My experience of making my own wedding flowers as a total amateur!
Making your own wedding bouquet sounds pretty scary and intimidating, I know. Flowers are a pretty integral part of any wedding, from finishing off your outfit to making your venue look fabulous. But if you are the kind of person who loves a bit of a creative challenge then this could be a great way for you to save yourself a chunk of money!
I set myself the challenge of whipping up all of my own wedding flowers and although it was possibly one of the most stressful wedding DIY tasks I undertook it was also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding.
I was SO chuffed with how my flowers turned out that I thought I'd share my experience (as a complete novice) along with some of hints, tips, do's and don'ts for any creative or green fingered brides planning to create their very own DIY florals!
One of the most important parts of any wedding DIY is planning and this is so necessary when creating your own wedding flowers.
The first thing to consider is seasonality, this is crucial when it comes to flowers, it's good to have a rough idea of what will be about at the time of your wedding so that you can pre-plan some of the flowers you might like to include. I used my trusty friend google to find this out and then made a note of all the names of the flowers I liked for that particular season. Be prepared for the possibility that some of your favourite flowers may not be available at the time of year you're getting wed.
Secondly I considered what colours I'd like to include and made a note of these too because when it comes time to shop for your flowers, chances are you will be totally bamboozled (I was!). I also used the most useful tool in any brides toolkit....Pinterest! Create yourself a board and fill it with floral inspiration to give yourself a clear visual of what it is you want to create, so that when it comes to finally putting your bouquets together you'll have some sort of visual reference point.
Watch youtube videos to get an idea of how to build bouquets and make a mental note of any useful tips and or rules of arranging....although I'm not a fan of rules when it comes to creativity so its okay to ignore them and do your own thing if you like *wink*
If you're planning on making the flowers for your tables and venue too then its good to start collecting jars, vases and any other vessels to display your blooms in advance. I started collecting around 2 years in advance, charity shops and car boot sales are treasure troves of jars etc and you'll save a pretty penny by sourcing them second hand.
CHOOSING YOUR SUPPLIERS
There are SO many places to buy cut flowers these days, we really are spoiled for choice. Flower markets are a great place to go if you are looking for very specific blooms but bear in mind how far you may have to travel to get to a flower market and that they often start trading at around 4am! For a long time I had my heart set on buying all of my flowers from a flower market in my local city, but quickly realised (with a bit of a reality check from my mum) that it was just going to be too much to do in the week leading up to the wedding with everything else we had on our to do list. So I went for plan B...supermarkets and online retailers.
Buying from supermarkets can be a little risky as you can't guarantee that they will have exactly what you're looking for on the exact day you're buying, so the newly discovered control freak in me decided to shop around online to find some affordable bouquets that contained the types of flowers I was looking for...my logic was that if I had a few bunches that I could definitely work with then I could supplement those with supermarket flowers. It was handy for me that my colour scheme was pretty much all the colours under the sun and the look I was going for was wild...which made it a lot easier!
From buying to arranging over the 3 days running up to the wedding.
Wednesday - 3 days before the wedding
After spending a good few hours searching for suitable flowers on the net I fell in love with some gorgeous bouquets from Bloom & Wild that contained Hollyhocks, Giant red cockscomb, Billy balls and lots of other beautiful bright wild looking florals. I ordered them to be delivered the next day and the beauty of Bloom and Wild is that they come in post box sized boxes that fit straight through your door so that you don't necessarily have to be in when they arrive...which is handy when you're rushing around like a mad woman 2 days before your wedding!
When they all arrived the next day they looked a little tired (wouldn't we all after being stuck in a box all night) so I made sure to take each one out and put it in water with a drop of plant feed, which perked them up wonderfully!
Thursday - 2 Days before the wedding
With only 2 days to go, Me, my Mum and my Auntie Anne went off on a flower buying mission. First on my list was Waitrose, I'd visited a Waitrose store the week previously and liked the flowers they had so decided to go here first. To my delight they did not disappoint, I bought 3 gorgeous bouquets containing huge pink South African Protea and 3 smaller bunches of brightly coloured Freesias.
Next we hit up Aldi....my fave! I love Aldi flowers, in my experience they always last the longest out of all the supermarket flowers and are so damn affordable! I mainly bought filler flowers from here as I'd pretty much got everything I needed already and couldn't resist those sunflowers...who doesn't love a sunflower really?
