So you’re no stranger to having a go at arranging your own flowers for your home or a dinner party. Word of your DIY floristry prowess has reached far and wide (i.e. to your close mates and family). One of your best buddies has her wedding coming up and she’s asked you to do the flowers – flattered and excited to be involved in one of the most important events ever, of course you say yes.
Then, the night terrors begin. Visions of crumbling bouquets, limp and drooping stalks and cries of “YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHINGGGG!” rush through your mind. Grooms left at the altar, toppled multi-tier cakes and ripped, red wine stained dresses – clearly the domino effect of the below-par flowers you’ve provided, right? RIGHT?
Reign it in dude, and let’s just calm the eff down for a second. You’re actually quite capable of doing this – with your sanity, good standing and relationship with the bride and groom (and theirs with eachother) intact.
While doing DIY flowers for a wedding can seem a little daunting at first glance, it’s totally possible to pull it off. We’ve done it ourselves (and shock, horror, we’re not florists – just a DIY enthusiasts) and have had amazing results. Not only have we been able to create some beautiful looking, unique arrangements, but more importantly we’ve been able to really get involved in our close mate’s special day and have (hopefully) adding to the fun and awesomeness that is a wedding. Most recently I was lucky enough to play florist for my long time mate, Kyrani and her fella James and it was freakin’ awesome, as you can see here.
We’ve learnt a little along the way, and we’ve got a bunch of tips that will help you out. So! Here is our ultimate list of tips that you’ll need to DIY wedding flowers for your friend, without completely losing it.
6 months before the wedding.
Inspo like a mofo. You’ve been asked to do the wedding flowers! Awesome – time to get inspired. Now is the best time to have a general chat with the bride about what she has in mind in terms of theme and colour scheme. Create a shared Pinterest board (you can make it a secret board or public) for you to both collect inspiring images. Make sure she (or he – dudes are into flowers too, yo) pins to it too so you can understand exactly what they’re envisioning. It’s important to get a feel for the flower varieties they like, the specific colour scheme they’re going for and also the volume and abundance level they’re expecting – you need to know how big a job this is going to be for you. Once you’ve got a general idea of what’s expected you can chill, bounce ideas around and have some fun with it. If you are so organised that you’re actually at this stage a year before the wedding, then it can be super helpful to take a trip to a florist or markets together to really get an understanding of what will be available at the same time next year (great for managing expectations!)
3 months before the wedding.
Talk money. Now is a good time to establish what kind of budget your buddy has to play with. This part doesn’t have to be awkward – just because you’re arranging the flowers, that doesn’t mean that there’s an expectation you’ll be paying for them. I’ve always opted for the “you pay for the flowers, I’ll do the labour” arrangement. It works well, makes sense, and is an easy conversation to have, particularly if you’ve done your research. It’s a good idea to have a look around or chat to a supplier about what will be in season, and with your Pinterest inspo in mind, what kind of costs you’d be looking at so you can tally it all up for your friend. To give her a decent estimate you’ll need to know the volumes for the day, so how many bouquets, table arrangements, feature arrangements etc you’ll be doing. If being the florist for your friend means that you need to shell out an extra nights accommodation or exorbitant parking fee somewhere, then factor that in to your estimate as well as any other bits and pieces you’ll need to purchase such as vases, wire, foam and tape.
Rally the team. Unless it’s a wedding that’s very light on flowers, you’re likely going to need a bit of help, particularly on the day. Reach out now to other friends that will be able to give you a hand – particularly if the venue itself is in a tricky location or you’ve got a limited time in which you can set up. Choose people that you can rely on (husbands are pretty good) and that will keep calm and have a laugh! HUMOUR IS ESSENTIAL, PEOPLE. I’ve found that 3 is the magic number for tricky venues – you want one driver that can stay in the car and make a quick getaway if a parking inspector comes along, while you and another friend quickly unload and shuttle the flowers inside.
1 month before the wedding.
Get in touch with the venue and find out any details like where you can park, how long you have to set up and any other info that might affect the way you do things on the day. You don’t want to be frazzling yourself trying to find a park or parking somewhere you shouldn’t and copping a fine! Now is also a good time to remind your chosen team of the specifics of when and where they’ll be needed.
3 weeks before.
Take a trip to the flower markets or your supplier (or, hit us up with an email if you’re buying from our online markets) and order for pickup 2 days before the wedding. You don’t have to order everything, but if you know there’s a particular flower that you just have to have, then make sure you lock it in. I’d also take this opportunity to buy a few bunches to have a test run with. It’s good to get a feel for what you’ll be working with and how long things might take. It’s also super handy to be able to try out your design with real flowers, before you have to do the real thing. Now is also a good time to buy all your vases and bits and pieces so you don’t have to think about it later.
Think about transportation. Flowers, once arranged, actually do take up a far bit of space, so if your hatchback isn’t going to cut it, arrange to borrow or hire a more suitably sized car for the day. This is another reason doing a test arrangement is a good ides, because you’ll have a much clearer idea as to how much space you’ll need.
2 days before.
Pick up your flowers (or if you’re got them from us then they’ll be dropped of to you! Woo!) and pop them into water. Don’t worry about refrigeration – they’ll be totally fine as long as you keep them in a cool, dark place.
The day before.
