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Rose Bouquets

Martha Stewart Living Television

Symbolizing love, life, and fertility, flowers have been an integral part of weddings for almost as long as the ceremonies have occurred. The first wedding bouquets -- informal handfuls of wildflowers and herbs -- were assembled in the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, bouquets have evolved into many styles.st

When choosing a bouquet, treat it as an element of your outfit, and consider it as a complementary accessory. The type you choose for your wedding day should suit your personality, color scheme, and the rest of the event's decor. Martha and style editor Hannah Milman demonstrate how to make rose nosegays, small dome-shaped bouquets. Familiarizing yourself with these simple techniques and flower choices will help you have informative discussions with your florist.

Rosebuds are commonly wired -- the blooms are detached from their stems and attached to individual lengths of floral wire -- to eliminate the cumbersome thickness of the stems and provide a thin, elegant base that is easily carried. Wired flowers also allow you to easily manipulate the bouquet's shape. A bouquet of wired blooms should be made the day of the wedding since it will not stay fresh as long as stemmed blooms. For best results, use the freshest unprocessed roses you can find (unprocessed refers to untrimmed roses with leaves and thorns intact). Choose seasonal flowers for freshness and availability. To finish the nosegay, wrap the base in an elegant ribbon to complement the wedding gown or colors of the bouquet.

Tools and Materials

  • Flower bucket
  • 2 to 3 dozen unprocessed roses
  • Floral knife
  • 2 to 3 dozen 12-inch lengths of green 24-gauge floral wire
  • Light-green floral tape
  • Small glass vase
  • Satin ribbon
  • Round-head pearl pins
  • Wire cutter

Rose Bouquets How-To
1. Fill a floral bucket with water; choose warm water if you want the blooms to open or cool water if you want the blooms to stay tight.

2. With a floral knife, strip leaves and thorns from rose stems. Then cut the stems on an angle with a floral knife, and plunge into the bucket of water. (Freshly cut stems allow the flowers to drink more water.) For open blooms, leave the roses in warm water for 12 to 24 hours; for tight buds, leave roses in cold water for 3 to 4 hours.

3. Working one flower at a time, cut the stem to a one-inch length. Then insert a 12-inch length of 24-gauge floral wire through the calyx of the flower. Once half of the wire is pushed through, slowly and carefully bend the ends of wire together. Starting just beneath the calyx and working downward, wrap the wire "stem" with floral tape. Repeat process with remaining blooms. Set wired blooms in a vase until ready to arrange bouquet. (If you have a heavier-headed flower, use two lengths of 24-gauge wire. Insert the first wire as instructed above, then repeat crosswise with the second wire.)

4. Gather wired stems, and shape bouquet. Starting at the bottom and working toward the blooms, carefully wrap floral tape around the grouping of wired stems. (For larger bouquets, tape flowers in bunches of 8 to 10 blooms; then arrange the smaller bunches together to complete the bouquet.) Then cut stems to desired length with a wire cutter.

5. Starting at bottom, attach the ribbon perpendicularly to the stems with a straight pin. Then, holding the bouquet with one hand, wrap the ribbon upward using your other hand, taking care to overlap the ribbon evenly. Pin the ribbon in place at the top of the stems, just beneath the flowers.

6. Trim the excess ribbon, leaving a length several inches long. Wrap the ribbon around the base of the buds and secure with straight pins.

7. Evenly space three pearl-headed pins, each inserted on an angle, up the base of the bouquet for decorative effect.