Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DIY Flowers: Proceed With Caution (Part One)

This week, my bridesmaid and future sister-in-law Meg shares her tale about creating DIY wedding flowers. Was the effort wildly successful or a hopeless disaster? Read on!

As we all know, floral arrangements can be one of the largest line items in a wedding budget. Doing your own flowers can be a great way to save money, but is not something to undertake lightly.

A couple years ago, my friend Sue decided to put together her own floral arrangements. As her bridesmaid, I was quickly brought on board as a “floral assistant.” The first step was choosing which types of flowers would be in the arrangements. For a late summer wedding, there were plenty of options.

The wedding colors Sue had picked were blue and yellow, and she decided on floral arrangements in white, yellow and pink. After lots of Internet research, Sue settled on a combination of roses and carnations for the centerpieces, roses for the bouquets, and roses, freesia and greenery for the altar arrangements. (The boutonni√®res were purchased from a pro, but that is a WHOLE other story!)

The Midwestern town where Sue lived didn’t have a wholesale floral market, so we looked to the Internet to source the flowers. Given what a disaster it would be if the flowers didn’t arrive on time, Sue decided not to put all her eggs in one basket, and ordered from three separate vendors. To give the buds time to open – and account for the different lengths of time needed for each set of flowers to open – the deliveries were scheduled throughout the four days prior to the ceremony.

In the months before the wedding, Sue also found beautiful blue rectangular vases to use for the centerpieces. To hold the flowers once in the vases, she cut down blocks of floral foam that would fit into the vases at the bottom and help form a globe of flowers at the top. While working out the seating plan, it became clear that one vase would look dwarfed at a 12-person table, so Sue decided to place two arrangements at each table.

Starting the Wednesday before the wedding, boxes of flowers began to arrive. As each shipment was delivered, we trimmed each stem under running water and put it in a bucket with a solution of water, bleach and lemon-lime soda. (Hint: In our enthusiasm to follow instructions to the letter, we were fixated on putting the flowers in Sprite. Only after we were completely done did we realize that generic lemon-lime would have been just as effective and, of course, less expensive.) Each day, the forest of flowers in the basement grew. And grew… And grew…

Want to hear the rest of the story? Check back tomorrow for the conclusion!

Have you had any experience with DIY flowers for a wedding or other event?

(Photo Credits: David Vernal)


  1. Oh my! I can't wait to hear what happened! I am contemplating doing my own since what I want seems so simple (and the florist hasn't returned my request for a change to the original quote!) Am I heading for a disaster?!?!

  2. Can't wait to hear the rest! The photo certainly looks nice enough :)

  3. Bicoastal, I can't wait to read the final results. Totally into DIY wedding flowers.

  4. My FMIL is doing all our centerpieces, she's ordering directly from a florist though and arranging them herself to save money. I have to admit I'm nervous but I just have to trust that she's going to make sure they are beautiful. After all she doesn't want to be embarrassed anymore than I do by having shitty arrangements.

  5. I was considering doing my own flowers...I finally decided to leave it up to someone who knows what they are doing. But I give props to those brides who can pull it off!

  6. They look beautiful! I have actually never known anyone who has done their own flowers...major kudos to Meg!

  7. Looking forward to the rest...I couldn't imagine trying to do my own flowers!

  8. I am very intrigued! What happened next!? I've never been involved in DIY flower arrangements!