As the daughter and granddaughter of avid gardeners, it was a disappointing surprise to learn that I was born with two black thumbs. Of course I love flowers, but I have a very hard time keeping them alive. Even succulents give up on me!
One of my very best friends is an incredibly talented florist and I am so inspired when I see her face light up as the first buds bloom each season. I often FaceTime her on Sunday afternoons with whatever bounty I've collected at the farmers market and she gives me a step-by-step instructions on how to arrange my blooms. It's a real science - without her help, my flowers look depressed and angry like they're trying to escape whatever vessel I have forced them into.
As one of Philadelphia's most in-demand florists, Katy (of Katy Bieniosek Floral Design) spends most of her time creating floral arrangements and bouquets for weddings. She describes designing wedding flowers as a wonderful and personal process, so it was no surprise that she designed all of the flowers for her own wedding. What was surprising however is that 90% of the flowers she used in her bridal bouquet came from her family's farm where her wedding was held. She invited me to come along and help (let's be honest, WATCH) her create her bridal bouquet. We snipped peonies and hellebores and ferns (oh my!) right from her garden to create the most beautiful and natural looking bouquet on the planet.
- Pillow Talk and Baroness Peonies
- Mock Orange
- Purple Baptisia
- Honeysuckle Vine
- Green Hydrangea
- Charming Unique Roses
- Forsythia Greens
- Ostrich Fern
- Maidenhair Fern
Katy has taught me the importance of incorporating greens in floral arrangements. Her work specializes in native varieties and natural compositions which has quickly become my favorite look - I call it rustic glam. She calls it an organic garden arrangement. Potato, potato... although I guess that expression doesn't translate as text.
Step by Step:
First we cut the flowers and conditioned them - removing any leaves, thorns, or lateral stems below the bloom which makes the process easier and ensures the stems within the bouquet do not rot.
Once the flowers are prepped, katy selects one of the larger blooms to begin with and slowly creates the shape that she wants adding one stem at a time and working from the center outward.
Because of the natural style she is known for, she uses varying heights of stems allowing the taller flowers to add height while the vines to trail down adding dimension. This depth gives her bouquets that ethereal look that I can't get enough of!
While creating the bouquet, she makes sure to check the size and shape in a mirror, turning the bouquet to view different perspectives at the same time. She calls out the importance of highlighting the natural flexibility of each stem, allowing the design to highlight each variety.
Katy uses floral tape to secure each "layer" as she adds more stems to her bouquet.
Once the bouquet reaches her desired size, Katy adds some finishing texture with forsythia greens and cascade with the honeysuckle vine.
Once she was thrilled with the final design, she wraps the center of the stems tightly with floral tape and then with a simple ivory ribbon and pearl top pins. Most importantly, give the bouquet a fresh cut at the bottom and put it in clean water until use. OR if you're not a bride, you can place it in a vase as your stunning new centerpiece and throw a party!