Carnations are much underrated flowers. These flowers have a reputation for being cheap and cheerful, ok for buttonholes, but unthinkable for the bridal bouquet!
During the 1940's, carnations were the traditional flowers used with asparagus fern in huge, trailing wedding bouquets.
It is time carnations made a comeback. Carnations are incredibly long-lasting, are available in almost every colour you can imagine and are undoubtedly one of the best ways to save money on your wedding flowers. If you have a limited budget for your wedding flowers then carnations should never be overlooked.
If you want to try your hand at DIY wedding flowers, but have no experience at all, carnations are the perfect flowers for you. You can buy them very reasonably from your local florist. They may offer a discount for a bulk order and offer advice regarding the variety you should have. Arrange to collect them about 10 days before the wedding. Make sure you buy them fresh and that the heads are tight. A week in some deep water will open them up so that they are ready to use.
TIP: Buy Dutch or Columbian carnations. Spanish ones will be cheaper but don't always open fully.
The shape of carnations, when fully open, is such that they 'fit' together really easily. This makes them perfect for DIY wedding flowers. They are tough to break, but you should bear in mind that they have weak spots in the stem called 'knuckles'. These are the places where they are most vulnerable, so handle the stems with care in these spots.
Tie about 12, fully opened carnations together with some string or ribbon, keeping the heads level. Bind down the stem with some fabric or ribbon to match your wedding themed colour. Leave the stems long, so that they can stand in water and not soak the fabric; you can trim them to size on the day of the wedding. Use the same method to tie smaller bunches for your bridesmaids. For the table centrepieces, use the same method, but use a thin, matching ribbon to tie them them together, as there is no need to bind down the stem. They will then be ready to pop into decorated tins or glass jars on the tables. You could place them in clusters of 3 or 5 for a larger centrepiece.
You can make all these up a day or two before the wedding, knowing that they will last in some vases of water. In fact they will probably do better if left for a couple of days, to allow them to open some more and fill in any little gaps you may have in the posies.
Get the girls round to help – open a bottle of wine, get creative and make a night of it!
Following this tip could save you couple of hundred pounds or more on your wedding flower arrangements. You will find it will be well worth the extra effort, you will save money and gain the satisfaction of knowing you have made them all yourself.
- © 2011 Vanessa Gill