Brooch bouquets are trendy. (Or they were when I was planning my wedding in 2014). They add colour, sparkle and glam to your wedding look. But more than that they can be very meaningful! Flowers wilt and die, a brooch bouquet can last forever (and maybe even for generations). If you invite loved ones to contribute to your bouquet you carry tokens of their love down the aisle with you. Here's my tutorial on how to build a meaningful and beautiful brooch bouquet.
Brooches, Pins, Buttons, Earrings, Rings, etc. 25-50 pieces.
Large Fabric Hydrangea
Small Wire Cutters & Pliers
Plastic Bouquet Holder w. Tulle
Wide Satin Ribbon
Hot Glue Gun
Paper Towel Roll
Paper Towels & Tissues
Note: I used green wire & tape to look like real stems. However I recommend silver as it would blend better with the brooches. Head on over to the craft store and pick up the floral wire, floral tape, fabric hydrangea, and bouquet holder. Wire cutters and pliers made for jewellery making are perfect. I waited until the brooches came together before choosing the exact colour of ribbon.
Pick Your Colour Scheme
Pick any colour scheme that you want! Consider four main factors: colour of metal (gold, silver, rose gold, pewter, etc), colour of brooches, colour of hydrangea (base colour), and colour of ribbon (bouquet holder). The possibilities are endless, from all white and cream, to one colour, to multi-colour eclectic.
Above: Brooch bouquets from Pinterest that inspired mine. Click here to see original pins.
Purchase Brooches In Your Colour (& Pins, Earrings, Pendants, Buttons, Rings, etc...)
I suggest a few categories of brooches:
craft store: buy basic and/or neutral brooches from the craft store. See below for colour customization. 10-20 pieces
flea market: Flea markets are great for finding inexpensive brooches! Ask vendors if they have a selection of damaged and discounted brooches that you can look through. 10-12 pieces
antique shop: I splurged on a couple of antique pieces that I wanted to feature. 1-3 pieces.
Begin collecting brooches well before your wedding. I gave myself about six months. Any piece that you think you can get a piece of floral wire through/around will do. As you begin to build the stems you will get creative in attaching them!
Below: Pieces I found at the flea market. Even though some are damaged you can never tell in the full bouquet. It's a great way to get authentic pieces and save money.
Build the "Stems"
Before you begin: The first stem you build will be frustrating and not at all perfect. Start on a cheap brooch (not the heirloom piece you're borrowing!). This is the most time-consuming part.
Cut a generous piece of floral wire (about 24"). Thread one end of the wire through one side of the brooch clasp. Pull it through to the middle and begin to twist the two ends together as tightly as you can. Use pliers to help. When you're done twisting the two ends of the wire together you should have a sturdy "stem" about 12 " long.
Repeat on the other side of the brooch clasp. Now you'll have two "stems".
Finally twist those two "stems" into one mega-stem. The brooch should be supported easily when the stem is held from the bottom.
Start with a typical brooch clasp. Once you get the hang of it move on to more challenging backings, like earrings and pins. You can always weave wire through filigree or around the top of the piece (this is why silver floral wire trumps green).
Wrap each stem in floral tape to complete.
I built the stems over a few weeks. My fiancé even got in on it! We would do a couple after dinner while we were watching TV.
If you have very specific colours in mind (like I did), here's a colour customization tip: Buy pieces with clear "stones" and paint them with a thin layer of nail polish. I ended up painting many of my purchased pieces to give the bouquet a cohesive look.
Below: Inexpensive brooches from the craft store painted with nail polish.
Test it Out
Once you get 12-20 purchased pieces built and painted, check out the look! Hold the hydrangea in one hand. Place the brooches in and around the hydrangea while holding. Do you have enough of one colour? How much of the flower do you want to see through the brooches? Do you need more larger or smaller pieces?
Asking for Contributions
One of the big appeals of a brooch bouquet is being able to carry special pieces down the aisle with you. I asked my bridesmaids, female members of my family and my soon-to-be in-laws' family to donate brooches to my bouquet They could be purchased, gifted or leant. If you want to keep the bouquet as-is ask for gifted pieces only. Heirloom or borrowed pieces can be easily returned as you can just snip the wire stem off afterwards. Ask for pieces in your colour scheme or for neutral pieces.
Here's the email I sent to my friends and family members. (Permission to copy and paste granted)
I wanted to let you know about something special I am doing at my wedding, and also ask you for a little help. Instead of a traditional floral bridal bouquet I am creating a brooch bouquet! (Yep, you read that correctly, a bouquet made of brooches). I saw this done at a friend's wedding in 2011 and thought it was the coolest idea!
I've chosen to do this because as beautiful as flowers are, you can only keep the photographs after they wilt. A brooch bouquet is something that I can keep in my home forever and look at every day.
What I am asking of my closest female family and friends (you!) is to contribute a piece to my bouquet. That way when I walk down the aisle I am holding tokens of love and support from the amazing women in my life!
The colours for my bouquet are Orange, Coral, Peach and Blush. White, Crystal and Pearl are also great! And I am using any colour of metal. I do not damage the pieces in the process and if you want to lend me a piece that is sentimental I would be honoured to carry it on my wedding day and return it in original condition. The piece should have a clasp/fastener on the back. I will be doing all the wire work and assembly - all I need is the piece itself!
I didn't end up using absolutely every piece that was gifted to me - I was very lucky to receive so many! I prioritized one brooch from each woman, and then from there I picked the pieces that went the best with my colour scheme.
Below: The gifted brooches laid out at my brooch "shower"
Assemble the Bouquet
Once all your pieces are attached to stems it's time to assemble!
If you haven't done so already cut the hydrangea stem to the same length as your wire stems.
Cover the outside of the bouquet holder with ribbon. I cut medium lengths of ribbon, hot-glued half the length to the bouquet holder, folded the top to make a soft loop, and glued down the remaining length. This creates a nice layer of tulle and ribbon.
Place the hydrangea stem-down through the bouquet holder. Stick the brooch stems down through and around the flower, and down through the brooch holder.
Take your time until you are happy with the arrangement. Once you are wrap the entire bundle of wire stems in lots of floral tape.
Hold your bouquet up against the paper towel roll. Cut the cardboard roll to length Place the entire bouquet stem-down through the tube.
Stuff the tube with paper towel and tissue to support the shape. Glue a piece of ribbon over the bottom end of the tube to cover the opening.
Cover the cardboard tube with ribbon. Cut short pieces and hot glue horizontally around the tube.
Above: One of the "drafts" of my brooch bouquet.
- add touches of coloured ribbon or trim to the bouquet holder (with hot glue)
- add a special brooch or piece to the bouquet holder (I attached a vintage piece)
- drape a necklace or string of beads/pearls from the bouquet
- pin a secret sentimental piece to the back/underside of the bouquet. I used a special piece from my mother-in-law. I've also seen this done with lockets, pictures of deceased loved ones, etc.
Choose colours: metal, pieces, flower, ribbon
Shop for pieces (craft store, flea market, antique shop)