That’s right, I said it, DO IT YOURSELF! Recently I got married and the whole time we were planning and paying for our wedding, my husband and I both were in graduate school. More days than not, I questioned my sanity for balancing (sometimes unsuccessfully) full time school, two jobs, and having to plan and pay for my own wedding. But, don’t be discouraged, it works! It was worth every little detail and stressful Pinterest project. Our wedding turned out beautiful and we seriously saved SO much money on some big things.
One of the biggest things we saved on was our flowers. We did the flowers for all of the centerpieces, made every boutonniere (I definitely have been spelling this wrong up to this point, no big deal), and carefully placed every flower for every bouquet as well. If you are starting to plan your wedding, you have more than likely looked into a few florists in your area. I did the same thing. I was SET on having at least my bridal bouquet done by a professional. But, you guys, these things can range from $50 to $350!! Picking through my budget, and trying to find a way to make that work I just couldn’t justify that much money on something that would only be seen for a few hours! So, I started doing a little research.
Dani, when she got married had all of the bridesmaids do their own bouquets and she had her bouquet, the centerpieces, and the boutonnieres done professionally. Building our own, as her bridesmaid was so much fun! So, I decided that we could do the same thing, except this time for all of the floral arrangements. This seemed a little nerve wracking to me because if you are doing your own flowers, you really can’t purchase anything until a few days prior to the event so how would I know they would have things that work?! I started a few months early researching buying flowers in bulk. I looked into several online flower shops as well as Costco and Sam’s Club. After weighing my options, I decided that it would be just cheaper overall to get them at the local grocery stores right before the event.
I’m going to go off on a little tangent here… so my very favorite flowers of ALL time are peonies (blame Blair Waldorf). My wedding was in July and I know that peonies are springtime flowers. So, I found a few websites who would deliver them from God knows where so that I could put peonies in my bouquet. The first website I was ordering 5 peonies for something ridiculous like $60. I was cancelled on with them right away because even though the delivery date was available as a choice on their website, the delivery was “too close to the holiday.” So, I found another website that would deliver them to me on July 5th (two days before the big day). They waited till it was (almost) too late and cancelled as well saying they couldn’t deliver on that day. Finally, I found a place that would deliver on July 6th BUT, the flowers would be close to $95. I was so bummed because I just didn’t think I could justify that to myself and my budget. Dani found out and immediately venmo’ed (is that a word?) me the money saying that every bride should have her dreams come true! Even after the sweetest act of my sister, the company once again cancelled on me last minute. I think I almost cried because I was so bummed that they would be so flaky but, it was crunch time and I had to get over it. So, I had to give up on my dream of having peonies in my bridal bouquet.
Fast forward to the Wednesday and Thursday before my Friday wedding day… My mom, my sister and I went out with the plans to go to as many grocery stores as necessary to find enough flowers. My centerpieces were very simple and only needed about 2 flowers per table. But, we needed enough variety for 7 bridesmaids bouquets as well as one bridal bouquet and 11 boutonnieres. Let me tell you guys, Albertson’s was a life saver! I was able to find all of the flowers I needed for under $200 TOTAL! Here is a list of the best stores for DIY flower options in my opinion:
1. Fred Meyer (or Fry’s or King Soopers… they’re the same)
2. Albertson’s (or Safeway… also similar)
3. Trader Joes
4. Whole Foods
I have one more little side story before I get to my inexperienced simple how-to. So, remember my mess with the peony cancellation? I asked my mom if we could run downtown to Whole Foods the day before the wedding. Just to look if there were any great flowers we were missing out on. We walked up to the flower section and there were SEVEN BUNCHES of peonies!! All in beautiful condition and the last ones before the store was out until next spring! I just stood and stared at them for a while, almost kissed them, and then bought them all because I was just so happy! Moral of the story is, don’t let anyone tell you your wedding dreams can’t come true! Weddings have some kind of special magic miracle power I’m pretty sure.
The boutonnieres my mom and I made the morning before the wedding. What we did was:
1. Take a rose (or other bigger main flower)
2. Cut the rose down to about a two inch stem and remove the leaves
3. Places a few sprigs of baby’s breath behind/on the sides
4. Wrap in floral tape
5. Cover floral tape with ribbon and hot glue the end
6. Make sure to have floral pins to put them on the guys on the day of
Now, for the nitty gritty. My bridesmaids and I all went back to a hotel room after the rehearsal dinner to have one last girls slumber party before the big day! (I highly recommend this idea… your last night as a single lady should definitely be spent with your girls!) I brought with me all of the flowers we needed for the bouquets along with a few pairs of scissors, some floral pins (Hobby Lobby), one spool of ribbon (Hobby Lobby), and two rolls of floral tape (Hobby Lobby). If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby, any craft store should work! From there, we laid out the flowers and let the girls pick their own variety to include in their bouquet. Then I dropped my expert (learned on YouTube in five minutes) knowledge on them.
1. Pick a “statement” flower, one that is big and you want to be the main focus of your bouquet
2. Place a few smaller flowers symmetrically around this main flower
3. Place a few more bigger or “statement” flowers on opposite sides around that
4. Fill in the holes symmetrically with fillers like greenery or baby’s breath
5. Continue steps 2-4 until it is as full as you want it- I had my bridesmaids only do this like twice but my bouquet was bigger
6. Wrap the stems tightly with the floral tape (it sticks to itself so the tighter the easier)
You can do this step as you place flowers to help you hold it in place as you go… I found it easier to just place all of the flowers and then do floral tape just once but this is really up to you!
7. Wrap your ribbon around to cover the floral tape
8. Place a few floral pins in to keep the ribbon in place
We then kept the flowers in the little hotel fridge overnight and wa-la! DIY flowers and a delicious smelling hotel room were all ours!
Not only was this a money saver (by thousands of dollars) it was a really fun and personal experience for the girls to make their own bouquets! We shared lots of laughs and a few fails- to which we jumped in to help each other- but overall it was a success.
Professional Photography (not the hotel cell phone pics of my girl gang) by the magnificent Rosie Nary Photography
**I am not a flower expert and this post is not sponsored by any store or company.**
Please feel free to comment or email your questions, I’m always open to helpin’ my fellow bride babes.