Among the many skills of a florist, is the ability to rise before the sun, and even the birds, to put together the delicate wired work of the personal flowers for weddings. All those gorgeous buttonholes, corsages and head dresses are all made on the morning of the event, guaranteeing the freshness and peak condition throughout the day.
I thought you might like to see the stages of creating these mini-masterpieces. Firstly, and I think most importantly, the kettle needs to go on and a cuppa made. Nothing much goes right before the first sip of tea, eh?
Once the brew’s made and you’re settled, it’s a case of getting all the separate components ready. In this instance, it was white spray roses and Eucalyptus for ladies corsages. You need a good selection of leaves, from small to medium, and the same with roses – some buds, some part open flowers, and a few open for focals.
Begin by wiring the leaves – as you see, I used eucalyptus leaves, but you can use any leaf that will last out of water without wilting for the day – Pittosporum, Ruscus, ivy, pine, box, yew… quite a lot of options! When selecting your foliage, think about colour, tones, leaf shape and textures, choosing to compliment your flower choice.
Choose the weight of your wire carefully – you need a guage that is supports the flower or leaf, but also still allows ‘natural movement’. The purpose of wiring the components not only allows for a light accessory, but also manipulation into the perfect shape.
Next, wire your flowers – you need to cut the stems about a centimeter under the flower head. For roses, I take the wire through the stem just under the head of the flower, bending the length of the wire down the stem of the flower. These then need to be taped with special florist tape (Stemtex or Parafilm). This takes a bit of practice as you need to stretch the tape as ‘roll’ the stem between your thumb and finger, bringing the tape down the stem.
Once all your foliage and flowers are wired and taped, the fun starts – construction. the ‘proper’ way to work is to make ‘units’ of leaves to create your framework, and then add the flowers to that. Over the years though, I have altered my method for efficiency, and now tape as I go along.
A traditional lady’s corsage is a small teardrop shape. Start with a small leaf and bud, and tape. Add the next bud, another leaf, and tape. Continue in this way, staggering the flower heads, bringing in larger flowers towards the center of the design, and creating a wider base to the design. Bring the flowers round to curve the base, bending the wire to help create the desired shape. Tape all the wires, cutting out the bulk to create a tidy ‘stem’. At this point you can add a magnet, or decorative pins can be used to attach the adornment.
There you go! One corsage! Once you’ve perfected this process, it’s easy to develop the method into different applications – bag flowers, shoe flowers, hat flowers, hair flowers, wrist corsage… How about some bag flowers for a Summer wedding? These were wired and glued onto a badge which is then attached to the bag.
Where would you wear flowers??