Today we are going to chat about a hot topic, DIY wedding flowers. This is not a blog post to tell you it’s impossible and that you have to hire a professional, but it is meant to be a realistic and informative post. My goal is to let you know what to expect if this is the route you are going, things you will need to consider and hopefully give you information that will help with the process.
I am a big lover of DIY! For my own wedding I did my own flowers, the baking for my dessert bar (with help from my Mama!) some printables and crafts. Since then I have continued to use Pinterest to find fun projects including birthday party ideas for my boys, Halloween costumes and several projects I did for my baby’s room when I was pregnant last year, which led me to my recent obsession – quilting! I love getting to be creative – taking an idea and turning it into my own. It makes me happy and I fully encourage other people to do it too. It’s fun and challenging and sometimes you can really surprise yourself with what you can make. That all being said, I do feel DIY wedding flowers can be sketchy. Here is why:
1) Price vs. Worth
Everyone thinks that doing your own wedding flowers is so much cheaper than paying a professional to do them for you, and it can be! However, sometimes you only save a little, and you have to decide what that amount is worth to you. While you would be saving on paying someone for their labour – you are going to have to buy all the materials you need to do things properly (wire for boutonnieres/corsages, floral tape, ribbon, etc). Doesn’t sound like a ton, but those items add up and there is quite a mark up on them from stores like Michael’s AND chances are you will end up with left overs that ends up being wasted money. Speaking of waste, this can also happen for flowers, if you are having to buy things by the bundle you can easily end up with left over product that sometimes you can end up throwing into a vase, but sometimes there isn’t time to make up extra arrangements with the left overs or they just don’t work for a design – so it too gets wasted. So, yes, sometimes it is much cheaper, but other times you may end up spending just as much or more, plus it ends up eating much more of your time and there is also the stress of whether things will turn out nicely. The bigger project it is the more you may save, but it would also equal more stress and more work. The simpler the project the less you are going to save (or could even end up spending more), but would be a much less stressful event to take on. 2) Time
This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t encourage DIY wedding flowers. The reason other DIY projects are okay is because you can do most of them far in advance. If you want to do paper flowers or make up all your wedding favours or make up a billion adorable little decorations for the reception you can do it because you can start them months in advance and so long as you have a place to store them it is no big deal. With fresh flowers, they can’t be a done a month in advance, unless you are using carnations you shouldn’t even be doing them a week in advance. Flowers need to be done up a day or two before the wedding to ensure they stay fresh – especially with wedding season being so warm! That means the day before your wedding, instead of enjoying time with your relatives or friends or relaxing with your soon to be hubby – you are farting around and stressing out about doing flowers. Sometimes they don’t take very long, but sometimes they do! Especially if you haven’t done them before it can end up taking way more time than you anticipate and you are just adding a lot more stress than you need.
3) Pinterest Fails
I am sure all of you have seen the posts of the pinterest fails, and I would be willing to bet you have had one or two yourself. I consider myself a pretty competent baker, but I have found recipes that just suck. I have also found projects that look suuuuuper easy, but end up being really fussy or taking way more time than I thought. This can very much happen with flowers too. I think lots of people can underestimate how much time flowers can take or what they need to know for things to turn out well. Or, at the end of the day, we all know life has a funny way of things not going according to plan. It isn’t unheard for a floral order from the grocery store or Costco not turnig out as expected, whether it be wrong flowers, wrong colours or getting shorted product. Or what if you didn’t order enough for what you need to make? Or what if the flowers end up really snappy and a ton of them end up breaking and you don’t have enough? Then what? The wedding is the next day and there isn’t a back up plan. I am not trying to be a negative nancy and tell you that if you do your own flowers you are guaranteed to fail, but things happen.
4) Lack of knowledge and experience
This is also for the brides who may not personally be doing it themselves, but maybe they have a creative aunt or a good friend who is very crafty and have offered to take care of doing flowers. Some of these people are very competent and it is problem free, sometimes not. There is a lot more to flowers than people think. Do you know that hydrangeas are extremely thirsty flowers that will die quickly if they aren’t taken care of properly? Or that lilies bruise really easily? Or which flowers will do well in floral foam and which ones won’t? Do you know some ways to open up flowers if they come in still in tight buds? Do you know that gerbera daisies can sometimes have very curved stems and/or have very snappy stems that can make them challenging to work with? Do you know that some flowers are better than others for corsages and boutonnieres to ensure they last all day? Or the proper way to assemble them? Can you tell if flowers are fresh or not? Do you know roughly how many stems there should be in your and your bridesmaids bouquets to have them be in proportion? Do you know what to look for when picking out flowers? Did you know that once your stems have been out of water for approximately 30 seconds they should be recut before they are put in water again otherwise they won’t actually soak up water well? There is a lot of random bits of knowledge a florist has about all the different flowers and how to put things together well to make sure that they not only look pretty, but will continue looking pretty throughout the day that the average person has no clue about. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible for the average person to put together simple bouquets, but there is a lot more to it than people often think that can result in things not going according to plan and there being added stress when they don’t.
