Guest Blogger: Unruly Things, DIY flowers

Categories   DIY Projects

When DLB and I first began planning our wedding, we had thoughts of picking flowers at a local farm to save ourself money. Then I got a little worried about time constraints and started researching “do it yourself” bouquets and of course, local florists. First of all, let me start by saying that if a florist is in your budget, by all means, save yourself the time and energy and have a professional put your bouquet together! I’m still on the fence on flowers, whether or not I want to do them myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to assemble a DIY bouquet and share my experience with you.


I started off at a local flower shop. I didn’t really have a good idea in mind and didn’t know how many flowers I needed to get. I just knew a general idea of color and kind of went from there. I picked out one central large flower to be my focus flower and color, a few accent flowers and some greenery.


Once I got home, I trimmed off the excess leaves and stems that I didn’t want on my bouquet and quickly saw what I felt was enough flowers dwindle down to half the original size. But I pressed on. I started by arranging the flowers in a vase so that I could see how they would look once tied together. Then I gathered them up and bound them with some floral tape. I finished off the bouquet with an vintage piece of lace though I’m hoping to use my great-grandmother’s handkerchief on my actual bouquet.


I have to say, I was quite pleased with the bouquet and it was quite refreshing to know that I would be capable of making one. Though I think if I were to make my own, I’d definitely get twice as many flowers. This was a wonderful learning experience that I’d recommend experimenting with prior to your wedding if you’re planning to create your own bouquet. It really helped me visualize and plan!


Overall, I spent $30 on this bouquet and it took me about a half hour to put it together. Not bad if you ask me!

Social Love

Lauren on Mar 25, 2010

Very sweet, great job!

Erica on Mar 25, 2010

I love how you prefaced this post with if a florist is in your budget, get a florist and that even after this experience you might still hire a florist. Your bouquet is lovely and it didn't even take that much time, but it's one of those things where you have to ask yourself if this is what you really want to be doing the day before your wedding. I was on the fence for awhile about DIYing my flowers, but just decided recently that I need to get a florist - for my sanity's sake. But it's certainly nice to know that if all else fails, I can put together a beautifully simple bouquet like yours in no time.

Elizabeth @ Dapper Paper on Mar 25, 2010

i love that bouquet and i love that it looks handmade, not overly styled! Luckily, we had a friend who did ours for an inexpensive price or else i would have loved to make my own too! But, i agree with you and Erica on the fact that a florist does save you time. When it comes to some details, you just have to weigh which is worth more- your time or money. And the day before, it's nice to know you don't have to make bouquets. When you get married, even little things can add up when there are a lot of them.

alyson on Mar 25, 2010

thanks ladies! for me, this was a huge reality check. I thought for a long time that I'd do my own flowers. this was sort of a test for me to decide if I'd be able to do it on my own. I'm pretty confident that I could, but I know the bouquets would be more amazing if done professionally. so, we're still doing the table arrangements but I've decided to go with a florist who I know will do a marvelous job! on Mar 25, 2010

So sweet and I love what the bouquet is wrapped in!

M on Mar 25, 2010

I'm DIYing my flowers because we definitely don't have the budget for a florist so I'm glad to see someone can do a great bouquet who isn't a florist. Our florist quoted us $150 just for the bridal bouquet...yikes. Plus I've heard horror stories from so many brides who asked for certain things in their bouquets and got something totally different so I don't want to take any chances. I guess maybe I'm a control freak about my flowers. By-the-way, I usually really dislike daisies but your bouquet made me totally fall for them. I never knew daisies could look so sweet and beautiful! I actually might consider using them now!

estherjulee on Mar 25, 2010

Very nice!! :) I had to make one for my engagement shoot, but it didn't come out nearly as nice as this!

Amy on Mar 25, 2010

Just wanted to let you know we've included this project in our 'Link Love' post today on MY DIY Wedding blog. Check it out!

