Posts tagged bridal
Peach Small Garden Bouquets

Happy Thursday Day!It's been a little more than a week since my ankle surgery. Before I went under the knife last Tuesday, I finished three beautiful peach small garden bouquets.I am normally approached to make large bridal bouquets, like this and this. If I make small bouquets, it's usually for the maid of honour and/or bridesmaids, and always as part of a set of bridal bouquets. My brides, while they're quite happy to pay a bit more for their bouquet, understandably tend to be on a budget when it comes to their fairly large bridal party, so I'm often restricted by how intricate I can make the smaller bouquets.This time, my bride, Jessica, approached me to make small bouquets to gift to her mother and her fiance's mother on their wedding day.  She had a  reasonable budget which wasn't nearly as tight as some of my other brides. I was quite satisfied that with her budget, I would be able to deliver her something that was more intricate than some of my past bridesmaid bouquets. Jessica was super easy to work with.  She made her own felt flower bouquet in her wedding colours of light peach, light pink, and cream. The mother's bouquets wouldn't go down the aisle, so they didn't have to coordinate with her bouquet. So we spoke about taking colours from her bouquet as a jumping point. She especially loved my Orange and Pink bouquet that was featured on 100 Layer Cake  with the bright/ bold colours. We decided that we would incorporate some bright/bold peaches and/or pinks and work with lighter versions of those colours as well.A few weeks after she approached me for the order, her fiance contacted me to ask me to make a 3rd bouquet for Jessica. He wanted it to be a surprise, so that arrangement was made between us. I thought it was so sweet for him to think of that! Since I already spoke to Jessica about her ideal bouquets for the mothers, I knew what her preferences were.My small, but intricate bouquets, have about a 10"-12" diameter. When I was envisioning these bouquets, I knew I would not be able to use large peonies or large dahlias or any large flower really. If I used only one, it would throw off the scale of the bouquet and look unbalanced. If I used only large flowers, it would make the bouquet look very sparse and emphasize how small the bouquets were. So I knew that I had to keep the flowers small in order to make the bouquets look fuller which meant I had to work with "accent" flowers, or flowers that are usually added to create accents and interest, versus traditional focal flowers that are larger and say "look at me!". Perfect. I love accent flowers. I'm often drawn more to accent flowers than focal flowers. And the ranunculus is my favourite accent flower.Ranunculuses come in various colours and shapes, so it's really a perfect flower to use in practically every arrangement. They have thick stems and their stems can point straight up or bend and droop.  Here, I've used them as the focal/main flowers. I've made a variety of ranunculuses in different sizes, colours, and with different petal placements. I've placed them in the bouquet on different levels, some deeper into the bouquet, and some higher up. Most are turned away from directly facing out; they're faces look down or up or sideways.I made ranunculus buds to create further variation in sizes and to also throw in slightly different colours in smaller doses. I love that I can use the buds to create dimension by merely placing them so they extend above the the bloomed ranunculuses. They emphasize the different planes or layers. I really had a fun time making them. Their construction is completely different from the full blooms, and in fact, forced me to use new techniques to achieve that flat round shape that the buds are known for.My favourite and the most challenging part of the process was manipulating the colours of each bloom so they look cohesive when together with the other flowers.That way, I don't need to determine which flower would go in which bouquet ahead of time; I knew that as long as all of the flowers and foliage I made looked good together, it didn't matter too much which ones went together.As you know, I'm really particular about colour and I never use the crepe colours right "out from the tube" so to speak. For these bouquets, I used a variety of Pan Pastels, especially the Pan Pastel in Orange, Winsor & Newton Inks in Deep Red, and Ranger Alcohol Inks in Coral, applied to a variety of peach, orange, and red crepe papers in different weights. In my experience, I've found that if I use one crepe paper colour and apply a colour variation to it, I can get 2 flowers with 2 different colourings that would sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Similarly, if I apply another colour variation to that crepe paper colour, I'll get a 3rd variation that will always look when placed beside the other two. However, it's easier said then done.Some of you have asked me how I made the stems of the ranunculuses so thick; like many paper florists, I used a clear vinyl tubing. You can buy the tubing from the plumbing section of the hardware store (I bought mine at Rona), or cheaper online. You want to get the tubing with smallest outer diameter as possible like this one with a 1/4" outer diameter.  