Creating a statement-making holiday flower arrangement centerpiece for your holiday table may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. To help you along, we teamed up with San Francisco-based, self-taught florist and founder of Ida Blooms, Annie Heath, to take us step-by-step through the process. Prepare to look like a total pro when you unveil this perfect centerpiece on your holiday table.

Metal buckets of flowers, red berries, and pomegranates ready to be made into arrangements

Step 1: Find Your Florals

Every arrangement consists of three types of stems: thrillers, fillers, and spillers. When choosing your flowers, be sure to purchase a mix of each of these types of stems to build a balanced arrangement. Here’s a glossary of what you’ll need to recreate this holiday centerpiece. 

Thrillers – Ranunculus, anemones, peonies

Fillers – Lisianthus and wax flower

Spillers – Berries, eucalyptus, rosemary, pomegranates (a thriller and a spiller!) 

Annie Heath works on creating a holiday floral arrangement in a brass vase

Step 2: Choose Your Vase

When choosing your vase, keep in mind the height and style of your table. On a round table, you might choose a larger, circular vase, and on a long rectangular table, a few medium vases in a row would fill the space nicely. Just be sure your overall arrangement is low enough that it won’t interfere with cross-table socializing. As a general rule, the height of your arrangement should not exceed the length of your elbow to wrist. Annie Heath's finished floral arrangement with white flowers and red berries in a brass vase

Step 3: Gather Your Supplies

In addition to florals and a vase, you will need:

    • Clear floral tape or scotch tape
  • Scissors or floral shears

Scalloped empty brass vase perfect for a holiday flower arrangement

Step 4: Make a Grid

Once you’ve chosen a vase, use clear floral tape or scotch tape, to create a series of horizontal lines across the mouth of your vase. Next, overlay these with vertical lines to create a “grid.” This helps divide your vase into smaller compartments, and keep stems in place while arranging.

Annie Heath presents two white peonies for her holiday flower arrangement

Step 5: Process Your Flowers

To “process” a flower simply means to edit it down to its most useable form. That requires stripping any leaves or offshoots that will fall below the waterline of the vase, and any buds or blooms that will distract from the focal one.

Annie Heath begins to set up her holiday flower arrangement with peonies and pomegranates

Step 6: Add Your Thrillers

Thrillers are added first for a few reasons. First, since thrillers are typically the largest blooms, they occupy the most space in the arrangement. Second, since thrillers are the most expensive, we want to show them off! Hold a thriller against the vase, where you envision it will be placed, to determine where to snip the stem. Snip each stem at an angle, so it will barely graze the bottom of the vase. Then, place it in the grid.

Repeat this process with your thriller stems, adding them into the grid at varying heights and angles, until 50% of your thrillers have been added. Be sure to rotate your vase as you’re building, to ensure each side has an interesting focal point.

Annie Heath adds green branches to the white peonies in her holiday arrangement

Step 7: Fill In Your Grid

Now, fill in the space around your thrillers with filler and spiller stems. Add in the remaining 50% of thrillers where they are needed as you build. The goal is for every flower to be seen, but for no tape to be visible.

Step 8: Make A Final Edit

Once your tape is covered, but before you run out of stems, take a few steps away from the arrangement. Walk around it, assessing it from every angle. Look for holes in color or space. Use any leftover stems to fill these gaps. Congrats, you’re done! 

Completed holiday arrangement with peonies, pomegranates, and eucalyptus branches

Discover more centerpiece arrangement ideas HERE!

Photos by Lyola Rowe, produced by Skylar Frederick

December 5, 2017

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