How To: Dress Up A Kitschy Bouquet

Including: "Do-do-do, this is how you make a bow."

Kitschy Bouquet Tutorial | A Practical Wedding (8)

While most of the tutorials in this series were the result of your feedback from earlier this year, some of them happened simply because the team saw something so amazing while we were out shopping for supplies that we just couldn’t put it down. Case in point: today’s faux flower bouquet. When we saw this monstrosity at Party City, there was a collective agreement between Meg, Michelle Edgemont, and myself that it was too ugly to be of any use to anyone actually getting married. So of course that meant we had to get it. Then, on the way back to the shoot, Meg pointed out that former wedding grad Shana had a bouquet just like this, and since she is our personal style icon, there had to be a way to reclaim its cool factor. So Michelle whipped up this quick and easy bow using a bit of wired glittery ribbon we found at Joanne Fabrics (which you can also get on Amazon) and voila! I walked around the rest of the day yelling at people, “GUYS THIS TURNED OUT ACTUALLY KIND OF AWESOME.” Of course, you can do this wrap for a regular bouquet too, but there’s something awesome about a wedding bouquet that says IGDAF about flowers, but I want something to throw dammit. (Also, if you thought carnations were the cockroaches of wedding flowers, I’d submit that this bouquet is basically the zombie of wedding flowers.) Bonus: since today is your lucky day, Amazon has this bouquet on sale for $12. I’d buy three of them just for the hell of it. (True story, we actually did. There are now three in APW’s craft closet.)

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Photos: Allison Andres / Styling: Michelle Edgemont

Wrapping the bouquet is easy: you just take the existing ribbon off the stems, wrap them tightly with your glittery ribbon, and hot glue the ribbon to the plastic stems of the bouquet. The real work is in the bow. And since we’re pretty much all visual learners here, we asked Michelle to show us how to make it and then recorded it. (It’s okay, you can stop clapping now. We’re impressed with our technological prowess too.) And thankfully it is way easier than I thought it would be, especially using wired ribbon. So enjoy APW’s inaugural run with video, and please please please tell us if you use this tutorial in your wedding. Tossing this bad boy may not be as cool as throwing a cat, but it’s a close second.

How To Make A Bow from A Practical Wedding on Vimeo

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  • M.

    Oooohhh sweet fancy Moses, this has led me to the discovery of gold glitter ribbon (!!!!!!!!) on Amazon, from whence we are buying everything possible for the wedding using years’ worth of gift cards. It matches my shoes and I can get to wrap my self-made TJs boquet and SPARKLY. AND FREE. Hooray!

    • KC

      Warning: I don’t know about this glitter ribbon, but all the glitter ribbon I have does still shed glitter (not enough to make the ribbon not-glittery, but enough for glitter to spreeeeaaaad, to varying degrees). This isn’t fatal at all, just something to be aware of. I tend to put the spools of ribbon, any presents wrapped in that ribbon, and bows made out of that ribbon into plastic bags for transport/storage, just to reduce the amount of glitter showing up everywhere for months afterward (the trunk of our car; coats; scarves; floors; faces; it’s amazing where glitter can end up).

      Have fun! And hooray for gold sparkly shoes!

      • M.

        1) Hooray gold sparkly shoes indeed!!!

        2) Any word from APW basecamp about the glitter-shedding potential of this ribbon? (Thanks for the heads-up KC!)

        • meg

          It does not shed. I went down to the APW craft closet. Or, it does shed, but in such a micro glitter minimal way that I wouldn’t count it at all. Like I can see three teeny tiny specks of shine on my hand right now, and it’s kind of pretty.

          Basically, literally, my eyeliner (which is not supposed to be glittery) sheds more glitter than this ribbon.

          • M.

            Perfect, thank you!!!

            “my eyeliner (which is not supposed to be glittery) sheds more glitter than this ribbon” Oooh the lengths of scotch tape I have used to get this type of stuff off my face.

          • KC

            Hooray! That is very exciting indeed!

            (the glitter ribbons I currently possess range from “enough glitter coming off when you make a bow that your hand/sleeve/floor could successfully audition as a disco ball” to “minor glitter shedding, manageable, but still annoying in some cases” – kind of like different breeds of cats rubbing up against your favorite black skirt? I need more/better glitter ribbon, clearly…)

  • Nicole T

    Very cool! Another option: combine some earlier APW craft ideas with this! For instance, why not take that bouquet, do an ombre spray paint job with blue, purple, and a little black, lightly spray some glitter paint over that, and have a galaxy-themed bouquet? Bonus: it would be perfect and fabulous for any Doctor Who lovers out there!

