If you want to create your own centerpieces, a classic arrangement in a clear glass globe or cube is a lovely choice that isn’t too difficult to assemble yourself. Hardy, large-headed flowers such as roses are best for this project. These centerpieces take between 30 and 60 minutes to arrange and, depending on the size of your container, will use about 50 to 75 stems. You can make them the day before the wedding, but before you begin, have your containers ready and filled with clean water.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
50 to 75 stems of a hardy flower like the rose
Green adhesive floral tape (1/4″)
Stem cutter or very sharp knife
STEP 1: Preparing the Flowers
Use your hands or a stem stripper to remove excess foliage and thorns, and pull off damaged or unattractive outer petals. Fill a sink or bucket with water, and holding the stems underwater use the stem cutter or knife to cut the stems at an angle about 2 inches from the bottom. Allow the flowers to drink for a few seconds with the stem ends underwater, then place in a bucket filled halfway with cool water until you are ready to use. Note: If you’re working with roses and the heads aren’t open yet, force the blooms open by placing the stems in a bucket of hot water. But do this only for a couple of minutes just before you are going to use the roses, or you might kill them otherwise. Keep the stems long while working with them and trim to a shorter length when you’ve finished arranging.
STEP 2: Assembling the Flowers
Take one stem at a time with one hand, and use your other hand to hold the flowers in place. Assemble four flowers at an even height in a square shape — these will be at the center of the arrangement. Add the other flowers one by one around the center flowers to create a dome shape. Note: As you’re creating the dome, occasionally hold it up to your vase to gauge the width of the arrangement and adjust to create a pleasing overhang of flowers over the edges.
STEP 3: Securing the Centerpiece
Use adhesive floral tape to bind the stems at the natural spot where they join (about 3 to 4 inches below the flower heads). If desired, repeat the binding toward the end of the stems, leaving about 2 inches excess beneath the bind to trim later.
STEP 4: Measuring the Centerpiece
Hold the arrangement alongside your container to gauge how much stem you’ll need to trim from the ends. Trim the stems to the necessary length, cutting across on an angle to allow for better water absorption.
STEP 5: Finishing the Centerpiece
Gently place the arrangement into a container. Once the centerpieces are completed, keep them misted and refrigerated or in a cool or air-conditioned room away from heat and light until you are ready to use them. If you’re using clear vases, you can allow the stem ends to fan in the water for a modern look, or bind them for a finished, clean appearance. To help prolong the life of the flowers, add a drop of bleach or lemon-lime soda to the water.
The above information is adapted from The Knot Book of Wedding Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2003). PHOTO CREDITS Flowers prepared by Peter M. Krask; photos by Wendell Webber.