Crown, wreath, halo or garland… call it what you like, a circlet of fresh floral fancy is the hair accessory for any bohemian and free-spirited bride worth her weight in gypsy gold.
I love them, and clearly my lovely readers (that’s you!) do too as this post- Bohemian Delights: Hair Wreaths and Floral Garlands– repeatedly tops the bill as The Utter Blog’s most-read post.
I plan to wear one for my big day, so, keen to understand how these beautiful works of art are created (and curious to know whether I could save money and attempt one myself), I enlisted the help of florist extraordinaire and all round gem, Gayle Evans of Bloomin’gayles, an awesome Kent-based freelance floral designer.
One rainy afternoon last week she arrived at my house, having been up since 5am to deliver flowers at a wedding not so far from me (for a bride who happened to buy her dress from my shop! Small world.). We nattered, we ate BLTs and we drank copious amounts of tea, and somehow in between all this we made a really rather beautiful floral wreath. I say ‘we’, I of course mean ‘she’. I watched. And took bad photos.
we, she did it…
Clockwise from left: green florist wire, Parafilm stem tape, floral scissors (although a normal pair will do).
Clockwise from top left corner: Thistle relative (exact name TBC), Rubus (ornamental raspberry), Sage, Spray rose (Majolica), Tuberose, Sweet William. We also popped in a bit of lavender foliage as we went along, although this isn’t pictured above.
1. So, first things first. Snip off the flower heads and bits of foliage you want to use, leaving around an inch or two of stem.
2. Wire the flower heads with the shortest stems (in this case the tuberose and the spray roses). Wiring is used to control, support and lengthen stems. Gently wrap the wire around the stem, leaving a few inches of straight wire free (see below).
3. After wiring comes taping. As well as sealing the stem, floristry tape can also hold in moisture which allows the plant material to stay fresh for longer. Floristry tape becomes adhesive when stretched, so starting at the top, gently wrap the tape down the wire, turning the item as you go. Stretch the tape as you bind down and carry on until the whole wire is covered. Twist the tape at the end to seal before cutting off.
4. Once all the flower heads are wired and sealed, you’re ready to start building your crown. Take a flower head, and layer with other pieces of foliage, keeping the stems together. However much you layer up at this point will dictate how wide your floral crown is to be. Stems together, take another bit of tape and bind, making sure to leave a length of wire free at the end.
5. Moving your fingers slightly down the wire, take another flower head and place at the bottom of the arrangement you have just made. Again, add whichever foliage you desire (ensuring the volume is kept the same) and bind to the free wire. The new flower head you have just added will have it’s own free wire for you to continue the process.
Tip: Be sure to snip away loose stems like below. These will poke away from the crown as you start to bend the wire to create a circle. Just don’t snip the wire by mistake!
6. Layer, bind, bend- being sure to keep the flower heads and foliage pointing up and out. It’s important that the bottom of the crown (the bit that rests on your head) is as flat as possible. Repeat the process until a clear circlet begins to form.
7. Eventually your circlet will be large enough to join together, so hold the remaining free wire stem against the stem of your original flower head and bind together with tape.
Et voila. Your very own, and very beautiful floral crown (or halo/ wreath/ garland/ delete as appropriate). Now all we need is a gorgeous model-type to wear said crown whilst standing in front of a wooden fence and staring forlornly in to the distance…
Oh, hello! What a pro. And what a crown. Seriously- that bad boy looked and smelt amazing thanks to the sage and tuberose. And even though Gayle didn’t believe me when I said I had a huge head- meaning the crown was sat precariously on top of my head rather than securely around my head, I felt incredible wearing it. So much so I didn’t take it off for the next hour (and some) as we sat on my sofa with yet another cup of tea, nattering away.
Points to remember if you decide to try and make your own fresh flower crown:
- Before you begin, use a soft tape measure to measure the circumference of your head where you want the halo to sit. Everyone is different, but certainly if you have a fringe I would recommend starting where your fringe begins, then coming diagonally downwards around your head so that the base of the crown is level with the top of your ear. It should sit securely then.
- Prepare the amount of flora and foliage you think you’ll need, and then double it. The picture above of the laid out flowers only shows half of what was actually used.
- Once snipped and out of water, the flowers won’t last very long so if you’re planning on wearing a floral crown on your wedding day, you will need to make it the morning of- not the night before.
- In terms of style and colour, the world is your oyster. The crown Gayle made was full of herbs, berries and foliage, thus giving it a very wild and rustic look. Tropical flowers, a dozen red roses, a bundle of gypsophila… there really are no rules. See this post for more hair wreath and flower garland inspiration.
I had a fascinating and brilliant afternoon watching a very talented and knowledgeable lady at work. So thank you, Gayle, once again, for generously giving me so much of your time and sharing your expertise. You are amazing. (And any brides still looking for a south-east based florist… you know what to do.)
So what do you think, dear reader? Are you inspired to give it a go yourself? Is anyone else embracing their inner hippie and rocking a flower crown on their wedding day? Should I ditch the day job and become a professional flower garland model??
Answers on a postcard…. (Or just in the comment box below, ta.)