Convertible Corsages

Wedding Planning

When I started thinking about the additional flower-wear for family and special guests, I figured I’d ask Mama Leadfoot’s preference on lapel vs wrist corsages and go from there.

Silly Miss Road Trip for thinking it would be a simple question!

At first she wanted lapel but then she worried about getting too hot over the course of the day and taking off the little jacket that goes with her dress so switched to wanting a wrist corsage after all. Of course, if she’s taking off a jacket, whatever’s on her wrist could still get in the way or prove cumbersome, so what to do?

Convertible corsages it is! This way I get to make everything the same and the wearer can decide how she wants to deal with it, there’s no words exchanged over who gets what or making twice what’s necessary to make sure everyone’s happy.

All it took was adding a little clip to the back of the corsage and sewing a bit of elastic to some ribbon to form bracelets that were neither too stretchy nor too tight. The best combo for me ended up being 6″ of grosgrain ribbon and 4 inches of elastic, but it definitely depends on how much stretch your elastic has as to whether or not that ratio needs to change.

Putting together the wristbands.

Putting together the wristbands.

Sewing the ends of each piece to their match and then rolling the seamed bits into themselves (followed by a few more stitches to secure) ensures all ends are enclosed and your edges are nice and neat.

For the corsages themselves, I went pretty simple with a 2-layer bow and a paper flower with a flat-backed crystal in the center. The bows are made out of 28″ pieces of wired ribbon: 4 loops for the wider, cream ribbon and 5 for the skinnier, chocolate ribbon. While the loops are still flat I secured the centers with a piece of plastic-coated wire and used the ends of that wire to secure the little clip to the back. Fluff out the bow loops and then glue on your center items and the clip will be all-but hidden.


I’ll include a package of corsage pins with the corsages, but the clips can also be used to attach to clothing or straps on their own.

For the gentleman in the family I just went simple with a paper flower and a spray created out of tubes of bronze paper and wire, wrapped with floral tape to secure them and attach groups of five together. A couple of crepe paper leaves and I thought I was done, but the stems looked so unfinished. I tried a couple of different ribbons but they didn’t really look right, until I remembered some hemp yarn I had in my knitting bag.


The residual tackiness of the floral tape actually helped quite a lot to keep the yarn wraps in place, but I found the best way was to start with a slip knot at the base of the stem, tightened to secure, and then wrapping up, enclosing the “tail” as you go. This mean I only had to use a little bit of glue at the top edge to make sure nothing came loose.

I think the real lesson, here, is not to give people options so as not to make more work for yourself. But necessity is the mother of invention and all that, so I think I hit on the best compromise overall.

Searching for Inspiration | Bouquet & Bouts

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Just because I’ve opted to use alternatives to fresh-flowers, doesn’t mean I want them to look vastly different from their traditional counterparts–I just don’t want them to cost an arm and a leg or possibly wither before the day is done. Over the last several months I’ve been working with different materials and designs, and now it’s time to start putting all these things together.

While I have a feeling that the flowers I’ve amassed are going to inform the bouquet design more than any inspiration picture I can find, I still needed a direction to head in, so returned to my wedding flowers pins for inspiration.

I remember getting an almost-visceral ‘oh, yes, THAT!‘ feeling when I saw this first one.

Sheath bouquet | image via Wedding Wire | Photography by Eternal Reflections Photography

Sheath bouquet | image via Wedding Wire | Photography by Eternal Reflections Photography

The more I look at, the more I acknowledge that this might not be a bouquet at all. It might be a decorated broom for the traditional jumping of the broom some cultures end their ceremonies with. But I still loved the idea of a sheath-style bouquet, one that nestles in the crook of your arm. Plus it’s just so quintessentially fall that you can practically smell the cinnamon sticks. The main reason I vetoed this idea, in the end, was the same reason I was glad I didn’t fall head-over-heels in love with a tulle-skirted gown: in theory it’s great, in practice I know myself and know that I would be holding this bouquet sword-like and bandying it about as I talk with my hands (and, in the skirt example, would have felt the uncontrollable urge to swish said skirt every moment I was standing). I’d take someone’s eye out with it before we got to brunch!

Moving along, a lot of the bouquets I pinned featured small, strategic pops of color–notably yellows and blues–in an otherwise monochrome bouquet.

While I decided my bouquet would be mostly shades of white/ivory, I do think I want to incorporate something that pops out. Maybe not the yellow craspedia or blue thistle, but something to break up the monochrome. Another little detail I liked about this particular bouquet was the crinkly vine or wire or ribbon or whatever seems to be hovering around the base of the bouquet, though I’m not sure how well it will work, in the end, with a less structured bouquet.

image via Wedding Wire | Photography by Danielle Gillete Photography

image via Wedding Wire | Photography by Danielle Gillett Photography

Minus the feathers, I think this is more of the feeling I’m going for. Apparently I’m not a fan of the head-of-broccoli bouquets, either (h/t to Mr. Bicycle for that apt description). Less structure, almost messy but not quite wild, and a mixture of elements that keeps the eyes interested. Yeah, I think that could work.

Then I saw something awesome that I knew I had to incorporate into my bouquet and Mr. Road Trip’s boutonniere: star anise!

Star Anise and Pearls | image via Offbeat Bride | photography by Kristin Williams

Star Anise and Pearls | image via Offbeat Bride | photography by Kristin Williams

Just imagine how amazing this must smell!!!

Okay, to understand why this struck such a chord with me, it’s helps to know that I created something called Paladin Punch (inspired by the RPG character archetype) that we serve at parties and conventions and one of the ingredients is a star anise syrup. And ever since creating that recipe, the smell of star anise brings up happy memories of friends and fun and successful endeavors. Another point in it’s favor is that it’s not the usual cloying flower scent which can easily overpower and cause sinus issues among myself and Mama Leadfoot, so it’s a win all around as far as I’m concerned. Finding whole star anise can be a bit of a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

As for Mr. Road Trip’s boutonniere, it’s a simple matter of including a few key elements on a smaller scale and calling it a day, same with the additional buttonholes and corsages we’ll make for family members and readers. There is one particular bout that caught me eye, though:

image via Etsy | created by The Bread and Butterfly

image via Etsy | created by The Bread and Butterfly

I hadn’t planned on including a cork in the lapel flowers but this is giving me ideas in that general direction. Perhaps a Champagne cork instead?

Did you floral favorites include any unusual elements?