KEEPING THEM FRESH
With 1 and a half days still to go keeping the flowers fresh was really important. I'd read somewhere that putting flowers in the fridge overnight is great for keeping them fresh but as we wouldn't be arranging them until the following day that wasn't an option so we decided to keep them all in buckets of water with a little flower feed and put them in my cellar which is pretty much the next best thing to a fridge. The main thing is that they are out if direct sunlight and away from any any source of heat such as radiators and household appliances and are kept as cool as possible.
Friday - 1 day before the wedding
Friday was our venue set up day and possibly the most hectic day I have ever experienced in my life...but having said that I don't have children so what the heck do I know about hectic?!
I started the day at 7am by visiting my mother in laws allotment where she had very kindly been growing some Dahlias especially for the occasion. I collected the ones that were ready and bought them inside with the rest of our haul.
Step 1 - Get some helpers!
If you're having a bit of a DIY wedding then chances are that you'll have a team of (very kind) family and friends to help! So while my dad and brother emptied our cellar of all the wedding props I'd been hoarding and making for the last 2 years, me and my mum got stuck in to making the flowers.
Step 2 - Find a suitable space
A kitchen work surface or dining room table will be perfect for this, but any clear surface or floor will work. We worked from my dining room table and had a big piece of old fabric on the floor to chuck the excess leaves and stems onto, we didn't have time to be neat about things and there were leaves and stems flying everywhere at one point.
Step 3 - Tools!
You'll need the following bits and pieces to create your blooms:
- A good pair of scissors
- Florists tape
- Ribbon or twine
- Bouquet pins (optional, I didn't need these)
- Some large jars or buckets to keep your individual bouquets in
- Your flowers
Step 4 - Creating your bouquets
Tip: Make your own bouquet first!
By making your own bouquet first you make sure that you get the first pick of all your favourite flowers. It also makes it much easier to have a template to create smaller versions of your own bouquet for your bridesmaids.
I started by picking some of the flowers I'd like to use as focal points in my bouquet, the giant red cockscomb was what I started with and then I added some bright pink hollyhocks, orange Dahlias, and Protea. Its best to hold the stems tightly in your hand and keep adding more and arranging them in your hand as you go, making sure that the colours and heights of the stems all look balanced, using plenty of greenery also helps balance out your blooms especially if you're using a lot of colour.
Once you're happy with how it looks grip it tightly in your hand and have someone help wrap floristry tape or twine around the stems to keep them all in place. You can then add ribbon on top to add a bit of extra colour which me and my maid of honour did the morning of the wedding.
Once you've assembled all of your bouquets place them in jars with a little flower feed to keep them nice and fresh.
Try to make sure you set aside plenty of time and space to create your bouquets, I ended up making mine in the midst of chaos with about half an hour to finish them all and although I feel that the rush of it all really added to the final result I wouldn't recommend it. I would have enjoyed having a little more time to really think about it instead of trying to squeeze every last drop of creativity out of myself in record time!
TABLE CENTREPIECES & EXTRA FLOWERS
Once all of the bouquets were finished we packed up the rest of the flowers and took them to the venue with us along with all of the jars, bottles and vases we had collected. I also hired some small rustic milk churns from Tiffany from Oscars bar hire to display my table centrepiece flowers.
We set up all of the flowers in buckets outside of our wedding venue and with the same vigour me and my mum quickly made the table flowers, this part is all a bit of a blur if I'm honest but I used the same principles as when I put the main bouquets together and tried to keep everything fairly balanced.
I made sure that ever jar, vase and milk churn had water and plant feed in it so that the flowers would be happy overnight until our wedding the next day.
WHAT DID IT COST?
Saving money without sacrificing style is a top priotity for most brides and DIY'ing your own wedding flowers is certainly a good way of reducing costs.
I set myself a budget of £200 for all of my flowers, which included my bouquet, 4 bridesmaids bouquets, 8 table centrepieces and a few extra little jar arrangements. All in all I spent around £230 which I was super pleased with and also rather proud of!
You can have beautiful flowers on a small budget as long as you plan properly and are prepared for a creative challenge.