The handsome, well-defined shape and intense, glossy color of peonies make them perfect for a modern early-summer wedding. Plus, they have good staying power, even if the wedding day is hot or windy.
1 ‘Aqua’ single rose
1 stem senecio with closed buds
9 dark pink double-headed peonies
8 dark pink double-headed peonies
4 hosta leaves
4 dark pink peonies
4 pale pink ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies
5 ‘Aqua’ single roses
pin (one per boutonniere)
water vials (8 per per end)
black cube vase (5 1/2 inch square; one per table centerpiece)
Choose a rose close in color to the bouquet (a peony would be too big as a boutonniere). Small curls of black ribbon are tucked in between the rose and senecio leaves for interest.
Wire the rose and senecio according to the step-by-steps for wiring a boutonniere. Remove any outer petals from the rose if it looks too large for a boutonniere.
Cut three 1-1/2 inch lengths of black ribbon. Fold each length in half, pinch the ends together and wire them with a double leg mount. Trim the wires and cover them with stem tape.
Group the ribbon curls at the side of the rose. Arrange the senecio leaves behind them. Trim the wires. Bind the curls, leaves and wires together with stem tape. Press the tape down with your fingers to secure it. Use a pin to attach the boutonniere to the lapel of a jacket.
The impact of this stylish bridal bouquet is all the greater because of its minimalism; these blowsy peonies need nothing else to show them off to perfection.
Hold the stem of one flower in your hand and add another stem to it, twisting the stems around slightly in one direction in your hand as you do so.
Add more stems at the same angle to create a spiral stem effect. Keep turning the bunch around in the same direction as you work.
Arrange the last layer of flowers a little lower around the edges for a slightly domed effect. Don’t worry if there are slight gaps between the flowers; it’s quite hard to gather these large blooms tightly together.
Holding the bunch in one hand, secure it with a length of raffia. Then cover the raffia binding with a length of black ribbon tied in a bow.
Cut the stem ends straight across with garden shears so they are all the same, short length and won’t get entangled in the bride’s dress.
For more details on making a hand-tied bouquet, see our step-by-step instructions.
Frothy peonies in pale pink paper cones look almost like giant ice cream cones. They add a sense of irresistible delight to this minimal, stylish display.
For each cone, curl a piece of thick cardstock into a trumpet shape and staple it at the back. (Use black if you want to match the ribbons and vase, or very thick textured paper for white cones.)
Cut two short slits in the back of each cone. Weave two lengths of raffia in and out of these slits and attach them to the pew ends.
Pack cellophane inside the base of the cone to prevent the flowers from slipping too low, and to help create the right shape.
Attach a vial of water to each of eight peonies in full flower. Arrange the slightly taller stems at the back of the cone and shorter stems at the front to form a graduated, curved effect that repeats the shape of the bride’s bouquet.
Peonies and roses need the sharp, clean lines of a black cube vase to give them a modern, uncluttered feel.
Fill a vase (5-1/2 inch diameter and height) with water. Mold chicken wire inside the vase. Insert a hosta leaf through the chicken wire at each corner of the vase.
Insert four of the roses at an angle through the wire so that each rose rests on a hosta leaf. Place a dark pink peony in between each rose, then add four pale pink peonies to create a second layer. Rest the final rose at the top to give the arrangement a slightly stylized pyramid shape.
A mass of different colors in an arrangement can sometimes be confusing and distracting. Keeping to a limited palette of colors and flower varieties gives this arrangement dynamic impact.
Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011