How I Made My Own Wedding Flowers
I knew pretty early on into our wedding planning that I wanted to make my own bouquet. After hearing how much people typically spend on wedding flowers, plus hearing all kinds of horror stories on wedding planning forums about things going wrong with florists and fresh flowers either wilting or falling apart, it seemed like a no brainer. Plus, I'm relatively crafty and pretty particular about how I want something done when it's a project that I really care about.
Luke and I actually did visit one florist while we we were planning our wedding, and it was a really weird experience. I was considering incorporating some greenery into our centerpieces and wanted to know how much fresh ferns cost, so we went to this local florist/rentals shop that came highly recommended one day to price them out. When we walked in, the entire shop was cluttered with all kinds of frilly pastel things and nick-knacks, and the expression on Luke's face pretty much said it all. There was literally nobody in the entire store except for one woman who was working at the counter, and when we asked about the cost of ferns, she told us we had to come back and schedule a two hour appointment to discuss the details of all the things we need for our wedding. Ummmm, what? Nope, nope, nope!
After that experience, I pretty much decided that I wanted to write this post so I could let other brides know that it is possible to assemble your own wedding flowers without them looking like a hot mess.
That said, I'm not trying to knock florists. If you're planning a wedding and you want to splurge on having a professional arrange your flowers, go for it! And if you hate crafts, I'm totally not judging you for wanting someone else to take that off your hands. It's your wedding, and I say do what you want as long as it makes YOU happy and you have the money to do it. For us though, I was kind of particular about how I wanted the flowers to look, and we both agreed that the money we'd save would be better spent on food, the bar, and the photographer.
I really wanted bright, colorful flowers to help offset the darker colors we had in our color palette and keep things from looking too drab. I do like a lot of the more typical fall blooms, such as sunflowers, but since we were going for kind of an old timey vintage vibe for our wedding, I wanted them to look a bit different from the more clean, elegant designs that are popular now. Luke and I both wanted the colors to be reminiscent of fall leaves, so I went for reds, pinks, oranges, and purples with a little bit of white thrown in to the mix. Luke's favorite color is purple so I also wanted to make sure I could use it in his boutonnière while still having it tie in with the overall look.
Our friend (and bridesmaid) Megan used to work in a flower shop, and during the summer before the wedding she spent an entire day over my house helping me to arrange all of the bouquets and Luke's boutonnière. I totally attempted this project without waiting for her help and failed miserably, so it's because of her that our flowers turned out the way that they did. I totally credit Megan for this DIY.
Now, let's get to the part you've been waiting for!
- An assortment of flowers, real or fake
- An assortment of greens (ferns, eucalyptus, etc.)
- Wire cutters
- Green floral tape
- Sturdy floral wire
- Hot glue gun w/ glue
- Inspiration photos of what you'd like your finished project to look like
- Long headpins
- Trinkets, such as a brooch
- A friend to help
Step 1: Gather materials. Round up all the stuff you've hoarded, as well as any inspiration photos you've acquired.
Step 2: Remove excess leaves and stems. Using your wire cutters (or flower clippers if you're using fresh flowers), trim the stems of your flowers to the desired length that you'd like the handle of your bouquet to be. The more voluminous the bouquet, the longer you want your stems. While it can be nice to leave some leaves up around the blooms to help fill out and break up colors in your bouquet, definitely trim off the leaves that are further down where the stems are. If any of your flowers have leaves that are really awful and fake looking, cut them completely off.
Step 3: Separate bunches. If any of your flowers came as a bush, where there are a lot of flowers attached in one bunch, cut them apart. Your stems from these flowers will probably be a lot shorter than the rest of your flowers. If that's the case, trim a piece of flower wire to match the length of your other flower stems, then adhere the shorter-stemmed flower to the wire using your floral tape. Your goal is to have all of your flowers be as close to the same length as possible.
Step 4: Assembly. Pick up several flowers (around 5 or so) and arrange them as desired. Tape them together securely using floral tape. (It's easiest if you have a friend hold the flowers how you want them while you tape, trust me!) This will be the center of your bouquet. Continue adding flowers and greenery to the outside of your bouquet and taping them in place until your bouquet is the size you'd like it to be and organized in a way that you're happy with. Tape your flowers as necessary while you're working to make sure they stay put.