What I do is I cut the correct length and slip it over the stem wire, glue it onto the bottom of the flower with hot glue, and cover it with green floral tape or crepe paper. It allows me to increase the size of the flower stem without losing the ability to bend the stem in any direction or angle. I use this technique for my poppies as well. For the ranucs, I added an additional step though; after cutting the correct length, I cut the tube lengthwise  and cut off a sliver about 1/2 cm to further reduce the diameter of the tubing. I then taped it back together before slipping it over the stem wire.I made sweet peas to add a little bit of textural interest and ruffles. They're made with doublette crepe in white/peach and some which had been dip dyed. I used white/peach that had been wet with water to let the inks run and blend together. I finished the sweet peas by spraying them gently with a Design Master TintIt spray in Sepia (I got mine at Michaels). The sepia makes them look less "sweet", and their addition to the arrangement "grounds" it.I usually make my foliage last because I find that they need to compliment the flowers, so I design them only after I have a clear idea of what type of movement would look good with the flowers I've made. To find inspiration, I foraged through my brother's backyard and cut different types of greens that I thought had interesting shapes or colour. There was one shrub that grew low and had variegated leaves. I liked how the leaves were fairly small, and one branch held several smaller stems. So I recreated it in paper. I love how it looks in the bouquet. I'm able to move one branch in one direction and another in a different direction if I want. I place it in the my arrangement and let it's placement tell me where to put the next flower. I strive to make foliage that bounce when you walk with it so I use very thin gauge stem wire to emulate the strong but flexible stems of the real plant.The other foliages are coral bells (inspired by the ones I am growing in my garden), ferns, a vine, a branch, and a garlic mustard plant. I made these ferns last year when I was making Marilyn's bouquet. I remember I made them while I was at the cottage, and didn't even end up using them for her bouquet. Their limey sourness were perfect for this bouquet. The branch and vine are my staple and my signature; I would add them to everyone of my bouquets if I could! They're delicate and whimsical. I can't even describe how I make them; I just do. After I make them, I bend them in random directions until I like how they look. Then I use them in the bouquet and let them tell me where to put them. I knew I needed flowers that would peek up and between the flowers. The garlic mustard plant provided the perfect little white flowers that float about and between the ranunculuses. I also recreated these from real ones found in my brother's backyard, however, added a variegated edge because I wanted it to create more visual interest. Too bad the real thing is a very invasive specie and most people would rather rid of them than see them recreated.I also added green fritilleria to Jessica's bouquet. I really love how they add another touch of the garden to her bouquet. They're really time consuming to make and I'm not completely happy with them, although I really like the colouring I achieved with the alcohol ink on doublette. I'm going to try to make them again and see if I can make them look even more delicate.Here's the final flower count and recipe for Jessica's bouquet:

  • 3 light peach ranunculus
  • 2 honeysuckle coloured ranunculus
  • 2 coral ranunculus
  • 1 orange and red ranunculus
  • 1 orange ranunculus
  • 1 red ranuculus
  • 2 coral ranunculus buds
  • 1 light coral ranunculus bud
  • 6 muddy peach sweet peas
  • 2 green fritilleria
  • 2 green coral bells and 1 lime coral bell
  • 4 garlic mustard plants
  • 2 lime ferns
  • 1 vine
  • 1 branch
  • 3 variegated foliage

The Mother's bouquets are slightly more simple, without the fritilleria and the orange ranunculus. I wish you guys could see how the foliage and the buds bounce and move when I walked with it. I took a few videos of them, but I really should have taken videos of them in my hands - DUH!. I also took the videos on portrait view, which is a newbie no-no. Ah we live and learn. really loved making these bouquets, especially when I began putting them together. They were a challenge to make because they're small, so they have less real estate in which to make it look cohesive and full. I've seen too many (and made too many) small bouquets that look too sparse, too round, and where you can literally count how many flowers on in the bouquet. I don't want you to be able to count; I want you to see the entire bouquet as one construct, and to wonder, how did she do that?Thanks for reading,Jessie***DISCLOSURE: Just to let you know, sometimes my blog posts contain affiliate marketing links. If you make purchases via the links I've provided, I receive a small commission which costs you nothing, but do help to support my website/maintenance and fees. . You can read my full Disclosure statement here. Thank you for your support!***