This will be the biggest day in the whole DIY wedding flowers process. What you want to do is get everything done the day before, so that on the actual wedding day you’re just setting up, making a few tweaks and last minute touch ups. DO NOT attempt to start arranging flowers the morning of the wedding. You WILL lose your mind. And this article is about not doing that. So remember the mantra “The early flower arranger catches the non crazy times”. If the wedding is on a Saturday then wrangling yourself the Friday off work to prep will have you doing happy dances.
At home, or wherever you’re setting up (if the venue is one that lets you have free reign from the day before the wedding then hallelujah – totally take advantage and set up there) make sure you have a big space to work with, and understand that things might get a little wet. Our rug here has seen many a tipped vase and stepped on flower so I’m not too precious, but if you’re like, one of those proper adults in a normal household, then you might want to pop a tarp or some kind of drop cloth down.
Flower time! It’s up to you as to what to start with, but I like to do one or two table arrangements first to ease myself in and then switch to the bouquets to get them out of the way and give you clear pickings of the best blooms. If you’ve got help then creating a sample arrangement like this first means that your helper can continue on with the table arrangements while you start on the bouquets. The bouquets are often the most intimidating arrangement because you know that it’s the one thing that your bride will be touching and looking at closely and it’ll be in photos forevermore. If you’re using satin ribbon or some other kind of tie to bind it all together that will look obvious when it’s wet, then just stick to parafilm for now, put the bouquets straight back into water and then leave the ribbon until tomorrow so you don’t get soggy bouquet handles. I like to use a sisal string because it looks fine when wet (and satin is a bit daggy) and ain’t nothing a squeeze with a teatowel cant fix just before you hand it over to the bride. Then finish off your table arrangements and any other feature arrangements that you can do off-site, and lastly, do the buttonholes for the boys. If you can use oasis in your table arrangements then do – this will made transportation a much less messy affair. Work consistently and diligently and you might just surprise yourself as to how much you can get done.
Look after yourself. You’re a guest too and you want to enjoy the wedding as much as anyone else which means you want to look and feel great. Take regular dance breaks and don’t get toooooo loco with stress. Remember to eat, drink lots of water, and throw on a face mask to get glowy and scare your helpers. The day before is also the best time to sort out what you’re going to wear, right down to your jewellery so you don’t have to make any decisions the next morning. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Blow dry/do your suresafe good hair thing to your hair to create instant good hair for tomorrow. And SHELLAC NAILS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND. If you have time to pop out and get them done, do it (maybe even a few days prior), otherwise skip the nail polish altogether or leave it until you have some time to kill once you’re done setting up at the venue. Don’t even bother trying to do your nails with normal nail polish before you start on the floristry, they’ll just get shredded. Try to get an early night, and if you’re feeling frazzly, have a glass of wine!
On the day.
It’s here! Today you need to run a pretty tight operation, if only to preserve your own sanity. To start, put your dress for the wedding and whatever else you’re wearing in the car. Don’t wear your nice outfit while you’re setting up, but DON’T forget to bring it with you (you can improvise a missing arrangement but you sure can’t hide those yoga pants and sneakers at the ceremony).
Go back inside and eat something, drink water, do your makeup and touch up that hair, which no doubt is looking fabuloso due to your clever prepping yesterday. Put on sensible clothes and shoes – you’ll need to be agile as a ninja. Time it so that you get to the venue the earliest they’ll allow you to set up. Better to have extra time at the end than still be running around as guests arrive.
Pack the car. Packing the car with flowers is the last thing you do before you leave the house. Why? Because cars heat up really quickly and once the flowers are in you want to start moving fast. Packing can be tricky – you want to pack them tight enough so that they won’t fall over on the drive, but not so tight that things are getting squished or ruined. Play around with spacing and fill empty spaces with other objects if you need to. A small child or stray dog works great for this (kidding). Make sure you also bring stuff for the ride home – a box for all your vases and a few garbage bags will come in handy for midnight drunken tidy ups.
At the venue. Get your blooms out of the car as quick as you can, and start setting up! You’ve done all the hard work already so now you just need to put out the arrangements on the tables and make sure everything is looking groovy. Top up any vases that may have had a bit of spillage on the way and fluff up any squished blooms. If you do have another on-site arrangement to do then start with that while your helper does the tables. Also, ask the people at the venue for a glass (bottle) of bubbly.
Get yourself dressed, deliver the bouquets to the girls, pop the buttonholes on the boys (you and your helper buddy might need to go separate ways for that) and YOU ARE DONE. Time to part-ay, and boy have you earned it!.
Things to remember along the way:
- Don’t freak out, THEY’RE JUST FLOWERS. If you do need to have a mini freak out, DON’T direct this at the bride. Vent to another, sensible friend first that will tell you if you’re being crazy or not.
- Take photos of your progress. It’s fun to show the bride and groom later on some of the behind the scenes shots and they’ll love this little insight to their wedding.
- Manage expectations. Be aware of what flowers you’ll be able to get at that particular time of year, the costs, and make sure you have some agreed back-up blooms in case you can’t get exactly what the couple wants.
- Understand your bride and groom. Are they the type to want to know exactly what you’re doing, or are they super laid back and happy for you to decide? Communicate with them in the way they want to be communicated with.
- Have fun! You get to be part of your beloved friend’s wedding! Super special, super memorable.
- Again, DON’T FREAK OUT. THEY’RE JUST FLOWERS.
So, are you ready to DIY some flowers? We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions or DIY wedding tips below!