DIY Wedding Bouquets
By Sara Elliott
Flowers can be a magical element in a wedding. They carry the colors, styles and even the theme of the occasion and contribute vibrancy, texture, and a graceful element to the proceedings. Brides usually love the idea of lots of flowers for their ceremony and reception until they realize how much flowers, and especially fresh flowers, can cost.
There are a couple of ways around the expense. You can use a florist and keep the flowers to a minimum. You can lose the fresh flowers in favor of silk blooms, too. The third choice is to stay with fresh flowers, but make the arrangements and bouquets yourself. Fresh flowers look like they'd be easy to order, arrange and deliver to the church or hall, but there are some unique challenges you should think about before you go with this plan.
If you want to go with fresh flowers, make sure that you understand the drill. Flowers are living things, even though they've been cut from the plant. The clock is ticking their useful life away, so being ready and willing to deal with the challenges they present is important.
Have a strategy. Whether you're using a florist or a flower wholesaler, make sure to have your bouquet plans in place ahead of time. Flower arrangements can be complex with lots of pieces, like multiple flower varieties, greenery, bows and other elements coming together to create a single bouquet. Create a recipe for the bouquets you have in mind for the bride and bridesmaids. A list of the flowers involved and a drawing of the layout will be invaluable for this. It will also help you strategize how best to showcase what each flower variety or other component has to offer.
Have helpers. Making one bouquet may not be a big deal, but if you're making multiple bouquets and some centerpieces, too, you'll need assistance. If your designated flower helpers know something about flowers, so much the better. If not, provide clear instructions. Diagrams or photos will help. Videos are even better.
Start early. Flowers will need to be hydrated if they're going to stay perky on your wedding day. This means getting them to a cool location and into water before they're scheduled to be arranged.
Have the supplies ready. From buckets to stage and hydrate the blooms to wire, floral foam and bouquet holders, make sure to have everything you need ready to go before the flowers arrive. You can use a number of strategies for structuring a bouquet, securing it in place and creating a decorative holder, but successful execution is the result of good prep. You'll be in a better position to make a great bouquet if you try a dry run first and make sure you have everything you need on hand.
Employ assembly line efficiency. If you're making a number of floral elements, have work stations for everyone who's helping you, and give them a layout of how you want each arrangement to be assembled down to the quantity and location of each blossom. Consistency is important and will help ensure you've purchased enough flowers for all the decorations and accessory items on your to-do list.
Take time with delivery and staging. Once the flowers are prepared, they'll have to wait in a cool area (not a refrigerator) until they'll be used. The clock will be ticking, because they won't have access to water for the duration. Make sure that you transport blooms quickly and in a temperature-controlled environment. If you'll be using a public hall, it's a good idea to label them clearly.
In the flurry of activity on your wedding day, don't forget to enjoy the flowers you've chosen. They're part of a long tradition, and chances are that they'll be symbolic of your special day for the rest of your life. If you plan on keeping your bouquet as a memento, arrange to have it professionally dried or pressed, or preserve it yourself with silica gel, borax or sand within a few days after the wedding.