How to use paper flowers in your wedding: 100 Layer Cake Feature

How do you use paper flowers in your wedding? Like this!A few months ago, after I finished my Purple & Pink Crepe Paper Flower Bouquet, I was approached by 100 Layer Cake asking me if I wanted my next bouquet to be featured on their site. Of course I said "YES"!!! I've been a fan of the blog since before my wedding, so I was more than giddy when I realized what they were asking. I felt sooooo incredibly lucky that they even noticed my work. The paper flower community is so small, but I'm even smaller! After immediately replying "yes" and indicating that I'll send them something mid- to late- October,  I had a fleeting moment of panic that my future bouquet wouldn't be good enough. Fleeting because I didn't have time to really dwell on it for too long. I was on my way to finishing oversized flowers for a local wedding and then starting to plan that bouquet (along with bridesmaid bouquets) to meet the shipping deadline.So I pushed the feature opportunity to the back of my mind. And thank goodness I did! With less pressure, I was able to really focus on creating the bouquet for my bride, Heather, rather than for a feature. This last bouquet of this year is arguably my best to date. It is a culmination of everything I've learned about paper flowers this year.You can read the 100 Layer Cake feature hereIt ended up being a feature on how to use paper flowers in your wedding, with my Orange, Pink & Burgundy Autumn Crepe Paper Bouquet and other paper flowers as inspirational examples. I've included some tips on how to use paper flowers in your wedding and also a long overdue paper flower tutorial for chocolate cosmos! So even if you don't want to read my long essay (which they've summarized quite nicely), it might be worth checking out the feature for the tutorial if you're hungry for some chocolate.Heather's photographer, Nicole of Nicole Berrett Photography, was kind enough to share some of her photos of Heather with the bouquet for the feature. Doesn't Heather look amazingly gorgeous? Nicole truly captured Heather's beauty and spirit. And oh yeah, my bouquet. It's the best I've seen so far. By comparison, Nicole's photos make my photos look so amateur!If you do want to read my long synopsis about this bouquet, you can read it below. Forgive me for the length by the bouquet had so much in it!

This "Autumn Bouquet" as I call it was made for an October wedding in Texas. My lovely client, Heather, wanted to look and feel beautiful, fun, quirky, and relaxed on her wedding day. She had airbrushed the bottom of her lace wedding dress orange ombre, so I wanted to make sure she glowed down the aisle! 
Heather loved Icelandic poppies, so I knew I wanted to use Icelandic poppies as focus flowers. I was aware that they could bloom in the cooler fall months in Texas, so it wasn't too much of a stretch to use them. They also come in various shades of orange, which fit Heather's wedding colour scheme of orange, pink and burgundy perfectly. I also used lighter-coloured poppies and peach coloured garden roses to lightened the colour of the entire bouquet. I let the poppies shoot out of the bouquet as they would in nature, with their thick and unruly stems rising outwards in all direction like wild children; wild but controlled because I didn't want them to obstruct Heather's face or her beautiful lace bodice. Creamsicle-coloured parrot tulips add an additional hit of orange and fun. Even though they are not technically fall flowers, I snuck these in because with their long stems, they fit so naturally beside the poppies. Besides, their fluffy petals emulate those of peonies, which was another flower that Heather liked. I placed the parrot tulips so their heads drooped a bit, similar to what real parrot tulips would look like in a vase a few hours after being cut. I mixed in ruffled ranunculuses in various shades of orange and scattered some yellow-orange rose hips around to incorporate different textures and shades.
I was mindful of the fact that placing orange and pink flowers next to each other would create a polkadot effect (which I generally loath). My solution was to split the bouquet composition in half, with one side predominantly orange and the other side predominately pink and burgundy, and a set of transitional flowers to blend the two sides seamlessly.
