Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DIY Wedding #11: le Fleur.

Moment of transparency, this is one subject that I probably fail at as a woman. I have never possessed the magical "green thumb," I don't know how to arrange flowers in an appealing way, and my favorite flower is a daisy--partly because I truly love them, and partly because I can't seem to recall any other flower by name. Ok, so I know "hydrangea," but I got lucky because they grow by my parents house. It's all a work in progress, I'm determined to learn.

Needless to say, I was pretty clueless when it came to the specific flowers that I wanted in my bouquet. Thankfully, my florist/wedding coordinator/good friend, Ginny was able to transform my wish for a "hipster, woodsy, whimsical, wildflower" look into actual bouquets.

I'm no florist, so instead of raving about flower types I'm going to conduct this post in a very straightforward manner. As a bride who wants beautiful flowers on her wedding day, I want you to know all of your options to help you think outside of the box when it comes to picking your bouquet. As for deciding on specific flowers, that's up to you!

How much should I budget for flowers?

Your budget really depends on what you're looking for in a flower arrangement. There is a wide variety of what could be done with wedding flowers that I believe whatever you allot to your flower budget, can be worked within.

Obviously, you can't go small and expect huge arrangements of exotic flowers. But if  you can't afford to spend gobs on flowers, I'm going to list some DIY options below that I think are beautiful and affordable.

Remember to take into account that you'll want more than just your bouquet--there's the bridesmaid's, groomsmen, flowergirl, ring bearer, parents, grandparents, and any other special guests. As well as any decorations that you might want--alter, aisles, tables, etc.

Personally, I mostly liked simple, wildflower types--so I didn't allot very much of the budget to this area. I'm sure that there are plenty of girls who care more about them or prefer more exotic, expensive types than I did and will invest more into their arrangements.

If you go the Florist route...

I must say that I was very happy (and lucky) to have a family friend that was a florist who happened to be available for my wedding day. It was so nice to not have to really worry about that part of the wedding--one less thing to stress over. Because of her, I never really considered other options or florists, because I knew if she was available, she was my "it" woman. Of course, this won't always be the case. So as with everything else, do your due diligence and research.

  1. Compare florist prices and services. Not only flower prices, but what your florist will charge hourly. Are they local and will they deliver?
  2. Venue. Does your venue require certain florists? Do they offer a list of local florists?
  3. Ask a florist for prices on various flower types. A daisy will cost less than a rose. So be aware of the differences. If you want real flowers, but can't swing the big budget--consider your cheaper options.
  4. Know what's in season. I was surprised to find out that for our August wedding, most every flower was in season at that time. Lucky me. I say this because if you order something that is locally in-season, it will be much cheaper than having something shipped. 
  5. What's in your garden? Or your Moms? Or your Grandma's? If you have some beautiful things growing of your own, then ask the florist to implement those into your arrangements. You'll still pay for their time, but not for the flowers.
  6. Make up an inspiration board. Of course, I made a board devoted to flowers on Pinterest, and invited my florist. This way she could have a better idea of what I liked and was thinking of. Especially helpful if you're not a horticulturist and know the specific species of which flower you would like. 
the DIY route...

If I wouldn't have a florist friend, I probably would have gone with one of these options. As with all things DIY vs. "just buy it," it will be more time consuming. So you have to weigh the value of your time with the value of your money. Unless you're going to be engaged for 5 years or just have lots of time on your hands, you won't be able to do everything DIY--especially if you want them done well, or enjoyably. Sometimes it's worth the money just so that you don't have to stress over something. So pick and choose where your time & money will go, deciding what's most important to you. We'll talk more about this later...

