How To: Create a DIY Anemone Centerpiece

Easy and in season? Check and check.

Step 10

Back when I was wedding planning, flowers weren’t my priority. They just needed to be as no-nonsense and fuss-free as possible, and that meant lots of small thrifted glass jars with a few seasonal flowers in them, that we put together the night before.

Our flowers were perfectly delightful, and I got exactly what I was looking for—a simple, easy, clean fix. But as I sat there, killing time by fussing about with the extra flowers and greenery because we’d put all the centerpieces together in exactly one quarter of the time I’d allotted for them, I had to wonder: could I have done more? I’d shied away from large centerpieces because, quite frankly, they looked too hard. So many people had regaled me with their centerpiece horror stories that I’d forgotten that, you know, I’m usually pretty good at putting things together.

Because putting together centerpieces? Is not rocket science, not scary, and actually really fun to experiment with. So to further illustrate that hey, you can totally pull this off for your own wedding, today we have a bright, anemone centerpiece tutorial from longtime APW sponsors Blooms by the Box that, we hope, will help you make your DIY centerpiece dreams a reality. The flowers used in this tutorial are also all in season in May, so if you’re doing centerpieces right now, you’re in luck, because you can order all the flowers right now from Blooms by the Box.

What You Need: Your choice of wholesale flowers. We used Baroness Garden Roses, Miranda Garden Roses, White Ranunculus, Pink Ranunculus, White Anemones, Pink Rice Flower, Green Hanging Amaranthus, and Italian Ruscus.

Floral Supplies: Floral scissors, a floral foam block, and a floral receptacle (a vintage pedestal vase in our case!)

Step One: Prepare your flowers for arranging. Remove thorns, lower leaves, guard petals, and any bruised petals. Cut one to two inches off the stems on a forty-five-degree angle under lukewarm running water. Then, remove all lower leaves that may reach the water line in your hydrating containers. Store the flowers in a cool, dry place, out of any direct sunlight or draft. Hydrate the flowers for at least four to six hours.

Step Two: Cut your floral foam to fit inside your vase. Soak the floral foam in water mixed with flower food. Simply place the floral foam in a bucket of water that has flower food in it. Do not push the floral foam under the water, allow it to sink naturally. The foam is ready for use once it is floating in the water and has finished releasing water bubbles.

Step Three: Create the arrangement shape and foundation using greenery. Simply push the stems into the floral foam, keep in mind the angle you use to insert stems will determine how the greenery stands. Italian Ruscus is the perfect candidate for the job. It is stiff enough to create a determined shape, yet flowy enough to create the draping/vintage technique.

Step Four: Add the Hanging Amaranthus. Use the Amaranthus at the beginning so the hanging elements peak through your focal flowers.

Step Five: Add large focal flowers first. We started out with our rotation of Baroness and Miranda Garden Roses. We inserted them into the arrangement, leaving plenty of room for our secondary flowers (the Anemones and Ranunculus).

Step Six: Add your secondary flowers. It helps to pick a large focal flower, a small secondary flower, a filler and a greenery when making your own arrangements. In this case the Garden Roses are the large focal flowers, Anemones and Ranunculus are the small secondary flowers, Rice Flower is the filler, and the Amaranthus and Ruscus are the greens.

Step Seven: The filler flower takes on its role in the final step, filling in spaces. Fill in any area that has a space, where you can see too much greenery, or shows the floral foam. Survey your arrangement from all angles, and check to make sure that you have covered all the areas. Once you are happy with your arrangement shape and size, you’re done!

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  • emmers

    so pretty!!!

    • Ann

      Or recipes for “all green” centerpieces? I’m attempting all greens for my centerpieces (ferns & ivy) but it’s hard to know where to start when there isn’t much out there for folks choosing not to have flowers.

      • emfish

        I would love this. We want to keep things simple and doing all greens centerpieces seemed like a good option, but I’m struggling to figure out how to execute it. I think ultimately I need to just go to the wholesaler, see what they have, price out options and put together a sample arrangement. But some guidance would be most helpful. I have this idea that green centerpieces we do ourselves will be much cheaper than professional arrangements but maybe I’m wrong? It seems like most of the people I’ve spoken to who did their own flowers found they didn’t save much money.

    • Meg Keene

      We might! They have to be done seasonally though :) Since you can only photograph what’s in season!

  • ART

    very helpful!! i’m planning to print this kind of thing out for my flower arranging elves on the day of :)

  • Nope.

    This looks great, but it would be way more helpful to hear what it cost!

    • MagNCheese

      Also, where should you go to get wholesale flowers if you don’t have a flower market (or even, in my case, a farmer’s market) nearby? These flowers are beautiful, but they look a lot more expensive and difficult to find than run-of-the-mill roses, daisies, carnations, etc.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        There are NO wholesale flower markets open to the public where I live. Keep phoning around to florists and you WILL find someone who’s willing to work with you. Our florist works out of her home and is giving us flowers to DIY the centerpieces (approx 10 – from alstroemeria, VERY cheap but also pretty!), bouquets (1 bride, 3 bm), bouts (4) and corsages (4). She’s going to supply us with mostly “vibrant wildflowers” (this is where the not exactly caring what you get saves you money) for $265. For me, that’s a great price! We can’t afford more, but I think this is all we feel we need. The woman I found is awesome… she’s never come close to shaming us about our paltry flower budget. :)

    • Alison M

      From the links in the post, it seems pretty expensive? The most expensive of those garden roses is more than $5 per stem.

