A bride's bouquet is the ultimate accessory. So when Martha offered to make one for her friend and colleague Carolyn Kelly, she thought like a fashion designer, considering color, texture, and shape.
"Carolyn was wearing a very sleek and modern gown with a pale-chartreuse shawl," says Martha, who wanted to accentuate the green without overwhelming the white silk organza dress.
To do so, she nestled little clusters of bright spring-green viburnum among creamy 'Virginia' roses, matching the satin ribbon for the stems as closely as possible to the color of the shawl. The morning of the wedding, as Martha attached a wire stem to each rose, then gathered them into little bundles, an interesting design emerged.
"The flowers naturally fell into a domed rectangular shape," says Martha,"which was appropriate for the modern gown." It's only a shame the bouquet can't be packed away with the rest of the ensemble.
1. It's important to start with healthy, beautiful flowers, like these roses, which had just begun to open. Martha trimmed the stems to about an inch and a half, then carefully removed the green sepals (modified leaves just beneath the blooms) and any imperfect petals.
2. To replace the stems with flexible wires, Martha sent a length of floral wire through the base of each rose to the wire's midpoint, then bent the two ends down. This enables the blooms to be placed head-to-head, making for a more manageable, attractive bouquet -- easier for a bride to get her hands around.
3. Starting at the top, Martha wrapped the wire with green floral tape.
4. With their wire stems stuck into floral foam as they waited for assembly, the roses stayed pristine, and Martha could see them all and choose just the right ones as she began assembling the bouquet.
5. She started by making small bundles of roses, joining them with bands of floral tape around the middle of their stems.
6. The bundles had a somewhat elongated shape -- they were wider than they were long -- so when Martha began to put them together, first taping two bundles, then adding a third, and so on, the bouquet took on a pleasing rectangular shape.
7. When the rose bouquet was the size and shape she liked, Martha tucked in the viburnum, whose stems were wired in the same manner as the roses, and secured the resulting stem with more floral tape.
8. Martha snipped the stems to a uniform length of about seven inches.
9. She cut a length of pale-green satin ribbon a little longer than twice the length of the stem. She folded one end under and held it in place at the top of the stem, then folded the other end under with her free hand and brought it up, "wrapping" the stem vertically.
10. Martha used pearl-head pins to fasten the folded edges of the ribbon to the top of the stem.
11. To finish the stem, Martha tucked in the two long edges of the ribbon on each side, folding the ribbon at the bottom of the stem as if wrapping a gift; then she secured the ribbon edges with neat rows of pearl-head pins.