For the pink and burgundy side, I brought burgundy into the arrangement by using smokebush foliage. Since the dark foliage is placed under the flowers, it created depth within the arrangement. I wanted to avoid using too many burgundy flowers because I've found that the details of a burgundy flower are often difficult to capture on camera when the rest of the bouquet has lighter or brighter coloured flowers. Instead, I focused on using a variety of pink flowers that would pop against the dark burgundy backdrop: garden roses, dahlias, ranunculuses, and spray roses in various sizes. Heather had sent me an inspirational photo of a garland with flowers facing towards the ground, and this inspired me to angle the spray roses to shoot out of the bottom right side of the bouquet. This placement mirrors the Icelandic poppies that are rising out of the opposite side of the bouquet, creating symmetry and balance. Ranunculuses and chocolate cosmos are arranged to lightly danced on top of the other flowers, accentuating the negative space between the blooms. 
In the middle of the bouquet, I've placed four distant drums roses. With their two-toned petals of peach and mauve, they seamlessly draw your eye from one side of the bouquet to the other side. I applied a sepia spray to them to desaturate their colour, and to create a contrast to the highly saturated colours of the other blooms. I've thrown in some purple rose buds and anemones, taking inspiration from the mauve colour of the distant drums. 
To physically and visually bind the flowers together, green foliage was sprayed with burgundy and gold foliage coloured with muted browns and oranges to simulate the changing colour of the leaves. The bouquet is, in essence, a reflection of the changing seasons. I love when I get to the stage where I'm adding foliage because it just elevates the lushness of the bouquet. They're also a crucial structural element in my designs, since I use them to prop up and support my flower stems from moving around. 
I tied a cotton ribbon at the base of the bouquet to finish. I actually ended up making these ribbons out of strips of tea-dyed cotton because I couldn't find any reasonably priced ribbon that I though would suit this bouquet. Heather's wedding took place at an old cotton mill, so it was a perfect coincidence that I ended up using cotton fabric.
This is the most intricate bouquets that I have made to date. With approximately 50 paper flowers and about the equivalent number of foliage, it took about 5 weeks to complete. Granted, I didn't work on it every day (and when I did work on it, it was only about 4-5 hours per day), but I sure thought about it every day.
I also made 5 bridesmaids bouquets for Heather. I took the main flowers from the bridal bouquet and distributed them amongst the five bouquets, which were 1/3 of the size. They turned out colourful and true to the spirit of the bridal bouquet.
~ Jessie
Purple and Pink Crepe Paper Bouquet

It's been a little over a month since I finished this purple and pink crepe paper bouquet and delivered it to the lovely bride, however, this bouquet has been in the making since January of this year. As fate would have it, I ran into an old friend at a social gathering, and she took a chance on me by asking me to make a paper bouquet for her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Daphne. She wanted to gift Daphne with a bouquet that would be her wedding keepsake and stay with her for many years to come. Of course I said Yes to the bouquet!After speaking directly with Daphne about what she wanted in her bouquet, I came up with this: A Study in Purple."A Study in Purple" was an experiment of sort and demonstrated my work in progress of this bouquet. My intention was to see how I could incorporate colours that would make the bouquet look both light and dark, which I've learned is something I love to do in my arrangement - using colour to create movement and interest. I thought it was at a really interesting spot, at a fork in the road so to speak. Adding any more light coloured or dark coloured flowers would turn it into something different.**In real life, the marionberry colour is closer to a dark fuschia, and the lavender purples have a warmer tone rather than a blue/cool tone. Unfortunately, I couldn't capture the marionberry colour properly so my photos really do not do the colour justice. As for the lavender purples, it seems to be a Save to Web issue on as it looks perfect on Photoshop, but not so much here.In the end, after consulting with Daphne, I added pops of pink. The final bouquet looked like this:A little different. I know.It was actually hard to let go of my "A Study in Purple" bouquet because that had been etched in my mind for so long (several months actually).Some of you have asked me about my process: Prior to making any flowers, I generally plan out my bouquet and make a list of colours and flowers. I'm not a florist by any means, so I'm quite inexperienced at putting a bouquet together without extensive planning. I am also not familiar with a lot of flowers, foliage, fruit branches etc. so I do a lot of research on the Internet, Googling for foliage or flowers in a certain colour. Thank goodness seasons are not an issue for us paper