I’ve made literally thousands of bouquets for brides and their attendants. While it sounds like a complicated project, the truth is that brides can make their own for less money.

Completed Bouquet

You can create a beautiful bridal bouquet and then show your bouquet off in a crystal vase at the reception, then hang it upside down to dry as a keepsake.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

The key to a good bouquet is in the dress. Ornate gowns usually dictate simple bouquets that accentuate the details on the dress. Simple gowns with minimal detailing look amazing with more elaborate arrangements.

The following bouquet reflects a simple design, and it’s easy to make. Start with the best-quality flowers available so you’ll get several more days of life out of them. (And buy a few extra bunches, just in case some unforeseen problem arises.)

Materials

  • 1 large bunch of roses (about 25 flowers)
  • 1-2 bunches of baby’s breath
  • 1 green chenille stem (similar to a pipe cleaner, only thicker and more durable)
  • 1 piece of muslin or satin (#40 width or approximately 3 inches wide and 36 inches long)
  • A cord or other embellishment by the bolt (roll)
  • 1 box of 2½-inch-long pearl-head corsage pins
  • Utility knife
  • Pruners

Bridal Bouquet

Directions

Start by taking good care of your flowers from the moment you get them home. Prepare a bucket of fresh, clean, room-temperature or lukewarm water, and add a tablespoon of distilled vinegar for each gallon in the container. (Vinegar reduces pH, helps the flowers drink the water faster and prevents wilting and dehydration.) Remove any thorns and leaves that will be under the water when the flowers are in the bucket. (This decreases bacteria buildup and helps your flowers last longer.) To remove thorns without injuring the stem, hold a floral or utility knife almost parallel to the stem. (Be careful not to injure yourself as well!)

For best results, cut your stems (a couple inches from the bottom) under water. When the first “breath” your flowers take is water instead of air, air bubbles can’t get up into the stem. (Air bubbles can cause flower heads to droop, especially roses and more delicate blooms.) If your flowers start to wilt after this preparation, lay them in a room-temperature or lukewarm bath and recut the stems. Let them rest in the bath for 30-60 minutes before putting them back in the bucket of water.

Once you’ve cleaned and cut your flowers, put the bucket in a cool, shady area away from drafts. (Windy locations promote dehydration, and direct sunlight reduces bloom shelf life, as well as causes colors to fade.) Your blooms can rest here for up to 24 hours before working with them.

When it’s time to start your bouquet, you’ll need to work your roses open. Flowers should be at room temperature and slightly open already so they’re pliable enough to gently curl back the petals. (If you’re using flowers that take longer to open, like lilies, they might have to sit out several days before they can be used.) As you open the petals, you can stop at any stage to give the effect you’re looking for. Fully opened roses provide a much larger and luscious bouquet. A combination of open and closed flowers offers more interest.

Now the fun starts: Putting your bouquet together. If you want a round arrangement, keep all the flowers at the same level. For a more pyramidal shape, start with your longest-stemmed flower as your center and work around it, moving the blooms down. Make sure the stems are clean and organized when arranging. They’ll eventually begin to spiral as you add more stems.

A little baby’s breath or floral greens add a more finished look to a bouquet. I like making a baby’s breath collar around the roses. The ring of little white flowers adds a romantic cloud that softens the bouquet when it’s held against a bride’s gown. (Just make sure these stems rest cleanly against the rose stems.)

When you’re finished adding the last of your baby’s breath, wrap the chenille stem around the top of the flower stems, near the base of the blooms, to help keep them together. Have your piece of muslin ready, and tightly wrap it around the stems to give your bouquet a tailored look, as well as help prevent water loss. (You may need a little help holding the flowers so you get a taught wrap.) When you’re finished, push one of your long corsage pins in to secure the muslin – make sure it goes down through the stems (and not through the opposite side) so the bride doesn’t get injured.

Now wrap your stems again with a decorative ribbon or finishing cord, starting at the top of the stems. (When you pin it at the bottom, make sure the corsage pin goes up into the stems, parallel with them, to prevent injury.) A hand-tied bouquet like this can be made several days ahead of time and placed in a cool refrigerator after misting it with water. (This helps harden off the flowers.) On the big day, keep the bouquet in a cool, shady, wind-free location.

Bridal Bouquet

Bridal Bouquet - Step 1

Bridal Bouquet - Step 1

Carefully remove all thorns and leaves that sit below water level.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 2

Bridal Bouquet - Step 2

Gently fold the petals back to open each rose.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 3

Bridal Bouquet - Step 3

For a more pyramidal shape, start with your longest-stemmed flower as your center and work downward around it.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 4

Bridal Bouquet - Step 4

The stems of your flowers should look clean below your hand when arranging.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 5

Bridal Bouquet - Step 5

Add optional stems of baby’s breath or greens to give a more finished look.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 6

Bridal Bouquet - Step 6

Wrap the chenille stem around the top of the flower stems to help keep them together.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 7

Bridal Bouquet - Step 7

Pull the muslin tightly as you wrap the stems.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 8

Bridal Bouquet - Step 8

Push one corsage pin down into the stems to secure the muslin.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim

Bridal Bouquet - Step 9

Bridal Bouquet - Step 9

Add a decorative cord or ribbon – pulling it taught while covering the length of muslin.

Photo Credit: Eva Monheim