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Amateur DIY Wedding Flower Tips


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Amateur DIY Wedding Flower Tips | A Practical WeddingEveryone seemed excited and interested by my DIY flower dry run, so I thought I’d post wildly unprofessional tips, tricks, and thoughts on floral decorating.

  • Don’t be scared. I’m not sure how we got so convinced that flowers were scary, but flowers are not scary. People have been doing flowers for weddings for thousands of years.
  • Forget this “I’m an amateur, I should do something really simple, and not mix flowers” idea. Where did we even get that?
  • Pin up pictures of arrangements you like and let them inspire your decorating.
  • Mix textures, mix flowers, mix color. Be brave.
  • Use crazy flowers! And herbs! And spiky things! And leaves! And twigs! And feathers!
  • Too much of just the colors you love will be bland, use something different to make it pop (yellow or white for dark colors work really well)
  • Work in pairs. One person will be your eyes while you are the worker bee. Then switch.
  • Remember scale. Just because you can afford to have flowers the size of your head doesn’t mean you want to have flowers the size of your head. Or maybe you do. Just remember that flowers are heavy.
  • Make your peace with the fact that your flowers will not be perfect, and that you’ll need to make them the day before (hot tip: if you paid for the flowers they wouldn’t be perfect either, but you would pretend that they were).
  • Every time you make something, sit back and guess how much a florist would have charged you for it “$75!” you’ll say, “No, maybe $150!” Then applaud your cost savings (feel free to be wildly inaccurate with these numbers).
  • Throw a flower decorating party the day before your wedding. Provide lots of wine and/or tea. You are not there to be the flower slave driver, you are the guest of honor, and are there to be spoiled. Remember that.
  • On your wedding day, enthusiastically throw that bouquet in the air on the way out the door. Forget having a “tossing bouquet.” After all, if you want your wedding bouquet later, you can just make a new one!

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09384044696343954901 DomestiGals

    Meg! Can I just get that bouquet pictured above? :-) Thank you for these tips! I am really not in the mood to spend thousands of dollars on flowers, so I am trying to get up the guts to make my own. We shall see. Are you doing your own arrangements for all your tables or are you doing an alternative for table centerpieces? Thanks for the inspiration! Jen xx

  • http://www.bathtubbrewery.com mel

    Thank you thank you thank you! I plan on using dried flowers in combo with some fresh, or maybe even freeze-dried (I just want to make the bouquet as early as possible and be done with it, considering I’m baking my own wedding cupcakes!)

    Thank you AGAIN! Your blog saves my sanity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12626429814525648039 lazybride

    Thanks Meg! I never knew I would come up against so much resistance about wanting to do my own flowers.

    Apparently, just renting a restaurant and wanting to do my own flowers is “so different” and “crazy”

    who knew?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11525991722450984283 Megan Schommer

    We walked around our wedding site (surrounded by a prairie) and picked whatever looked pretty. If we could make a pretty bouquet doing that, I think anyone can walk into a flower store and make a pretty bouquet on their own!

    http://picasaweb.google.com/cschommer/ValleyGrove1YearOut?authkey=X_z0vYXepZc#5240830482693428674

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11525991722450984283 Megan Schommer

    … not to say that that photo I linked to was an example of a wedding-quality bouquet- just some pretty wildflowers!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10567306554165246459 Rebecca Green

    I love turning the flower-decorating task into a party. It’s always nice to create something special together with the people you love and it’s particularly nice when you know that you won’t be able to spend too much time with those people on the day of the wedding.
    My mom was so nervous about this that she offered to pay for my flowers if I went through a florist and I caved. But I’m still pining for that fun get-together the day before. Maybe I’ll reconsider ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    Thank you for making me so pleased we’re going the DIY route! That is sooo true about how you would pretend they were perfect if you paid for them!

    And I had such a laugh imagining us guessing what what a florist would pay for our handiwork!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    DG- Well, I could charge you $200 for that bouquet, or you could just make it yourself (see how fun cost comparison is?) That was the first bouquet I ever made in my whole life, so clearly, this is not rocket science ;)

    I’m doing all my flowers, centerpieces too. We’re doing long tables which means more centerpieces, but smaller ones. And when I say “I’m doing” my own flowers, I mean of course, we’re having a big party to do them. For me, it’s going to be a women’s only party, much like the henna decorating parties the day before the wedding… it will be a chance for all our female relatives to kevel over the bride, socialize, and feel like they have contributed to the wedding. After the dry run my mom said “Oh, I love this! Then when we all look at the flowers the day of, we’ll feel like we really were part of the wedding, not just guests.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17728896023144798899 Mackensie

    Thanks for your great tips! Every time I tell someone I’m doing my own flowers they don’t really say anything and just get this blank stare like “oh my god, why would you do that?” Honestly I think I let myself question my own judgment on this because of those looks. Thanks for reassuring me and giving me to courage to ignore those ridiculous looks!

