All photos are from our awesome wedding photographer Sarah Rose Burns Photography.
Looking back at all my wedding photos for our 2 year anniversary reminded me of the wedding planning frenzy and the sheer amount of work (and money) that wedding planning required. I wasn’t blogging throughout our wedding, but if I was, this would have been a DIY treasure trove for all-things DIY; we did our own invitations, programs, favors, my hairpiece, centerpieces, and flowers.
Of all the things we did on our own, the one I was most nervous about AND saved us the most money was our flowers. I was admittedly stressed about doing the flowers ourselves, while throughout most of wedding planning I was calm and had a ton of fun playing around with the design elements. I like that stuff.
Flowers are different. I tend to kill plants (this year I even killed succulents!) But there was simply no way to stay even remotely in budget and get close to the flower look I wanted for our wedding. So I was sort of backed into a corner when I decided to do the flowers myself. I figured at worst we just… wouldn’t be holding flowers when we got married.
I based my flowers on this DIY tutorial from A Practical Wedding, which I felt comfortable with because the general advice was to just go for it and make it look nice. The look I wanted was a wildflower bouquet, like maybe I just picked the flowers up on the way to the ceremony, so I felt a little more comfortable going for the DIY flowers than I might have if I had wanted structured bouquets.
I ordered flowers from fiftyflowers.com to be delivered two days before our wedding (you can see the exact breakdown of the flowers that I ordered featured here). I decided on these combinations because I read some “horror” stories about the incorrect color being delivered, and didn’t want to be surprised if I had chosen a more monotone combination. With the florals that I ordered, it was guaranteed that I was going to get multicolored blooms, so I there was no way I would be disappointed or taken by surprise by whatever showed up. If there were a few blooms I didn’t like I could just leave them out.
After worrying for a few weeks about this plan, I did a trial run by buying a few grocery store bouquets and trying to build my own. This significantly lessened my fears and gave me the confidence to do it on a larger scale. I was happy with the way it turned out and relieved some worries knowing that I had already done it and liked the result.
In preparation I bought:
- 6 medium buckets
- floral tape
- floral shears
- a floral knife
- floral food
- jam jars/wine bottles/beer bottles (I just set these aside all year and asked friends to do the same and had so many)
I had the flowers delivered to work so someone could sign for them. After ordering, I realized that Fifty Flowers suggests that you care for the flowers right when they are delivered. So after they were delivered I unpacked the flowers at work. I used the school bathroom (I’m a teacher) to open the newspaper rolls of flowers and run the stems under water. I decided to use the floral knife more than the shears to slice an inch off the stems before placing them in buckets to bloom.
I figured out a technique to use the floral knife and move pretty quickly through the stems, cutting them at an angle while (mostly) under running water. A lot of the time that didn’t happen under running water because the sink was small and the flowers were long. The flowers seemed to live regardless.
I did this all myself since I was at work but it was super easy to get the hang of, and wasn’t nearly as scary as I had originally thought. The flowers came with directions from Fifty Flowers which were easy to follow.
Ryan helped me haul the buckets of flowers to the car and bring them home. We definitely didn’t have the space in the fridge for all these flowers. We didn’t even have air conditioning. I put them in a dark room with low light and not a lot of air flow and hoped for the best.
On Friday morning I ran to Whole Foods and bought some supplementary flowers. There were some that arrived in the Fifty Flowers order that I just didn’t like the color of (I didn’t really want to include too much yellow), and there were some that I wasn’t sure if they would bloom in time. I just bought a few grocery store bouquets to add to the flowers we had.
On Friday afternoon my bridesmaids came to help me make the bouquets. We started out following the APW tutorial and ended up just throwing in flowers at our liking. After getting a good base with the stems criss-crossed it was easy to pick and choose from the flowers and build on the center to create the bouquet. It took about an hour to do all the bouquets, if that.
My Maid of Honor did my bouquet because I was too nervous to do it myself. I thought that I might spend hours trying to get the right balance if I did it and obsess over every addition. Instead, I picked some of my favorite flowers from the buckets and she layered them. While she was doing my bouquet I helped the other bridesmaids make the smaller bouquets. I was ecstatic at the way my bouquet turned out.
We wrapped twine around the floral tape. For my bouquet, I wrapped a bit of lace from my mom’s wedding dress around the twine. I ordered metal champagne class tags for the bridesmaid’s bouquets so their names could be on their bouquets.
We kept the bouquets in water in the jam jars and kept all the other flower stems in the buckets. On Friday night after our rehearsal Ryan and I used the bathtub in our hotel room to change out the water in the buckets so it would stay fresh.
On Saturday while I was swept off getting ready, some of my minions placed the leftover flower stems in the wine bottles and jam jars and pots. We used these to line the benches at the ceremony and as centerpieces in the middle of the tables, along with some simple votives.
I am so happy at the way the flowers turned out, and was also very happy with the price. Everything I purchased to take care of the florals at my wedding was under $400. There was just no way that I would have been able to get all these flowers from a florist for that price.
The downside was that I showed up looking a little less than fresh to our rehearsal dinner because I ran out of time to shower. Our dinner was a low-key affair, a pizza picnic in the park, so that was ok. I felt a little rushed Friday between trying to visit with out-of-town guests, get settled in at the hotel we were staying at the night before, and get the flowers sorted out. Having a lot of helping hands made it easier, but I think planning out a timeline for Friday would have helped too. (We kind of winged it on Friday. I had expended all my planning energy for the actually wedding on Saturday).
The upside was that I got the look of the flowers to be exactly what I wanted for a fraction of the price. I got to hang out with my bridesmaids and craft a little, which took my mind off of some of the nerves that were churning as our wedding approached. And even with DIY flowers, our wedding was featured in Borrowed & Blue and Mile High Bride.
Oh, and we got married. Which was awesome.