I talked all about my wedding in my last post (Oh Sweet Love – I’m Married!) and I’m going to talk about it just a little bit more in this post. What can I say, the post-wedding-bliss just hasn’t died out yet. In this post I want to talk specifically about three things: handmade boutonnieres, handmade flower crowns, and bouquet arranging at home.
I will not claim to be a flower expert. In fact, all I know about flowers is that they are gorgeous, and about 90% of the time they look beautiful without ornament of any kind. Traditionally at weddings, flowers abound. However, hiring a florists often ends up costing as much the venue itself, and this was just one vendor I didn’t particularly care to invest that much in.
A florist’s goods include bouquets, flower arrangements (center pieces, etc), boutonnieres, and the occasional flower crown (this is a rather new fad, though). One of the iffy things about fresh flowers is that they last only so long – timing is key. A florist has to make sure the flowers (boutonnieres and flower crowns included) are prepared well enough so that they will not wilt during pictures and during the pre-wedding bustle.
My thoughts on all this were: What is the point of fresh flower boutonnieres, anyway, when they wilt and die and are consequently thrown out? (Not like boys like wearing flowers anyway. Girls love ornamenting themselves, even if it can only be for a couple hours, but boys…no.) Flowers crowns are pretty, but like the boutonnieres, wouldn’t I rather be able to keep what I wear? and, How hard could flower arranging really be? If you’ve got the goods, then surely the flowers themselves do most of the work. On this account, I was right.
So I decided to make lasting keepsake boutonnieres for the boys. I really like the look of the paper flowers at Hobby Lobby, and they also have lovely dried baby’s breath there, which was the perfect pop of filler. What I like most about the paper flowers is that they are realistic looking enough (they don’t look plastic like a lot of fake flowers) but they retain a certain degree of whimsy that sometimes isn’t even attained with fresh flowers.
To arrange these flowers, I simply cut the stem to the right length and wrapped them in flower tape (also from Hobby Lobby, in the flower arranging aisle). It took maybe five minutes.
As for the precious wooden deer pin (the best man’s boutonniere was a bear, and my sister’s similar hairpiece was a bunny): Sketch.Inc on Etsy is how that happened. Becky Kemp, the shop owner, hand makes a plethora of animal pins that are simply perfect for a woodsy affair.
I put a dab of hot glue on the back of the pin to attach the flowers, and now I have an extra something to remind me of my perfect wedding day. I probably won’t get Grant to ever wear it again, but pictures are proof he did it once, and I guess that’s enough for me 😉
Now on to my flower crown. This was more labor intensive than the boutonnieres, but that’s okay, especially considering how it turned out. Let’s just say I was pleased. I used the same paper flowers from Hobby Lobby, and as you can see they look surprisingly similar to the real flowers I used in my bouquet. My photographer actually mistook the fake flowers on my headband for real. “I’m surprised those flowers haven’t wilted at all in the sun!” she said after taking about a hundred photos of Grant and I in a field. I laughed.
To begin, I bought a thick lace headband, flowers and greenery, ribbon, and a large lace flower appliqué (all from Hobby Lobby). I used needle and thread to attach two pieces of ribbon to the headband (long ribbon, to be braided in with my hair). This way, there was more structure for the weight of the flowers without compromising flexibility. I deconstructed the green roses in order to attach them and make them more pliable. For the most part, I sewed the flowers on with thread, but for extra protection I used hot glue dabs on each flower. I didn’t want flowers raining down as I walked down the aisle.
For my woodsy wedding, this fake flower crown was just perfect.
Now on to the flower/bouquet arranging. There was a lot of risk in this decision. Think of all the ways it could go wrong – the flowers come wilted, they wilt during the festivities, the bouquets get too cold/hot, there’s not enough time for arranging flowers with everything else. Yes, we kept this all in mind, but in the end we decided to take a chance (kind of like choosing to have an outdoor wedding at the end of July, and we all know how that turned out!).
We ordered the flowers online from a site called fiftyflowers.com. They have every type of flower imaginable; roses of every color, asters, snapdragons, tulips, dahlias, and hydrangeas, galore! In fact, the first time I looked at the website I was so overwhelmed that I had to shut my computer off and bake a cake. But nevertheless, after hours of painstaking decision making, I finally decided on a few beautiful blooms: Green Lisianthus, Pink Ranunculus, Pink Matsumoto, Poppy Pods, White Aster, Scabiosas, and Maidenhair Fern. I stuck with light pink and white for colors, because I am a big fan of simplicity. Too many colors can cause confusion.
I made up the bouquets (one for me, one for the maid-of-honor, and two backups) two nights before the wedding. It took a while, considering I was new at the whole wedding-bouquet-arranging thing. Then right before the rehearsal dinner, me and an army of my friends made the flowers into simple arrangements for the picnic tables. We had at least 50 mason jars to fill, and it took probably three hours. Though it was time consuming, it was an enjoyable job.
The morning of the wedding we had an unfortunate happenstance with the bouquets. Before the rehearsal dinner, some kind-hearted friends of mine placed the bouquets in the fridge because they figured they would keep better in there. No one knew that the fridge was closer to a freezer, and I didn’t have the hindsight to check on the flowers before bed. By morning they were popsicles! So when we awoke at 7, we were in a mad scramble to remake at least 3 more bouquets…luckily I didn’t have a thousand bridesmaids! With the help of my faithful friends and sister, all went well, and the new bouquets turned out even prettier than the first (which, believe me, didn’t seem possible).
We finished off the bouquets with a simple bow of thick crochet lace. We left the stems rough because I like the look of wildflower bouquets – organic, natural. All the flowers turned out lovely. I don’t think I could have been happier with a florist!
So overall, doing your own flowers comes with risks. The real question is whether you are willing to take those risks. If you are inclined to crack under pressure, then making your own bouquets is probably not for you. Likewise, if you don’t enjoy the simple pleasure of arranging flowers, don’t do it. However, I will always advocate boutonnieres that will last and headbands that can be worn again. Those keepsakes are just priceless.