August 29, 2013

Florist For A Day

You may have figured this out by now, but I absolutely love flowers. Especially roses. The smell. The soft petals. The brilliant colors. They are on my top 10 list of my favorite of God's creations.

I recently had the honor of doing the flowers for my aunt's wedding. I've found that it's incredibly less expensive to do wedding flowers without a florist, and my aunt trusted me enough to give me the challenge. Seriously. It's an honor.

So, she ordered the bulk flowers and had them delivered to the church. We then turned the kitchen into a makeshift florist shop.

It was SO FUN!

If you are interested in doing wedding flowers yourself, you might find this post helpful.

A few things to know first:

  • You will need helpers (at least 2).
  • To keep bouquets in place, you will need to purchase corsage pins and green florist tape (find these at any craft store).
  • You will need sharp scissors and pruning shears. Key word: sharp. Have enough for you and all your helpers. Don't forget gloves if you have thorny flowers.
  • Make sure your facility has a large enough kitchen to house your makeshift florist shop (see pictures below).  Large sinks, large pots (for water & storage), large trash cans, large refrigerator, etc...

In the picture below, do you see those tall cardboard boxes on the far left? That's how roses are shipped. When they are delivered (1-2 days before the big event), the boxes must be placed in a refrigerator for preservation until you have a chance to put them in water. We put room temperature water in large pots, added the flower food, and set them in the sink. Thankfully, this church had an incredibly useful kitchen with 3 large sinks.

You will want to wear gloves when working with roses. The thorns will get you. It hurts.

The next step is to take the stems, one by one, and remove the leaves and any damaged petals from the outside of the flowers. Don't worry about removing the petals, there are plenty more that will open up beautifully in time. Have another container with room temperature water and flower food ready for the prepared stems. Then you will be ready to make the arrangements.

You really should play with some sample flowers before the big day to figure out exactly how you want your arrangements to look. Just get some cheap flowers from your local grocery store and have fun arranging them in the same vase/container that you plan to use at the event. When you purchase your bulk flowers, you will have an idea of how many stems you will need based on your sample. Remember to buy plenty of filler, like Baby's Breath, for example.  You can see in the picture below that we used small vases and put 5 roses in each vase, using the Baby's Breath and greenery to make it full and keep the flowers in place.

We finished the centerpiece flowers two days before the wedding and put them back in the refrigerator to keep until the big day. It's really not difficult and will cost you about 1/5th of the cost of hiring a florist. I did it for my wedding and I don't regret it for a minute. It's the only way I could afford having hundreds and hundreds of roses.
If you look on the bottom shelf of the fridge, ^ you can see the large pot full of stems we were saving for the bouquets.

To make a bouquet, start by placing three flowers in a triangular shape and wrap the stems with the florist tape to keep them in place. Then add flowers around that. Tape them in place. It's like adding one layer at a time. You can make your bouquet as loose or tight as you'd like, but I have found that wrapping tighter keeps the flowers in place better. Keep adding flowers around the bouquet until you get the look you want. To finish off, add some greenery around the stems and wrap them together with florist tape. The length of the stems where your hands will touch the bouquet should be wrapped in florist tape.  Use a corsage pin to hold the end of the tape in place. Cut the stems to be level and you're done!

This is how some of the bridesmaids' bouquets turned out. Behind them you can see the larger arrangements that we placed at the altar.

And this was the bride's bouquet. I think we used 4 different types of roses and 2 fillers, around 3 dozen roses!

And I loved the vases. We added some "bling" using a product called Bling on a String and hot glue.

So there you have it: DIY wedding flowers for a fraction of the cost.

Have a great day!

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