Claire on Mar 25, 2010

That bouquet is really pretty - very delicate and summery, I love the lace to fasten it. I am planning to get my bouquet from a florist but my Mum wants to help me make our own button hole arrangements. I can't decide at all what I want on the tables at our reception, so many choices! Claire x

Katrina George on Mar 25, 2010

As a florist, I would highly recommend hiring a florist to do your flowers. Not just because all we care about is stealing your money, at the end of the day we don't make a crazy profit. It costs us money to get the flowers from our supplier, we have to pay rent and utilities for our shop, and even as a skilled designer it does take a lot of time and energy (which equals wages) to create beautiful wedding flowers... so yes, it does add up. That being said, for brides who are not very familiar with flowers, or who don't have much experience working with flower (and I would say this is quite a few) it can be a difficult task to take on doing your own wedding flowers. And don't get me wrong, this blog post came up with a super cute bouquet, but it was just the bridal bouquet... now think about taking care of the entire wedding. Bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages, flower girl, centerpieces, ceremony flowers, etc. For a person that isn't very familiar with flowers, or that lacks the experience working with flowers... there are a number of challenges. Where do you get the flowers from? Your local florist may or may not be willing to sell to you, and if you are you will most likely still be paying for the mark up on the flowers, or do you research an online wholesaler? Will they sell to you if you are not a business, and if they are willing to sell to you, how do you know that they carry good product? I recently heard of a girl who decided she would do her own flowers, ordered a ton of pink tulips as that was all she wanted for her wedding, and they all came damaged, and she wasn't able to find enough pink tulips between the different florists in the city so she was in a big crunch. Then - once you have found a place to get your flowers, how do you determine how much to order? This can even be challenging for a florist trying to decide how much to order of what for a large wedding, because flowers can vary in size depending on the season and what kind of conditions they were grown in. Another thing is that certain flowers need certain care. In my seven years working as a florist, I have found that it seems most people still think they can cut flower stems with scissors - you really shouldn't, and this is a very basic rule. If your flowers are not taken care of properly (whether from a local florist, or an online wholesaler or whatever) they will not last well. Flowers like hydrangea, love water, and if they can't drink well they will die in a matter of hours. If the hydrangea are not cut properly at an angle with a sharp knife.... all the hydrangea for your wedding could potentially die before the wedding day even comes. Then the obvious, it takes time to arrange the flowers. I have been in four wedding parties now, two of which were my sisters, and one of which was a florist I work with and they were all crazy busy for the last week or two before the wedding, having dresses/tux alterations, paying off the caterer, paying the dj, visiting with family from out of town, etc. As previously mentioned, even for a skilled designer it does still take time and energy to design the flowers and if you don't have the knowledge or the experience this can take you even longer and cause you a huge headache. So, at the end of the day, I know I am biased. I think that a lot of people in general think florists are expensive whether it is for wedding flowers, or a Valentine's Day arrangement or whatever, but we aren't trying to rip you off. We are charging you for your flowers, we are charging you for our time that it takes, and we are charging you for the skills, knowledge and experience that you can trust we will take care of your wedding flowers and do our darndest to make sure they turn out great. Just like most things in life, you get what you pay for and this is for sure a situation where I think it is very much worth forking over the extra money to make sure it is taken care of for you.

alyson on Mar 25, 2010

great comment, Katrina. and believe me, I totally hear you! like I commented before, this was a huge reality check for me. I'm really suggesting that if it's in your budget to do your own flowers, by all means, PLEASE do!! after my experience, I ultimately decided to contact a florist in town to have her make my bouquet along with the bridesmaids bouquets. she's also providing bulk flowers that myself along with my bridesmaids and mom will be arranging for the tables, bouts, etc. I think that a lot of people don't think of how much money flowers actually cost. you could go to your super market and buy some really inexpensive flowers, but do you know where they came from? do you know how they were grown? I realize after seeing how much money I spent on this bouquet alone how much effort really goes in to creating a bouquet. and honestly, I didn't really think about it before. I always thought, geez, why are these things so darn expensive?! but this experience really gave me a wonderful perspective into the floral industry, and such great respect!

