10 Tips for DIY Wedding Flowers + Real Life Costs
Figuring out the flowers for our wedding was a little intimidating at first. We knew we had a budget and wouldn’t be able to afford to hire a florist but I also had totally unrealistic Pinterest-inspired #goals for what I wanted our arrangements to look like (along with zero experience arranging flowers, of course). Luckily everything came together and I was able to save money and achieve exactly the look I was going for!
I spent a bit of time researching before placing my big bulk wedding flower order and learned quite a bit in the process. To save you some time (hopefully) and help relieve a little stress, here are my top 10 tips for going the DIY route when it comes to wedding flowers. Keep reading for more insight into my experience both with costs, challenges, and pics of the finished product!
My Top 10 Tips
1. Set a Budget!
It’s easy to get carried away thinking you are saving money just by ordering flowers in bulk but the costs still add up! Decide what your budget is and stick to it. One thing that can be helpful is to get quotes from local florists to get an idea of what your dream flowers would cost if you hired them out. Knowing that number will help you decide if it’s worth doing the work yourself or if you’d rather put your DIY resources elsewhere. If you’re not planning on elaborate centerpieces or other venue decor you might be better off hiring a professional for you and your bridesmaids bouquets! You can save a lot of money by keeping your design simple. Think single flower designs instead of crazy boho mixes that require many more types of flowers and filler.
2. Develop a plan / flower “recipe”.
Pinterest is full of floral “recipes” that break down the main, secondary, and filler flowers needed to achieve a balanced arrangement. Browse your color scheme for recipes that fit your theme and research the costs involved – keeping in mind potential substitutions for pricier flowers. Carnations are a great swap-out for fancier flowers and can save you a ton. Most of the major bulk wedding floral websites will also offer recipes or pre-designed mixes. Use these “recipes” more as inspiration than as a roadmap and you can find unique combinations at any price point.
3. Start shopping early.
Most bulk floral websites recommend placing your order 3-6 weeks in advance or up to 60 days before the day of delivery. This is obviously a shorter window of time needed than if you were planning to use a traditional florist but the earlier you start shopping around for the lowest prices and confirming availability, the easier it will be synchronize your deliveries! Some flowers you might be thinking of using may not even be in season for your wedding so be sure to check before you get too attached to a certain style.
4. Look for coupons!
I am a coupon maniac when it comes to large purchases. Every website I shopped at offered a “first time order” coupon or other promotion. Take advantage of any savings you can get your hands on. If your supplier offers a free floral care kit- take it! If you can get 10% off by signing up for emails, go for it! I saved about $25 total on my wedding flowers with easy coupons… it’s not a ton of money but why spend the extra $25 when it is so easy to save?! I also got a free floral supply kit for ordering a certain dollar amount which really came in handy!
5. Ask for help.
Whether you are in the planning stages, ready for flower care, or actually making the arrangements, always ask for help! When you order bulk flowers they typically arrive 2-3 days before your wedding and require some love to make them camera ready. The few days before your wedding can be stressful tying together all of the loose ends so put someone in charge of caring for the flowers if you don’t feel up to it! When it comes to designing your arrangements, chances are somebody in your circle of friends or family has some experience working with flowers. I was super lucky to have a cousin, my mother-in-law, and my bridesmaids help out on our big day- all of whom had experience in floral arrangements. Ask around to see if perhaps Aunt Sharon worked at a floral shop or if your cousin took a floral class once in college. If you don’t have anyone with hands-on experience assign somebody to binge watch the zillions of Youtube videos that can help you make gorgeous bouquets and centerpieces.
6. Make sure you have basic floral supplies.
You’ll need some supplies for initial care as well as for arranging. Be sure to have plenty of buckets on hand for when the flowers arrive. We ran out of floral wire (and maybe tape?) while working on our arrangements which could have been a disaster if we weren’t so close to a big box store. Be sure to have all of the supplies you’ll need to achieve your desired results. Most websites will sell kits with the basics- flower food, floral scissors, wire, wire cutters, and floral tape. It’s SO easy to overlook these necessities so assign one of your bridesmaids to the task. Remember that your supplies will include things like vases, containers, wooden skewers for any non-flower items, ribbon, foam, pins for boutonnieres etc. Get a little more wire than you think you need because chances are you’ll use it up (or it will get tangled into a disastrous mess that is impossible to untangle).
