The MOH and I took a floral workshop on Sunday. I was skeptical about how much this was going to help me, since I have nary a DIY bone in my body, but I thought it went really well! The instructor was nice and encouraging and very informative. I learned a lot about flowers. For example, when you receive flowers, it's the leaves that have a lot of the bacteria that kills the flowers more quickly, so you should strip off the leaves. Who knew?
For a Saturday wedding, she recommended picking the flowers up on Thursday, prepping them (de-thorning and de-leaving), and then letting them drink water/flower food for at least 5 hours, or overnight. Bouquets can be made on Friday, but boutonnieres/corsages should be made as late as possible, so either late Friday night or Saturday morning.
She also offered us a huge gift, which was that she convinced a few flower vendors at the local Flower Market to let us buy flowers at the wholesale price using her badge number. That's AMAZING! That alone was worth the cost of the workshop.
Before the workshop she sent us an email and asked us to bring gloves and shears, which the MOH and I had to buy. We started by stripping all the flowers. She mostly had roses there to work with; they are apparently very sturdy and good for us newbies to work with. You can see the MOH working with one of the metal rose strippers the instructor provided. I need to get my hands on one of those.
You can see how messy it gets! There were leaves and thorns everywhere. Note to self: Acquire large box for detritus.
After we'd prepped all the flowers she taught us how to put a bouquet together. You start with three flowers in a triangle and then add flowers, moving the bouquet in a circle. You hold the bouquet tightly, but not so tightly that you can't move flowers up and down to even out the look of the bouquet. For us, she recommended working with flowers in the same color family. So, shades of pink, or shades of red, etc. I chose two different types of red roses and some red berries. The MOH started with red roses and white spray roses, but quickly discovered why the instructor told us to work in the same color family--the white ones just stood out so much, it was clear when the arrangement wasn't symmetrical, etc. So the MOH ditched the white roses and grabbed some green berries, which I thought looked great.
Here's the MOH taping her bouquet once she was done adding flowers:
After taping them, next we added ribbon to cover the tape. I don't have a great shot of this part, but it wasn't too hard...just winding the ribbon around the stems. We finished by folding the frayed end of the ribbon underneath, then adding three pins. We angled the pins upward to stick into the stem, instead of just stabbing them straight into the ribbon. I also learned not to get a ribbon with a different color/textured edge--the edges of the ribbon were very obvious and distracting once I was done. I forgot to add my feathers until after I'd taped my bouquet (I'd brought some black feathers). When I remembered and got them out of my bag, everyone at the table stopped and said, "Oh....." like it had never occurred to them to add feathers. It's like, aren't you ladies reading bridal blogs? Come on, now. Anyway, I didn't end up adding the feathers, but the instructor showed me how I could add them, and it looked great, so now I can save these feathers for the real thing!
Here are our finished bouquets!
After we were done with our bouquets, we moved onto boutonnieres/corsages. Apparently the difference between the two (aside from which gender wears them) is that corsages have two flowers and light ribbon, and bouts have one flower and black ribbon. I don't know that I'll necessarily stick to the ribbon rule, but it was good to learn about them.
When the instructor started demonstrating how to wrap the ribbon, which involved wiring and folding and twisting and looping and tying, I turned to my MOH and said, "Um, you're handling these." After all, she's a Virgo, so I figured she'd be better at it. However, once we got into them, it was easier than I'd thought and I even helped the MOH with hers after she pinched her hand in the wire cutters and started bleeding. The instructor said that the MOH was her first casualty! We don't do anything small! Here are some pix of our hard (and bloody) work:
Not bad, huh? We were very proud of ourselves. I understand we just learned a few basics, but I feel so much better prepared to do my own flowers for the wedding. Now, I just need to learn a bit about centerpieces...