A Harry Potter Wedding – The Bouquet

I have a confession to make. Even before I met Jeremy, I probably had about a dozen secret Pinterest wedding boards.

Remember when I said I like to plan? Well, whenever I was feeling stressed out or needed an escape, I’d log in to Pinterest and plan a wedding. I have boards for the sunny, yellow-themed beach wedding, the Adirondack lake wedding, the treehouse wedding, every __insert your favorite book here__ wedding, medieval weddings, fairy weddings, Shakespeare weddings, and of course several Harry Potter weddings (the I-just-won-the-lottery Harry Potter wedding, the Harry Potter winter wedding, the Harry Potter Christmas wedding, the Harry Potter in England wedding, the Harry Potter in a treehouse wedding…). I’m sure you get the idea.

One photo I pinned over and over and over was a wedding bouquet made of roses, made from the pages of a book. When it was time to plan this wedding, before I knew anything beyond location and time, I knew I wanted a book page bouquet.

Again, I had never folded a paper flower in my life, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I watched approximately 900 YouTube tutorials on the subject, and decided that with my mathematical/spatial issues, advanced origami style flowers were out. I may be optimistic, but I know my limits. I needed simple, and I needed no folding. Wrapped roses fit the bill.

I got online and ordered 2.5 inch boutonniere pins, ribbon, a styrofoam ball, and a thick dowel rod. As the wedding theme took shape, I found myself gravitating to anything owl-related so on a whim I started looking up feathers that I could possibly incorporate in the bouquet and boutonnieres. I found these crazy, curly Nagori goose feathers, and bought them without having a clue what I’d do with them.

The not having a clue thing was the overarching theme of this project. I had a general idea of the mechanics of paper rose bouquet making, but usually I work from some sort of vision I have for the finished project. I really had no plan for this bouquet. My plan was to wing it. As it happened, though, Jeremy and I were heading to NC to have Thanksgiving with my best friend, Nicole, and her family. I figured I could enlist her help and we could figure this out together.

The first step was to completely destroy a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The irony here is she is a librarian and I have a MA in English. We are the last people who’d normally deface a book.

After that, we cut circles in the pages like this.

We had to experiment a bit with the size, because the diameter of the circle determined the size of the finished roses. We ended up making roses in two sizes, using smaller roses as filler between bigger roses.

Then we cut a wide spiral pattern in each circle. The wider the paper the less cursing you will do later when you start curling it.

The next step was the hardest. It’s really important to use a very thin metal guide. I started with a pencil and it didn’t roll well and the center wasn’t tight enough. Starting at the outside cut, roll the paper tightly until you reach the center of the circle. Don’t curl the last little bit. Allow the paper to unwind slightly and then put hot glue on the center part, and press the rose against it.

Wait for the glue to dry, then stick the boutonniere pin through the center and attach to the styrofoam ball. I didn’t need to glue the styrofoam at all because the pins were very long. Long boutonniere pins are key, so use the 2.5-3 in ones.

At this point I started playing around with the feathers. At first I wanted them to stick out from the bouquet all over in random spots. It was a terrible idea! The paper roses weren’t flexible enough to wrap around the feathers, and the feathers themselves were too long and dwarfed the roses. I wanted to incorporate them though, because the bouquet seemed a little lacking in wow factor.

Now that I knew what wasn’t going to work with the feathers, I started experimenting with putting them on the bouquet in various positions that would compliment their length and not make the bouquet look like a chia pet gone awry. And then this happened.

I thought to myself, this is so weird looking, it just might be awesome. So I went with it, tossing out any preconceived notions I had about how a bouquet was supposed to look. Normally bouquets are small and tight, or they cascade. This bouquet insisted on height. So tradition, be damned. I made it higher.

This was the finished product.

My crazy bouquet.

To be honest, when I first saw the finished product I alternated between two conflicting emotions. One was what the hell is this weird, non-traditional, crazy ass bouquet with a feather wall??? What have you been smoking, woman??? Which ran simultaneously with OMG! What did I just make? This is a FREAKING work of art! It’s the most amazing, fabulous, crazy ass bouquet I’ve ever seen!

