Have you ever thought about DIYing your wedding flowers?
A few weeks back I (Claire here, hello!) took part in a floristry workshop with the lovely Jo Woodward of Columbia Creative.
In under two hours, we hand-tied our own bridal bouquets (loose, organic and gorgeous, if I do say so myself!) and made our own buttonholes.
I left the workshop, not only armed with some fabulous blooms, but something of a cockiness about DIYing my own wedding floristry.
‘Doing it yourself‘ is something that's become a real mantra (and unfortunately, expectation) for many brides and grooms, as they not only look to put their own stamp on their day, but save some serious cash in the process too.
Flowers can one of the biggest expenses for weddings, and it's easy to think you can simply throw some stems together and call it a bouquet.
Florists train for years, know their blooms inside out, and have lots of experience. They'll be at the flower market while you're still fast asleep, they'll go to lengths to find the perfect hue to match your palette, and perhaps most importantly, they'll know how to deal with a flower related emergency, without breaking a sweat.
That said, if you're creative, willing, and don't mind getting up extra early on the morning of your wedding, maybe DIY really is for you.
My creations from the Buttonholes & Bouquets workshop with Columbia Creative.
A few months back, we created a guide to determining whether or not to make your own wedding cake, and when it comes to flowers, lots of the same principles apply – you've got to be realistic in what you can, and will want to do in the days before your wedding.
So, to help you decide if you've got the goods to be a florist (AND a bride or groom!) for a day, check out my 10 dos and don'ts for DIYing your wedding flowers…
1. Do Keep It Simple
If you know nothing else about floristry, know this: It's not as easy as it looks.
You might be renowned for making up beautiful bouquets in your home, but when it comes to creating ornate centrepieces of cascading roses, there's something of an art (and a science) to it.
Unless you're particularly skilled, keep your DIY blooms to simple, loose, arrangements throughout your venue. Think small posies in jars, scattered foliage, or potted succulents. If in doubt, stick to similar colours or flowers throughout.
If you want nothing more than a wow factor floral display for your wedding, it might be time to call in the experts.
2. Don't Get Your Heart Set on Certain Blooms
You might have dreamt of a peony bouquet since you were a kid or magnolia arrangements since you spotted one on Pinterest, but try not to get your hopes up too much about particular blooms.
Look to what's in season around the time of your wedding, but even then don't be upset if you go to the market and they're not there. Seasons can differ slightly from year to year, and as with any produce, you've got to be flexible.
If you're looking for specialty blooms, imported items out of season, or something that needs to be taped or wired (like gerbera or heavy roses), then DIY flowers might not be for you.
3. Do Think of Longevity
There are some floral items you can create the day before, like buttonholes (Jo advises to store them in a cool place in a flat tray-like box, with a damp cloth on the top and bottom), foliage garlands or some hardier bouquets (as long as they're kept in water!).
But once your flowers come out of the water, they're going to start fading fast. Only take them out at the last minute, spritz them with water if you can, and remember to keep perfume or hairspray away from flower crowns or bouquets.
4. Don't Forget Your Clothes
I never thought of this until one we went to meet a florist for our own wedding, but it makes so much sense (another reason florists can be so helpful!). It's important to consider dyes when choosing your flowers for your bouquets and boutonierres.
From berries that burst, pollens that stain and deeply hued petals that might rub off on that white dress, florists know the flowers to keep away from your wedding day attire, so you should too.
5. Do a Workshop
This is my number one piece of advice if you're planning on doing your own flowers for your wedding. If you do nothing else to prep for your floristry endeavour, do a class or consultation with a professional florist.
Lots of florists, like Columbia Creative offer dedicated one-on-one consultations for brides or grooms planning to DIY their blooms. A florist can show you some great techniques, (I can do a mean hand tie now, and wrap the twine like a pro after Jo's direction!) and share simple tips that make all the difference.
I've done workshops on centrepieces, flower crowns, buttonholes and bouquets, and I can verify they've been incredibly helpful (and loads of fun!)
6. Don't Do It Alone
Ask anyone who has done their own wedding flowers for advice and they'll tell you, ‘Get Help!'
Even the most die hard control freak needs to rope in a few friends to give you a hand with the blooms.
Ensure you have plenty of tools (scissors, twine, sticky green florist tape, wire, ribbon) for everyone, and print some pictures of what you have in mind. Pour the wine, and let the floristry commence!
7. Do Plan in Advance
As with all jobs done well, preparation is key! Do a little reconnaissance before your wedding, and get plenty of floristry practise in beforehand.
Visit the wholesaler or flower market to get an idea of prices and make sure you don't need a business account or to buy in bulk to shop with them. Ask for their advice on the best times to come in (it's still dark out at peak time at the flower market, go too late and you'll miss the best blooms!)
Consider whether your flowers will need to be ordered in advance – many come closed and will need a few days to open (Jo told us many florists buy their peonies closed a whole two weeks in advance!)
Practise, practise and practise hand tying bouquets, making oasis centrepieces, creating flower crowns or tying buttonholes in the months before your wedding. You don't need to spend a lot on blooms to rehearse, even grab some foliage stems from your garden or local park.
On the day, have a clear, spacious place to work (outside might be even better), all the equipment you need, and don't forget to prep your flowers too, trim your stems, and strip any leaves, shoots or thorns from them.
8. Don't Do Everything
One option for doing your own flowers for your wedding, is to just do some of them. That way, you get to save some cash, but you won't be thoroughly stressed by some of the more photographed items in your floristry.
Recruit a professional florist to create your own bouquet, flower crown or complicated decor, but for ceremony arrangements, bridesmaid bouquets, button holes and simple decorations, do it yourself.
That way you still get to score DIY bride bragging rights, without the stress and anxiety!
9. Do Look Online
From how to create your very own floral heart to how to make your own flower crown, wedding blogs, YouTube, and Pinterest are all loaded with how-to videos, step by step tutorials, and gorgeous pictures to guide and inspire you.
Bookmark a few to have to hand when it comes to doing your own blooms. Pro tip: as with all wedding DIYS, do test out ‘how-tos' in advance to make sure they work out in real life, not just on Pinterest!
10. Don't Let it Stress You Out
The main reason most people don't DIY their wedding flowers is because, well, it's a lot of hard work and stress (and it's prone to a few mishaps and disasters!).
Only embark on your own wedding flowers if you're laid back, not too picky, and creative enough to make it work, no matter what.
If you know you're going to be panicking on your wedding morning, and trying to paint you own nails, bake your own cake AND tie your own bouquet, don't give yourself the hassle.
There are plenty of other ways to trim your wedding budget, without causing you to pull your (perfectly coiffed) hair out and toss your bouquet before the ceremony's even begun!
Have you any tips for DIYing your wedding flowers? We'd love to hear them! (There's a great post on one of our fave blogs A Beautiful Mess about how to roll with it when something goes wrong!)
A special thank you to Jo from Columbia Creative for giving me such great advice!
Oh, are you getting married in Ibiza next year? Jo is moving over there next summer with her DJ hubby, so if you want cool London-esque flower for your Ibiza wedding – give her a call!