Your wedding bouquet should represent you, your wedding, and all of the beauty that you’re looking forward to in the next chapter of your life. It should be gorgeous, fragrant, and memorable, but not complicated—and you should be able to create it on your own if you want to!
With this in mind we teamed up with Ode à la Rose, a hip online boutique florist founded by two former Parisians and based out of Brooklyn and New York City. Olivier and Louis spent their formative years in the City of Light, and while they’ve always considered themselves smooth operators, they realized early on that even they needed helped with their game sometimes and often turned to sending the women in their lives roses when words simply weren’t enough.
After moving to the Big Apple, the two were sad to discover that roses didn’t seem to have the same allure and impact as they did in Paris. They also couldn’t seem to find the breathtakingly beautiful arrangements they had everywhere back home. Instead, what they encountered was tacky—with cheap packaging and high price tags to boot. And then they had the epiphany that so many start-up founders have before launching their businesses: If they couldn’t find what they were looking for, neither could anyone else. Three months months later, Ode à la Rose was born.
True to it’s name, in the early days, they were all about premium roses in pretty signature packaging that also provided the protection and hydration necessary for the flowers inside. As the company grew, they started delivering throughout the Northeast and added to their offerings by including new kinds of flowers and styles of bouquets. Putting together beautiful blooms in unique arrangements is their business, so they seemed like the perfect people to go to for a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a wedding bouquet from scratch. Here, florist James Francis Kelley shows us how it’s done.
Selection: The color story should be based off of your wedding’s color palette. There is no need for more than three flower varieties, all of which should complement each other. Add greenery for a more natural looking bouquet. Use no more than twenty stems for the arrangement as anything more looks garish.
Preparation: Bare stems will ensure a clean wrap. Remove leaves and thorns with your hands or a knife. For an everyday arrangement, you should keep the outermost petals (a.k.a. “the guard petals” on) as this ensures that the arrangement will last longer. However, these guards aren’t always the loveliest, and do not belong on a wedding bouquet. Remove them the morning of the wedding.
Creation: Start with three base flowers between your thumb and index finger. For a quintessential circular bouquet, the stems must be held tightly, half an inch from the base of the flowers. The tight grip will lead to an easier wrapping process. As with a French bouquet, twist the arrangement, and add flowers at the same angle until it’s balanced.
Finishing: At the bottom of your grip, tie the arrangement with raffia. Take your floral tape, and, starting just above the raffia, wrap the tape down the stems for 4 to 5 inches. With clean hands, wrap over the tape with ribbon. Fold the ribbon under and hide each end for a polished finish. Push pins upward through the fabric and be careful not to prick through! Finally, clip the stems with floral shears (never scissors) leaving only a quarter of an inch of stem below the ribbon. Viola, you’ve got a picture perfect bouquet ready for your big day!