      I’ve been thinking about doing my own flowers, but it seems like the online options are much better for people who have particular flowers in mind, as the peonies/hydrangeas/whatever are cheaper than the florist. I’m really wondering how the prices compare to grabbing stuff at the grocery store, but it’s hard to price match because these come in bunches of 10-12 for a certain price and grocery flowers are often mixes of different things including inexpensive greenery.

      Also, I don’t really know how much I would need. I guess that depends a lot on what flowers I chose. So complicated!

      • Meg Keene

        This is a question of flower choices, not where you buy them. Garden Roses (like Peonies) are SUPER expensive flowers. They just are. They’re expensive wherever you buy them. And if you’re on a strict flower budget, they’re not for you (I could never have afforded them).

        We’ve done grocery story flower tutorials (, and it’s for sure something you can do (in fact, I’ve fleshed out bouquets made with wholesale flowers with whatever was at Trader Joe’s that day). The issue with grabbing stuff at the store is you get what’s there (or not) and you’re stuck with it. Supplies vary. Sometimes Trader Joe’s flowers are the prettiest in town, sometimes they’re a little grim. If you’re doing this route, you need to not care about what your flowers ARE that much.

        Wholesale flower markets are another way to go. It’s not always cheaper (I spent a fortune on our wholesale flower market flowers, god help me), but there is a lot of variety.

        Buying through a place like Blooms has the advantage of knowing what you’re getting exactly, and not having to run out to buy them. I do ALWAYS recommend over ordering though. Better too much than too little.

        End of the day though, this tutorial is a SUPER helpful tutorial on how to put an arrangement like this together. The in season flowers used here as examples are pricey flowers. Pretty ones, but more expensive than others.

        • Karen

          You’re selling it pretty hard. :-) Also, the end slash of the link to the other post has to be separated from the parenthesis for it to click through. :-)

          • Meg Keene

            I don’t know that I am. I couldn’t have afforded garden roses, and I didn’t do wholesale flowers. If I did it over, I’d have no centerpieces and pay for bouquets, but let’s be honest, lots of people are not going to do that!

            So I think this tutorial is helpful, if you can afford garden roses or not. They are DAMN pretty though.

          • Karen

            Ooh, you know what would be really helpful? A post with pictures of different kinds of flowers saying when they are in season and if they’re expensive, cheap, medium… my mom is really good at flowers but I only know about 10 kinds of them. I bet the sponsor could work up a post like that since they know the whole year’s worth of flowers.

          • ART

            Their website actually has tons of info and may already have the in-season info as a web page or pdf…I feel like I’ve seen that already. Maybe not with the cheapness factor though…

          • vegankitchendiaries

            My wedding hasn’t even happened yet and I already wish I did this. #bouquetterror

        • Cee

          I am really excited about this tutorial, but for the question of logistics, it would be nice to know how many of each flower went into the centerpiece—I’m trying to talk my mom and partner into the idea of DIYing the flowers.

  • Whitney Huynh

    This looks great! As someone not particulary good with flowers I feel like I might be able to accomplish this!

  • Jess

    This is helpful and pretty. Any tips for where to find great vases for DIY flowers? I’ve read a bunch of the APW floral tutorials, but am still hung up on where to find attractive vessels to put those flowers in.

    • Maddy

      Op-shops, family members and other people’s family and grandparents are fantastic for sourcing old silverware and vases, even IKEA if you’re after inexpensive glassware to mix and match with.

      • ART

        yep! all of our table decor is silver-plated or other silver-toned metal stuff from thrift stores. they all seem to have lots of vases, too (glass, pottery, whatever).

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I have made the most shit hot vases out of glitter and mason jars AND giant glass vases from the dollar store. (If you google ‘glitter mason jars’ there’s a million tutorials on YouTube). Here’s a sample, but the tall vases look even better … I did them with stripes! (Disclaimer: we are having a slightly kitschy wedding and are fine with ALL OF THE GLITTERZ.)

  • Monica

    Wedding florist here. It might be good to mention that many areas of the country do not have wholesale markets open to the public. Cities like San Francisco and New York have wholesale markets that often sell to the public, but smaller cities likely do not. No, wedding centerpieces aren’t rocket science, but buying flowers takes some finesse. The reason some people may find that they don’t save money when they do it themselves is because they overbuy. I’ve been a floral designer for over ten years, and I still don’t always get it right! While the cost of the flowers might be more expensive than buying wholesale, you might consider asking a boutique florist if they will sell you bulk flowers. Bulk flowers are typically sold at a lower mark-up because there is no labor involved. We do this all the time and sometimes offer advice on how much to buy. Typically the clients are also buying their bouquets, etc from us, but you might be surprised at how flexible we can be!

    As for constructing centerpieces, floral foam does make things much simpler because stems stay where you put them the first time, but it is full of formaldehyde, other carcinogens, and is not remotely biodegradable. I don’t mean to be a debbie downer, but if you want a green wedding, stick to things grown locally at your farmers market and definitely skip the foam! Consider creating a grid out of 1/4″ waterproof floral tape over the top of your vase and submerging a vintage metal floral frog instead!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I did **NOT** know this about floral foam! Really, really important to know for as I know many of us are trying to keep things green!

      • Dawn

        Depending on your philosophy about keeping things green, previously uses foam might be worth looking for. I have some that I’ve used quite a few times.

  • Karen

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