Hope Ava on Mar 25, 2010

I went DIY crazy for my wedding this September...I pretty much stopped just short of making my own wedding dress and curing the leather for my shoes! We were determined to save money on the floral budget so my man and I went out into the woods around our home and cut down swathes of pussywillows that I made into boutonnieres and bridesmaid and flowergirl bouquets. It was a huge amount of work but I'd definitely do it again! We ordered peonies for my bridal bouquet and the table arrangements....everything turned out great, but it added huge stress to the day before the wedding. The flowers were supposed to be ready for pickup at a certain time and I had scheduled the whole day around that...cut to me tying my bouquet ini the hotel's kitchen at midnight the night before the wedding (which started at 11:00 the next day!) Not the prettiest picture! But in the end, my bouquet was exactly what I wanted and I'm not sure it would have been if I'd left it to anyone else. So if you're a control freak like me, it might be worth it, but just be aware of the risks! You can see pictures of how it all turned out at the Classic Bride Blog: Love your blog; so lovely!

kendall on Mar 25, 2010

how beautiful! a money saving tip that we used - for our reception centerpieces, we ordered individual small glass jars/apothecary jars from (very cheap) and asked our florist to order a range of flowers to put in the centerpieces. we are using five jars per table, assembling ourselves, and they are beautiful! our florist is only charging us the wholesale price, since all they are doing is ordering them. it cut our reception budget almost in half!

alyson on Mar 25, 2010

Hope Ave - those pussy willows are amazing!! such a pretty wedding, thanks for sharing!

Katrina George on Mar 25, 2010

I just also wanted to note the price on flowers, I think, is really quite cheap when you think of the big picture for flowers. They are grown on a farm or in a green house and people work hard for them all the time, keeping them free of molds, pests, etc. Making sure they have enough water and enough light to grow big and strong. And then, when these flowers have long enough stems and are big enough they are cut, packaged with care to be shipped to a broker, and from the broker to the wholesale and from the wholesaler to the florist and THEN to the people. At each step in the road they are hydrated, they are cared for, they pass through hands at each step of the way, and to me it is amazing that we can sell them and people can buy them (depending on the flower) for about $5-$10 a stem. I know a lot of people have a hard time justifying spending that amount when they do have a limited life, but they are really beautiful, and they bring emotion out of people that you don't get out of just anything, and at the end of they day they fact that they aren't a necessity, and the fact that they do die after so many days does make them extra special. Going above and beyond what we just need and doing something extra awesome. Anyway, I will stop blabbing. At least I know I chose the right career path, there aren't many things that I love more than flowers.

sarah on Mar 25, 2010

Hope Ava - what an incredible result! Alyson, love your bouquet, totally beautiful. We're skipping this step (MIL has offered to provide flowers for all of our dinner tables from a huge dahlia garden she is planning to plant for this summer - our original plan/now backup plan is potted lavendar plants, as lavendar is a theme ingredient in our dinner), but I can totally appreciate the effort of beautiful DIY flowers!

Debbie on Mar 25, 2010

Really love and appreciate all your ideas! I'm getting married out near you and will definitely use a U-pick farm but will be having a woman who is looking to break into the wedding florist industry do them - she's still inexpensive but at least I know they will turn out nice which I can't promise if I tried. Yours are lovely - very impressed!

Sarah on Mar 25, 2010

I think hiring a florist is a total waste of money. Maybe I had a horrible florist experience but we paid out over $1,500 for flowers for a very small wedding. She didn't put anything I asked for in the bouquets, most of the flowers were bruised and overall I was horrified. I advise all of my friends to DIY if they have the time because there is no way that the money spent on a florist is worth it. I'm not the only person with this view, I have a few friends who also had similar issues and it had nothing to do with how expensive the florist was. You don't always "get what you pay for". I had a friend DIY her flowers she ordered from and hers were everything she wanted and she literally paid half the price I did. I understand that florists have "other expenses" but the fact that you pay 2 to 3 times more for the same flowers for just throwing them in a vase is insane. I highly recommend doing a lot of research before deciding to hire a florist.

alyson on Mar 25, 2010

I hear you Sarah. I have also had friends who've had horrible flower experiences as well! like Katrina mentioned before, hydrangeas need to be properly cared for or they'll wilt within a few hours. her entire bouquet and the groomsmen's bouts just sort of melted in the sun. I think your advice about "doing a lot of research" is the best advice to give anyone. not only if you're planning to hire a florist, but also if you're planning to DIY. in fact - especially if you're planning to DIY. you need to know things like which need proper care, how to store them or even how to put the flowers together. if you're going with a florist, bring ideas to your meetings, research flowers you like, be open minded if the pretty pink flower you fell in love with from that photo you brought isn't in season or if suddenly you have to make a substitution. I say, what ever method you choose to go with, be optimistic!

