Adding a wreath to your home is a surefire way to set a festive mood to any indoor or outdoor decor, no matter the season but especially during the holidays. Although you can pick up a fresh wreath at the store a DIY version is much more fun, affordable and creatively satisfying, in my opinion. Whether you’re looking to create a wreath out of natural plants or using foraged materials it's not that hard.
I recommend attending a workshop or hosting your own. If you’re thinking of adding a wreath making workshop to your repertoire—whether you’re a farmer, event designer, florist or just want to have friends over to play, you should. Holiday floral workshops are a chance to fill in that tricky off-season gap and have a good time. It's a great way to connect with the community and with friends.
I will tell you how with images from a class at Barnsley Resort.
How to Host a Wreath-Making Workshop
It's no secret that wreath-making are my most popular class as they usually sell out quickly. It's easy to see why people love them. I recommend 5 - 10 guests for a home party or 15 to 20 attendees per class in a larger setting. It's a good idea to have at least one helper to aid in setting up, helping attendees, and taking photos. Your assistant may be a friend, your family, or an employee depending on the workshop. As you can see (below) I didn't need my family of assistants I chose father Wreath Workshop at Barnsley Resort. The enjoyed other activities on the property but at least I was prepared! If you plan to have several classes planning them consecutively over several days cuts down on prep time and clean up.
It's common to find that attendees are beginners with no prior floral design experience. It's also common to find folks attend year after year and bring friends.
CHOOSE A VENUE
Selecting a venue is an important task that needs to be done first before any preparation. Local farms, your own back yard, restaurants, churches, and resorts are good options for a class.
Your venue is the first area you’ll need to tackle (and schedule!) before moving on to other workshop prep. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here. I have hosted them everywhere from the flower shop to universities to inside a festival tent.
I recommend a minimum of 2 - 3 feet of table space per guest
All that you need is a base, wire, clippers and foliage. You can also add decor like pine cones, berries, branches or ornaments.
THE BASE Choose a base that is authentic to you or your group some options are grapevine wreaths, hoops, straw or floral foam.
THE WIRE I recommend 22-guage wire either the sticks or paddle wire will work. It's smart to put it on the attendees space so they don't have to share, reach or find it will construction their design.
THE SNIPS Each guest should bring or be provided good clippers that are strong enough to cut greenery with heavy stems.
THE GREENS When it comes to greenery for wreaths the sky is the limit. Foliage can be purchased in boxes from wholesalers and farms, or foraged. If you are foraging be sure to give your greens time to drink up water before the workshop so they don't get dry and brittle.
I like to provide each guest with several base and filler material options.
- Lichen-Covered Branches
- Pine Cones
- Rose Hips
Hosting Your Wreath-Making Class
You should create a sample wreath to show at the class, which I call a "dummy." The dummy give you a chance to practice and will provide a clear example of what the finished product should look like. Sometimes I am distracted during a workshop by questions or conversation and find that it's not the time I create my best work.
The week of your workshop is here! Are you excited yet? But before your workshop, create at least one sample wreath.
PROVIDE NIBBLES AND NAME TAGS
Snacks are important to the overall enjoyment of the event. I recommend having refreshments available before class and throughout the workshop. A buffet table is fine. Think seasonal, fun and easy. Water, coffee, cider, punch and cocktails are nice options.
It's also important to connect and socialize. I find that name tags are an easy way for people to get to know each other. You can have them write their favorite color, hometown or something else interesting on it, too, to help get the conversation going.
PUT THE RECORDS ON
Music adds to the overall aesthetic of the event. You can easily create a festive ambiance that will contribute the overall feel in a way that will be long remembered. Music can be played while the makers are making and turned down when you speak.
Demonstrating can be intimidating at first but it's really easy. Prepare everything ahead so that you aren't wasting time looking for things and losing guests attention. While showing the process be sure to narrate with explanations and stories. You can also invite questions to answer. I often find that It is necessary to repeat important steps and mechanics.
While demonstrating be sure to animate and entertain your guests. There will be awkward silence at times and this is when you can share stories about how you were introduced to floral design, how you forage materials, that time you did flowers at the White House, or why you love teaching classes. Just keep the chatter going while genuinely being yourself and your guests are going to love you!
Note that you don't have to finish your demo item. I NEVER complete an entire wreath because it is too time consuming. People are ready to get started and have little interest in watching you finish your wreath. This isn't a problem if you've completed the "dummy" I recommended.
PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO YOUR GUESTS
Once the demonstration is done it is time for you and your assistant to help the class. Move around the space and coach. You may offer hints like how to choose materials or what textures you think pair well or colors that you like together.
Keep it light and funny as you direct guests to materials and mechanical application. You will always have that one attendee who wants to take the whole basket of rare pine needles so be prepared to cheerfully redirect people. You can point out ideas to keep anyone from hogging all the ribbon or the pine cones. Offer to help wire the wreath or to trim cutting while meandering about the group.
FINISHING UP YOUR WREATH-MAKING CLASS
People work at different paces so everyone will finish at different stages. about a half hour before the end of class you can invite everyone to a group photo. You can give directions on finishing the composition, tell attendees where to return the supplies and volunteer to take photos of guests with their friends.
As you wind things down you can see who needs more help. This is also a good time to encourage people to post on social media and tag you, your venue and any sponsors. Wreaths are photo friendly. I always love photos of wreaths!
You'll have to let me know how your wreath making class goes! Share your pictures, advice and ideas with me @colonialhouseofflowers.