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Pearls of Wisdom

Seashore-Inspired Bouquets and Hairpieces

by Laura BlackFeather, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Seashore-Inspired Bouquets and Hairpieces

Shells are becoming an important eco-couture embellishment, inspiring designers like Oscar de la Renta and Chanel. If you're planning a seaside wedding, consider letting the casual elegance of natural seashells enhance your bouquet and embellish your tresses. Shell beads and cultured freshwater pearls fuse the beauty of nature with the essence of your wedding theme.

Here's how:

Shell bouquet sticks and hairpieces are beautiful and eco-chic. Choose shell beads that highlight the colors of your bridal bouquet and floral arrangements (you can use the shell bouquet sticks in the centerpieces of your tablescape, too). For hairpieces, design with white or neutral colors.

Using wire nippers, cut several 10-inch lengths of 22-gauge, gold- or silver-colored Zebra Wire. The number of hair sticks you'll need will depend on the size of your bouquet and the size of your shell beads. String a cultured freshwater pearl--use either white or designer colors that compliment the colors of your bouquet--on one end of the wire, approximately 1-inch. Wrap the 1-inch wire segment around the pearl and twist around the remaining length of wire, keeping the wire tight around the pearl.

String a mix of shell beads, cultured freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystal bicones to your desired length. Experiment with different lengths and vary your designs for each hair stick. Leave enough wire to fit inside the hair stick. For hairpieces, keep the beaded lengths short and lightweight. (Hair sticks are hand-carved so drill holes can vary. Test each stick before gluing.) Using G-S Hypo cement, fill the drill hole of the hair stick halfway. Insert the wire and let dry completely.

Bring the shell bouquet sticks to your florist a day or two before the wedding. If making your own bouquet, arrange your bouquet in a tall, narrow vase with just an inch or so of water. Insert the shell bouquet sticks snugly between the stems before wrapping with ribbon or fabric. Remove from vase and wrap with floral tape to hold stems in place while wrapping with ribbon or fabric.

Note: Orchids and other tropical flowers accentuate your seashore-inspired theme and fit beautifully with many other flowers including mango calla lilies, white nerine and gardenias.

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