For DIY brides, perhaps the easiest bouquet to create on your wedding day is an all-rose hand-tied bouquet. This bouquet is also ideal for bridesmaids.
A basic, yet elegant hand-tied rose bouquet.
You will need two dozen roses for the bride's bouquet. Roses are available year round. They are imported from Columbia and Equador and grown in California as well. Roses can be ordered from local markets, such as Whole Foods, online floral websites or ask a local florist. Some of the most beautiful roses for weddings are David Austin English roses; they are lush with a high petal count.
The key to successfully creating your DIY bridal bouquet is timing. When roses are shipped, the buds are closed. Roses have to be conditioned in treated water using a floral preservative. Depending on temperature, it can take a couple of days for roses to "open." The warmer the temperature, the quicker the blooms open. It's advisable to do a trial run before your wedding to gauge timing in creating a mock bouquet.
When your roses arrive, have a tall bucket available, floral preservative and a sharp floral knife. Fill the bucket with cool water and add preservative. Gently take the outer bruised rose petals off each head. Next, skim the thorns off each stem without cutting into the stem itself. Your goal is to dull the thorn, not cut it off. Thorns serve as a water reservoir for roses.
Cut the bottom of each stem at an angle and immediately place in a bucket of treated water. If you don't wish to use a floral knife, use sharp pruners. You want a clean, angled cut so that the roses can immediately drink the treated water resulting in a healthy-looking bloom that opens up beautifully.
When the roses "open up," it's time to arrange your hand-tied bouquet. Begin with one stem between your forefinger and thumb and continue crossing the next stem over the first. Add each stem (it takes practice) and soon you will have created a bouquet. Adjust the stems so that when you're looking at the top of the bouquet, it is round and balanced. While holding the bouquet in one hand, cut the stems to the desired length. Leave a couple of extra inches on the stems for future stem trimming.
The next step is to wrap the bouquet in stretchy floral tape. The tape is available at craft stores and online. The key to using this tape is to slightly pull it as you wrap the stems. Start at the top of the stems and overlap the tape as you continue to move down. Stop taping about two inches from the bottom. Now it's time to double-secure the wrapped stems with floral adhesive tape. Wrap the stems in the same manner over the stretchy floral tape. The bouquet will be very secure and will not come apart. Do not get water on the tape, it will not stick and will unravel.
Since the roses have now been out of water during the bouquet arranging, you will have to cut the bottom of each stem again to place in a vase with just enough water that it doesn't touch the tape. Cut about 1/4 inch off all stems. (Stems become clogged when out of water.)
Keep the bouquet in a vase until you're ready to wrap the stems in double-satin ribbon. Wrap the ribbon around the stems in the same manner as the tape. Secure the ribbon by studding the stem handle with pearl-head pins. It's imperative that the roses are sprayed with a floral preservative to retain a fresh and healthy look.
Pearl-head pins can also be added to each rose by inserting pins in the center of each rose. For a non-wedding bouquet, add curly willow for added interest and place in a vase. Photo-cherchezfleur.com
When you're ready to walk down the aisle, cut the stems bluntly at the bottom so that they are uniform.
Voila, you're bouquet is ready-to-go.