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DIY: How To Make a Wedding Bouquet, Corsage & Boutonniere

by Marty Ross

Here comes the bride — and the groom, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen – plan ahead, practice a little, and then enjoy bringing your own handiwork to this momentous occasion.

Spring Wedding Bouquets

Wedding flowers are a big business, and they represent a significant part of the expense of every wedding make your own arrangements. Don't be afraid, especially if you can count on the able help of bridesmaids and friends.

Flowers and tools to get started

1. Long before your wedding date, get in touch with local flower farmers or florists to order the flowers you'll need. Buy 20 percent more than you expect to use.

2.You will need reliable, comfortable and sharp tools to make your cuts as easy as possible. The Fiskars PowerGear2™ pruner effortlessly cuts through woody stems while the MicroTip(R) snips are great for quick cuts on smaller stems. You will also want a pair of sturdy, all-purpose shears on hand to use on medium sized stems and ribbon. Other supplies you'll want to gather are floral tape, florist's wire, corsage pins, and lots of pretty ribbon.

3. To make things simple, but with dramatic effect, plan to use just three or four different kinds of blooms, and to pick a few things from the garden. Kelly Acock, owner of The Monarch Flower Company in Kansas City, suggests using fluffy hydrangea flowers as the base for your bouquets.

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Bride's Bouquet

Set aside a morning two days before the wedding to make all the arrangements: it will take about four hours to make the bride's bouquet, three bouquets for bridesmaids, and four boutonnieres.

1. The night before you plan to make the bouquets, use your pruners and snips to cut an inch off the bottom of all the flowers and freshen the water in their buckets. Everything should be well hydrated before you start.

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2. When you are ready to make your arrangements, start by preparing the stems Keep the leaves on the hydrangea stems, but remove the foliage from all the other stems, and then cut them to 13 inches long. The PowerGear® pruners will make a sharp, clean cut on hydrangeas, long-stem roses, and other woody stems. They're also excellent for trimming stems after the bouquets are finished.

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Use Micro-Tip Floral Snips for dianthus and more delicate flowers. The comfortable handles and super-sharp blades will let you snip off leaves along the stems easily.

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3. Line up all your stems on a table. Fill a fairly tall vase or mason jar with a few inches of water, and place three or four hydrangea stems in it for the bride's bouquet. Then choose pretty roses or another large, handsome flower for the focal point, inserting the long stems carefully down through the hydrangea blossoms. Use odd numbers of flowers: three pale blush roses, or five. Add complementary flowers next: three or five frilly dianthus, a spray of smaller sweetheart roses, and perhaps a flower from your own garden. Include something fragrant, such as a sprig of rosemary.

4. Stand back a little way to study the height and depth of the bouquet. It is a good idea to stand in front of a mirror with the bouquet in your hands to see how it will look. A bride's bouquet should be about the size of a dinner plate: keep adding flowers until the arrangement is nice and full. Strive for balance, but not symmetry.

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5. When you're happy with it, pick it up, hold the stems tightly together and wrap them with floral tape, stretching it tight as you wrap.

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6. The bride's bouquet deserves something special, such as a flourish of pale tulle ribbon, tied in a luxurious bow. A piece of antique ribbon or lace from an heirloom bridal veil would also be a nice touch here, a little bit of "something old" for good luck on a day you'll always remember.

Bridesmaid Bouquets

The bridesmaid's bouquets should be made with the same flowers, but at a smaller scale. Use only two hydrangea blooms as the base. These bouquets should be about the size of a salad plate, Acock says.

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Bridesmade bouquets can be a little more whimsical, with perhaps fewer roses and more garden flowers. Mason jars and clear cylinder vases (available at hobby shops) are perfect vessels to work in. When you are finished, pick up the bouquets, make last-minute adjustments, and tape the stems tightly together with floral tape.

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1. Finish your bouquets by covering the stems with ribbon. Use your Amplify® shears to cut a good length of ribbon at an angle, and wrap the stems, covering about eight inches of the stem.

2. Fold the end of the ribbon under at the bottom, to make a neat edge, like a hem, and secure it with corsage pins.

3. Carefully push the pins up among the stems, not through the bouquet — the long pins will come right through.

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4. As a finishing touch for the bridesmaids' bouquets, tie bright bows of gingham ribbon along the satin stem.

Boutonnieres

For the boutonnieres, a single leaf can serve as the backdrop for tiny bouquets that complement the bride's and bridesmaids' flowers. Imagine you're making a bouquet for a Barbie doll. Simple is best, Acock says.

Choose durable flowers for all the boutonnieres; they should look good through all the hugging that can be expected during the wedding reception.

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1. You may need to wire a leaf to create a false stem to work with. It's easy: cut a length of wire, thread it through two holes in the leaf, and twist the wire to form a stem. Then wrap it with floral tape.

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2. For the groom, put three flowers, a sprig of rosemary, and a little spray of light and airy filler flowers together in a cluster. Bind them to the leaf stem with floral tape, wrapping tightly. Then wrap the stem with satin ribbon, using the same color as the ribbon around the bride's bouquet.

3. To give the boutonniere a touch of couture, add a tiny bow just below the blossoms.

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4. The groomsmen's boutonnieres are in the same palette but with a different flower. A complementary silk ribbon — something besides white — will set them apart.