King Protea Bridal Bouquet

Big and bold, exotic and gorgeous: few flowers can match the dramatic beauty of the King Protea. Used in a bridal bouquet they make a powerful statement. But, it is important to master the mechanics needed to create a light-weight and secure bouquet. In this video clip Leanne shares the techniques for creating a breathtaking king protea bridal bouquet using flowers from Enjoy!

Welcome to the video library. I'm Leanne Kessler, Director of the Floral Design Institute and today I've got in the studio. These Protea are so fabulous, all of them on their website, and this bridal bouquet, I'll show you the professional techniques for making it light weight and easy to hold and still luxuriously fabulous. We have so many fabulous flowers for this bouquet. The starting point, the gorgeous King Protea. It's amazing, super long lasting and fabulous. Then from there, I just went through the Fifty Flowers website and picked things by color. I started with some garden roses, it's called Natural Pink. Then I wanted to go darker for the autumn palate, brought in the James Storie in the beautiful marsala or maroon. 

And then added texture, Scabiosa pods, oh they are grand, and then eucalyptus. So many different varieties, from the Gunni to the Seeded to the Spiral, Silver Dollar, lots of eucalyptus, all to support the King Protea. The biggest problem and really the only problem of working with the King Protea is their stems. They're so huge. If I were to use two of them in the bridal bouquet and adding them together, isn't that great? But look at those stems. It's heavy. So you can take care of that as a professional florist, you know, just go ahead and remove that stem. Cut it down. You can leave the leaves or not. I'm going to leave them because I like them. Then using an 18 gauge wire, just feed it through the leaves and then bend it down and repeat that. You need at least two 18 gauge wires and it wouldn't hurt to do three. That's what I'm going to do, is three of them. 

And just feeding it through the leaves. Not piercing the stem and it really can't pierce it's so hard and woody. Then using your floral binding tape, the corsage tape, tape that tightly together and create an artificial stem to support the flower. By removing the stem, you remove weight, bulk and by replacing it with a wire it makes it so much more manageable. So then the question is always, how long is that going to last because there's no water source? So I did one ahead. This one has been out of water for 48 hours and you can see 48 hours later, it's still quite beautiful. As I begin the bouquet, I shadow one of the proteas just slightly below and behind the other. So you can see how it just tucks in there. Then I can squeeze the stems tightly. That helps get the bonding started. 

Then all you do is begin the bouquet like you would normally. Maybe you want to add a little bit of the Seeded Eucalyptus, sliding it in your hands, head in one direction, stem the other, getting that spiral started. Maybe a little bit of the Gunni Eucalyptus, getting some nice movement. Then turn it, bringing in another. Bit of the Silver Dollar. And you can see the texture begins, then turn, fill in and just keep turning until you're ready to add flowers. As you add the flowers, it's the same thing. Just keep tucking them in as you would in a spiral bouquet because that's all we're doing is creating a spiral hand tie but using wired stems as the base. Coming in with some of the Scabiosa pods, tucking them in low and tight. Draw the eye inward, positioning them with the Protea, then bringing in a garden rose. Maybe two grouped together. 

Then giving it a turn. The orchids, pull a few out here, letting it drape out and a second, turning. Thinking about the line, making a nice horizontal movement with the focal emphasis. Lower florets, remove them. You can save them for later. It won't work in this bouquet but maybe in a corsage or a boutonniere. Maybe bringing in a few more of the Scabiosa pods, tucking them in and then looking at it in a mirror to make sure that everything is exactly where you want it. As I finish, I want to think about adding some draping movement, a few more of the orchids, letting them come out low and wide, carrying your eye downward. And then turning again, looking at it from all sides, making sure that it looks pretty whether you look at it from the front or the side or the back and turning. Maybe bringing in another, making that side a little fuller so it gives it an asymmetrical balance. And turning, double checking, bring it back around to the front again. 

Then adding in a little more Seeded Eucalyptus. A little more of the Gunni. And then lastly, just a little bit of the Spiral and few more touches of the Silver Dollar just to add that larger leaf format. Once you have the flowers where you want them, you'll want to bind it off. I like to use bind wire, a natural green hue, pulling it out. And then holding it upside down and wrapping above your hands snugly. Do this around two to three times. Make sure that it's nice and snug, locking everything into place. And then twisting the two ends together. And once you have that done you can cut the stems down short and if you're going to do this a day or two ahead, which I would recommend doing so, you want to leave them long enough to set into a vase of water. So maybe you just cut off the lower four or five inches but leave the stems relatively long, that way you can drop it right down into a vase of water and then do the final ribbon wrap later. 

The earthly look of the Protea lends itself to the burlap and that's so on trend but it's almost fading and it's evolving. On trend now is so much more ornate. Things like macrame, crochet, knitting, it's all there. So mimicking a feel of the macrame and using the woven ribbon and just wrapping it around to cover up your mechanics. Awesome Protea in a fabulous bridal bouquet. It's big, it's showy but because you know the professional mechanics the handle is small, it's not heavy, it's easy to hold, it's definitely amazing. Thanks to for providing so many great flowers. You'll find this and more inspiration on our website at If you've got questions you can reach us through there or pick up the telephone and give me a call at 503-223-8089 because now it's your turn. I want you to gather flowers, create, take a picture and then I'd love to see. Post it on social media, tag Floral Design Institute, that way we all can see because now it's your turn. Have fun and do something you love.

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