This is my sister-in-law Beth – The Professor’s youngest sister. Isn’t she beautiful! Like the rest of the people in The Professor’s family, she’s incredibly tall, coming in at a respectable six feet. Sometimes I want to hate her, but I like her too much. Plus I’m holding out that our children will get some of those genes.
Although I can’t take credit for her radiant bridal beauty, I can take credit for her bouquet.
With a wedding on a budget, everyone in the family pulled together to help throw them a beautiful spring wedding. I’m no flower expert, but I helped with wedding flowers once before, and I got tips from Teressa, one of my besties who also happens to be the mastermind behind Cashmere Floral Designs, a top floral design company in Seattle. Seriously, she’s legit.
Armed with creativity, a few skills, a few tips, and my penchant for recklessly plunging into the deep end of projects, I volunteered to do Beth’s wedding flowers. Do it yourself wedding flowers was an exciting experience, and I learned a lot in the process. These lessons I am now going to share with you!
Disclaimer: This post does not cover how to actually make bouquets and boutonnieres, but explains the process of doing your own wedding flowers. Once you decide what kind of flowers you want to use, look for tutorials that feature those specific flowers.
DIY Wedding Flowers – 10 Tips
1. Assemble your tools.
- Floral Tape – black and green. This tape gets sticky when it’s stretched and wrapped on itself, but doesn’t stick to anything else. Use the green to wrap up bouquets and the black to wrap up the boutonnieres.
- Floral Knife – these inexpensive knives are great for de-thorning roses and trimming flowers.
- Flower Shears – many of the stems you’ll be working with are very thick. And you don’t want a blister on your wedding day from manhandling a dingy pair of scissors. The shears cut floral wire too. Consider them a necessity!
- Ribbon and other embellishments – Make sure you have a lot of ribbon to wrap all your beautiful creations! Get creative. I found this beautiful pearl embellishment that I knew would be a great final touch to Beth’s bouquet.
- Green Floral Wire – you’ll use this to wire flowers before incorporating them into arrangements and to reinforce stems. Really, this is just useful stuff. I used 20 and 26 gauge wire. Straight wire is the best.
- Buckets – Lots of buckets. I got a bunch from the dollar store.
- Pins (not pictured) – long pins go into the bouquets to hold the ribbon into place.
- Labels (not pictured) – label the corsages and boutonnieres.
- Flower food (not pictured)
Clean buckets, knives, scissors and shears with bleach water and soap before using them otherwise bacteria could get into your flowers, causing them to die!
2. Don’t do it yourself. Assemble an army. As the bride, it would be hellish to assemble bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages by yourself the night before the wedding. Get a group of friends together willing to help. Be a part of the planning and vision, do what you can in the days before, but don’t plan to do it all. The night before your wedding, either hand the task off to your friends or have a flower assembly party with your girlfriends.
It also helps to have friends with various skills. I was very comfortable making the bouquets but terrified of making the corsages and boutonnieres. Beth and The Professor’s Aunt Patty, on the other hand, were corsage making masters. Together, we made a great team!
3. Order your flowers in advance if you can. Whether you have a friend who can order you flowers from a flower market or if you order them from an online wholesaler or club store like Sam’s Club, order the flowers if you can. Generally they arrive unopened. This means that you can schedule their arrival for a Thursday or Friday, timing it so they are at their loveliest during the big event. Flowers from the store are usually at their peak on the day you buy them.
4. Learn as much as you can. Which flowers will be in season during your event? Did you know tulips never stop growing after they’re cut, which means they’ll be an inch higher than the bouquet if you assemble 24 hours before the big event. You can encourage blooms of some flowers by putting them in lukewarm water and discourage further blooming of other flowers by putting them in cold water. Certain flowers need specific temperatures. You will need to reinforce some flowers with wire. Research research research.
Before the wedding weekend came, I spent hours talking to friends, watching YouTube tutorials and reading everything I could about arranging the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages in general, and working with our selected flowers in specific.
5. Be creative! Use lots of colors and textures. Just because you’re doing your own flowers, you don’t have to be limited to bouquets of solid red roses – unless of course you want bouquets of solid red roses. Play with textures and colors.
Beth chose a bright and beautiful color palette of red and turquoise, so we worked to select red flowers that didn’t look Christmasy. We achieved this by using blue shades of reds, yellow shades of reds and some dark purple-hued flowers.
For her bouquet, we used red anemones, purple dahlias, red ranunculus, red tulips, red intuition roses (red and dark red striped), white freesia, white ranunculus, black mini calla lilies, cream mini calla lilies and red hypericum berries. For the bridesmaid’s bouquets, we saved money by using red tulips and red intuition roses.
The boutonnieres and corsages were made from the mini callas, ranunculus and some green leaves.
6. Order more than you’ll think you need. We ordered a lot of flowers – eight bunches of tulips, two bunches (eight each) of mini callas, 25 roses, several bunches of ranunculus, two bunches of anemones, one bunch of dahlias, two bunches of freesia and a bunch of greenery. From those flowers, we made one bridal bouquet, four bridesmaids bouquets, one groom’s boutonniere, four groomsmen’s boutonnieres, and about 10 corsages and boutonnieres for parents, grandparents, the wedding planner, the pastor and various family members.
We used every last flower, including the roses we originally planned to use as rose petals on reception tables. Plan for some flowers to be too bloomed, others to be broken, and one or two to be eaten by bugs.
7. Mix in a few high-end flowers for a dramatic punch. We used a lot of tulips and roses, which were very affordable. But it was the mini callas that made the bridal bouquet and corsages and boutonnieres quite stunning. Splurge a little on a few mini callas or orchids or peonies.
8. Flowers are expensive. They just are. Some of the flowers, even getting them at cost, were out of our price range. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars.
9. Manage your expectations. I think Pinterest can be both a blessing and a curse. Look online for inspiration and ideas, but don’t expect that you will suddenly bloom into a master florist. On one hand don’t plan on creating a super technical bouquet and on the other, don’t become so paralyzed by fear that you assume you can’t do your own wedding flowers!
10. Have fun! After all, you are getting married!
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