how to make a bridal bouquet

What you need

  • String or ribbon
  • Primary foliage: Bupleurum rotundifolium, 3 stems
  • Filler foliage: Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis), 5 stems
  • Upper storey: Honeysuckle, 7 stems


1. Before you start, lay all your conditioned flowers and foliage out in the order you will use them and - in your head - number them 1-7; three groups of foliage and three or four flowers.

2. Cut a length of string or ribbon, 1m long, double it over and put it on one side.

3. Get the “scaffolding” right first. Arrange a few stems of primary foliage (bupleurum) to form a fairly symmetrical dome. Make sure it is rounded, not rectangular, or long and thin. Get this bit absolutely right before you move on. Hold the bunch of primary foliage in your left hand, then add all the other foliage and flowers with your right hand, a stem at a time.

4. Add the filler (bells of Ireland) to fill any holes and create contrast, then an upper storey, (honeysuckle) standing proud. Don’t make it twee and tight, but natural and relaxed. And don’t add every stem vertically, forcing them into the fist of your left hand, or by the time the bunch is complete, your hands will be too full. Just catch each new stem into one or two stems of your primary foliage. The scaffolding will hold the stem for a few seconds, before you pull it into place from below with your right hand. Pull, don’t push. You’ll break heads off if you do. Check you’re happy with the foliage before moving onto the flowers.

5. Add the flower stems at an angle, not straight down. First, the biggest flower - the bride (‘Joey Mirella’ dahlia); then the bridesmaid (scabious), and finally the gatecrasher, the zappy colour contrast (‘Con Amore’ dahlia and nicotiana).

6. When you’ve added all the flowers, loop the doubled string or ribbon around your bunch, poking the two cut ends through the loop. This allows you to tighten it immediately. Cut all of the stem ends to the same length.

7. On the day, tie with some ribbon or wrap the stem ends in a little damp kitchen paper, then cling film and then cover this with ribbon wound all the way down the stems. Choose a colour that goes with the flowers and the dress and suit of the bride and bridesmaid.

Watch Sarah explain how to make a hand tied bunch of flowers on our Youtube channel.