If you’re the do-it-yourself flower-loving type, you’re in luck: several local floral designers offer hands-on instructional classes where you can learn to create your own arrangements. I went to a centerpiece workshop taught by the awesome Courtenay Lambert of Courtenay Lambert Floral and Event Design and Janet Martineau of Floral Verde and learned quite a bit, including how not-easy it is to make attractive arrangements and why it’s probably best for me to stick to the fashion thing. Here’s what I learned:
1. Choose your vessel
Pick a pretty container and add water so your flowers have enough to “drink.” Unless you’re making a huge arrangement, a smaller container should work just fine—you can cut the stems and greens shorter to make the piece more compact or leave them longer so it spreads out.
2. Fit the floral foam
Cut the floral foam to size and leave about an inch of floral foam on the top—you’ll use the additional vertical space for side-facing flowers. Janet likes to trim the corners so there are more flat surfaces to work with. Make sure the foam is snug in the container (you can tape it down if needed) so it won’t pop out.
3. Start with greenery
Trim the stems to the desired length and stick them in the foam, focusing on the side pieces—after all, that’s what your guests will be looking at while they’re sitting. You don’t need to completely cover the foam (leave room for the flowers!), but this will be the foundation for the shape of the arrangement. We used an assortment of wintry greens, including cedar, junipers, and bay leaves.
4. Place your flowers
Once your greens are in place, start placing the larger, heartier flowers. Janet recommends mentally dividing the bouquet into thirds and creating mini groups of similar blooms. Again, start at the sides and work in towards the center, varying the height of the flowers to create depth, and starting with tighter clusters before adding in looser “floating” stems.
A few more things to keep in mind:
- Try to keep the height under 12 inches so your guests can see each other over the centerpiece!
- For free-flowing, organic arrangements (which are all the rage now) think of how the flowers would actually grow in nature. Some curve up, some drape down, some grow in clusters…consider this and design your creation accordingly.
- You want the flowers to be at their peak during your event, which means you may need to purchase them up to a week before the big day so they have time to fully bloom.
Do you have any additional tips? Share!