Anni @ Lovely in Love on Mar 25, 2010

@ Katrina - thank you so much for that post. I was considering doing my own flowers for the centerpieces - I can put together arrangements fairly well, but by far I am not an expert - and your post helped me realize that this is one thing I really don't want to stress over on my wedding day! I think it's always easier to call something a rip-off when you don't know what goes into it. My fiance is pre-vet and a lot of people are constantly asking if he's in it for the money - but the majority of vets don't make much money! It's always tempting to assume that because something is expensive, it's a rip-off, but with quality services and products that's rarely the case.

Katrina George on Mar 25, 2010

I appreciate the posts by the girls who had poor experiences with florists, and I feel the need to apologize on behalf of those florists. Not all florists are great florists and no matter what kind of professionals you deal with from florists, to painters, to hair stylists there are going to be different caliber professionals. I think it is very important for there to be great communication between florist and client, so they understand 100% what they are getting (important to use visuals to help because not all girls will know what all the different flowers are) and also for the florist to fully understand not just what you DO want, but also what you DON'T want (ex. there are girls that HATE roses, the florist needs to know that even if they aren't planned to be the wedding so that if for some reason the florist needs to make an adjustment to the flowers, they know NOT to use roses). I also think that it is important for the florist to use their knowledge of flowers to help for the wedding. As previously mentioned things like hydrangea can wilt quickly in the hot sun, or I personally don't really like using "tiger lilies" (asiatic lilies) because their petals bruise really easy. In the defense of the florist too, sometimes we don't always get what we ask for from our suppliers. We can put thought into what we are doing for the bouquets, the centerpieces etc and make up lists of what we want and how much, but sometimes there are things out of our control. Sometimes our suppier isn't able to get it in beacuse of natural disasters such as drought, floods, insects etc. Sometimes they are able to get them in but they were damaged in shipping in which case they aren't great to use for the bouquets. Sometimes they come in the wrong color. You get the picture. That being said, it is important for the florist to make that known to their clients that there is a small chance that things won't go exactly according to plan, and that if that is the case that the florist will do their best to create the most similar look whether it is a different flower but the same color, or the same flower in a color that would compliment the other colors being used, whatever. I just ask you to respect a little more what we do. We aren't just throwing them in a vase, or thowing them into a bouquet... we are creating and designing. Again this will vary depending on the caliber of the designer, but most put a lot of care into their designs. It isn't a job that offers huge pay, most people just do it because they love it. As Alyson mentioned, it is important to do your research. Whether you are doing it yourself, you have to do solid research into what you are getting, where you are getting it, what the quality will be like and what you are going to do with the product once you get it. And, if you are going with a florist, it is important to meet with the different florists near to you or where your wedding will be. Don't just go with the very cheapest, go with the one that matches your style, that does have great open communication with you, one that you know will go the distance to make you what you are looking for. We do exist. :)

Summer on Mar 25, 2010

Oh my gosh! I used to be a freelance florist would never ever ever ever ever EVER do my own flowers. Yeah, there are a few people who are all empowered DIYers, and a few people who have been burnt by bad florists. Honestly, I personally don't think it's worth it to spend the days leading up to my wedding stressing out about flowers (and trust me...I have so much experience, it would be easier for me than most). I want to enjoy my wedding, relax, get a pedicure, sleep in, have breakfast, drink some champagne, get pampered and walk down the aisle feeling fabulous, rather than stressed. And yes, I'm pretty controlling in the sense that I may have a specific vision about what I want. But that's why you hire an amazing florist who is so good, they'll put together something BETTER than you ever could have. The saddest part for me is that brides are forking over 5, 8, 10, 15, even 25 THOUSAND (I SWEAR I've heard 25K quoted) for photographers. We'd all be massacred if we tried to do a post about DIY photography (which of course we'd never advocate) but DIY flowers we talk about all the time. I see gals saying florists just stick flowers in vases and it is so not true. I've really got to stick up for these gals because they work their fingers to the BONE literally. It is an incredibly tough job with horrific hours and they get paid so little because of the overhead involved in the cost. I used to support the notion. But I've done flowers for all three of my sister's weddings and never again. I won't make my family do that for my own wedding. I want them to enjoy my wedding. I think DIY flowers bring up so many passionate comments because florists are very undervalued in this industry. No one really understands what they do and how little they really get paid.

