I love a loose, asymmetrical, garden style and sometimes even unruly, bouquet. Letting flowers be unbound and fanciful makes me ridiculously happy. Yes, I believe that there’s a time and place for structure but for the most part, I’d rather live my life wild and free which is how I want my flowers living theirs as well.
Most brides I come in contact with are right on board with this philosophy. They too have an appreciation for texture and natural design. But it’s not only flowers themselves that are nontraditional, it the approach to the entire bouquet as a whole. There are a few contextual details you need to know before holding that luscious bouquet in your hands.
Less structure to a bouquet also means less structure to its stems. The arrangement as a whole is shaped like an ‘X’. Generally, if I want flowers to be hanging down more on the right side, the stem will them be angled more to the left. And vice versa. So when you look at the linear outline of the bouquet a cross, x or even teepee pattern has been created. Because of this, most of my bouquets will stand on their own, which I personally love.
On the downside, it can be a bit more challenging to contain those stems into a vase. I very rarely utilize the clear, cylinder vases that florist so often deliver their bouquets in. My bouquet generally don’t fit and I must find more creative options.
The stems also aren’t wrapped all the way down, but only at the crossing point of the ‘X’. And in order to keep the blossoms and streaming ribbons the main focus, I normally keep the stems very shortly trimmed.
As far as the approach to holding a bouquet of this nature, let’s go back to the ‘X’ reference and discuss the spot at which the stems are wrapped. At this location, I place 2 or possibly 3 layers of tape and then cover it with ribbons. The bouquet is very sercure. This wrapped point is also your handle. Stems should be held loosely in your hand to keep with their more whimsical intention. If you hold them further down the stems and squeeze, the shape of the overall design is drastically altered and your bouquet will appear tighter and more petite.
Sometimes it’s the imperfections in life that make things most beautiful. There may be a missing leaf, a petal with a different shape or color tone or one stem that simply insists on pointing opposite direction of the rest. Nature isn’t perfect so I have learned to leave well enough alone. Every bridesmaid bouquet may not be 100% identical. There may be a leaf that some little bug took a nibble of. But there’s a reason I incorporated that branch. Perhaps that was the best shape, the color was a rare find or the texture was simply unmatched. I find beauty in one of a kind, imperfect finds.
Of course I strive to keep a certain sense of continuity and would certainly never use an intentionally diseased or crumbled piece of foliage, just remember to look at the picture as a whole verse analyzing each and every little bit of an arrangement – because trust me, I already have.
Photography: Cory Weber Photography
Movement is key when creating one of my bouquets – both in a design sense as well as the fact that flower will actually move. From a design standpoint, movement means creating natural pathways for your eyes to lead from one area of the bouquet to another. Sometimes these pathways lead up, or dramatically to the left or right or possibly even trailing downward. Blooms in these area aren’t as supported by other branches or flowers, which means they will wiggle, bounce and shift. The pictures I’m often shown of inspirational bouquets don’t depict how petals will blow in the breeze or the way a stem subtly bounces as a bride makes her way to her loving groom.
Sometimes this movement takes brides and her maids by surprise. They become fearful of their bouquets and are unsure of the longevity of their blooming life. Be aware that the transformation throughout the day is part of the beauty of the process. From each angle, the flowers look different and take on a different shape and flow. A flower might bend little more at the end of the night than it did at the beginning of the day. But that’s part of what makes it so special. Things don’t forever, treasure them in the present moment.
I always recommend that you schedule your day so a photographer can capture your blooms early, or perhaps while I’m still in the area handing them out to your lovely ladies. I also try to do a quick little tutorial on how to carry the bouquet for the bride and her maids before leaving the site. And of course the key to keeping the flowers fresh and beautiful is water and keeping them in a vase for as much as the day as possible.