Wedding bouquets are by far my favorite flower piece to arrange. There are multiple factors to consider when planning a bridal bouquet. Many brides put all their creativity and thought into the flower type and completely forget to adorn the bouquet handle. Adding a bit of glam to the bouquet handle is simple and can make a huge impact. One of my favorite handle wrap techniques is the classic braid adorned with pearl corsage pins. This is the braid technique I used on last week’s bridal brooch bouquet? This simple classic braid is simple, elegant and fail-safe.
Arrange your flowers and tie with a rubber band close to the neck. Cover the rubber band with green floral tape, then proceed down the stems as far as you want your braid to run. Leave at least 1 inch of the stems exposed at the bottom. If you want to cover the entire bottom of the stems as well, you need to wait until the day of or find some really great ribbon that won’t fall out of place after being soaked in water all night.
Choose your ribbon, a medium width is best. Place your bouquet on it’s side with the “front” facing you (the side that will not face the bride). If you are braiding up the majority of the stems, use 1 entire roll of ribbon. You may end up cutting some off at the end but it is better than running short and this technique uses much more ribbon than you might think.
Step #1: Starting at the bottom of your stems, wrap the ribbon around the back of the stem bundle and even up the two sides of ribbon. Hold the ribbons up toward you and taut.
Step #2: Cross the ribbons, one in front of the other two times. You are basically switching the ribbon from your left hand to your right and back again. You should have a twisted tangle of ribbon now. Now pull the ribbons to their separate sides, this should move something resembling a knot down toward the stems.
Step #3: Cross your ribbons around the back of the stems to switch their sides. Repeat the crossing in front by once again crossing the two strands around each other twice then pulling the strands away from each other to move the knot down.
Step #4: As you tighten each “knot,” try to keep them in line with one another and make sure you are overlapping the ribbon all the way up the stems so there are no gaps.
Step #5: Continue to braid your ribbon to the neck of the flowers and finish the braid by either tying a knot or a bow. If you have extra ribbon, measure the strands to the end of your bouquet stems and cut each at an angle.
Step #6: Using short corsage pins, place one at the base of each knot to dress up your braid. Push the pins in and up so they don’t poke out the other side of the stem bundle and stab the bride.
While the bride may enjoy having a full braid that covers the entire length of the stems, bridesmaids often opt for the mini-braid which covers only a portion of the bouquet handle. This technique (seen in the picture at right) follows the same steps but it is only necessary to wrap a small portion of the stem with floral tape–just enough to cover the rubber band.
I hope these pictures are helpful. Ribbon braiding really is a very simple and quick process. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.