Updated: Mar 9
Ever since Pinterest came on the scene, there has been a trend towards do-it-yourself, DIY wedding flowers. Couples that decide to go the DIY route are saavy, crafty, and want to be as hands on as possible with their wedding and most likely they feel their budget won't allow them to work with a floral designer. But I am here to shout it from the rooftops that there is a happy medium between all-in DIY and giving up total control (and your money) to a wedding florist!
As a "DIY florist," we provide couples with a menu of a la carte services to assist them with their wedding flowers, and in exchange they get high quality flowers plus the safety net of an expert on stand-by. I chose to write this article because most couples that come to me had no idea they could work with a designer within their budget. You choose what services suit your needs. There are so many facets to wedding flowers(buying, arranging, care, delivery!), sometimes its nice to have someone to guide you through it.
Before you take the plunge into DIY, read through our Top 4 "things to consider" when taking on your own wedding flowers. Pinterest makes DIY look like a cake-walk. When it's 11:59pm the night before your wedding and you're struggling to make your future mother-in-laws corsage, you can take solace in knowing you knew all the ins and outs ahead of time. You've got this! Make sure you DIY for the right reasons and know that there is a happy medium for everyone should you need a helping hand.
#1 - You Will Save Money but Not Time
We can't talk about DIY without mentioning the moolah. If you are going to DIY, you can expect to save anywhere from 40-70% on your wedding flowers. The average couple spent $2100, or 7% of their budget, on wedding flowers in 2014. Between the bouquets, boutonnieres, flower girls, centerpieces, aisle decor, a flower collar for fido...the more people involved in and attending your event, the more flowers required. The reality is flowers are expensive. It's also difficult to feel a sense of value from something that is used for one day and gets tossed in the trash a few days later.
Saving money on flowers is great, but don't forget to factor in the following:
Supplies - flowers require a lot of care and handling, and in some cases, special tools and supplies. A florist (at minimum) is going to use a hydrating solution, flower food, buckets, floral shears, ribbon, tape, foam, and wire to craft your wedding decor. These things add up, so don't forget to factor them in when calculating the cost of your flowers.
Cost of your Time - the labor you and your helpers provide is free, but the opportunity cost of your time can be quite expensive in the days leading up to your wedding. Flowers are a living (and dying) thing and should be made 1-2 days before your event for optimal beauty. Do you have the ability to carve out several hours of time to craft the florals you need? Are you prepared to shoulder the stress if things go awry? If you are, great! You're on your way to saving big bucks, baby.
If you're nervous about having enough time and the right supplies, consider working with a DIY florist who can rent you the necessary supplies and also provide assistance at an hourly rate should you need some back-up.
#2 Assess Your Flower Quality and Selection Options
Most DIY couples opt to purchase their flowers from a wholesale club like Sams or BJs, from an online retailer like fiftyflowers.com, a local flower market, grocery store or farm. But ordering from these retailers can sometimes be a roll of the dice. I see many brides order from big box stores and have no issues, while others are very disappointed with the quality. Ordering your flowers this way is definitely easy, no meetings, negotiating back and forth, etc.
If you're looking for the standard flowers and color: red roses, pink carnations, eucalyptus, baby's breath, these are great resources and the prices can't be beat. But if you're looking for more unique color choices and flower varieties, or don't want to be limited by minimum order sizes, working with a DIY florist gives you greater ordering power.
They can advise you on the seasonality of specialty blooms, provide insight into substitutes and color complements, as well as give tips on care and handling once your flowers arrive. The DIY couples I have worked with love that I give the option of doing all the care and processing for them at set price. I deliver their flowers unwrapped, stripped, hydrated and ready to design with. This eliminates the stress of quality issues and allows you to do the fun stuff like creating the finished product.
#3 It's Not As Easy As It Looks
If you're ready to tackle crafting your wedding flowers, you likely have a thirst to learn new things. I love working with my hands and it really is so fun working with flowers every day! Rallying your tribe and vowing to figure things out together can be a great bonding experience prior to your wedding day. When you look back at your wedding photos you can think about the hard work and hopefully fun that went into it all. You may even be able to use those skills to help a fellow bride in the future.
The flip side of that is the techniques utilized by florists take years to perfect. Do you have time and money available to practice ahead of time? If you're enlisting help, are these individuals going to complete their pieces in a way that you'll be satisfied? If the idea of learning how to hand-tie a bouquet makes your palms sweaty, contact a DIY florist to give you a lesson ahead of time. It can be difficult to learn from photos alone. Your florist will be able to give you tips and tricks to working with your specific flowers and how to achieve the shape and look you want. Even better, turn it into a party and invite all your helpers!
#4 Increased Logistics aka Headaches
When you hire a florist to do your wedding flowers, you gain a certain peace of mind knowing your flowers will be high quality, in line with your tastes, and delivered to the venues on time. This is why wedding florists price the way they do. There are many logistics and the stakes are high for the most important day of your life.
If you choose to DIY, don't forget to consider:
Storage of Flowers - Florist utilize special coolers set at roughly 40° F with optimal humidity. If you want to increase the number of days ahead of your event that you can work on the flowers, cold storage is a plus. Getting married in the summer? Be sure to keep your flowers cool and mist with a finishing spray to prevent loss of moisture in the petals.
Delivery - After spending so much time and energy making your floral creations, it's so so important that they actually make it to the event itself. This may require a van or truck and definitely requires a trusted and timely person to deliver the right items to the right location. It's not helpful to your groom if the boutonnieres are sitting at the reception venue and your cake flowers show up at the church.
If after reading this article you are still on the fence about DIY, reach out to a florist willing to work with you on the specific services you require. You will still save money and be able to utilize the florists experience and expertise.
Are you a DIY bride or groom getting married in Connecticut? We'd love to hear from you and help you craft the perfect DIY plan. Visit us at www.fountainheadfloraldesign.com/weddings or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.