Look at those flowers. Don’t they look beautiful? And professional? Well, like just about every other detail for this wedding, I did them myself… with a lot of help from some amazing friends and family, of course.
DIY wedding flowers are kind of a thing right now, and there are two really good reasons for that. First of all, it saves a ton of money. Towards the end of the wedding planning I was getting really stressed out, and I looked into hiring a florist just to get one thing off my plate. At that point I had already priced out how much it would cost to do the flowers on my own, and it was way more expensive than I thought it would be. I was curious if it would really cost that much more to hire someone else. Yes, it was. More than three times as much, actually.
Second of all, doing your own flowers can be fun and, most importantly, soothing. The day before the wedding I descended into the basement with my flower crew to cut, clean, and arrange. Crazy things were happening upstairs: The Boy was freaking out, the tent people arrived late, the lights couldn’t be hung until after the rehearsal dinner, and everyone was running around the backyard yelling and fretting when it was about 105 degrees outside… but guess where I was? In the cool, air-conditioned basement, chatting with friends and snipping flowers. And every time I went upstairs, someone would try to grab me and ask for help, but I was all like, “Oh, so sorry, I can’t help you because I’m soooo busy with the flowers!” Best decision ever.
So just in case DIY flowers are something you’re considering, I thought I’d pass along my not-so-hard earned wisdom. Next week I’ll be doing a step-by-step tutorial, including all kinds of practical information like the exact order I placed with my florist. But until then, here’s some more general advice about DIY flowers:
1) Someone will try to talk you to out of this. Actually, a lot of people will try to talk you out of this. The internet, your mom, your sister, whatever. But seriously: this isn’t rocket science, it’s floral arrangements. You can handle this.
2) Enlist a team of
minions helpers. This is actually the most important piece of advice I can give you, and it pertains to every element of the wedding planning, not just flowers. I would have been up all night crying in that basement without my wedding planner and my two best friends. In fact, just as we were getting started I felt myself starting to hyperventilate. I was sitting there, looking at the 500 flowers I had ordered, and I couldn’t remember a single thing I’d learned about floral arrangements. But then I looked over at Lorenza and Maggie, coolly chatting as they snipped stems with Fleetwood Mac playing in the background, and I calmed down. Even if your friends aren’t as hands-on helpful as mine were, having other people around to talk to while you work will keep you from descending into the mad, hellish vortex of your pre-wedding day mind. This is a good thing.
3) Do a mock arrangement at least a few months in advance. It’s ok if the flowers you’re going to use aren’t in season yet, because you just want to get a feel for two things: 1) How many different types of flowers you’ll need to get the right variety and texture you’re going for, and 2) How many actual blooms you’ll need. It will also demystify the arranging process, and make you feel more comfortable doing the real deal. Start thinking about what kinds of pairings–as far as size, shape, height, and color–look nice together. The one semi-complicated part of my arrangements was the fact that I was working with flowers in lots of different sizes and shapes, and I’d made absolutely zero attempt to coordinate color. I wanted my flowers to be very textural and organic, but I didn’t want them to look like I had just blindly thrown them together. I had been trying to figure that out for the first time the day before my wedding, I probably would have thrown up a little. Also, my mock arrangement looked so pretty that my mom stopped trying to convince me to hire a florist, so that helped, too.
4) If you’re going to go the DIY route, it helps to be super flexible and have somewhat “rustic” taste. I wanted my tables to look undone and imperfect, like they were overflowing with wildflowers that I had just picked, and they pretty much did. If I had wanted super polished, professional looking arrangements, I’m not sure the whole thing would have come off as well as it did. In reality it’s probably not that hard to do those things, especially with a little research and practice, but it would have freaked me out to even try. But as my maid of honor Maggie said, “You can’t go wrong with flowers in mason jars.” Seriously, it’s impossible to screw up.
5) So you’re going to do the flowers the day before your wedding, and you don’t want them to wilt, so you leave them in a cool, dark place, like your basement. That means that on the day of your wedding, those flowers have to travel up the stairs, possibly into a car, and make their way onto your tables. This is where my advice comes in: the person in charge of getting those flowers onto the tables should not be you. I helped get all the flowers into jars on Friday, and on Saturday I wiped my hands of it and told someone else to figure it out. Actually, this was my motto for pretty much everything on July 20th. And every time someone tried to ask me something I just said, “I’m probably the last person you should ask this question to.” And everyone figured it out. And all my flowers made it onto my tables, looking perfect.
I’ll be back next week with more specific advice. I’m going to go spend the rest of the weekend looking at my wedding pictures, which just arrived in the mail.
Photo credit to Kateryn Silva.