DIY brooch bouquet

My Wedding: First Look

(All Photography by Raya Carlisle)

If you asked me a year ago about doing a "First Look" for my wedding, my response would have been "nooooo way." {Note: A "First Look" is when a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, usually to take pictures}. I was stuck on the idea that the first time Jose would see me in my wedding dress would be when I walked down the isle to marry him.

I had this misconception that if Jose saw me for the "First Look," he wouldn't feel as emotional seeing me again when I walked down the isle. Like somehow seeing me the second time would "tone down" the emotion. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

But what made me decide to do it?

I realized that the only way I could actually give my photographer 30 minutes of just photos with Jose and I, was if we did the first look. Our ceremony and reception were in the same place -- which means that once the ceremony was over, our cocktail hour could only be for about 25-30 minutes until people are ready to sit and eat. So imagine trying to do photos of the two of us, PLUS family photos, AND bridal party photos?

It's not impossible -- but it could lead to some unhappy guests. I valued my guests, their time, and their appetite, but I also valued my photos and vendors' time. I had to decide what was important to me and then it hit me...

This formality that is called the "first look" doesn't have to feel like a pressured photography session, but the opportunity for your photographer to capture such an insanely intimate moment.

I could still walk down the isle to see him for the first time -- it would simply be without an audience.

Jose waited at the end of the isle, facing the windows, his back to the entrance I would come in from. Raya brought me out once the ceremony room was cleared of people, and placed me on the opposite end of the isle -- facing Jose's back. Eeep!! She then told Jose to turn around and face me. I walked towards him and watched his tears form.

Seriously you guys, I could not WAIT for Jose to see my dress! I'd been so secretive about everything -- the dress, veil, make up, and my hair.

I can't tell you how great it was to have those moments of just looking at each other and thinking "can you believe this?!" To breathe, forget about the stress of planning, and letting the rest of the day unfold however God planned it to unfold.

Plus, it was time for pictures!!

We could take our time, exploring different corners of the gorgeous venue (Paraiso Maravilla) with our amazing photog Raya.

Even a couple of bridal portraits! She mixed film and digital :)

And there is the brooch bouquet that I took on as a special project. Thanks to some generous friends and family that donated brooches, I was able to make it and even create a tutorial for any other brides interested in making one.

Now it sits in my home as a decor piece -- a reminder of the beautiful community that supported and embraced Jose and I.

Love how Raya captured pieces of our personality..

Did I mention our venue was gorgeous?!

Funny how I thought that a "First Look" would take away from walking down the isle during the ceremony.

The truth is, you can't even prepare for the moment before you walk down the isle. I was really silly thinking anything would take away from that. I hadn't cried up to that point, even on the first look. That changed when my brother appeared at my secret entrance spot, ready to walk me down the stairs. Amazing Grace began to fill the room and rows of people that I love stood up.

I tried so hard not to cry, but the moment was more overwhelming than I ever imagined. I'll share more of that next :')

In case you missed it.. My Wedding: Getting Ready

DIY Brooch Bouquet


Remember I mentioned my fiance's family visiting me this weekend? It was INCREDIBLY productive! One of the things I want to share with you today is the brooch bouquet we worked on. Not to sound overly sensitive (okay okay, I am), but it is so amazing how Jose's family AND community are a part of this wedding. What I mean is that Jose's Mom, Mama Nels, is very close to the women at her church. She mentioned my search for brooches in my crazy idea to create a brooch bouquet. They pitched in and donated some brooches! And just this feeling that I'm not only incorporating brooches I find at thrift stores, but brooches that belong to my fiance's family AND the people he grew up with -- is powerful to say the least.

I have felt the support of Jose's family beyond what I can describe. And when I first started putting together the brooch bouquet, Jose was very hesitant. He admitted he liked flowers better. But now that it has become this community collaboration -- it's more than just making a bouquet I saw online. I'll be walking down the isle with pieces of their contribution, tied in with my family's and Jose's.

Let me just throw out there that in the beginning I had some rough trials. And of course, I captured it on film for you ;)

See this mushroom?

My first idea was to use a half sphere styrofoam to stick the brooches into along with a square bottom that I would trim later for the base.

I then wrapped it in tissue paper to cover it up

Then I used these hair pins I bought at a thrift store to hold the half sphere and square (and for decoration)...

Like this

After that I took wire

And wrapped it around the brooches, then stabbed the bottom into the styrofoam.

Which turned into something like this

Not... ugly, but not exactly what would make Jose change his mind about a brooch bouquet.

Enter brainstorm. Mama Nels, Jasmine, and I thought about different ways to approach this. We went to Hobby Lobby and found our verdicts! This was originally going to be a test run but it turned out SO good that I had to share it with you because I think it's the perfect DIY for a brooch bouquet!

Must have: green pipe cleaners (77 cents a pack), floral wire (MUST have), and hot glue! The cherished hot glue :)

And THIS is what you do...

Hot glue your pin shut because you don't want it popping open later. BTW -- I also bought pretty jewelry pieces (not brooches), and just hot glued a brooch-backing on them. You can buy a pack of the things that secure a brooch at any craft store for pretty cheap.

Then bend your pipe cleaner in half (evenly) and slide it behind the brooch securer.

Then take one of the sides and make a knot around the brooch securer

Like this!

If you'd like (to feel secure) you can dab some hot glue on the brooch and knot. After that, take your floral wire and divide it in half like your pipe cleaner.

Bend the tip that will slide into the brooch like so...

Slide it in, then take a stem from the pipe cleaner and tie a knot around the loop of the floral wire

Hot glue those suckers! Remember, this is your BASE. It will support the brooch to stand upright like a flower.

So now that you have that glued, you should have two long floral wires and two shorter pipe cleaners. You will take BOTH pipe cleaners and begin to wrap it AROUND the 2 floral wires like so....

And your final product should look like this:

Ta-da! A strongly supported, upright brooch with a stem! With some help from family, you end up with these!!

We're not done yet, but I wanted to pull them together to give you an idea of what it kind of looks like...

I will be wrapping it with a teal cloth, and clearly do a better job than this :P

Actually, I almost forgot something important. At Hobby Lobby they sell a hand tied bouquet holder that looks like this.

That green stuff is styrofoam and I will be using this to stick my floral stems INTO and then arrange my "flowers"/brooches the way I want them with a sturdy base. It's only $5! Get it!

And that's it!! Mama Nels just told me that we have collected 5 more brooches from the women at Southside Baptist church. Those women are a BLESSING! They feel like family helping me out like they are. Huge thank you to them :)

Sooo, what do you think?! I would LOOOOOVE to hear if you're going to try this! Seriously! The best part is that Jose has now been swayed to "the other side." It just took a few women ... but it happened ;)