A friend of ours (Sandy) used to be a florist and graciously offered to help out TREMENDOUSLY with the labor on our flowers. For anyone familiar with the huge cost involved in flowers, this was a really big deal. We used non-floral centerpieces to save some money, but still needed bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. I had set a preliminary budget of $300 and am extremely pleased with myself for staying within that. Sandy provided a lot of the supplies that we need, the direction we definitely needed, and coordinated the whole deal. Here are a few things to take into consideration when taking on a huge project like DIY Wedding Flowers:
1. Ordering. There is a little more to this than you may initially think. Cost is obviously a very large factor. I ended up getting a bulk order of white & green mixed roses from Sam's Club, and wholesale white ranunculus from GrowersBox.com. It's important to do your homework on this. You need to ensure that the flowers you're planning to get will be available at the time that you'll need them (if you're picking things out months in advance) and that they'll still be the same price (prices can change based on what's in season) at the time you order. Timing is also something to keep in mind. To cut any doubts, calling whatever companies you decide to use may be the best option. Flexibility is also something to consider. If you pick out a very intricate bouquet online and expect to replicate it exactly, and on a limited budget, you're likely dreaming.
2. Delivery & Storage. When you order flowers online and they're delivered, they're typically not opened up yet. You don't want to order things too late to where they're not opened up when they need to be, but you also don't want them to be past their prime on the Big Day. In our case, the flowers were delivered on Tuesday, we arranged on Thursday, and the wedding was on Saturday. The timing went perfectly. Flowers also need to be refrigerated both before and after arranging, and take up a lot of room. The lower temps will help ensure that the flowers don't open up too early, and keep them more fresh. Of course someone also needs to be available when the flowers are delivered (they shouldn't sit out in extreme temperatures or you may have a disaster on your hands). The stems will also need trimmed, and everything will need put in water, which can be job. In our case, we were able to have them delivered to Sandy's house, who also had an empty extra fridge in the basement and was able to cut and put them all in water.
3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! We were fortunate enough that Sandy knew her business and was able to show the helpers that didn't know the ropes. You'll need a lot of helpers, a lot of tape, you'll need to know what shape of bouquets you're trying to make, you'll need greenery/filler (we purchased ours locally for cheap), wire, etc. It may also be helpful to research the types of flowers you're using, and how easy they are to deal with. Our roses were a piece of cake, but wiring the ranunculus was a complete nightmare, as their stems were soft and hollow like a dandelion.
4. Don't put yourself in a time crunch. The flowers took a LOT longer than I had expected. My mom, Jill (our coordinator/ Sandy's daughter), Sandy & myself started on flowers early on Thursday morning. After hours of labor, my Mom & I ended up having to go to other appointments. Luckily Jill & Sandy were troopers and finished up.
I was very pleased with the way that everything turned out. In my eyes, the bouquets were perfect, and hard to get rid of after the fact. Although we didn't follow these tutorials, here are a couple of online resources that I've found that seem similar to how we did things:
*Photos courtesy of The Perfect Pear.