DIY Wedding flowers

I know this is a pretty drastic detour from the baby posts, but this is something I really wanted to share with you all.

When my husband and I got married, I decided to do a lot of the more decorative components myself.  Partly to save money, and partly because I can get really particular about these kind of things, and was really concerned about the idea of somebody else getting it wrong, and getting paid for it, when I then wouldn’t be able to fix it and have it exactly the way I wanted.  I know… bridezilla much?!

Anyway, our whole color scheme was determined when I found one flower that I decided I absolutely HAD to have – these stunning blue dendrobium orchids.

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I had a couple of concerns with using these for DIY flower arrangements.  How would I get them into the foam so that they can get water?  Would they end up being so fragile that I had to buy twice as many, to account for all the ones I destroyed in the process?  So let me start by laying those concerns to rest.  They are not that fragile – we broke each flower off of the main stem, and they all survived just fine.  The small flower stems separate very easily from the main stem.  The water issue we solved using water picks.  If you’ve never seen them before, they’re basically small plastic tubes with a lid to keep the water in and spike to insert into the floral foam.  One per flower – honestly, a monkey could use these with complete success!

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With the major logistics figured out, next came a test run.  I had already decided to offset the blue with white roses, so I went to my local grocery store and bought a couple of bouquets each of orchids and roses.  I soaked the floral foam in the holder I was planning to use overnight, and then set to work inserting flowers, one ring at a time.  Since I had a couple of friends offer to help assemble the real ones, I was organized enough to take photos as I was going for instructional purposes!  I started with a complete circle of roses, then filled in the spaces in between them with orchids, another circle of roses, more orchids to fill the gaps, and so on until the whole thing was full.

Surprisingly, my first run at these went pretty well.  If you’ve ever considered doing your own wedding flowers and have been too afraid of how complicated it’ll be, let me assure you that this truly couldn’t have been easier.  From my trial run I figured out that I definitely needed more roses, and that each bouquet would take me about 30 minutes to put together.  In the grand scheme of wedding assembly, 2 hours for 4 bouquets was totally manageable for me, even without help.  So when it turned into 5 bouquets and 3 of us to put them together, it really wasn’t a huge amount of work.

 

Now, I will stress at this point, that this was 90% of the work we did on flowers.  We had a beautiful venue, the majority of which was outdoors, and so we could get away with doing very little in terms of floral arrangements.  It ended up being 4 small bouquets, 1 larger bouquet, 8 boutonnieres (which were even easier than the bouquets!), and 8 centerpieces.  This amounted to a total of 159 roses (of course, the exact number will depend on how big they are), 18 orchid stems (assuming they each had 6 usable flowers on them) and 32 stems of bear grass.  And so, a few days before the wedding, large volumes of flowers arrived at my apartment, and I spent several days trying to keep the cat from destroying them!  The bouquets were assembled just like we did with the practice one, just making sure all of the gaps were filled.  You really don’t want to overdo it with the orchids here – a little goes a long way.  The holders that we used had a hole in the end of the handle, so we took the 4th of the small bouquets (I had 2 bridesmaids a maid of honor, so the 4th was spare), and hung it upside-down from the archway that we used for the ceremony.  I would suggest if you plan on doing this, to fix the flowers in with floral adhesive, as a few of them did fall out over the course of the day.  And I warn you, these are heavy, so if you plan on throwing a bouquet at the end of the night, make an additional hand tied one so that you don’t give anyone a concussion!  Please note:  all of the photos of the finished flowers were taken by our wonderful photographer Johnny Dao (http://www.jdaophotography.com) and as such I ask you not to republish them elsewhere.  Thanks!

For the boutonnieres, I started with a rose, laid the orchids on top, wrapped a stem of bear grass a few times until it formed loops, and used floral tape and color coordinated ribbon to hold all of the stems together, which itself was held in place with pins.  These I didn’t put together until the day, so that the orchids wouldn’t die, and we stored them all in water picks to keep the roses hydrated.

The centerpieces were incredibly simple but really beautiful.  We took large glass bowls and put in a couple of bags of small stones which I got at the dollar store.  We wrapped 3 stems of bear grass around the inside of the bowl and filled it around 2/3 full with water.  Then, just floated 2 rose heads and 2 orchids in each.  Seriously, they were so easy that even with all of my bridezilla-everything-must-be-perfect-or-I’ll-have-to-punch-someone things going on, I entrusted these to other people.  There’s honestly no real way to mess it up at all.

And that’s really all there was to it.  Yes, it takes some time, but it honestly doesn’t have to be the all consuming, will take you a month if you haven’t had years of training, type thing that a lot of people think it is.  So if you’re thinking of maybe doing your own wedding flowers I would love to encourage you to at least have a practice run and see what you think.  And before you start with the “oh, but I’m not artistic or creative enough” lines, let me tell you that I have the artistic skills of a 3 year old!  As long as the colors work together and you don’t try to do anything horrifically complicated, a few hours and a few friends is plenty to make it work.

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