yellow Calla lilies, vibrant yellow tulips, pale yellow roses and a Cymbidium Orchid spray to be used as boutonnieres for the guys. Megan’s Mom, Terry, is responsible for making the boutonnieres.
By the way: boutonnieres are super-easy to assemble and there’s a great tutorial on the DIY website about their construction.
I thought that Orchids were a great choice because they look so totally custom and are available in a multitude of fabulous colors. Additionally, they last for days without water and, even though the Cymbidium spray was about $15, it had 12 blooms on it. One lone stem will make all the boutonnieres we need- that’s less than $2 a boutonniere! Stunning AND easy on the budget!
Terry can make the boutonnieres a day or two before the wedding and hold them in the refrigerator.
We will also use cut Orchids to decorate the wedding cake. Now, all I have to do is learn how to make a bridal bouquet before Megan and Terry came over Tuesday night.
Thank heavens for YouTube! There were hundreds of tutorials showing the novice how to make a bridal bouquet. I began watching them, realizing that it wasn’t going to be difficult at all. In fact, we just might have a ton of fun doing this!
I was getting really excited thinking about the different flower arrangements we could come up with. Fifteen minutes on YouTube made me an expert on bridal bouquet making!
I had assembled all the flowers in the kitchen sink, gathered my pruners, scissors, floral tape and satin ribbon for finishing the bouquets. We were ready to go and decided to do the bridesmaids bouquets first.
I wanted Megan to have exactly what she wanted so I hesitated offering any advice until she asked for it. I did persuade her to add some greenery to her bouquets. I think that in floral arrangements, as in nature, green breaks up the colors and adds so much to the composition.
We began with some yellow “Pom-Pom” Mums and added a few of the pale yellow Roses. Perhaps some Tulips would lend an interesting element to the bouquet. The more we tried different combinations, the more Megan realized that she wanted the bridesmaids’ bouquets to be simple.
We used bright yellow Chrysanthemums, pale yellow Roses and greenery folded in half to evoke an unusual, contemporary feel. Megan loved it and I took many photos. I need to reconstruct the 6 bouquets without her input and I want them to be just perfect. We ripped the bouquet apart so we could use all the sample flowers for the bride’s bouquet. Ok, now it’s the bride’s turn!
Megan was “crazy in love” with the huge Chrysanthemums in white and yellow. We started with those first. We took five white and five yellow mums, added some Calla lilies and Roses for good measure.
The hardest part of making the bouquet is working with so many stems. We probably had 18 stems by now and it was time to add the Tulips. It was really beginning to take shape. We alternated the brilliant yellow Calla lilies with the yellow tulips. It was nice, but I had the sense that you lost the elegance of the Calla lilies with Tulips next to them.
I’m not the bride, so I didn’t offer my opinion.
We put some Eucalyptus stems throughout the bouquet and it was looking pretty smashing. After everyone weighed in on the final product, we deemed it a wrap. And, that’s exactly what I did. I wrapped the bouquet with floral tape. I learned from the many videos I watched the correct way to wrap the bouquet.
Grab the bouquet as high as you can, getting as close to the base of the flowers as possible. Wrap the top 2 inches of the bouquet as tightly as you can. After you’ve done this, trim the stems to the desired length. Megan wanted her bouquet to have a 7” handle and the bridesmaids bouquets to have a 5” handle. We cut the stems to the desired length with my pruning shears.
After that, I wrapped the entire length of the bouquet with the floral tape. My advice about this part of the project is to have a helper hold the top of the bouquet so you can pull the tape tightly, giving a uniform feel to the handle of the bouquet. We’re almost finished.
Satin ribbon is a must for finishing the bouquet. Beginning at the top of the bouquet, take the satin and fold the cut edge under, placing it high on the bouquet. With a pearl pin (also purchased at Baisch & Skinner) push the pin into the folded edge, pushing it deep into the flowers stems. Slowly wind the ribbon down the length of the handle, making sure you cover the edge of ribbon as you go.
Many years ago I worked in a sporting goods store stringing tennis racquets and wrapping new leather grips on them. Putting the satin on the bouquet brought back memories of my days at Omni Sports.
Wrap until you reach the bottom of the bouquet. Cut the ribbon, leaving about 1” of extra satin. Just as I began the wrap, I finished by folding the satin back, hiding the cut edge. Place a pearl pin through the folded edge of the satin, pushing it deep into one of the stems. You’re almost finished!
The finishing touch is the addition of pearl pins, crystal accents, or contrasting ribbon to your creation. I placed a row of pearl pins down the length of the bouquet handle. Make sure that all the pins are secure and pushed firmly into the stems. You don’t want your bride pricking her finger and getting drops of blood on the most important dress of her life, do you?
We also added pins, adorned with crystals, to the bouquet. When Megan walks down the aisle, the bouquet will sparkle like stars.
Since I have no experience knowing how long the flowers we chose will last without water, I asked Megan to refrigerate her bouquet and take it to work the next day. She said that the Tulips drooped and the Eucalyptus withered. The Roses, Mums, Calla lilies and greenery looked great all day, even though they weren’t in water.
Megan was thrilled with her selection, I was happy to see her so happy, and the couple will stay under their floral budget.
So, was it intimidating making Megan’s bouquets? No, it was easy AND it was fun. Very easy and very fun, in fact.
I would tell anyone out there who is comfortable with floral arranging to give this a try. You’ll be saving the bride and groom hundreds of dollars and making great memories all the while.
When I remember Megan skating to our house as a 7 year- old, I also know the Megan who is a 28-year-old bride, blissfully in love and walking down the aisle with a bouquet we created together. I am beyond thrilled to be such an important part of her special day!