Northern California, Bay Area, Wedding & Event Flowers
Aug 13, 2019
4 min read
The Complete DIY Wedding Flower Checklist
Do you have what it takes to DIY your own wedding flowers? It isn’t for the faint of heart. Read on to see if you’ve got everything on the checklist.
As a floral designer, I spend about 30 hours on average working on a wedding. This time includes: Driving to the wholesaler, loading the flowers into my car, driving back to the studio, unloading the flowers, processing the flowers (removing thorns, excess leaves, bruised petals, cutting ends of stems), preparing vases and containers, designing arrangements, packing the arrangements into boxes, loading them into my vehicle, driving to the venue, unloading all of the boxes, setting up the flowers, tearing down the flowers at the end of the night, and cleaning my studio and buckets from the mess created by designing for the wedding. Wowzers! Keep in mind that prior flower research and planning time isn’t included in this number. A lot is involved in this whole “wedding flowers” gig. If you or some awesome people in your tribe have got 30 spare hours on the week of your wedding, then read on!
Most of the designs that you see on pinterest have been created by a professional florist. Like any other skill, floral design takes practice. If you or an ultra-helpful friend or family member has taken the time to learn floral design basics, that’s incredible! Learning and practicing floral design is such a fun and rewarding investment. But without gaining any prior knowledge, you may find that the hashtag #pinterestfail applies to your poor centerpieces. No one wants that.
❏ Flower Knowledge + Source:
Not all flowers behave the same. For example, I recently spoke to a bride who wanted hydrangeas on her wedding cake. Hydrangeas wilt extremely quickly without a water source. I was able to warn her of this and she ultimately decided that roses would be the best fit. Be sure that the flowers you're selecting for your wedding will hold up nicely throughout your wedding day.
Also, be sure to research the wholesalers in your area ahead of time. Not all floral wholesalers sell to engaged couples directly. Some require a business license and a resale permit. If you’re confident in your flower knowledge and flower source, then keep reading, flower queen!
Buy ridiculous amounts of buckets. I’d estimate 1 bucket for every 2 to 3 bunches of flowers that you’re ordering from the wholesaler or grocery store. You will need these buckets to place your flowers in while you’re designing. You’ll want various sizes to accommodate the different flower varieties you’re using. For example: spray roses, astrantia, and astilbe tend to have shorter stems. But standard roses, hypericum berries, and Italian ruscus tend to have longer stems. If you place short-stemmed flowers in tall 5 gallon buckets, the heads of the flowers will get squashed. However, if you place them in shorter 3gallon buckets, they'll have room to spread out.
Here are some of the tools that I use most often. I've provided links to the products that I use in my daily work for your convenience.
*Warning: Don’t rely on your old “normal scissors” for your wedding flowers. It will take you twice as long and your hand will start cramping very quickly. Dull scissors can also pinch the stems, restricting water intake, and thus causing your flowers to wilt. If you’re going to invest in any tools for this DIY project, invest in a good pair of florist scissors and floral bunch cutters!
The process of designing and storing wedding flowers takes up quite a bit of space. It’s also quite messy. Just imagine a fabulous smelling tornado just visited your kitchen, living room or garage. You’ll need several long tables, work benches, or counters to work on. And you’ll need a cool place to store the flowers while they wait for their big debut. If you share this space with anyone else, give them a fair warning that it will be taken up by flowers the week of your wedding.
Delivery Boxes + Vehicles:
You’ll need boxes to pack the flowers into so that they’re secure for their journey to the wedding venue. If you’re getting flowers from a floral wholesaler, request that your flowers are packed in boxes so that you can re-use those on the day of the wedding. You’ll need a large SUV (or 2!) to pack your flowers in. Never put flowers in the bed of a truck. They would get destroyed by the wind and that would blow. Pun most definitely intended.
Physically fit helpers:
Flowers get heavy with all of the water in the vases and containers. You’ll want some strong people to help you load, unload, and set up the flowers on your wedding day. Start working out now. I’d recommend squats and heavy weights. No, really.
It's also important to assign someone to "late night flower clean up duty." They’ll need to stay sober enough to pack the flowers back into the boxes, load them into the vehicle, and drive them to their next destination. You’ll also need someone to clean up the mess that was created when designing the flowers. This person is your DIY wedding hero. Be sure to thank them profusely.
Do you have what it takes to DIY your wedding flowers? If you do, you’re a rock star!! If not, don’t worry. Reach out to your friendly, local wedding florist and let them know that you wanna hire them. We love doin’ this work.