Sarah on Mar 26, 2010

So if your only advice is "you get what you pay for", don't pick someone cheap (which is definitely not what I did, I think the $1,500 I spent on one bouquet and four centerpieces was quite a lot of money for flowers considering how small my floral needs were) what would you say for brides who can't afford to hire the priciest florist out there? Don't have flowers at your wedding? Some budgets are very limited, especially with the failing economy. I really don't see how discouraging brides from doing DIY flowers is an acceptable alternative. So basically you overpay for a florist who does great but you sacrifice a third of your budget, hire a cheap florist and get crappy flowers, or don't have flowers at all? No people don't want to stress out about their flowers but some people also want to have a beautiful wedding, on a budget, with flowers and for those people DIY is the only alternative.

Lauren Mosinka on Mar 26, 2010

wow, my friend nicole, just forwarded this link to me because i'm going to be doing the flowers for her wedding. i'm pretty sure she sent it to me with regards to the actual blog itself, and hopefully not because of the so many various responses...although insightful and approached in full circle to the subject matter. while completely valid in every way, the cost, the stress, the possible disappointment, even all the success stories, i believe that it's important not to overlook the sheer (for lack of a better word) awesomeness flowers bring to our lives in general, what they stand for, how they make us feel and the beauty that can be so truly inspirational. most importantly, i believe that having any super specific image in your head as to how you want your flowers to look like is a mistake. flowers are organic, each with a unique smell, color, shape, bend to the stem, the list is endless. obviously if you show up to your own wedding and you find roses instead of tulips, ranunculus instead of dahlias, well by all means be pissed off. whether you do it yourself, pay for a florist, or have your ex-florist best friend (me) do your flowers, try to remember that flowers are freakin awesome and beautiful and aren't meant to be anything other than what they are. you're the one with the expectations not them (you know the flowers : ))! enjoy!

Erin on Mar 26, 2010

I think your bouquet turned out perfectly! I love the crochet around the stems. I have never seen that before.

Diana on Mar 26, 2010

Thank you for this post. I am on the fence about DIYing my flowers as well. I have been doing plenty of research and plan on doing a few trials this summer before I make up my mind. I think I could do a good job, but the logistics frighten me - buying them, transporting them, proper storage, etc. I've even had flower dreams! The theme of this post should be "options". Most people consider DIYing their flowers not because they necessarily want to, but because they can't afford a florist. Weddings are expensive, least we forget. The last thing I like to see is some vendor jumping into a discussion using scare tactics to prove their point. There is a right path for everyone and a person's decision to DIY flowers shouldn't be taken as an afront to the floral industry.

trendy bride on Mar 26, 2010

Love this beautiful flowers , I love do it yourself projects !!

Dee on Mar 26, 2010

If we did want to hire a florist, what would be the best way of vetting them? I've not bought fresh flowers much in my life, so I don't have the slightest idea how to pick a great florist. What would we need to look for in a good florist? What should give us pause about a florist? Also, if you did want to DIY, don't discount using silk flowers. There are some really great realistic-looking ones on the market. I have some awesome looking silk roses in my bedroom right now. :)

Lindsay on Mar 26, 2010

Dee - great questons! As a florist myself (and bride to be) I think I have two tips for you... I think there are two important ways to research a florist when considering them for your wedding needs... the first is to look at their portfolio - and see the quality of their designs (any reputable florist should have their past work available for you to look at) and the second is to talk to other people who have used that florist for their weddings... from those two things you should have a very clear idea if they are the florist for you. You'll find out right away if they give the customer what they asked for - if they delivered on time and on the quoted price, and you'll also get to see their style and have a MUCH better idea of what you're getting for your money. As for DIY - even though I am a professional florist, I am still getting a best friend who is also a trained florist to come and do my flowers - because it's way too much stress and headache when your the one walking down the aisle.

