Beautiful and Personal Brooch Wedding Bouquets

February 7, 2013

Though real flowers are traditional and timeless, brooch bouquets are becoming increasingly popular for nostalgic brides who value sentiment over spray roses. One such bride, Barbie Smith Simmons, shared the story of her brooch bouquet with us.

Barbie was out and about with girlfriends when she walked past a bridal shop window and first saw a brooch bouquet tucked away in the corner of the display. “I knew immediately that I wanted something like that for my bouquet,” she says. She wanted to create something from brooches that were given or loaned to her from all the special women in her life — even those that were no longer with her. “It would be like all those special ladies were walking down the aisle with me.”

And so Barbie’s research began. Searching online, she found photographs and YouTube videos on how to prepare brooches for a bouquet. She then started gathering trinkets. Her collection of brooches, pins, rings, earrings, and charms started with a bling-filled Ziploc baggie from a friend who was there that day at the bridal shop window. Barbie added pins she received from each of her grandmothers, both who she had lost. Then she put the word out: “Friends and families from both sides delivered! Some found pieces at second hand stores, some were from their own collections. The majority were gifts, but a few were on loan — so, like all things in life, the bouquet would not last forever. Luckily I found a great photographer in Dennis Felber to capture all the details on film!”

The details included:
— Gold tone ear of corn as a nod to our family heritage
— Pink ribbon pin for breast cancer awareness
— Three butterflies, each representing a member of the bride’s breast cancer support group that had passed
— Tiny Labrador Retriever charm in honor of the couple’s dog Bodie
— Shamrock charm for Barbie’s Irish heritage
— Acorn pin in honor of their November wedding
— Three silk hydrangeas forming the base shape of the bouquet
— 2 yards of silver duct tape on the handle, as well as cotton batting and silk — ribbon
— Single pin at the base of the handle made for Barbie by a dear family friend

Barbie knew that at her wedding she’d be answering questions about the bouquet all night. “I decided to make a game of it,” she says. “Tossing the bouquet was out of the question, so instead we had a contest: ‘Guess the weight of Barbie’s bouquet!’” At the reception, she placed the brooch bouquet in a vase alongside forms for guessing the weight — to the winner went a gift bag full of local goodies and a framed account of the bouquet’s details to help defray the inevitable questions.

Here’s a look at Barbie’s bouquet by the numbers:
4 months collecting goodies
15 folks who gifted or loaned jewelry
44 pins/brooches
3 cameos
2 rings
8 helpers with construction
34 hours to create

(Fun fact: The three cameos came from Barbie’s mom and two sisters ­– each gave a cameo just by chance, not by plan. Talk about a mother/daughter connection!)

“We were delighted with how much fun people had with the contest!” Barbie says. “Everyone was guessing — even the venue employees. In the end, two people guessed the correct weight, so they had a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to determine the winner.”

The winning guess: a heavy 3.5 pounds!

We had one final question for Barbie: What is your favorite item in the bouquet? Her answer: “I always have a favorite — and each day it changes.”

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