Around this time last year I took on what was probably, on reflection, one of the most insane decisions I have ever made. As my entire wedding was done on a budget, and I was looking to cut costs in every way I could, I found the concept of spending hundreds of pounds on flowers (which would ultimately die within days) slightly ludicrous! As a result of my Pinterest addiction I'd set my heart on a brooch bouquet, but then having priced them up on Etsy, I knew they were way out of my price range, so, being the slightly mental person I clearly I am, I decided this was something I was going to have to DIY.
An entire brooch bouquet, even a DIY one, was also likely to be costly as a result of its current trendiness and the overall cost of buying supplies. It also made it difficult to decide which way to go with button holes and bridesmaids bouquets.
I stumbled across fabric flower bouquets and through a combination of various YouTube videos and a bit of guess work I was able to produce my own bouquet, two matching bridemaids bouquets, two flowergirl wands and eight buttonholes for around £40 in total! I was lucky to pick the fabric up cheap and the rest of the supplies came from eBay. Brooches were produced through a combination of family donations, eBay and charity shops.
For my bouquet I used a couple of different fabric flower types but in the main (and all the flowers in the bridesmaids bouquets) were peony style. The best (and easiest to follow tutorial) is this one from The Polka Dot Closet. I added a couple of rolled ribbon rosettes and various other styles in my bouquet as I wanted it to be quite mis-matched and you can find plenty of these tutorials all over the internet. I used a combination of colours within my bouquet, starting with a cream and a beige/gold fabric as my base colour, to match the ivory shades in my wedding dress and then the navy and pink picked out the colours in the bridesmaid dresses.
For the brooches within my bouquet, some of the smaller ones became the centres for my flowers. The larger heavier ones, I wired individually. I also used pearl beads and buttons for flower centres - some I hot glued in, some I stitched on. (This generally depended on how tired I was at the time!) I then glued a piece of matching ribbon to the bottom of each flower, glued the wire in the middle, before twisting it, and then folded the ribbon over the top. (This attached the wire to the bottom of the flower.) After twisting, I wrapped floral tape over the top of the wire - this gives extra padding and stops the wires poking through later.
One of the tutorials I struggled to find on the Internet was actually how to form the bouquet. I didn't take photographs of the stages so I'll just try to explain. This is just the way I found easiest for me - there are other ways that you can trying, including using floral oasis.
Each individual flower or brooch was separately wired, so by the end I had a big bunch of them that was all wired up, which I then cut so they were more or less the same length. I began with the largest brooch as my starting point, and wrapped the wire around a piece of wooden dowling that I had cut to length. (I would suggest leaving this slightly longer than you think you need, as you can cut shorter at the end.) I also wrapped two or three flowers together in a bunch, before wrapping them around the dowling post also. I didn't glue anything at this point, and by just wrapping the wire it meant I could undo anything and change it. The wire also meant I could bend the flowers out to fill out my bouquet as I built it up.
Once I was happy with everything, and after cutting everything down to the length I needed, I wrapped wadding around what had now become my handle, to make it a bit softer, and then wrapped ribbon over the top, hot gluing as I went. The end is a little fiddly, but you can melt the end off with a flame and seal it up neat and tidy. I finished it off by hot gluing a lace collar underneath the flowers (it generally clings to the exposed wires you haven't covered with the ribbon) to tidy it off. I also tided on a ribbon to pretty up and embellish.
I used exactly the same method it make my button holes - just on a smaller scale and you don't need the wooden centre.
These types of bouquets really are a labour of love, but they are something that will last forever. I was able to include family mementos in my bouquet which made it extra special. You need to put aside plenty of time as the first couple seem fun but it quickly becomes very tedious - this is not something to do two weeks before you get married! I suggest getting a few girls over to help out - unless you want it to be a big surprise. I tended to do one or two flowers a night whilst watching TV, which took the chore out of it somewhat and then sat and formed it all on a weekend.
The brooch bouquet is quite heavy and doesn't have the same level of flexibility as the fabric bouquets do. They are also limited in terms of how big you can actually make them using this method - these are not going to be big bouquets.Also laying them down can make them go flat, so make sure you keep it stood up as much in advance as you can and ensure your bridesmaids don't just lay it down when they take it off you in church!