Summer on Mar 26, 2010

Hi Sarah! Yes, in most cases you do get what you pay for. In my experience though, you definitely did NOT, which is why I can only imagine your frustration. To spend $1500 on one bouquet and only four centerpieces (unless the centerpieces were life altering huge) is indeed a little pricey. To answer your question, I think there are two types of florists out there. Ones that have a shop, staff, and huge overhead that are going to charge you much more in order to cover their outgoing costs, and then the other type of florist: those that have small operations, often home-based workshops where they do flowers only for weddings. These smaller one-person businesses are a really great route to go. They don't have as much overhead to recoop, so they can offer you a fair price, but their quality is just as good as someone with a huge expensive shop. I'd take that into consideration. I know when you are planning a wedding, it really is hard to do all this research and meet with several people, but in the case of flowers in particular, it really does benefit to do the research. The other way to save money besides DIY flowers is choosing centerpieces that use less flowers. The look is really popular right now to use bunches of small bud vases or mason jars along a rectangle table, for example. It requires quite a bit less stems, and therefore dramatically reduces costs. I get DIY flowers for small simple weddings, and I really do relate to the extreme expense of weddings these days. I just know that after planning three weddings for my sisters, and after doing all of their flowers, I've decided that when it's my turn, I'm going to save costs in other areas, rather than in flowers. But that's my priority, and someone else might be totally okay with doing what it takes to maximize their budget by doing it on their own.

Katrina George on Mar 26, 2010

Sarah - I didn't mean to imply you have to spend a lot to get nice flowers. By different caliber I just mean that some have more talent than others, and some care more than others, and sometimes that is reflected in price, and sometimes it isn't. And to me, I think whether you spent $300, $1500 or $10,000 that florists (and other wedding professionals) should ALWAYS be trying their best to make their clients happy. Where I am from, most brides don't go anything over $2,000 and they want their bouquet, their bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages AND centerpiece... and it is doable but it can be tight. It is a challenge to think of creative, beautiful and impressive designs that will represent the brides individual style but also not break their budget. I am sorry you had a bad person experience and I hope that you let the florist know you were unhappy, because there if our clients don't inform us that they are unhappy there isn't anything we can do about it. As for those of you unsure on how to find a good florist, I 100% agree with Lindsay. It is very important to see pictures of THEIR work (not magazine photos of bouquets they like, but of work THEY have done) as well as to talk to previous brides who have used them in the past to find out how satisfied they are with their product and services. And another thing to keep in mind that is every bride is going to have a long list of things she'll want for the special day most likely, but will probably have some sort of budget. Lots of the time there are priority items and there will be other items that may need to be sacraficed entirely or brought down in scale.Sometimes flowers are high priority and sometimes they won't be.

Wife of the Year on Mar 27, 2010

It is beyond gorgeous.

Marnie on Mar 28, 2010

This is an interesting topic discussion because I am planning to do a combination DIY and wholesale florist for my April wedding. We are on a really tight budget but of course I want beautiful flowers too! I did a lot of research before arriving at a decision. I am not trying to knock anyone in that industry but most florist prices were just not an option with my budget. I don't think they are out to price gouge people. There are many talented designers out there and we should expect that professionals need to be paid for their services. I don't think people realize how much work goes into the finished product, not to mention the overhead cost of maintaining a storefront. One of the least expensive prospects was actually through our chain grocery store florist. They don't have anything terribly exotic to offer but the prices were more in line with what I could afford. There is actually a wholesale vendor in the city where I live so I decided to pay them a visit. They do sell to the general public and also have a flower designer on staff. This service is not very well advertised and the shop/ meeting area is not very glamorous like a boutique florist would be but the prices were MUCH lower than anywhere else I looked. I have decided to use her to make the bouts, corsages, bouquets because, like many posters pointed out, this is the last thing I and my family want to be doing the night before/day of my wedding. I am choosing in season and low cost options. I showed her my colour pallet and asked her to suggest the most economical choices. I am still planning to DIY our centerpieces with the help of my friend and coordinator. I decided on simple vases of tulips. Wholesale is only $6-7 for 30 stems because they are in season now. Vases from the dollar store were $2 with a $1 mirror coaster to go underneath and make them sparkle. Ask your vendor how the flowers should be treated (soaked, stems re-cut and flower food etc.) for best results. I think this is a better idea for DIY that trying to create an arrangement of different flowers. Some helpful tips to keep costs down if you decide to choose a professional florist is communication. Be up front about your budget and be flexible. Maybe you love hot pink peonies but if you ask your florist could suggest a less expensive substitution. In season and/or locally sourced flowers may be much less expensive that imported exotics. Best wishes to all of you Brides to be!!!