florists!First and foremost, I see my bouquet in colours before anything else. Tone and saturation are very important to me, so I have to know what materials/colours I am working with. I find it very helpful to set out my crepe paper to see what colours I have that would work together. When I've determined what the colours of the bouquet will be, and how the colours will work against/with each other, I match my colours with a flower. There's a lot of Googling, looking through my flower books, and visiting nurseries (if possible) at this stage, looking for inspiration. I then consider if the flowers I chose (if given a list by the client, I'll first consider those flowers) would work next to each other considering their shapes and sizes. If the bouquet has more than 1 or 2 main colours, I'll take images of flowers from the Internet, cut them out, and paste them into a Photoshop document to see if they work with each other. It's more of a guide for me to work towards, rather than a client proposal, as it helps me visualize the final product.There's a challenge in every bouquet, and for this one, I found it challenging to incorporate a pink that would work. Light pink would look too sweet with the other light lavenders and purples. A bright medium pink would look out of place in a bouquet with such rich and royal colours. My friend Marilyn had mentioned she liked the crepe colour marionberry, and after some further experimentation, I decided that was the right colour for this bouquet. It wasn't too cool or too warm, and looked rich enough to compliment the purples.Daphne had mentioned that she liked cascading bouquets (really, who doesn't?). So I created a semi-cascading effect to emulate a cascading bouquet by using only foliage and hellebores. Hellebores looks very natural lower to the ground and at the base of arrangements. They come in so many subtly muddy and dark colours that they've become my favourite flowers to work with to add visual interest. In this bouquet, I thought they looked like little butterflies. I really love the effect they created.I love working with fine crepe and there just isn't enough variety of purple. I already dip dyed and bleached my purple crepe paper to get some variation, but there wasn't enough variation to my liking. I needed a warmer tone of purple, like my dress. What was needed was the purple of a foxglove. So I made a foxglove using Copic markers in the purple I wanted.I am so happy that I made the foxglove! It was a bit of a gamble as I had never made it before and it was one of the last flowers I made during crunch time. But I'm so glad I did. The colour and pattern creates a wonderful contrast to the numerous round blooms. It draws the eye upward with its tower of bell-like flowers. It is a bit wild and I love that it's not a typical wedding flower. I placed it in it's natural position - straight and upward - as if shooting out of the soil with green succulents at its base.I positioned the foxglove so it was off-centre and bending slightly backwards to reduce it's height, mindful of where the bride's face would be. To support the tower of blooms from shifting side to side, stems of foliage were placed behind and slightly around it for support.In a bouquet this wide, there is a tendency for the flower stems to want to shift around and move back and forth while carried, thereby losing the shape and arrangement I had carefully curated. My solution is to use foliage to function as structural support, placing them directly behind the flower stems that have long stems and/or prone to moving. I slip the leaves and shorter foliage between/around blooms to create further stability. I find foliage in the 180 grams works better than any other weight of crepe paper because it is stiff enough to hold its shape and support other stems. So that is why you'll see that I have a TON of foliage behind my bouquets - it's not just for fullness or interest; It's a crucial structural element for a bouquet this size and shape.I am also mindful that the bouquet has to look good from all angles. I can't control the angle in which photos of the bride and bouquet will be taken, but I try, to the best of my ability, to ensure there is sufficient visual interest on all sides. So I make sure to put flowers on both sides of the bouquet and the top/back. I don't put too many flowers in the back because I want the bride to hold the bouquet close to her body. If I put too many flowers, it would be too large for her to carry comfortably and it would look too big. The bouquet should be an extension of the bride's body and therefore should not overwhelm or overshadow her.I am extremely fortunate that Kat approached me specifically because she liked my work and my style, and not because I was the only paper flower artist she knew. I could not have made this bouquet without having confidence that she and Daphne would like the bouquet without ever really seeing a proposal. Kat was my very first paying customer and I am forever grateful that she gave me the opportunity to show what I can make, if given the chance. After posting "A Study in Purple" on my Instagram account, it led to a lot of interest in my work and led to subsequent commissions. I have Kat and Daphne to thank for this.~ Jessie