Valentine’s Day certainly is a holiday for couples. Every media outlet is flooded with advertisements for engagement rings and other jewelry, flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, and an assortment of supposedly romantic gifts. Reservations to fancy restaurants can be hard to get and the cost of flowers skyrockets on February 14, only to plunge back to normal prices on February 15.
But Valentine’s Day can be painful for those who have lost a loved one, particularly a spouse. There are wonderful memories but also sadness and loneliness for the surviving partner. My church decided to try to make Valentine’s Day a little easier for the widows and widowers of our congregation by offering them flowers to wear to the worship service on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day (or on Valentine’s Day itself).
We make basic silk corsages for each lady and a basic boutonniere for each gentleman. They are offered with a colorful card that reads…
Marriage should be honored by all… (Hebrews 13:4a NIV)
Happy Valentine’s Day
We honor you and remind you that you are loved.
Sometimes one person will prefer not to wear the flower but none have refused to accept them. Most of the ladies in particular are delighted to receive a corsage and will pin it on immediately. We’ve received thanks from those who are widowed for the acknowledgement that they, too, are part of a couple even though one member of the couple is no longer with us.
I was in charge of making the flowers this year, so I thought I’d share the DIY instructions. We have some petite ladies who will be wearing these so the design is small and delicate. If you or your church would like to show a little love and brighten somebody’s day with a basic silk Valentine’s Day corsage, keep reading!
What You’ll Need:
- One larger flower. I used a white rose.
- Two smaller flowers. I used small red roses this year. (Last year the flowers were all white.)
- One clump (for lack of a better word) of filler. I used baby’s breath, or at least that’s what I’m calling it.
- A leaf. I used leaves from the roses.
- A few inches of narrow ribbon. I used a white organza this year. (Last year we used gold.)
- A small glue gun.
- Florist’s wire.
- Florist’s tape.
- Small needle-nosed or similar pliers with a wire cutter.
- A corsage pin
A Word About Buying the Flowers:
Choose and purchase your flowers with your desired number of finished corsages in mind. I shopped during a half-price floral sale. Since I needed a large number of corsages and boutonnieres, I bought my white roses in a bush that also came with the filler and leaves that I needed.
I bought the red roses by the stem but because the flowers were smaller there were multiple roses per stem, plus more leaves that I actually liked a little better than the ones on the white rose bush. Purchasing the flowers this way and being a little bit flexible about my filler saved me some money versus buying each component individually. Your needs may be different but the principle still applies, so choose what works and is most economical for your situation.
What to Do:
Trim the flowers, fillers, and leaves from the bush or main stem, leaving a couple of inches of stem on the flower when you can. You don’t want excessively long stems because it can make the finished corsage bulky. My red roses didn’t all have very long stems, but it was okay because I wired those stems anyway.
If you have flowers that threaten to pop off their stems, use the glue gun to secure the flower. I glued all of my white roses first thing and just glued the red roses as needed.
Cut about a 3-4″ piece of floral wire. Using the floral tape, tape the wire to the flower stem to create a new, sturdier stem that will be easier to work with. My white roses already had very sturdy stems, so I didn’t wire those. I did wire the red roses to make the stems longer as well as sturdier plus the filler and leaves.
Floral tape sticks best when it’s stretched and stuck to itself. I twirled the flower and wrapped the tape in a spiral up and down the stem/wire. You won’t need to tape all the way to the bottom, just enough to secure the flower to the wire. If you’ve never used floral tape before then you might want to practice a bit by taping a toothpick or something to a piece of wire. It’s not too bad once you get the hang of it but your fingers will get a little sticky if you tape a bunch of stems all at once.
Once all of the stems are taped and ready, you’ll need to make a small bow. I did a small bow using the same basic technique that is explained here, just with smaller ribbon. Leave enough wire on the bow to secure it to the corsage.
Now start arranging your corsage. I put the large flower in front of the leaf with the smaller flowers at differing heights on one side, the filler on the other side, and the bow tucked right up under the flowers in the front. I’m not sure why it works best to have an odd number of components above the bow, but it does.
Once you have your corsage arranged, squeeze the stems together, then start wrapping and securing the bundle of stems in place with floral tape. Do your best to keep the flowers in order as you wrap but don’t get too upset if they shift a little. That’s why we wired the stems!
Wrap as far up under the flowers and the bow as you can, then start spiraling the tape down toward the end of the wires. If you find your wires are too long you can bend them up with the pliers and crimp them in place, then finish wrapping them. The bent-up ends are a good thing because having the wires bent up will help prevent the recipient from getting poked. I deliberately bent up the wires at the end of the stems on my corsages.
Once the corsage is assembled, point the end of the stems away from you and grab the end with the pliers. Wrap the stems around the pliers as far as you can to create a spiral. Ease the pliers out of the stems and nudge the spiral into position. Then take advantage of those wired stems and arrange the flowers, filler, leaf, and ribbon just where you want them!
That’s it! You did it! You can tuck your corsage into a tissue-lined box or simply slip it into a cellophane bag. If you use the box, be sure to stick a 2″ pearl-headed pin in the back of the stems so your recipient can wear the corsage. If you use a bag then fold the ends under and use the corsage pin to secure the closure.
Our church uses bags and adds a card from the church family. We choose to use a joyful, colorful design. I’m providing a version of this year’s card here in case you’d like to use it at your church. This graphic is offered free of charge for your personal or non-profit church use only and should not be reproduced, copied to another site, sold, or represented as your own work.
I was a little concerned about posting this tutorial for fear it might be misunderstood, but I’m sharing it anyway because I think it’s such a neat thing that our congregation does and the feedback has been so good. Whether your church gives out flowers on Valentine’s Day or not, I hope you’ll find someone who needs to be remembered and bless her with a little kindness. Maybe let her share some of her memories and relive happy times. You may find that the greater blessing is yours.
Does your church do anything special on Valentine’s Day?
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