I first saw a brooch bouquet online, somewhere. The interwebs is so big, who can remember? If you search Etsy, there are over 3,400 listings (at the time of this post anyway) for brooch bouquets. Green Wedding Shoes reported on the vintage brooch bouquet trend in 2010 and even more so today, brooch bouquets are everywhere!
I knew before I was engaged that I’d want to create my own brooch bouquet. I personally own a pretty decent collection of new and vintage brooches. But for my own bridal bouquet, I knew I would need a lot more brooches than I personally owned. After reaching out to family and friends I was given a bunch of amazing vintage brooches (to borrow, of course) for my bouquet. My Mom’s close friend leant me about ten simply gorgeous enamel flower brooches that blew me away! My Aunt was able to find some of my Grandmother’s costume jewelry brooch and earring sets which I was able to wire and incorporate into the bouquet. Finally I ordered a few lots of vintage jewelry pieces from Etsy to fill in the small gaps between the big chunky brooches. Lots of jewelry are great because they’re often not too expensive and broken pieces can still be used in a brooch bouquet. Basically anything that can be wired can be used, so get creative!
Often times vintage brooch bouquets have a color scheme that might match the wedding color scheme. Since our wedding was going to be playful and fun (please see our CMYK-themed wedding invitations), I knew I wanted a variety of colors. The mix of sparkly rhinestone brooches and shiny enamel brooches was simply amazing. Putting it all together was a lot of trial-and-error to figure out which brooches worked well next to one another.
I will walk you through the steps that I took to make my bouquet, but there are a lot of great tutorials out there, including this one posted by Judy of Fancy Pants Wedding. She offers a great step-by-step tutorial that I referenced in making my own (as you will see I did not add a ribbon collar).
The first step in preparing your brooch bouquet is individually wiring each brooch. This is the least fun part, I’ll tell you that much! I was lucky enough to get the help of my fabulous maid-of-honor who did most of the heavy lifting. As she wired the brooches, I prepared the base. Some other DIY tutorials will show you to arrange the brooches and wrap the wires in tape to secure the bouquet together. I did things a little differently and I think this approach ultimately creates a more secure piece. I bought a styrofoam ball from a craft store and cut it in half. I then hollowed out the bottom of the ball so that the wires would not get stuck midway through the styrofoam (this was a really important decision, made after repeatedly trying to stab the brooches through the thick styrofoam).
I put two layers of white tulle over the top of the ball to hide some of its color. Then I began placing the brooches throughout the ball. Choose your favorite brooches and stagger their placement throughout the bouquet. The brooches started to naturally fall into place and I fell in love with the variety of colors and textures. I placed all of big brooches first then filling in with the jewelry pieces and earrings I had bought in the jewelry lots at the end.
To insure that I could hold the bouquet up right without it drooping, I placed a 3/4 inch wooden dowel in the center of the brooch wires to create a base to hold. I then used some additional wire to wrap all of the brooch wires together, making sure all of the brooches were in place and tight around the dowel. Shake the bouquet around to make sure that nothing is loose (a few pieces may move slightly and that isn’t too big of a deal). Finally I tucked the loose tulle up into the hollowed under belly of the bouquet base. I used white chiffon to wrap the base and cover up any loose wires. I cut some strips of chiffon and tied the large pieces of chiffon in place. I liked the raw edge of the fabric and the more rustic look of the base that contrasted with the slick, shiny brooches on top.
Voila! My charming little brooch bouquet was complete! And wow, that sucker was heavy! It had to be about 7 lbs. If you plan on carrying a brooch bouquet at your wedding, make sure to bring a container of some sort to secure the bouquet once the reception rolls around. My Mom brought a hat box lined with tissue paper so that the bouquet could sit upright and be taken home.
Above: Image Copyright Jacqueline Schlossman/Readyluck
To see more images of my brooch bouquet (with my hot pink and ivory wedding gown), check out my previous post Dreaming of a Grown-up Wedding Gown.