Wednesday, October 22, 2008

diy flowers: the process

I knew from the start that we weren't going to be paying anyone to do flowers for our wedding. While I love flowers (love them), professional arrangements just weren't in our budget. And on top of that I'm married to an anti-pesticide activist who really wanted to avoid having tables full of chemically treated flowers.

In the end our budget, my crappy planning, and poor service & selection from California Organic Flowers ended up winning out over totally green flowers. A few weeks before the wedding I posted an ad on Craig's List asking if anyone in the area had local roses they would let us pick. I thought it was a long shot, but a woman who grows roses and other flowers for floral arranging competitions responded and said we could pick whatever we wanted from her yard! She was going to be on vacation, but she left out buckets and clippers and everything for us. Unfortunately, I'm a spaz and lost her address. And since she was on vacation I couldn't get in touch with her. Seriously. So it was a good thing I'd already ordered backup flowers from The Flower Exchange. The flowers we ordered from them held up beautifully and were very affordable. To make up for the flowers we didn't get from the nice CL lady, the rest we bought from a farm stand down the street from my parents for almost nothing (both pesticide free & local).

We stripped the stems of all the flowers, cut the bottoms under running water (apparently that is important) and stuck them in big buckets from the hardware store. We stored them in my sister's freezing cold bathroom. I did not put any sort of plant food in with them and they sat in the buckets from Wednesday - Friday night with no problems. And they still looked great on Saturday and Sunday and Monday and about a whole week after that.
Friday night (the night before the wedding) my sister made the bouquets and my friend and I stuck flowers in vases for the tables. Here we are working on my bouquet and looking overly excited.

We used the French spiral method for my bouquet, and wired three pretty flowers together for each of the brideswomen. Later in the night, over a glass of wine I wrapped the stems in ribbon I bought from The Ribbon Jar.

We left the stems long overnight so they could sit in water and I cut them short the next morning, as we were getting ready.
My bouquet...

And the other three all together...

While our hodgepodge way of acquiring flowers did not lend itself to me having exactly the flowers I'd always dreamed about (though I was never sure exactly what that would have looked like), I was very happy with the results. In total everything was about $200 including all the flowers, floral supplies, and ribbon, though not including the vases. And we had a great time working on them!

One thing I realized after the wedding (and after looking at the pictures today) is that I really could have done without bouquets at all. I hate holding things. I'm the kind of girl who orders gimlets when we go out drinking, not because they are my favorite drink, but because I can drink them quickly and then not have to hold anything anymore. Carrying around a bouquet all day got really old, and I can tell from the pictures that I felt awkward holding it. Just a thought for those of you considering going without.

7 comments:

Heather said...

I love your bouquet! What types of flowers did you order for it?

backyardwedding said...

Heather- It is cremon orange mums and Judy yellow roses from the Flower Exchange and zinnias in various colors from the farm down the street.Heather- It is cremon orange mums and Judy yellow roses from the Flower Exchange and zinnias in various colors from the farm down the street.

backyardwedding said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

beautiful flowers and colors!

An Atlanta Bride said...

You did a fabulous job!

Jamie said...

I have been planning to use California Organic Flowers, can you tell me a bit more about why you chose not to work with them?

backyardwedding said...

Jamie-We ended up not ordering from Ca Organic Flowers because months before our wedding (almost a full year ahead of time) we emailed them to ask about when we should place an order and to inquire about what flowers would be available in September. The guy who runs the farm emailed me back (wayyy later) and told me that since I was picking my flowers up, we'd only need to give them a few days notice. That made me uncomfortable so about a week and a half before our wedding I called them and left a message to place my order. I got a call back and they basically told me they had nothing I wanted left because I waited too long to order and they could place an order for ornamental peppers and a few other random things I didn't want. I declined but then received several phone calls the day before and day of my wedding, increasingly upset, that I wasn't picking up my order (which I never ended up placing). It was messy and sort of upsetting!