We often have couples tell us that they are going to DIY their wedding flowers to save money. And that statement is usually met with wide eyes and silence on our end. Because here is the thing: we know how hard, time-consuming, messy and frustrating the process is and we know the skill level required to pull off an event this important. Let us take you through an overview of the wedding florist’s process.
The Wedding Florist’s Flower Prep
To give you an idea of a wedding florist’s process, for a Saturday wedding our flowers arrive on Tuesday, and are stored in our floral cooler. The entire day is spent processing, cleaning and hydrating the flowers. We don’t live near a nice big flower market, so most of our blooms are shipped in via FedEx.
Having flowers shipped is a very frustrating experience. Our flowers are often delayed or stuck somewhere overnight, and FedEx assumes no liability for dead flowers. If you are DIYing wedding flowers yourself and don’t have a floral cooler, you will want your blooms in-hand on Thursday (for a Saturday wedding) to hydrate and process. You CANNOT put flowers in a regular refrigerator. Gases from food in the fridge will reduce the vase life of the blooms and usually fridges are kept colder than floral coolers since they are used to preserve meat and dairy.
Tuesday – Friday: Designing Wedding Florals
Once our flowers are hydrated, we have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to design the flower arrangements, bouquets and decor. Since you will be getting your flowers in on Thursday (to preserve freshness), that leaves you with just Friday to design. But think about it: You’ll be far too busy on Friday to spend the entire day working with flowers (assuming you even know how to create these designs in the first place)! You will have appointments, the wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and people to see. What if your flowers come in and they are not perfect and you have to find last-minute replacements? What if they get lost by FedEx?
On the Wedding Day: Floral Installation and Setup
Typically our team of about four people load the florist van at 8am to arrive at a venue around 10am. For a bride and her bridal party, that time is spent getting hair and makeup done. You also have to think about weather and what time you can start setting everything out. Sometimes we place flowers just an hour prior to ceremony due to hot weather or wind. This task would be extremely difficult for you or a family member to take on right before the ceremony begins.
Other things to consider for DIY wedding flowers:
- Flowers take up lots of space and are fragile to transport.
- You will make a huge mess processing flowers, so make sure you have plenty of space to work and access to trash cans and sinks.
- Flowers need to be kept in a cool, dark place in order to ensure freshness on the wedding day.
- Designing takes more time than you think; we design most wedding florals in our studio over three full days with four people working.
- Ordering the flowers – do you know how many flowers to order for table centerpieces and bouquets?
- As a florist, we have access to wholesale pricing. Unfortunately if you are not a florist, you will still have to pay retail price for any flowers you purchase, which really adds up on a budget.
How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers
Focus on a few focal elements that are beautifully designed
You don’t need flowers everywhere! Think quality over quantity. Tip: Splurge on a floral altar backdrop but skip putting flowers on every chair down the aisle.
Repurpose your bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces
We like to place bouquets in a vase at the center of the table and then have six bud vases with blooms placed around them. That way it looks like a centerpiece and not like someone just plopped a bouquet down on a table.
Have your florist design decor that’s easy to move
This will probably add more labor to your quote, but your flowers will do double duty. Tip: Line the ceremony aisle with blooms designed in trays and then move them to line the front of the stage for the reception.