Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Brooch Bouquet

To begin my new blog, I thought I'd write about my brooch bouquet. I got a zillion and one questions about it, so here goes.

Apparently suppliers don't enjoy working over Christmas, and my ideal bouquet of white, pink and cream roses just wasn't going to happen without a gamble. Then, after finding the dress of my dreams, an ordinary silk flower bouquet just didn't seem to go with Swarovski crystals.

After much deliberation, Mum and I decided not only would I have a brooch bouquet, but I would make it myself AND it would be a secret. We spent July through until October collecting brooches, earrings and pendants. The bouquet contains a brooch from my great-Nan, jewellery from Grandma and also presents and jewellery from my own collection. Mum went on weekly visits to antique and op-shops to find pieces to include. I also trawled eBay for antique brooches (2 are from Scotland, the rest are Aussie), and mass produced brooches which made up the bridesmaid bouquets.

In October we decided to start putting it all together. I had wired each brooch with floral wire, and used floral tape to strengthen it and keep the bouquet free of pointy wire. I liked the look of a simple brooch bouquet without flowers, but this was near impossible as I also wanted a uniform rounded shape. After experimenting with hydrangea flowers (from Cheap as Chips), we discovered that although the flower size was good, the brooches were too heavy for the flowers. Mum then set to work and finally found the perfect flowers - foam roses.

During November and December we put the bouquet together. Firstly, we made the flowers sit in the right shape, and then taped it up. Next, we placed the bigger brooches, and the ones we wanted to display. Then we filled up the empty spots with smaller filler brooches.

The bridesmaids had larger foam roses, with each bouquet filled with about 7 feature brooches with colour schemes (will have to post when I have the pictures back).

We then purchased a bouquet wrap which was velcro and adjustable for the bridal bouquet. The girls had theirs wrapped in white ribbon as the wraps were far too big on the bouquets. On the day, we had 5 bouquets - mine, 3 each for a bridesmaid and one throw posy, which my beautiful friend Ros caught.The throw posy had several light brooches so we didn't poke out any eyes!

My brooch bouquet was incredibly heavy (1.5-2kg at a guess), and took countless hours of work - about 6 hours a week for six months, not including the brooch collecting. I successfully managed to keep this from my now husband the entire time - he knew there was a wedding project, but had no idea what it was. Actually, if he had gone searching in my house he would have found this:

Fortunately for all, the finished product did not have to be hidden in a pink box with a face.