The more I looked at it, though, the more I loved it. And the more I loved it, the more my mind churned with other bouquet ideas. My friends say I should make these for other brides, and I certainly wouldn’t be opposed. If you want to commission one, just message me. Or check out my etsy shop once I get that up and running later this spring. I might have one or two available, as inspiration strikes.

I also made Jeremy’s and the boys’ boutonnieres using paper roses, a single feather, and the leftover owl pins from the scarf favors.

I love how they turned out, too.

Paper roses, feathers, and owl pins.

I’ve made a lot of crafts in my day, but this one I’m probably most proud of.

A Harry Potter Wedding

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It’s funny how a simple exchange can change your whole world. Back in June 2017, a message popped up on a local Facebook group for singles I’d joined. It was a post like a hundred other posts. A guy named Jeremy, saying he’d recently moved to the area and was looking to meet people and make friends. Nothing very unusual about that.

I thought he was cute though, so like any good detective, I went and stalked his Facebook page. And there it was, the Hogwarts Crest. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. How much will become obvious pretty soon. So that was an exciting find. I sent him a quick message. Harry Potter fan? And when he replied Yes! my heart skipped a beat. 

Fast forward to July 2018, when we decided, mutually, to get married like rational, not-our-first-rodeo 40 year olds. We revisited that very first interaction with each other and concluded that our wedding had to be Harry Potter themed.

There are three fundamental things you need to know about me:

  1. I love to plan. I love lists, and spreadsheets, and thinking about plans, and planning to make plans, and planning to plan to make plans. Some brides might want to weep and crawl under a rock at the mere thought of having to plan a wedding, but it’s truly the greatest joy of my life. If it wasn’t so darned expensive, I’d get married every year because the sheer amount of things to plan in a wedding is the culmination of my greatest planning fantasies. I relished the thought of getting started.
  2. There is nothing I like more than sinking my teeth into a good theme and just going with it. In a former life, I was a middle school teacher, with a dog-themed classroom. I kid you not, my classroom rules began Sit! Stay! Speak! Come! and were printed on bone-shaped posters. Themes require extra planning, so, as you might imagine, my mind was cartwheeling with ideas for the Harry Potter-est of weddings.
  3. I am the DIY queen. I love to work with my hands, love to work in a lot of mediums, and my personal motto is Why buy it, I can make it! I planned to have a lot of Harry Potter details, and I planned to do them myself. 

I just wasn’t sure what details I wanted to incorporate, or what my budget would allow.

So let me just start my saying, if money was no object, I would have flown my guests to England, gotten married in a Gothic castle, spent a small fortune on sumptuous food and costumes, hired character actors for color, an award-winning photographer, a Dumbledore impersonator to marry us, and would have had live owls for the ceremony and reception afterward.

However, I would also like to buy a bigger house at some point in my life, travel the world before I’m old, and live a comfortable retirement, so some of those ideas, ok, all of those ideas, were going to be well out of my budget.

So back to the drawing board.

There were a few things that I felt very strongly about.

  1. I wanted a winter wedding.
  2. I wanted it to be small and intimate.
  3. I wanted it to be fun. For me, Jeremy, my boys, and our guests.

When we started talking about locations, Niagara Falls kept coming to mind. We live almost 5 hours away. Jeremy’s family lives almost 5 hours away but in a different direction. It wasn’t the closest or most convenient location we could’ve picked, but it’s one of my favorite places to visit. There’s so much to do. And it’s visually breathtaking. Plus, people have been getting married and honeymooning there forever, so they have it down to a science. It’s like getting married in Vegas, without the glitter and the Elvis impersonators. Plus, it was someplace where everyone, no matter their age, could find something fun to do. And fun ticked one of my boxes. So Niagara Falls it was.

I searched online for a venue I liked, and picked the Bridal Chapel of Niagara Falls because it was indoors, beautifully decorated, and had a more traditional non-Vegasy feel about it. They provided the chapel, the officiant, and we purchased the photo and video package. They would have provided flowers and a cake if we’d wanted, but those were things I wanted a hand in.

Then we surprised everyone by sending out wedding invitations before anyone even knew we were engaged, because why not? This wedding was going to be fun, non-traditional, and full of unexpected surprises, so it was the perfect taste of what was to come!

Over the next few posts, I’ll take you through all the different aspects of the wedding. Hopefully it will help all you Harry Potter loving brides find inspiration for your own magical days!