N just about had a heart attack when she recieved her very first quote for bridal bouquets. I believe the shop told her that bridal bouquets start at $200 and only go up from there. In addition, boutineers start around $15. This is a pretty big deal when you are footing the bill all by yourself and your parents keep increasing the guest list!
Since N's requests was fairly simply: all rose bouquets for the bridal party. I suggested that we buy flowers in bulk and I would help create them for her. How hard could it be? I've watched enough bridal shows and how-to videos can find all over the web.
Generally speaking, boutineers should be a relatively simple task. BBBBUUUUUUTTTTTT in Chinese weddings, ever member of the family sports a boutineer to show the guests that they are family. We're not talking about just the nuclear family here: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Oh and not just first cousins, second, third...seventh. On and on the list grows. Luckily bouts are easy to make, we just have to make a lot of them (like 50-70). Good thing we'll have help from one of her aunties and at least one other bridesmaid.
Armed with floral wire, floral tape, a dozen red roses, half a dozen white roses, bunches of red and white carnations, and extra sharp floral shears, we gave it a try. Thank goodness I had the florist strip the stems of the red roses, that cut down on a lot of prep work.
First we tried our hand at the boutineers. We made one from a red rose and one from a red carnation. Nothing special, but they did turn out pretty darn good. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures of the trial bouts.
Next we tackled the bride's bouquet. N wanted mostly red with a touch of white.
Trial 1: red roses and white carnations - no go, N didn't like the difference in texture that the carnations added. Plus the carnations were big blooms which gave it too much white.
Trial 2: red roses with baby's breath - no go, too much red.
Trial 3: red roses and white roses - Winner! We added a few touches of green and called it good. We just have to remember to order more roses for her bouquet for the real deal. We also wrapped ribbon around the stems to complete the look. For the real thing the ribbon will be dark green and we'll also decorate with some pearl beads like you see in most bridal bouquets. Oh yea, we'll also shorten the stem, it was way too long in the trial run.
Lastly we worked on the bridesmaid bouquets. N wanted these to be opposite of her bouquet so that the flowers would pop against the girls' burgundy dresses. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough white roses, so we just used the white carnations to give us an idea.
Top left to right: Red roses and white carnations, Red roses and baby's breath, Red and white roses.
Middle left to right: Bride's bouquet from the top (carnations used only to fill out the bouquet), Bride's bouquet tied with white ribbon, White carnations, white and red roses.
Bottom left to right: Bridesmaid bouquet, Green filler, Arrangement with left over carnations.
In case your wondering how far 1.5 dozen roses and a couple of bunches of carnations go, the answer is not very far. We kept reusing the same flowers until the end. After all the pictures were taken, we recreated the bridal bouquet and tied it with pretty ribbon. I sent N home with it to show her mom. I threw the remaining carnations in a vase.