Thinking of DIY wedding flowers for your big day? This can be a fun and effective way to save a lot of dough and add major personalization to your wedding. But, it is also no small feat. Here are several key things to consider before you dive on in.
Retail vs. Wholesale
Most of the time when people decide to DIY their wedding flowers, they buy the choice blooms from a flower wholesaler. It’s important to understand how a bulk floral wholesaler is different from a retailer where you would buy flowers for mother’s day or a florist who provides arrangements for your wedding.
When you buy flowers through a florist or floral retailer, you are getting the end product. The retailer ordered flowers from a wholesale, received them and re-hydrated them, waited for the proper bloom fullness, then arranged and styled them for the consumer. When you DIY your flowers, you save money because you cut out the middleman (the retailer) and get your flowers straight from the wholesaler.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you are getting lesser quality flowers, in fact, they are the exact same flowers a professional florist purchases for their arrangements. But, what it does mean is that you take over the role of retailer by sourcing the blooms, re-hydrating them once they arrive, and arranging them for your wedding.
You may expect your flowers to arrive beautiful and blossoming, but in actuality you have to put in a little elbow grease to bring your wholesale flowers to full bloom. This is because the wholesalers usually cut the flowers before they have fully blossomed in order to ensure maximum life for the end user (you!). When you flowers come in the mail, many varieties will look tight and will need several days of hydration to be in full bloom for your event. It is usually recommended to receive your flowers 2-3 days before the event so they can hydrate and open up for at least 12-24 hours before you start arranging them.
When you receive your bulk flowers in the mail, just like when a florist does, after a long trip without water. They may look limp and life-less, but all they need is hydration and some prep work to revive them. Many flowers will come with all the leaves attached and you will need to remove the ones below the water line. In addition roses will have thorns (ouch!) so be careful and wear gloves to remove them.
Cheaper but not Cheap
The average brides spends $2,000 on wedding flowers. This can be significantly more depending on the size of the wedding or the city where it’s held. Just the bridal bouquet can run north of $300! While it’s true that you can DIY yours for just $50, this doesn’t mean that you will be able to have an over-abundance of flowers for next to nothing.
You have to take into account how much flowers you are expecting to have. If you are planning on many elaborately large arrangements and billowing bouquets, you may have to spend north of $1,000 on your flowers.
That’s not to say that you can’t have gorgeous DIY wedding flowers for just a few hundred, but it’s important to realize that the more you want the more it will cost. The good news is, the more you buy, the cheaper each flower gets. Not sure how many flowers you’ll need? Download my free wedding flower worksheet to figure it out. Or get a flower bouquet recipe card to take all the guesswork out!
I know some of you out there are the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types. But even the most care-free among you wouldn’t dream of not planning at least some of your wedding, right? Have the same mentality about your flowers. Making a game plan for your DIY wedding flowers is essential to success on your big day.
You’ll need to set aside time to think about several things:
- your budget
- what flower arrangements you want
- what type of flowers you want
- when you’ll practice
- logistics of receiving bulk flowers
- when you’ll arrange them and who will help
- where to store the flowers
- how you’ll transport the arrangements
There are a lot of things to consider in your planning. Keep in mind that you will not be able to do your flowers the day of your wedding. With all the other things going on that day, it will be a stressful mess. If you absolutely have to wait until the morning of for some pieces (like the boutonnieres) recruit a friend or family member to be in charge of those for you.
Speaking of recruiting help, you will definitely need some assistance in preparing and arranging your flowers so recruit some willing helpers ahead of time. (Pro-tip: make it a wedding shower/bachelorette event and get your girls involved!)
Getting a viable plan for your DIY wedding flowers is going to take some time. Be willing to invest and put some work in and it will pay off in the end.
Do a Dry Run
Arranging flowers for the first time the day before your wedding is a recipe for disaster. Practice ahead of time to ensure that you feel comfortable taking on this DIY and so you don’t add unneeded stress before your big day.
Do your research and watch lots of tutorials. You can find some of my favorites on my resources page. Once you have a partial plan in place, get some practice flowers. You can order smaller amounts at Blooms by the Box, or go to your grocery store and buy flowers that are close to what you plan on ordering.
I think this is fun to schedule around your engagement shoot so you have some pretty floral props for those photos, or even before a bridal shower to supplement that decor. That way the money for those practice flowers is well spent.
If you’re really nervous, I’d suggest looking into a local floral design course. Community colleges or park districts often offer them for reasonable prices. I learned a great deal in preparation for my DIY wedding flowers by taking a community college course (check out my DIY flower story!).
Don’t Forget Supplies
When you’re planning your flower budget, don’t forget that you’ll need to buy a few extra things besides just the flowers. Your blooms will come dehydrated and all packed up and you’ll need to cut and hydrate them. Beyond supplies for that, you’ll need the accessories and vases for your floral arrangements. I’ve listed out many supplies you’ll likely need on my resources page.
You can also consider buying this starter kit by Blooms by the Box. Having the proper supplies is essential to DIY flower success. A common misconception about DIY wedding flowers is that you need to store them in a large refrigerator ahead of time. This is simply not true. In fact, common refrigerators (unlike floral coolers) can be very humid and damage your flowers. Keeping them in a cool, dark place (such as a basement) is the optimal way to store your flowers. If you want them nice and open for your wedding day this is especially important. And if they’re not quite full blooms the morning of, try putting them in warm water.
Don’t forget that you’ll likely be transporting your bouquets and arrangements to the wedding site. Do you have a vehicle available with enough flat space to store your flowers? And make sure to plan ahead for boxes that can secure your vases during the trip. From a girl who has had an arrangement topple into destruction during transportation, please have someone riding with the flowers to safeguard their journey!
Don’t Shoot for Perfection
There are lots of factors that will affect your DIY wedding flowers experience, and I guarantee at least one thing won’t go exactly as you had expected. Be prepared for these last minute adjustments.
Buy extra flowers. You may have every single stem of each bunch you’ve ordered parceled out to it’s appropriate arrangement, but you still need to have extras for the unexpected. Some flowers could wilt (although this shouldn’t happen!), having a few extra is going to prevent a panic attack.
Colors are a big deal for weddings. You may have spent hours looking at bridesmaid dress swatches to ensure your exact colors are represented, don’t expect this kind of perfection from your flowers. They are a factor of nature and while your wholesaler will do their best to represent the actual color to you ahead of time, you really won’t know the exact shade until they arrive. If your tulips arrive and they look more fuchsia than raspberry, take a deep breath and know that they will still be gorgeous and coordinate with your wedding fine. I personally prefer variations of colors mixed together over a fully monochromatic look.
Be Confident in YOU!
This can be a daunting endeavor, but if you do the leg work ahead of time I know you will succeed. Sometimes just believing you CAN do this is the most important part. Be confident in you and the preparation you have done, and know that your flowers will knock people’s socks off! Seriously, what is cooler than telling your wedding guests you did all the flowers?? Instant bride-of-the-year status!