Nancy Liu Chin on Mar 28, 2010

What a most interesting and passionate dialogue. Kudos to all for your honesty and passion. It's wonderful to see so many people with a viewpoint. As many of you know, I love weddings, wedding design, and flowers. I hear what you are saying brides and I want to encourage those who are doing their own flowers, invites, cake, dress, etc to have fun with it and to understand their limits. Be organized, get people involved, and just have crazy fun with it.. There's so much good stuff on the web, I'm sure you will tackle it like our guest blogger with enthusiasm. Remember that it doesn't need to be perfect, just perfectly you. As for those on the fence, also listen to your gut. If it's too much to take on, then it might be best to just drop it and find someone who can help. Trust me, there's something for everyone out there. For those who are hiring a pro, thank you for trusting us...and try to not go for perfection because flowers are truly organic. They aren't without their flaws. They aren't consistent. And sometimes there are differences. But be excited that it's one of nature's most beautiful things. And same goes for florist and floral designers. We are not perfect. We are human. We are just like be patient as well. And if someone isn't within your range, that's ok...move on. I'll try to come back with some thoughts to pros. Thank you for taking the time to's so inspiring to read. Love to my buddy, SW for sharing this post. N

Nancy Liu Chin on Mar 28, 2010

Dear readers....This is a fantastic read for those in the industry as well as brides to be. I would like to address professionals with regards to this post. It's important for those who work at wedding flowers on a daily basis to realize that if potential clients cannot perceive one's value, we as vendors probably did not do a good job in explaining or presenting or charging appropriately. How do you show your clients what sets you apart? Obviously if people cannot see the value of our work, design, service, then they will opt for other options and they should. As a consumer, I would DIY if I felt that there was no additional value in hiring someone. If we are too small of a producer of floral design, we don't have the buying power to create cost effective designs in comparison to larger outlets, corporations like a or grocery chains. If we are too big, our overhead and/or other non wedding work/projects might make our costs too high and our service lacking for the attention that wedding work requires. This is a horrible predictament for our business and thus something will have to change in the future for us to gain back the trust and confidence. I for one feel very confident that the next few years, floral designers will realize that they will have to push their work and art to new levels. We can't just deliver unoriginal work. We can't just rely on easy and simple designs that anyone can just DIY. And most importantly, we can't continue to deliver subpar product, service, etc if we want our clients to see the value in our art, customer service, and quality. And if we continue to price on cost, then all we are doing is selling "flowers" not finished floral designs. It's also key to understand that not every client might be the right client for your business. Instead of persuading people, listen to them. Hear what they are trying to say like Sara who obviously had a bad experience. Like Katrina, let's say we are sorry and let's learn from our brides (from the voice of real people with real issues) and see how we can create the best value, best service, best art. Unfortunately, over the years, poor experiences and pricing that doesn't reflect a value proposition have led to some bad experiences for brides. It's really sad but true. I apologize to all the Saras for their experiences and hope that the many Saras will reach out and share their experience not with other brides but with the florist/designers so that the floral design industry can improve. If brides don't give direct constructive feedback to their service provider, these businesses will make improvements, this attitude of "florist being not worth it" will continue. The best things that happened to my business came from clients who were honest. When we made mistakes and boo boo's, we learned. And hopefully over the course of 10 seasons, improved upon our service, quality and choices. Yes, it hurts to know that you disappointed someone but as smart businesses, if we don't listen and face the issues, we will never improve and grow our business. Instead of telling people how hard it is to be florist(and it is very hard), how little money we make(also true), perhaps if we understood what people don't like and what they really want, we can move forward and build stronger businesses. If we spent more time communicating with our clients before their wedding, perhaps disappointment might be avoided. It is up to those remaining in the business to 1) develop stronger and fresh designs appealing to our core clientale 2) find ways to lower costs so that we can pass it to our clients 3) educate and communicate more effective 4) be consistent with our deliveries 5) search for better quality, unusual blooms, and things that people cannot source to make our work look worth it. Bottom line: we have to create a need. We have to create something that people know that it is well worth it. Our value proposition needs to be reexamined. The days of dropping "flowers" into vases like one reader pointed out, overstuffing with unnecessary fillers, providing just so so service, and not filling in orders, might be over...because you just can't sustain a business when you underwhelm yours clients.... Let's start overwhelming...let's start giving people what they want and maybe even MORE. Let's stop the us florist/floral designers v the bride client mentality. Let's not shun DIY's if that's what brides want to do. Let's stop trying to convince people that if you DIY it will be a horrible. Let's start going back into our studio/shops/homes, etc and start creating better designs. Let's start working with our suppliers on freshness and sourcing unusual flowers and props. Let's encourage our staff to go the extra mile. Let's create more open dialogue with our clients. And finally, let's improve the overall value. Work on your portfolio so that clients can see what you stand for. Work on your customer service so that there are fewer "Sara" experiences. Go back to school or take master classes to improve your craft. Create positive experiences. Help brides by giving them good advise if you must. Work together not against one another.