  • Alison O
  • GA

    Oh my god, that’s literally the exact “monstrosity” bouquet (no arguments here!) that we bought for my fiance’s Gender-Bender Bride Halloween costume. (And for a bonus, as soon as he picked it up, a flower fell off. Quality.) Just had to say that, because it made me laugh.

    Yours is MUCH prettier. And if I end up throwing in the towel on the DIY-wholesale-flower-bouquet… I know where to look…

  • thursday

    This bouquet actually expresses my innermost feelings about bouquets.

  • Grace


    Even though I’m still over 11 months out, I feel like I’m probably just going to buy like, 30 of these and never worry about flowers again.

  • Emily H

    Shana’s bouquet did not look just like this! Hers looked elegant and artful, not kitschy and “IDGAF about flowers”. I don’t want to speak for her, but I would not be flattered by the comparison.

    • confused

      I have to say, I am sort of confused by this particular lazy girl DIY and by the tone of the post. It seems like you’re basically saying “this was sooo ugly we had to make fun of it on the blog, and then we remembered that it kind of looks like this other girl’s bouquet, so that makes it cool even though it’s so ridiculous.” And I’m not entirely sure what made the original bouquet a monstrosity before you put the giant MJ Designs Christmas bow on it. It almost seems like an inside joke that the majority of the readers aren’t in on. Some of your readers (like myself) DO give a fuck about flowers, but our budget is tiny and we are limited to falsies. Perhaps I’m being a bit oversensitive, but this post lacks the thoughtfulness I’m used to from APW.

      • Kris

        I don’t know how tiny your budget is but for my wedding we bought white hydrangeas and white alestromeria from sam’s for centerpieces and bridesmaid bouquets (total cost $250 for 60 hydrangeas and 90 alestromeria + $15 for some white satin wired ribbon, rubber bands, and a bag of those water jelly pearls. we used my mom’s nice glassware for vases). I then got my bouquet from a florist.
        The flowers from sam’s were so nice we trashed my bouquet and made me one just like the bridesmaids only bigger (we decided it would be weird for them to have better flowers than me).
        So that might be an option. (Important: have somewhere about 50-70F out of direct sunlight to store the flowers, we needed 6 5gal buckets for that many flowers. South Carolina, my parents garage in October was perfect)

      • Meg Keene

        This isn’t an inside joke: the staff loved this project. That said, this ISN’T the project if you want a silk flower arrangement that looks awesome and realistic. We don’t want you to think, “I care a lot about flowers, I’m doing them on the cheap, the APW ladies suggested this for me, I’m going to buy all this stuff.” Because you’d be unhappy. This is the project for the ladies who want a bit of kitch and irony and don’t give much of a fuck about flowers. We do projects for a lot of different types of people, and I’d suggest that this project wasn’t designed with you in mind (which doesn’t mean it’s not SUPER AWESOME). It also doesn’t mean that we think that those of us with tiny flower budgets (Me, Maddie, most of the staff) shouldn’t have great stuff that makes them happy. It’s that different things work for different people. I love this project. However, it wouldn’t have worked for my wedding.

    • Meg Keene

      Shana’s bouquet (and wedding) looked awesome. Girlfriend is super stylish. This isn’t us re-creating her awesomeness, this is imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      That line was actually a nod to Shana in real life. I had the pleasure of photographing her wedding, and she kind of…didn’t give a f*ck about flowers (donuts yes, but flowers I think were somewhere toward the bottom of the list). She actually had two bouquets that people had made for her (one really nice one and one fake one) and we chose the fake one because A.) It matched her outfit better and B.) The tone of the fake one was more…Shana. Actually, Shana should correct me if I’m wrong here…but she might have even let ME choose which one she used at the wedding. Which is like…really not giving a f*ck about flowers. :)

      That said, I also think there’s just a misunderstanding of tone here. I LOVE this project (it was my favorite of the bunch, actually). But part of why I love it is because it allows me to have a sense of humor about something that is usually taken very seriously. There’s a lot in the wedding industry that tells you that you need pretty pretty things that are very serious business. The wedding industry wants you to give a f*ck about flowers even when you don’t give a f*ck about flowers. Hell, the wedding industry would probably tell you that you should carry NO flowers before you carry this bouquet. Kitsch, on the other hand, allows you to like things that are kind of pretty and ugly at the same time, and to give things a sense of humor. Kitsch is a little bit of an eff you to the part of the wedding industry that tells you everything has to be pretty and take itself seriously. And for me, well, I need posts like this to set free the part of my soul that likes leopard print and neon and bedazzled denim jackets and all kinds of other non-wedding-friendly things.