DIY-er Beware: Flowers
Post #2: Flowers
This 5-series blog post called “DIY-er Beware” includes suggestions to better manage your budget AND stress-load. The recommendations are based on real weddings & my experiences as a Certified Wedding Planner.
The topics of conversation we’ll be covering include:
4. Table settings & décor
5. “Friendors” & honorable mentions
For each post, I’ll share some lessons-learned from previous DIY-experiences along with my views on The Best Choice (using a vendor), The Compromise (a way to save money and stress), and The DIY-for-Lifer (some tips on how to pull off DIY-ing if you absolutely must).
Today's topic: FLOWERS.
Flowers are probably the most popular category that people choose to DIY, at least in my personal experience.
The first pricing quote from a professional floral designer can produce some pretty big “sticker shock” if you haven’t been involved in other weddings. But there’s a reason… flowers are a lot of work and expense! There’s a ton of prep work, not to mention knowing the correct quantities to order, the proper care to keep them fresh, the technique in arranging and securing the arrangements for endurance, knowing what flowers are in season (and therefore the most cost-effective), and all of the tools and tricks required.
On top of all of that, the last couple of days before the wedding are usually pretty hectic!
Relatives and friends are coming into town, you’ve got tons of last-minute errands and details that you just hadn’t gotten around to yet, your girls want to get their nails done, you’ve got to pack for you honeymoon, and all of that’s if everything goes smoothly!
When will you have time to make 25 centerpieces, 8 bouquets, 6 corsages, 15 boutonnieres, 6 aisle arrangements, and that dreamy arch piece you’ve had your eye on?
How will you transport them safely (with all of that other décor you’ve made Pinterest-perfect)?
Who is going to set up all of those items for you (especially that arch piece)? Your bridesmaids are all getting their hair & makeup done, and let’s be real—the groomsmen are probably on their second bottle of whiskey by now.
Click through the slideshow & hover to see three florist recommendations + tips about how brides cut costs.
Now, how do you move forward? To keep with the formula for our DIY-series, let’s talk about the best choice, a compromise, and how to pull of DIY-ing if you must.
Planner’s Recommendations: Flowers
The Best Choice
Hire a florist!
The cost is worth the time, stress, and effort you save. Your florist will also deliver your arrangements to the venue and install anything they’ve provided, including placing your centerpieces and hanging that arch piece! See the end of this post for local recommendations & tips for requesting quotes.
Hire a florist, but ask for ways to save money and be willing to adapt your vision.
The ladies at Gathered : Floral Design + Events said, "We offer Full wedding design or à la carte pricing if the bride wants to pick up the items. This saves in delivery & set up. Obviously not a good fit for a wedding with tons of installations, but for a girl who just needs personal flowers or a small amount of items— this has worked well."
If you don’t have your heart set on a certain flower, take your florist’s advice on what choices will match your color and aesthetic and prove to be an economic decision, based on the season.
True “etiquette” would say to never allow your guests to see an incomplete reception room, but if that doesn’t bother you—re purpose your ceremony floral for the reception! From our hypothetical example, your 6 bridesmaids’ bouquets and 6 aisle arrangements become centerpieces, leaving you with only 13 centerpieces to order. Your “toss bouquet” can be used on the cake table or guest book table as décor. Your bridal bouquet serves as the centerpiece on your sweetheart table.
Partial Order & Mix it up
Still can’t stomach the price tag and convinced you need to make your own? Consider paying a florist to make everything but the 13 centerpieces—you can re-purpose what the florist does as described above and only have 13 arrangements to make on your own. Another idea is to consider a décor theme that will allow you to “mix & match” floral and non-floral elements: maybe some tables get a white lantern & greenery wreath, but other tables get a stack of antique books with a mason jar arrangement.
Caveat: You'll need to make sure your florist knows your plan and is okay with it. Many florists don't allow anyone else to provide flowers (it's in their contract), in order to maintain a cohesive theme and allow for proper credit for their hard work. Just be sure to ask!
Still unable to accommodate a florist in your budget? Here are few tips for DIY-ing your floral:
Try to find a florist that offers DIY prices. Krystal with Weddings by the Kreative Consultant says, "we often have a wide variety of flowers to select from and can get specific colors/flowers that are higher quality, fresher and overall better than Sam's club, Costco or 50 flowers."
Look into floral design kits/services that help you make the best decisions and provide tools and instructions. Examples include Blooms by the Box, Bloominous, and Fiftyflowers. Some florists also teach workshops on the basics of arranging.
If you decide to go total DIY and order your flowers wholesale through Sam’s Club, for example, I’d recommend placing a small practice order to sample the quality, timing of shipments, and test the freshness of your floral. Consider placing the order to create some practice centerpieces and your bouquet for another wedding function—maybe a shower or your bridal portraits.
Get organized and recruit a team
When you put together your flowers a day or two before the wedding, you’ll need an army of people to help you, a good space to work in, an empty fridge (or 3) to store your blooms in, an easy-to-follow plan for your soldiers, and supplies.
Hire help for décor setup
Typically, coordinators do not automatically set up all of your décor (I bet there’s a future blog post about why), but most coordinators will absolutely offer décor setup as an add-on to your day-of package. When interviewing your coordinator (and you should interview them—another future blog idea!), ask if they offer setup services as an add-on, and let them know you’re planning to DIY your flowers.
bonus diy tips from the kreative consultant
Beware of the refrigerator
The compressor can give off freezer burn and freeze or burn your DIY flowers if they're too close to the walls or compressor.
If flowers are fresh, they can often be kept in a cool room or at room temperature.
Avoid fruits & veggies (they release gasses that will make your flowers wilt) and direct sun & wind at all costs, because these will decrease the life of your flowers.
A healthy flower is a happy one
Use flower food for your DIY flowers. They will last longer as opposed to flowers in water only.
Ignore that bull about putting a penny, seven up, bleach or sugar in the water for your flowers. That does nothing to extend the life of them
Click through the slideshow & hover to read about how a real DIY client pulled it off!
DFW Florist recommendations
Here are a few florists that will be able to create a beautiful wedding day for you! Several of these floral designers also offer workshops or DIY-assistance:
When you contact your florist, be sure to give them some important details to better create a quote:
Estimated Floral Budget
Theme & Wedding Colors
Loose Inspiration Photos (but let them know if you’re open to ideas and recommendations)
Help another bride out: leave a comment!
Did you DIY your flowers? Would you do it again?
What are your tips to succeeding?