  • http://wemetinabar.com Heather from the bar

    haha the “perfect” one cracked me up. It is so true, and part of the reason why I am afraid to do my own! But with your tips, I am feeling a little more confident!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07099654516607570108 Lucy

    We did the decorative flowers for the London leg of my wedding but bought a bouquet (cos my mum had a tantrum about DIY). Here are a couple of my tips:

    You can TOTALLY do this. Me, my friend, my aunt and mum did about 20 arrangements in 3 hours. And at least one of us had never arranged any flowers before. And the results looked really good!

    You will need more vases than you think is possible. I went to several charity shops the day before my wedding when I realised this and bought any old thing (most of which were glass and looked like they came from Ikea) for about ÂŁ1-2 a go.

    Get lots of gypsophilia or babys breath. It’s really cheap and pulls what might look like a random collection of flowers into a cohesive arrangement and looks professional.

    Cover the floor/ table with loads and loads of newspaper to make it easy to pick up the leaves afterwards.

    Don’t fill the vases til right at the end. Moving waterfilled vases around leads to spilled water. Use a watering can to fill the vases when they are in position.

    When you go to the flower market have a look around for the rubbish bins. I am a bit ashamed about this but we found loads of stuff lying around and in the bins that we could use. Some of it will be bashed and damaged, but not all of it will be and it will save loads of money.

    Don’t forget leaves and foliage. They make your expensive flowers go further and add balance to the arrangements.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09086142807086386230 Mrs. Andi

    I love, love this idea & I love the flower party idea too! I've never visited a flower wholesaler but I know you can also get some great deals at the supermarket & they have some wild colors! Who wouldn't love a bunch of electric blue daisies!

  • http://ladyoffellan.deviantart.com Amanda

    I love the idea of trying to price DIY flowers. I think (whenever I get around to it) it’ll just put the whole process in perspective. And thank you for the advice/encouragement! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13538585768436208300 Carol

    wow I love your flowers and thank you for the advice and encouragement. I plan on making quite a few things for my wedding, not only will it save hundreds of pounds but also it makes it so much more personal and I absolutely love the excuse to make things I wouldn’t normally! Good luck to everyone who gives it go! Cx

  • http://www.kmsproductions.net Karina

    I used to work in a floral department of a grocery store…people would always come in last minute and ask for things like bouquets and corsages and such. Well needless to say, I never thought I did that great of a job arranging the flowers even though I am very OCD, but when the customers came back to pick up their order they were so thankful and so excited about their flowers….people are pretty easy to please when it comes to flowers….if you do your own flowers, you’ll most likely be the only one who notices the mistakes, everyone else at the wedding will think they are grand! :-)

  • Dani

    So I am about two months out from my wedding in November, and I really have just begun to make the plans.

    I don’t know if it’s considered breaking the rules or not, but I am thinking about not having real flowers. I am thinking of something that will last, and not have too much clean up. I am only doing the main bouquet and the one for the brides maids, and the bouitneers. I don’t really need extra decoration, since the wedding is going to be at an outdoor Garden Venue. The place is a peacock preserve, so I even have LIVE peacocks for decoration. I think that is pretty awesome.

    Even still the thought of arranging flowers is daunting. I have never arranged flowers in my life, being more of a the tom boy than a girly girl. (however there has been a part of me that secretly wants to be a princess, : D) I don’t really have any friends who can sit and make flowers with me, most of my friends are either male or live hundreds of miles away. These tips have really given me inspiration and ideas. I am really looking forward to sitting down with my future mother and sister in-law and getting all of them ready!

  • http://bonnieprojects.blogspot.com/ Bonnie

    I made the bouquets and boutonnieres for two friends weddings, with zero previous experience. I would warn though, that the ones I ordered online got held up in shipping and were ruined when they arrived. Now I buy them at my local wholesaler and have been extremely happy! I spent under $200 for 6-7 bouquets and 15-20 boutonnieres each time!

  • meg

    Nope! You don’t have to be local. It’s just easier to come to staff parties if you’re local :)

    You just have to feel like it would be something you’d get a lot out of. That’s the goal.

  • Lucy

    Hi Meg,
    I really needed to read this today !! I am doing the flowers for my brother in laws engagement party and I am SCARED !!????
    I loved reading the very first tip at the top of the page “Don’t be scared. I’m not sure how we got so convinced that flowers were scary, but flowers are not scary. It just instantly made me feel better. I am my own worst enemy and critic when it comes to the floristry work I do. I just finished a 10 week introductory course so I am still only learning but whatever I make I just stand back and see where I could have done better. The funny thing is like Karina wrote above I am probably the only one who notices the mistakes. Everyone always says how beautiful my work is. I just need that little bit of confidence and then I think I could really go places with this !!

    Thankyou and your work is gorgeous !!!