Do you look at a beautiful floral arrangement and think, "I could do that?" If so, you might be up to doing your own wedding flowers.
But keep in mind that most of those beautiful arrangements and bridal bouquets you see in pictures or magazines were probably done by professional floral designers with years of design experience and floral know-how. But if you're up to it, make the project more fun than frustrating, more awesome than awful. The keys to beautiful wedding flowers are planning every detail, getting everything together in one place, and practice, practice, practice.
If you use our tips and follow our advice, you're sure to have a good experience. So, let's get started!
Wedding Flower Arrangement Tips
- Get lots of ideas: Look through magazines, books on floral decorating, visit fine floral shops, and take pictures of floral arrangements you like in public places. A 5-star hotel is a great place to get ideas. Go on a Saturday and you'll probably see weddings already set up. The more ideas you have, the more you'll have to incorporate into your wedding flowers.
- Put all your ideas in one place: There's nothing worse than finding just the look you want, then losing it because you weren't organized. So get a notebook with pockets or a manila envelope just for your flower pictures. When you're ready to start making decisions, you can toss out the photos that don't fit into your plan.
- Decide on your color scheme: If you have a favorite color, that's what you'll want for your wedding. But if the carpet is hideous in the room, you should probably think about a colors scheme that will help to take the eye off it. Or you may have fallen in love with some dresses for your bridesmaids. Choose your color scheme using any of these sources.
- Set your flower budget: The flowers are just one part of a wedding celebration. Added to the cost of the dress, music, reception, and gifts, the budget for flowers can just about break the bank. But in any wedding, the flowers set the tone, add color and fragrance, and are one of the things that the guests really remember. So don't skimp.
- Select your flowers: Many different flowers can give the colors you choose. Will you want roses or carnations, orchids or iris? Your decision will be somewhat influenced by where you live and the season of the year. Lilacs are almost impossible to get (at a price you can afford) in January, so find other flowers that have a similar shade. You may decide to have all roses or an assortment of several varieties. Whatever you choose, make sure the flowers are available in your locale or place a special order for just what you want.
- Recruit lots of help: Because flowers are perishable, they have to be prepared and arranged at the last minute. If you're having lots of flowers, you'll need lots of help.
- Make a recipe to follow: Prepare a recipe for your floral arrangements, just as you would write a recipe for a food you're preparing. Each centerpiece will need a container, a block of floral foam, 12 stems of roses, 5 stems of baby's breath, and 3 stems of ivy. Well, you get the picture. Be sure you have more than you need for what you expect to make.
- Gather all the supplies: Get everything together in a box with easy access. If you have 3 friends helping, be sure you have 3 sets of supplies to help make the work go more smoothly. You'll want to include clippers, floral tape, ribbons, floral moss, flower preservative, rose strippers if you have roses, corsage pins, vase. Once you have your recipe, you'll know what you need.
- A cool place for storage: You'll probably purchase and start preparing the flowers several days ahead of the big event and they'll need to be kept chilled. If it's a hot summer, reserve a room in the house and crank up the air conditioner. But don't let the cold air blow directly on the flowers.
- Buckets of water: As soon as you buy the flowers, they need to go into some water. Find some tall buckets from a home improvement center or ask if you can buy or borrow some from the flower vendor or florist. A very tall bucket (about 18" tall) will help to support the blossoms on tall stems.
- A dedicated work area: To prepare your wedding flowers, whether you have small arrangements or large ones, you'll need an area dedicated to the task. Cover as many surfaces as you can with plastic or a carpet cover (some flowers will bleed onto the flooring). You'll need a deep sink to soak the flowers, several large tables, trash bags, a large garbage can, and space nearby to set finished bouquets and arrangements.
- Practice, practice, practice: No matter how simple your plan or how confident you might feel, plan to do at least one (preferably two) practice run. Purchase the flowers you've selected to construct one centerpiece and one bouquet and put them together. Keep track of how long it takes to prepare that one, then multiply the time by how many you'll need to make. This will give you a great idea of how much time you'll need to dedicate to the flowers when the big day arrives. You might find that you've bought more flowers than you need or that you need a fuller bow, requiring more ribbon. This is a better time to realize these things than on the wedding day.
- Work ahead: The flowers will have to be done ahead of time, but you can make bows, gather the containers, purchase candles, fill votives, fold napkins, print the wedding programs or reception menus, and assemble the table favors weeks ahead. Remember where you store them!
- When the party's over: Ask a close friend to gather your centerpiece containers, candlesticks, decorations, votive holders, and any flowers you want to keep at the end of the reception. Be sure you provide bins, boxes, or bags and wrapping materials along with instructions on what to save and what to throw away.
Other Important Tips
Here are more tips to help when you're doing your own wedding flowers. There are lots of things to remember, so keep it as simple as you possibly can, all the while getting just what you want.
- Corsages for the ladies: Every woman likes to have the special recognition that a corsage gives. Keep the corsages simple, coordinated to the lady's dress.
- Boutonnieres for the men: Again, recognize the special male family members and friends with a simple boutonniere.
- Save some work: Both corsages and boutonnieres, even the simplest ones, are time-consuming, especially if you have a long list of special guests. Consider buying these made up from a florist if your time is limited or you don't have enough help.
- Flowers for the fitting: Plan to make one of your practice bouquets for the day you'll have your wedding gown fitting. Take the bouquet with you and critically evaluate the size, shape, length of stems, colors, and the style of your dress. Get the bridesmaids together at the same time. Make a note of the changes required to make them perfect. If some of the flowers don't look right (like daisies with a silk beaded gown), make note of the changes needed. Confirm size, shape, and colors, too.
- Reception table centerpieces: If you have a large wedding reception, you might need to look for some budget, but beautiful, ways to decorate the tables. Here are some ideas:
- Float candles and large rose or peony blossoms in a large glass bowl.
- Place flowering plants into pretty baskets, urns, or containers. Cover the dirt with floral moss.
- Set a tall orchid plant in full flower into a brass or silver urn.
- Arrange votive holders and candles on to of a mirrored placemat in the center of the table. Add small vases of flowers.
- Arrange a short-cut handful of rosebuds into an uneven number (3, 5, or 7) of silver mint julep cups.
- Lay seasonal greens such as pine boughs or ivy fronds on a tray with candles, beaded fruit, and a few fresh flowers in vials of water.
- Place fresh fruit into a footed glass bowl. Tuck stems of flowers in the cracks.
- Create a garden of candles of different heights. Arrange ivy between the holders.
- Gather small photos of the bride and groom, insert in pretty silver picture frames, and alternate with pretty candle tapers.
- Place a single stem of flower (lily, rose, hydrangea) into a tall clear vase and set atop a mirrored mat. Arrange votive candles around the vase.
As you leave on your honeymoon, you'll have only happy memories of a job well done!