5) Quality of flowers
Some people want to do their own flowers just because they want to take it on as a fun project, but I would say majority do it to save on the cost. You can order bulk flowers from a floral shop for DIY flowers, or you can order them from a grocery store. Typically if a person is concerned about price, they are significantly cheaper from the grocery store. It is for a reason. The quality of flowers from a grocery store is quite different from the quality you would get from ordering from an actual flower shop. I know this because I have experience working in both a grocery store AND floral shops as well as buying from both. If you are set on DIY flowers, I would strongly encourage you to get the quality flowers from a florist to reduce the risk of surprises, with the added benefit that they may also help provide supplies AND maybe even some helpful tips.
At the end of the day, as a big fan of DIY , my biggest issue with DIY wedding flowers is the risk. I can appreciate that flowers aren’t a high priority for everyone and it may be an area you would like to cut costs. However, by taking this route it is taking on the added stress, taking up precious time and running the risk that things might not go as planned and with a small window of time back up plans are very limited. If flowers aren’t a priority, then perhaps you are okay with that. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to completely shut everyone down from trying to do it, but I want people who do decide to take it on to be aware of the risks and plan for that!
So there are our negatives, now lets move on to the positives. Now that we KNOW what some of the risks are here are some things that we CAN do in order to make the process run smoother and have better results:
1) Fabric or Paper Flowers
As an alternative to fresh flowers, if you are a crafty person and are willing to commit the time to do this (because it can be a time-consuming process!) this can be a great alternative to fresh because it is something you can do IN ADVANCE. This way, if things don’t go according to plan you can move on to Plan B. The internet is a great resource for something like this with tons of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube in lots of different styles that can really step you through the process. You can do it up as far in advance as you like, definitely NOT something I would recommend leaving until the end. While lots of them are simple, they so take time and you will need time to gradually work through things. A fun ladies night with your bridesmaids, some wine, and a few chick flicks can help make the process go a little smoother. If you know that you aren’t a crafty person, skip this option to save yourself the headache and frustration.
2) Talk to a florist
Again, I strongly encourage you to go to a real florist for your flowers vs. grocery store to ensure the best quality which is a step in the right direction! Some florists may even give a price break for a bulk order, they may be able to sell you some of the supplies if you ask nicely AND depending on the florist, they may be willing to share some tips and tricks to help the process go as smoothly as possible. Selling you flowers in bulk is a services that Calyx Floral Design can provide for you, contact Travis to make arrangements for this.
3) Do a test run
While I am a creative person, there is a big part of me that likes to go into a project and knowing how it is going to be done, because I don’t like annoying little surprises on things that I want to look good. A great way to make the process go smoother for the BIG day, is to do a test run ahead of time. It would get you more familiar with the flowers, give you a good idea of how long things may take you (depending on how you work you may finish super quick, or if you are more finicky it may take some time) and make sure that you are happy with the outcome. This doesn’t mean you have to do ALL your wedding flowers, but if you did a bouquet, a boutonniere or corsage and a centerpiece to make sure you know how to make all of them, and then budget how long it would take to make all your wedding flowers. This would be an added cost, but I really think it is worth it to save some stress.
4) Book a planning consult
This is one of our new services! It is similar to a bridal consult which we would have with a typical bride, but is geared towards the DIY bride to help through the planning process. This consultation would come at a price of $50 an hour, but an hour is all it should take! This consultation would help map out everything for you. We would help you select flowers that would compliment the overall look & feel you are trying to achieve with your wedding, list out how many stems of what flowers you would need for your bouquets, what you would require for supplies and price out what the bulk order would cost. Again this would be an added cost, but could significantly make the planning process easier for you and reduce the stress of the job.
5) Book a Wedding Workshop
Another one of our newest services! Not only do Travis and I LOOOOVE making flowers for our wonderful brides, but we are also very passionate about sharing our love for flowers. We love helping teach people a little more about flowers, and for this DIY bride this could be such a help! A wedding workshop would involve having a learning session with Travis and/or myself where we would teach you the basics for making your bouquets, boutonnieres/corsages, centerpieces or whatever pieces you would need. This could be for just yourself, you and your mom, you and your bridesmaids. We would use product that you are wanting to use for your own wedding (provided it isn’t a super seasonal product) so you can get familiar with it, and you could extend this to learn as much or as little as you like. Prices will vary to fit your needs, so to learn more about what this would cost contact Travis 403-352-4055 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This would be a bigger price, but it would 100% be the most helpful option so that come the big day, you will have the confidence that you know how to do things properly and have your flowers turn out beautifully. Not only would this be great information, but it could also be such a fun thing to do with your girls, it could be a fun event for your bachelorette party during the day before your night out. Travis and I are so excited about this new service and really look forward to helping brides make this a fun process instead of a stressful one!
You could do as many or as little of these options, but these are some ways that you could take on DIY flowers that could reduce your stress level and increase your chances of still having a wonderful product. To celebrate us starting these new services Travis is actually GIVING AWAY a wedding workshop to a lucky bride!
For a chance to win, share our post on Facebook and tag the person/people that you would love with you if you were to do a wedding workshop! The only condition is that they winner must live in central Alberta and that they can work with Travis’ schedule. The winner will be selected next Sunday! Hope that this information was helpful, you guys enjoy your weekend!!