There’s a big trend in wedding flowers, rather than forking out on professionally designed florals, why not do it yourself!
There are a gazallion blogs full of advise on line to encourage you to do it yourself, this blog is written as a slight antidote to all of those how-hard-can-it-be people out there….
There are some pros and cons to creating your own wedding flowers, and as a old hag in the business I think I can tell you a thing or two:
-The best thing about DIY is obviously the cost involved. You don’t have to pay anyone for their time and although the flowers you are buying might be retail priced, you will save a pretty penny.
However you don’t have to get your flowers from a florist or the supermarket, some wholesalers are open to the public, if you are willing to get up at the crack of dawn. Just be aware that most flowers are sold in bulk, Roses come in wraps of 10 or 20 stems, Gyp and other fillers in wraps of 25 or 50 stems. (and you will have to add 20% vat on top)
You do need to know what you are buying before you start, you have a shopping list with all the ingredients that you need for your design and you need to stick to that.
I have known brides who dismissed my designs because it was too expensive and ended up spending even more on DIY florals as she didn’t have a design plan, more of this later….
-You can have your flowers your way, you are totally in charge of the design process, you don’t have to bother to try and explain the image in your head to a florist, you are doing it yourself! You can also only blame yourself if it isn’t working, more on this later….
-It’s a very super sociable thing to do with you bride tribe, aunties, your mates, anyone who’s a bit handy and has a good eye. You can spend your wedding eve having the best time with your nearest and dearest putting all the flowers together over a glass of bubbly, what could possibly go wrong? (more on this later……)
-The cost: its more expensive letting the professionals handle your flowers.
We florist charge for the flowers and materials AND for our time. This allows us to make a living; have a roof over our head, feed our kids.
We are not in business to rip you off or rob you of your hard earned cash, you are paying us for the hours worked and for our expertise, experience and the training we have done.
An average wedding could mean around 10-14 days of work, from correspondence with the brides, the design process, the ordering, sorting, conditioning of the flowers, the arranging of your bouquets and centre pieces, the delivery and installation, the tear down and tidying up of the studio, and the mountain of paperwork, receipts, tax etc.
You are also paying not just for the hours worked on your wedding but also the hours studied, the hours of practise, the hours of expertise…..
We can tell you what flowers are available on our wedding day in your favourite colours, we know about what works well together, how certain flowers need certain treatment, how the mechanics work of a floral arch, an elevated arrangement, a cake flower etc so it is build safely and doesn’t fall down or collapse half way through the service….
-And now for the hardest part: the design plan, recipes and stem count!
The hardest part of being a wedding florist is creating a design plan, within a certain budget and sticking to it.
When we have designed a plan for a wedding and the time has come to order the flowers at the wholesalers it is sooooooooooooo hard to stick to that and stick to the budget and not look at all the other beautiful flowers there that would also look great or would add that extra touch….We have set aside x amount on the flowers and we have a stem count and we need to stick to that!
I often get panic calls from DIY brides that did not have a design plan with fixed recipes/ stem count. They went to the market and bought random pretty flowers and now they are trying to put it together and its just not working and the ceremony starts in a few hours and can I please help.
Or even worse, can I just provide a complete design plan including stem count, free of charge and my Mum will just chuck them in a vase as she’s great with flowers……
It’s much harder than you think, I mean MUCH harder.
There are lots of people who do a recreational flower course for an evening or a weekend and think they can pull of doing wedding flowers and fail miserably. These courses provide you with a fixed amount of flowers that have been carefully selected by the course leaders and focus is mainly on the arranging of the flowers, not on how to calculate your stem count.
Although some people have been reasonable successful at doing it themselves.
If you are contemplating doing your own you will have to practise. Make a sample, make a design plan. Have good recipes with the correct stem count. Have all the tool and materials ready and make sure your designs are secure and safe. But please work it out by yourself, watch Youtube videos, don’t ask us florists to pick your brains. We really can’t afford to spend time on that without getting paid for our time, the design process and the recipes/stem count is a big chunk of the process.
-I would also like to let you know that working with flowers is a dirty business.
You will smell of foliage for weeks after the event. That means YOU at YOUR wedding, in your beautiful dress, you will smell of Eucalyptus, the Eucalyptus oil has stained your hands and the stains won’t scrub off and your nails are ruined….You will also have cut yourself on the rose thorns so you might as well hide the dirt under your chipped nails underneath the several plasters on your fingers…..
This is the one thing that no one tells you on Pinterest. If you are going to do it yourself you need to be wearing gloves and have your nails done after the flowers. If you don’t believe me go see a couple of florists and just look at their hands…
-Now a small word of caution on the people helping you. They will have an opinion, and the design in their head will probably not match the design in yours. This can all be a great experience or it can end in tears.
If your bridesmaids/ aunties/ mates are helping you you will have to present them with clear and precise instructions. You have a design plan and stem count in order, all the tools you would need, and your helpers need to know exactly what they are doing in order to make this work. It’s your wedding, you are in charge and you tell them what to do. Anyone helping you that thinks they have a better idea on the day needs to maybe moved to the napkin folding area. Again I have had brides, mother of brides, aunties calling up in a panic as the sociable aspects of DIY turned into a mahoosive power trip, Martha-Steward-eat-your-heart-out, I-am-better-than-you party, not what you need. This is another thing that Pinterest is not telling you….
There is always an option to combine a bit of DIY and a bit of professional floristry.
If you want to just oder your wedding bouquets and that tricky floral arch from the florist you could get away with creating your own table centres. Some florist don’t mind and you can always discuss this idea with your florist to make sure that you are getting similar flowers to tie it all together.
Some florists are not really keen on that idea and that includes us here at Rose&Mary.
We have an exclusivity clause in our Terms and Conditions and only provide a full floral service for weddings and events. It sounds really harsh but this decision was made after a few DIY encounters where we were booked to providing the florals.
It’s always totally heart breaking to work super hard on wedding flowers, with our heart and soul poured into the carefully chosen designs and arrangements only to find, once arrived at the venue, that someone has added some hideous attempt at floral designs with cheap supermarket flowers in the wrong colours.
I would like to finish this blog with some advise and a quick recap.
It’s not easy to do it yourself, most examples of DIY wedding flowers I have seen have been a total disaster and I have been asked to step in and rescue the situation on many occasion. I have also seen examples of brides spending more on their florals doing it themselves than I would have charged.
I have also seen very successful attempts at DIY wedding flowers where the venue looked absolutely beautiful. These DIYers usually had a background in craft or were designers in other fields other than floristry and they had absolutely nailed it! The secret is to keep it simple.
If you are not sure about it please do go and buy some flowers and practise. It’s a bit like cutting your own hair. A hairdressers would give you a much better haircut than you could ever do! (all images on this blog are from Pinterest DIY fails)