Local Color Flowers on Mar 29, 2010

As an event florist specializing in the use of locally grown flowers, we have tried to offer "help" for DIY'ers so that they can use locally grown flowers, make their own bouquets and get a little advice if they need it. We offer bulk flowers that are locally grown, fresh and seasonal allowing brides to make their own bouquets without the hassle of having to go to the farm/ farmers market/wholesale market and pick them up. We also offer DIY parties where we will supply the locally grown cut flowers, tools and supplies for a client and her friends/family so that they can do the flowers themselves. We will often stay on as "consultatants" to help with logistics (how do you make a wrist corsage that doesn't turnover) if necessary. We want to make it easier for DIY'ers so that they will choose locally grown flowers rather than conventionally grown flowers for their wedding or special event. We also offer full service florist services using locally grown, seasonal flowers and non-flower elements such as flowering branches, succulents, potted plants and flowers, herbs and fruits and vegetables. For us, part of the key to our success is working closely with clients to understand their style, interests, likes, dislikes, passions and the feel they are trying to create at their wedding. When you do this, for the most part, it won't matter if you used a ranunculus instead of an anemone-you will have created an atmosphere using flowers that matches what the client wants.

suneil on Apr 7, 2010

Hi, no one has mentioned putting Soil Moist in the vase. It turns to clear soft jello with little bubbles in it (looks like 7-up) and you can then stand flowers straight up without having to have many in the vase, arrange them again and again with no problem. Put in 2 teaspoons of the granules (available from Lowes or fred meyer for $13 a jar) and add water and it will expand to fill the jar. Forget the foam or florist clay! I am doing the flowers for my son's wedding and discovered this (I use it in the soil for my potted plants) and the cut flowers seem to love it, and it looks beautiful. Why isn't everyone using it? Is there a downside? Please let me know if so.

Andrea Matthews on May 19, 2010

This blog post is so awesome.... and so affirming!!! I want to do my own flowers - and the more I read the more comfortable I get. We really don't want a big wedding - and think we can have a more intimate affair with a smaller invite list - and DIY elements like the wedding flowers. I've been chatting with the folks at The Grower's Box ( a good deal and really like them. We don't have many other options to get flowers in where we're at. I'll post my experience when we're all said and done with the big wedding day :-) Andrea.

Amanda on Aug 9, 2010

I absolutely adore this bouquet. I was hoping to recreate it myself but Mum convinced me that the florist route was the best way to go! As it is, they now have a photo of your bouquet (I really hope that's ok) to use as an example and I'm going for lemon coloured gerberas :) xxx

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Wedding planner apps for iPad on May 29, 2011

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