  1. Paper Flowers. This was a big trend around the time that I was getting married--make your own paper flowers. There are SO MANY free, printable patterns or ideas for making these. This would probably be the cheapest route possible, financially. However, this would be a more time consuming route and you run the risk of looking cheap if it doesn't turn out. So I recommend, taking a Saturday to experiment before you commit to it. Remember that you'll have to make not only your bouquet, but for the bridemaids, flowergirl, groomsmen, and even special family members. How much time does it take to make each flower? How many flowers in a bouquet? Will you have enough time? Does it look nice enough to invest your time in? I'm not saying all of this to scare you away from this option, but be fair to yourself so that you don't get in over your head. If you can make it work, it could turn out beautifully! So if you're interested, give it a shot and see how it goes!
  2. Fabric Flowers. Much like paper flowers, fabric flowers run the same risk of time and "cheapness." So I recommend asking yourself the same questions and experimenting before committing as with the paper flowers. But done well, this can make a gorgeous, unique bouquet. I love those who add vintage brooches in with the fabric. Beautiful! Plus, you can choose to either buy fabric flowers OR make them. 
  3. Local Market. I almost went with this option and would have if I didn't have Ginny. Someone that I know, went to a local market the day before her wedding and picked out all of the wildflowers that she wanted. She didn't even really have to arrange them because she wrapped them in a loose bouquet that hung over her arm. It was one of the most beautiful bouquets that I've seen--effortless and whimsical. Of course you can't be too picky if you choose to do this, you'll have to take whatever you can find. But I love the fresh-picked, wildflower look! And if you want to look like you strolled through a field of wildflowers on your way to the wedding, than this might be for you!
  4. Learn to be a florist. Jacqueline over at Raindrops on Roses made this one of her DIY projects for her wedding. It's becoming more popular to make your own bouquets for a DIY wedding, so much that you don't even need to take a floral arrangement class, you can just look it up on Pinterest! In my opinion, it would be best to experiment prior to the wedding since you'll have to make your bouquets the day before, and won't have time to tweak or edit if things go south. Especially if you want to make a more elaborate or compact bouquet. As with all fresh flowers, you'll have to keep in mind how long those flowers can endure and be able to refrigerate them. 
  5. Think out the box. I personally love the look of dried hydrangeas, perfect for a vintage-rustic wedding. I probably wouldn't want them in my wedding bouquet, but for vase fillers around the venue--yes! Are there other venue decoration alternatives apart from flowers? Spend a day brainstorming with your bestie and see what you can come up with! 

Things you might want to add...

I didn't even think of these things until I saw Pinterest ideas showcasing them. There are lots of ways to personalize your bouquets that go beyond the flowers...

  1. Picture charms. This was important to me because my Pap passed away a few months before our wedding, he really wanted to be there and I wanted to commemorate our relationship in the wedding. The perfect way to do this was through these charms that I found on Etsy. They weren't expensive and there are several to choose from. We just printed out a picture and glued them in, but beware--if it gets wet, the pictures will get gross and even fall out. My only regret with this project. So I would go with actual photo paper or even a finishing gloss to spray over the final product. I made a picture for my grandparents that weren't able to be there, one of my favorite, most special parts of the bouquet. 
  2. Memorable remnants. Ginny had the most wonderful idea to incorporate fabric flowers made from my Mom's wedding dress into my bouquet. Not only did we use those  in my bouquet, but also in her corsage. It meant a lot to both of us to have that. I loved having special, meaningful pieces like that interwoven throughout our wedding. You could do this with a special brooch or fabric either in the bouquet or wrapped around the stems. 
After the wedding...

I was pleased to find several ideas to preserve your bouquet after the wedding--here are some of my favorites!

  1. If you go real, hang those flowers upside down in a closet of some sort to preserve them! After they're dry you can put them in a shadow box or even a glass cloche (my favorite!). 
  2. Or you can put the dried petals into a jar or glass ornament of some sort. That way you don't have to worry about "crinkling" them. 

And that's all I've got! Comment to share your flower ideas--I'd love to hear 'em!

Next week, I'm looking forward to relating with my fellow foodies over your reception menu and how to decide what to serve! Can't wait to see you then!

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, I loved your choice in flowers! In fact, when I first saw your wedding photos, I saved images of your bouquets in my wedding floral ideas file. (I hope that was OK with you!) I'm far from a professional, but I learned a few tricks from a florist, and love to make arrangements. I do most of the flowers for the weddings (& funerals) in our church for just the cost of the flowers--which saves tons of money! I really enjoy customizing bouquets to reflect the bride and groom, and your idea to have the photo charms in memory of a loved one is a wonderful idea. I really liked the way your boutonnières turned out, too. Anyway thank you for sharing and posting your creative ideas! (FYI: I know you don't know me, but I'm waiting for the day when your hubby brings you up to Alaska to meet his "Aunt" Vicky and family members here!)