So, you’re thinking of foregoing a florist to do your own wedding flowers? Bridal bouquets from florists can be beautifully designed, but can also be as much as the price you paid for a wedding dress! (Kate Middleton’s relatively simple bouquet alone was estimated by some to be as much as $1,000!).
Doing your own flowers is a great way for brides to maximize their flower budget while not sacrificing quality or the type of flowers that they’ve always dreamed of having. Flowers can be easily ordered online and shipped directly from the farm at wholesale prices. This means you can get really fresh flowers at a much more affordable price (avoiding the markup that florists and other retailers tack on). However, this does require some leg work on your end. To help you out, here are some tips and examples to help guide you through the process.
As a bride, you have enough to worry about, so if you have an aunt or bridesmaid with an eye for design, enlist their help!
Next, make sure you have the right materials and tools that will make creating a beautiful bouquet a cinch:
• A good pair of floral cutters
• Floral tape
• Bouquet pins
If you’re working with flowers that need a little more support, then some floral wire may come in handy. All of these things can be ordered online or you can find them at a local craft store.
For flower types, going mono-botanical (one flower variety) will be the easiest and allows you to maximize your budget if you’re buying online in larger (bulk) wholesale quantities. Working with a single flower type and color will be the easiest to arrange and you can still create a vibrant and beautiful bouquet. Here are the top 4 flowers that work great for DIY bridal bouquets:
1. Single Stem Bouquets
For the design challenged, there are 2 easy and simple single stem “bouquets” that really don’t require any arranging at all: jumbo hydrangeas and cymbidium orchids.
Jumbo hydrangeas are fittingly named. A single stem is at least 9 inches across (some get as big as 11-12 inches!). These come in a variety of colors – white, blue, green and antique versions (which have multi-colored “antique” hues on their petals). A single stem alone can make a simple, yet elegant bridal bouquet. Just wrap the stem in ribbon and if desired a nicely tied bow can be added for an extra embellishment. This can be easily done in no time at all and smaller hydrangea sizes (Medium, Petite or Mini), can be used in the same way for bridesmaids and flower girl bouquets.
Another flower that works great as a single stem bouquet is the cymbidium orchid. A good quality cymbidium should have at least 8 blooms on a single stem. They come in a variety of colors: white, pink (light & dark), green, yellow and brown. They may need a little more support and some wire carefully wrapped around the stem can help reinforce the stem so it doesn’t sway around when you’re walking down the aisle. Otherwise, add some ribbon and you have yourself a great looking “bouquet”!
2. Traditional Rose Bouquet
For brides looking for a more traditional bouquet, I recommend the following three varieties that work well in a bouquet all on their own. Roses, of course, are a top choice and they have the most available color options of any type of flower. You shouldn’t have a problem finding the right shade of red, pink or any other color to match your wedding theme. A very small number of rose colors are sprayed or dyed (this pretty much only includes bright blue roses, black roses and any type of “rainbow” colored rose – the vast majority of “bi-color” roses are not artificially colored). If you are planning an outdoor wedding and some rain might be in the forecast, then you might want to avoid these. The last thing you want is for color to leach on your beautiful wedding dress!
A rose bouquet can be simply created by slowly building the shape you want stem-by-stem and periodically taping the stems together as you go. As you build, you should slowly rotate the bouquet in your hand and spiral out the stems until you get the size that you desire. You can use as few as 6 roses to create a small bouquet all the way up to two dozen for a larger more stunning bouquet. You wouldn’t want to go too much larger than that as the bouquet may become a bit unwieldy to manage (not to mention a little heavy!).
Once you have the bouquet you want, you can trim down the stems leaving about 2 inches more than your desired length. A larger bouquet should have longer stems to give it better support. You can cover up all the floral tape with the ribbon color of your choice using pins to secure everything together. The extra 2 inches allows you to put the bouquet in water without getting your ribbon wet.
3. Modern Mini Calla Lily Bouquet
Another flower that can be arranged in a similar manner for an absolutely stunning look (with almost no work at all!) is the mini-calla lily. These are sturdy flowers that don’t need any time to open like other varieties. The soft stems make them easy to arrange into a bouquet with some floral tape to keep them all together. I like to wrap ribbon around the stems and place a row of coordinating floral pins in a vertical line.
This not only helps keep everything in place, but also ads a nice accent to the bouquet. The mini-calla flower probably has the most “bang for the buck” as a DIY flower. Many florists or other retailers charge ridiculous prices for these, but you can find them online at great prices. As long as their “look” works for you, I cannot recommend these flowers enough. They are super easy to arrange and they are incredibly durable; they are pretty much the perfect wedding flower.
4. Whimsical Peony Bouquet
Lastly, peonies are a favorite choice of many brides. They don’t come in quite as many colors as other types of flowers (white and shades of pink and red), but it’s hard to compete with how gorgeous and whimsical the blooms are.
Historically, these were only available in the spring (roughly May-June), but now you can find them throughout much of the year. If you order these online, don’t freak out when they show up as tight little balls. You just need to cut the stem about 1-2 inches and place them in at least 2-3 inches of water. They will start to open after 4-5 hours in water and will look like the peonies you know and love in 24-48 hours!
This is not a long lasting flower and I highly recommend getting these direct from the farm to ensure that you have blooms that last as long as possible. As few as 6 stems can make a nice bouquet but you can add more to create a full and colorful bouquet. If you love peonies, you know that there is simply nothing that can replace their lush petals and beautiful textures. The great news is that their natural beauty makes these flowers a really easy DIY option; you can have a $1,000 bouquet look by spending a small fraction of that when you use peonies for your DIY bouquet.
Prepping Your Flowers
If you’re planning to order flowers online, the five varieties above should be ordered for delivery 2-3 days before your event. Once your flowers arrive, immediately cut at least one inch off the stems and place them in 3 inches of water, except for the mini calla lilies. Mini-callas only need 1-1.5 inches of water (I know that seems weird, but because of how they store water in their stems this really is all they need and is the best way to keep them looking amazing).
Arrange any of these bouquets the day before the wedding and place them in water until you need them. Don’t forget to leave the stems a little longer so they can sit easily in water overnight. Just trim them to your desired length (you can also use a paper towel to wipe excess water off), just below the ribbon on your big day and they are ready to go!
For those of you who are still a bit nervous about doing your own flowers, you should do a practice run before the wedding so you can work out any kinks that you may come across and also make sure you like the results. For those with more advanced skills, you can go crazy with more complex designs. By DIY-ing your own bridal bouquet, you can get beautiful flowers at an affordable price.
Jane Vance is a floral design expert for Flower Muse, an online flower retailer that specializes in delivering fresh flowers directly from the farm. Jane is passionate about design and loves helping a bride choose the perfect floral arrangements for her special day!