Hand-tied and Holder Bouquets

On New Years, I attended the wedding of one of my neighbors’ twin daughters. Two and a half months later, the second twin also got married. From the first, my family got leftover food. From the second, we got one of the bouquets that was displayed as a centerpiece at the reception.

We were able to enjoy the bouquet for more than a week — definitely longer than the food. How? The florist used a technique called hand-tying. Using this, the stems can be kept fairly long — long enough to put in a vase. Keeping the bouquet in water (fortified with plant food) meant we got to enjoy a lovely touch of nature on our kitchen counter, whereas if the bouquet had been made using a holder, it would have barely lasted two days.

In Floral Design 2, we made hand-tied bouquets. You start with all of your materials stripped of whatever leaves or thorns need to be taken off, but leave the stems long. Then you use your dominant hand (for me, my right) to stick stems through your other hand, creating a very large, loose shape of the final design. The biggest advantage of this, besides a longer-lasting bouquet, is that it’s much easier to adjust the placement of materials while you’re working. The end result is also more natural looking — a popular trend in weddings nowadays. The only downside? Holding all those flowers can really hurt your hand after a while.

But what about holder bouquets? Sure, they don’t last as long as hand-tied bouquets, but that have their own big advantage: control. Sticking pieces of material into floral foam means you know exactly how big the final arrangement will be, whereas with hand-tied you have more variability. You can also make sure each and every piece of material is in the picture-perfect spot. You also don’t have to worry about dirt or plant material from stems getting on a pristine wedding dress.

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