7. Don’t forget filler flowers.
So you’ve spent a ton of time deciding on your main and secondary flowers, you’re ready to click that “Proceed to Checkout” button.. BUT WAIT! Do you have greenery in your cart? Filler flowers? I can’t stress enough how important these elements are. Having these extra stems will help your flowers go from looking totally handmade to much more professional. Most websites sell mixed greenery packs but you can get away with one choice of greenery and one filler flower. I ended up foraging some wildflowers for my bridesmaids bouquets on the day before the wedding because Blackeyed Susans were in perfect bloom in our shop yard.
8. Think outside the box.
When I was planning out our flowers I kept falling in love with ranunculus and peonies but they were definitely not in my budget. I found a wood flower company that makes gorgeous wood flowers that ended up being perfect for the whole vibe of our wedding. You can order your wood flowers pre-dyed or dye them yourself. I loved that these flowers were eco-friendly and would last a lifetime so I had fun incorporating them into my bouquet, crown, and other floral decor. My biggest tip for working with wood flowers is to order samples or to dye them yourself if you are super picky about the color tone. My main flowers ending up much more red than I imagined but were still lovely. If you are going for a very specific shade, consider ordering some samples in advance or dyeing them yourself and be sure to save them after the wedding!
9. Read the FAQs!
Pretty straightforward advice, but you’d be surprised! Almost any specific question you could ever dream of has already been asked and answered by someone else. Take some time to read the FAQ section of the website you are planning to order from before panicking. Take advantage of the Customer Support both before and during the process to make things go as smoothly as possible.
10. Have realistic expectations.
When it comes to DIY flowers it’s important to keep your expectations in check. Professional florists have years of experience and training and when you work with one you are paying for that expertise. If you or your loved ones have ZERO experience arranging flowers, chances are you won’t end up with the insanely intricate ten foot table runner you saw on a wedding blog. Keep your design simple and your expectations in line with your skill and budget. I know for a fact that the best part of our DIY wedding flowers was the time spent in the kitchen chatting with family in friends while putting the whole thing together.
My Real-life Costs & Experience
Our wedding was a camp themed, outdoor affair at a local state park. I loved the look of loose, casual wildflower bouquets with lots of color and I knew that I wanted to wear a flower crown. We kept the table arrangements super simple with just a few stems in recycled brown bottles.
I ordered my flowers from Blooms By The Box and had them delivered to my husband’s woodshop. My brother-in-law was in charge of care since he has experience with plant care and was way calmer than I was at this point. For some reason I was feeling the stress at this stage and thankfully brother Craig stepped in, kept me calm, and saved the day.
Brother Craig kept the flowers looking fresh from the time they arrived and when we got to the venue we put them all in large stand up fridges. All flowers are different so be sure to follow the instructions that come with your order.
We were lucky to have a fully stocked kitchen available for use at our venue so that became the flower station on the day of the wedding. My cousin Kelly worked on my bouquet and my NM momma Sue put together most of the other bouquets and larger arrangements (I think? I was pretty frazzled at this point because I was trying to make my own flower crown which was a mistake). My bridesmaid Jodi came to the rescue and took over flower crown making and my friend Emily helped with greenery crowns and wire untangling.
I feel like a lot happened behind the scenes that I didn’t completely catch but I was absolutely STUNNED by the finish products and so grateful to everyone involved in making my ideas come to life. When the bouquets and crowns got brought to the cabin where we were getting ready I was blown away.
As a reference here is what I ordered and spent on the flowers for the following:
1 Medium-Large Bridal Bouquet
1 Bridal Flower Crown
3 Medium Bridesmaid Bouquets
3 Greenery Crowns
30-40 brown bottle table arrangements
2 floral swags for signs
3-4 Extra vase arrangements for gift and dessert tables
All in all I easily spent less than $500 on a crapload of wedding flowers that I feel rivaled the pros. If you kept your style more simple and focused on the main elements (bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, and boutonnieres) you can easily keep your floral costs even lower.
Ultimately you’ll remember how you felt on your wedding day and not what your flowers looked like so try not to get too stressed either way and know that a good photographer can make even the most simple or awkwardly arranged flowers look pretty darn good. Have fun with it and enjoy the time spent planning and arranging because the memories are ultimately priceless!