Step 5: Look at your design. Megan's most helpful tip for me at this part was to make sure colors and shapes are broken up. For my bouquet, I really wanted a fluffy, loosely assembled arrangement that looked like it was naturally scooped up and put together, so she used leaves and different shapes and colors to help make sure the colors and shapes were varied throughout. We also pulled some flowers out a bit further than others and had others pulled more inward to create more of a lush, layered effect. We also went to the craft store and picked up some small, colorful, wildflower-like blooms to add in for pops of color throughout.
Step 6: Check the angles. Make sure that your design looks good from every angle and adjust flowers as needed. Be careful that the back of your bouquet isn't flat. Remember, you're going to be randomly picking it up and throwing it around and posing with it all day, so you want it to be photogenic no matter how you're holding it.
Step 7: Tape the sh*t out of it. That's right. Once you're happy, wrap your stems up and down several times with floral tape until you're comfortable that it's secure.
Step 8: Wrap it. Cut a really long piece of ribbon, big enough to wrap the entire handle of your bouquet. Using a hot glue gun, glue one end of the ribbon up near the top of your stems. When the glue dries, carefully wrap the ribbon around the entire base of your bouquet to hide the floral tape. Trim off any excess ribbon if necessary and glue the end securely.
Step 9: Add embellishments. If you have any, now's the time to incorporate any pretty gems or family heirlooms that you want to have with you on your wedding day.
Step 1: Gather materials. For this project, we just used leftover flowers from the bouquets to avoid wasting crafting supplies and to make sure everything matched.
Step 2: Start with greenery. If you're using any greenery in your boutonnières, place that first.
Step 3: Add flowers. Place your flowers of choice on top of the greenery, arranging them so that colors are broken up throughout. It helps to use smaller flowers for this project so they're not too overpowering and hard to pin to clothing later.
Step 4: Tape it. Once you're happy with your flower arrangement, tape it securely with floral tape.
Step 5: Wrap it. Cut a piece of ribbon, long enough to wrap the stems of your boutonnières. I used a thinner width of ribbon than what was used on the bouquets. Using a hot glue gun, glue one end of the ribbon up near the top of your stems. When the glue dries, carefully wrap the ribbon around the entire base of your boutonnière to hide the floral tape. Trim off any excess ribbon if necessary and glue the end securely.
Step 6: Put a pin on it. Make sure you have long pins so they can be pinned onto clothing on the day of.
Consider the season and your color scheme. It's definitely good to take your wedding color scheme and the season you're getting married into consideration when picking out your flower colors. That said, you don't have to be predictable. We were having a fall wedding with a mostly black and gold color scheme, so in lieu of just getting a bunch of sunflowers and calling it a day, I opted for bright colored flowers in the colors of fall leaves to help balance out how dark the rest of the things we picked out were.
Look for inspiration. Before beginning this project, I highly recommend spending some time figuring out what you want. Look at Pinterest, read wedding planning blogs, even just Google stuff. I'm not saying to go and copy someone else's design, but at least have an idea of what kind of flowers you like, how big you want your bouquets to be, etc.
Decide if you want real or fake flowers. Both have pros and cons. Fresh flowers smell good and are obviously more realistic looking, but they are also more fragile, can wilt, and must be made as close to the time they're being used as possible. Fake flowers aren't as fancy up close, but they're a bit more durable and can be made well in advance. I opted for silk flowers because they looked relatively realistic but I could assemble them months before the wedding and have one less thing to worry about.
Be thrifty. To save money, I highly recommend taking full advantage of sales and coupons. Big craft stores run sales in their floral department regularly, so definitely take advantage of that. Almost all of the flowers in my bridal bouquet were actually on sale for 50% off at Michaels. I also came in armed with 40% off an item and 20% off your entire purchase coupons and used those for anything else that I wanted or needed. For fresh flowers, I've been told that stores like Costco or Sam's Club offer good prices.
Shop during different seasons. We were planning a fall wedding, but I actually started shopping for flowers in the early spring. Craft stores rotate their floral stock, so even if you can't find exactly what you want the first time you visit, chances are you can find something different later. And if you see something that you definitely love, snap it up before it's gone. Also, different locations of the same store sometimes have different inventory.
If you can, have a friend help you. I'll admit it, the first time I put my bouquet together, it looked like total crap. Having my friend Megan there to hold and arrange the flowers while I looked at them from a distance and decided if anything needed to be tweaked to make the design look more balanced.
This is not a sponsored post, however we had some pretty excellent vendors for our wedding and would love to give them a solid recommendation to anyone who might be planning an event.
Photos: Alice Heart Photography. Hair & Makeup: DVine Hair Design.