Wedding Flowers – DIY
Our wedding was a success, photos have been edited (Photo Credit for all photos in this blog post – Justin Johnson Photography) and our video was published. We’re so excited with how our Geek Chic wedding came out and it was a perfect day to start our marriage. (I’ll be creating a post about our overall wedding).
A friend asked me how I made our floral bouquets and center pieces, so I thought I’d start off the wedding blog series with a DIY floral.
It was stressful, and I don’t recommend doing this if you are doing other DIY Wedding projects the two days prior to your wedding or if you are a perfectionist whom wants every detail to be pristine.
Why? I didn’t really care about flowers enough to hire a florist and I liked the saving costs. I spent less than $2,000 on all of the flowers, craft materials, vases, corsages and boutonnieres. For a wedding of our size (6 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, and 9 parents / grandparents) in the greater Philadelphia area, florists cost anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000.
What I made-
- 1 Round Bridal Bouquet with about 30 white roses, blue iris, yellow gerber daisies, and veronica sunny border blue
- 2 Round Maid of Honor Bouquets with 18-24 white roses.
- 4 Round Bridesmaid Bouquets with about 12-18 white roses.
- 1 Round Toss Bouquet with about 8-10 white roses.
- 10 Tall centerpieces
- 200 Paper Cones made out of comic book pages, filled with white rose petals for our guests to toss at us
What I bought-
- 9 short, flowering centerpieces
- 16 corsages and 16 boutonnieres
- Vases and Candles
- 5 Gallon Buckets
- Pruning Shears
- Gardening Bags
- 9 Flowering Plants for half of our table centerpieces
- Roses and hydrangeas, delivery day chosen for the Wednesday prior to our Saturday wedding.
- White Rose Petals. I didn’t buy enough for what I wanted (to fill the paper cones and have the 60 foot aisle lined on each side with mounded rose petals). We had enough to fill the paper cones and to lightly sprinkle both sides of the aisle.
- Boutonnieres and Corsages, delivery day chosen for Thursday
- Lemons from Costco, picked up on Friday
- Satin Ribbon – 4 – 6” Wide
- Floral Wire
- Hot Glue
- Scotch Tape
- Crowning Glory Flower Spray
- Necklaces with pendants for decorations
Location, Location, Location:
Have a cool, dry place, like basement to work in. Lay down garbage bags or tarps for easy clean up. If you plan on hosting out of town guests, it’s also recommended to do the flowers someplace a bit out of the way so that you aren’t distracted. I snuck down to the basement three nights in a row from 9 pm – 1 am to work on the flowers. For someone who is a bit of an introvert, it was good to have a place to get away from all of the commotion. My husband had a blast entertaining our friends and I got to be distracted from the wedding stress.
I learned how to do floral design from Michael Gaffney’s YouTube videos and his book “Design Star”. I also practiced three times by using inexpensive flowers from the flower market. I also ordered test flowers from Costco nine months before our wedding to make sure they came fresh and delivered on the day I chose. In the winter, they were perfect.
Just In Case:
I over ordered for the wedding and it’s a good thing I did, because in one of the rose boxes, half of the flowers were brown. I called and got a refund. I wasn’t upset because I had plenty for all of the bouquets and plenty of extras for the center pieces. We had so many roses left over, we were able to decorate our rental home for our rehearsal dinner.
Now for the Nitty Gritty Details:
Wednesday – 2 hours with three people working. Flowers arrive, de-thorn, cut off all leaves, and peel off first layer of petals on the roses. Make sure to put them in water. This is a great task for the bridal party and other helping hands – there’s no risk to it.
Put hydragenas, flowers down, submerged in water for several hours. They are notorious for wilting in heat and get most of their water from their petals. Then cut the stems and dip the stems in alum, which opens up the woody stems to take in more water.
Continue to spray all of the flowers with water and crowning glory spray. Every few hours I’d spray them.
Wednesday evening, my parents and I took a drive to Home Depot to see what kind of plants they had for the remaining half of the centerpieces. I was making tall centerpieces and wanted some short centerpieces to give the room an aesthetic variety. I originally had a plan to order miniature bonsai trees from Costco online three weeks prior to our wedding date, however at $32 each, plus shipping, and the chance that they wouldn’t deliver on time or with leaves on them, I decided to take a chance at Home Depot. I was so pleased when I not only found some plants that cost $12 each, but were also in our scheme of purple! PS, the Home Depot employee that was helping us kept making snide jokes about me “waiting to the last minute”. I finally had to tell her that I had a plan, but chose to save hundreds of dollars with this new plan.
Thursday (morning) – Visit Trader Joe’s and get a few different flower varieties in your color scheme to add to the bridal bouquet. My mom called TJs to see which morning they get their flowers freshly delivered. We were there right when the store opened and asked an employee if they had any purple or yellow flowers yet to be brought out and she was so helpful in bringing out what we needed from the stock room.
Thursday Night – 4-6 hours, alone, with distractions. Assemble the bouquets and centerpieces.
After our bridal party began arriving and we properly got everyone settled, I snuck down to our basement workshop and began assembling the bouquets. This could have gone a bit quicker if I didn’t have so many interruptions – but hey! It was our wedding week!
I also assembled the centerpieces, which were stems of white hydrangeas and white rose bouquets added to the top of tall glass vases filled with lemons. My bridesmaid and I taped a grid of scotch tape on the top of each vase to hold the flower bouquet on top. The bouquets were kept in water until the wedding and my brother ran around the venue 30 minutes before the wedding sticking the hydrangea and white rose bouquets on top. I think our exact directions to him (he was nervous and didn’t want to mess up his sister’s centerpieces) was “just firmly stick them in! You can’t mess up!”
Continued to spray flowers with the morning glory spray.
Friday Morning – 2.5 hours, alone, with distractions. Decorate the bouquets with silk ribbon wrapped around the stems and added charms that went with our Geek theme. I kept the stems uncut and long so that they could stay in the 5 gallon buckets with a couple of inches of water in the bottom without getting the satin ribbon wet. We delivered them to our venue that evening and the hotel stored them in a walk in cooler for us since the bridesmaids and I were to get ready at the on-site spa.
Saturday Morning – Less than 1 hour. My mother cut the stems of the bouquets short, just underneath the ribbon just in time for our wedding photos (Thanks, mom!). Someone with the groomsmen cut the stems of their boutonnieres – I hadn’t realized they came long – Thanks to that mystery person!
I’m so happy with how our flowers turned out, I got several compliments from friends and family who hadn’t even realized it was a DIY. My cousin was able to take the vases and candles for her own wedding, which wouldn’t be possible if I rented from a florist. I love that my mom and I picked out flowers at Trader Joe’s together since I planned the wedding from far away from my family. I also love that I now know how to make floral arrangements.