July 5, 2011

Hand-Tied Bouquets

Hand-tied bouquets are not just for weddings...they can be used as presentation flowers for girls after special events (such as dance recitals, cheerleading try-outs, plays), for welcoming guests arriving at the airport, or for hostess gifts.  By keeping the stems long enough to reach into water in a vase, they will last for several days after being presented. 

  All ages of girls love receiving these.  It makes the flowers even more special.  I'm not an expert but here is how I make hand-tied bouquets and you can too.

You will need:
greenery {optional}
scissors or garden snips
floral tape
floral wire {optional}

The photos in this blog post are from a wedding that I did the bouquets for recently so I needed a fairly large amount of flowers.
If you are only making one or a few bouquets, there are so many places to get flowers now-a-days (in addition to florists).  Most grocery stores now carry cut flowers as well as Wal-Mart, Sams, Costco, etc.  If you need a certain type of flower that is not available in your area, chances are, you can find and order it online.  I have used Sams.com and Fiftyflowers.com with good results. 

Most of these flowers came from my local Costco.  For larger and specific type flower orders like this one, they ask that your pre-order a week or two in advance.  I pick them up on Thursday for a Saturday wedding in order for the flowers to get used to being out of refrigeration.  Of course, put them in water as soon as you get home. 

Costco could not guarantee that they could have the hydrangeas for me,  so I ordered them online.
Online flower orders usually come via Fed-Ex on a weekday you specify about 10am.  Someone MUST BE PRESENT to receive them.

Each hydrangea was individually wrapped.  These flower heads were in very good shape considering their journey from Central America.  If they had been wilted, I would have submerged them in a cool tub of water to re-hydrate them. 

The bottom of the stems are each wrapped with a gel-type water for transportation. 

To help me decide how many flowers to order and then remember how many I got for each item, I make a grid.
To save money, I try to gather my own greenery.  "Gather" is a nice term for "wait-till-sundown-and-go-clip-overgrown-bushes-at-previously-stalked-locations".  A large church nearby has HUGE pittisporum bushes I can usually get away with clipping but after a few minutes there the security guard drove up so I left to find a place without a security guard.

  I came across these perfect green and yellow bushes (that also in my opinion needed clipping) at a closed-for-the-day paint store.  They matched the color scheme of the wedding.  You don't have to use greenery in your bouquet but it helps fill it out and you don't have to buy as many flowers. 

To prepare greenery to be used in hand-tied bouquets, you need to strip down all but the top leaves.  If possible, keep the stems long (so that if the bouquet is put in water the leaves will get hydration).  

This next step is not necessary but to give you more control over how the greenery "behaves", you can wire the leaves together to bunch them up...

....and it almost makes a greenery flower...

Another drudgery is to clip off very new growth (if present) that will wilt easily and make your whole bouquet look bad.

Also, a prep step is to strip greenery off of your flower stems.  

After the non-fun part of preparing your greenery and flowers, you get to start your bouquet! Have your floral tape (available at florists and all craft stores I have been to in the floral section) ready to go. 

 Select three flowers and bunch them together in a teeny-tiny bouquet.  Start taping their stems together with the floral tape. 

Floral tape is a little tricky to use at first...you have to stretch it enough to activate the sticky but not so much as to break it before you want it to. 

Press one end of the tape onto a stem and hold it with a finger then stretch the tape to expose the stickiness and wrap the tape around the other stems.  I like to wrap a couple of times around just to make sure it is snug. 

Then you start adding more flowers one at a time (and greenery if you want to) to your initial bunch.  Press the flower stem against the other stems and wrap it securely with the floral tape. 
I think it is easier to break the tape after each flower/greenery addition so as not to deal with the whole roll of tape hanging down and in the way.  

Well, you keep working your way around your bundle adding stems.  If a stem is very firm and will not bend, you may need to just angle the stem after you have the flower head where you want it in the composition. 

Some people use the floral wire to secure the flowers together but I have found that when you pull the wire tight enough to keep the flower where you want it, it sometimes breaks the stem altogether. 
Here are the stems taped all together.  Depending on your flowers, it can get quite heavy. 

My! What long stems you have!  For this project, I cut the stems long enough to sit in a vase of water while waiting for "show time" but not too long in porportion to the girls' height.  

You need some type of ribbon to at least hide the bottom-most row of floral tape.  Some folks wrap the whole length of the stem with ribbon.  This bride wanted the stems exposed with the ribbon tied in bows with tails. 

Ideally, the bouquets would sit in a vase of water until their big moment but for transportation purposes, I take them out of water while traveling. (I cannot tell you how many bouquets in vases of water have drenched the floor boards of my car by tipping over en route.)

  Depending on the circumstance, they can stay out of water for a few hours without much deterioration.  For longer than that, put them back in water.   

Once I got to the wedding location, I refilled the (plastic Dollar Tree) vases with enough water to keep the ends of the stems wet. 
Here are the bouquets waiting unglamouresly in the commercial kitchen for their big moment.

The bride's bouquet...

...the bridesmaid's bouquets

If you are able to keep the flowers in water until you hand them to the wedding party, be sure to have a towel handy to dry the stems off so that the water does not get on the dresses.)

Here are some wedding photos by the photographer
(by clicking this blue/purple text above, you can see more photos of the wedding).

I was glad that I brought along the left-over flowers. They ended being needed to make a long stemmed bouquet for a bride book
sign in table arrangement and then toss bouquet...

... flowers for the bride's cake...

...and decorations on the groom's cake table.

Another family friend made the guest table arrangements...

...and a large arrangement for the reception.

The main advice I would give someone wanting to do
their own wedding flowers is to practice beforehand...don't wait for the day before the wedding to give making bouquets a try.


  1. Thanks for all the lessons on flower bouquets and how to obtain(wink, wink) all of the elements.

  2. WOW! You created some lovely bouquets for this wedding. Crack me up that you were out "borrowing" greenery from various locations! I like how you left the stems unbound by floral tape. They look so natural. Visiting from WUW. ~ Sue

  3. OMG that looks like it would be so nerve racking! The timing and keeping it all from wilting...Not to mention getting caught by a security guard! It sure turned out well though! I am not so sure I could do bouquets,' your's are gorgeous, But I might try some for less important events. I sure can appreciate all the work you put into this post!


  4. How beautiful is that, yellow my favorite color. Your bouquet is wonderful and you make it sound so easy. I love seeing the sea of flowers in your work space.
    Thanks Kathy

  5. Those came out beautifully! I also had to laugh at the idea of you clipping greens from other places, lol! Great job!

  6. And you shared this at Wow Us Wednesdays without a link back. Love this tutorial for making these. Very pretty.

  7. Hi Miss Kitty...

    Ohhh my goodness...what a talented lady you are, my friend! The wedding bouquets that you created are simply gorgeous!!! Thank you for sharing them and the great tutorial with us...what a treat!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  8. Thanks for posting such a nice blog it seems that you have so much of homework in your work

  9. Gorgeous work! This tutorial is so helpful and the photos are eye candy!

  10. Elegant bouquets and table centrepiece arrangements! I am so much in love with each and everything that’s shown here. Those white Flower Bouquets with a pinch of green leaves are mesmerizing. I would love to save this idea for my sister who will be tying wedding knot soon.


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