How To: Make A Bright Colorful Wedding Bouquet

In truest #lazygirl style, of course.


One of the things I’ve never mentioned about my own wedding planning is that we sort of epically failed at making the bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids. I’d spent a fair amount of time poring over Meg’s posts on doing her own flowers (carefully ignoring the part where she, you know, practiced), and it seemed easy enough that I thought it might be something we could handle. So I ordered $300 worth of ranunculus online (thinking they were basically cheaper versions of peonies, which is false since they’re a totally different size), and asked my crafty step-mom if she’d be willing to gift me her time making them as a wedding present.

Turns out, we didn’t order enough flowers and we didn’t really know how to care for them either, so everything died the morning of our wedding, forcing my dear stepmom to run around like a crazy person buying up all the roses at BJ’s Wholesale Club for replacement bouquets while my dad called me every hour on the hour using his serious voice to give me updates (at which point, I’d stopped caring. I was getting married, who needs flowers?). It all worked out in the end, but it was clear that “winging it” was probably not the best game plan for that project.

The thing is, bouquets aren’t actually all that hard to put together. But what I was missing was information on how to construct the bouquet, what flowers to use, and how to care for them. So today we have a bright, colorful bouquet tutorial (read: exactly what I wanted) from longtime APW sponsors Blooms by the Box that answers those questions, in the truest lazy-girl fashion possible. Let’s start with pictures, then those of you who are smarter than me detail focused, can actually read the instructions as well.

Alright. Let’s break this down, lazy-girl style:

1. First, you’ll need to get your flowers. For this bouquet, Blooms by the Box used half a bunch of hot pink ranunculus, one third of a bunch of purple tulips, three stems of yellow spray roses, one third of a bunch of lemon garden roses, and one third of a bunch of fuchsia stock. Now, because they love you guys, Blooms by the Box set up a special APW page with just the ingredients for this bouquet on it, but of course you can buy them at your local flower market if you want. The secret to not totally messing up like I did is to order more than you think you’re going to need. Because mistakes happen, and it’s always better to have too much than to be making last-minute trips to BJ’s Wholesale Club, right? (Pro-tip: yes.) Once you’ve got all your flowers, make sure to prep them properly so they stay fresh and, well, don’t die.

2. Next gather all the materials for your bouquet. For this bouquet, Blooms by the Box used burlap, lace ribbon, floratape stem wrap, and floral scissors. Of course, you can always substitute the burlap and lace for ribbon or another textile of your choosing (I found glitter ribbon at Michael’s last week—is all I’m saying.)

3.  Start off by building the center of your bouquet. Take three flowers and begin wrapping them with the stem wrap (when pulled tight, stem wrap adheres to itself and tears easily, so it should be very easy to work with).

4. & 5. Once your base is secured, continue building a round shape by adding more flowers. Add stem wrap every time you add four or five new flowers so that the bouquet will be sturdy and round.

6. Once you have your round shape, and the bouquet is the size you want, secure the stems using additional stem wrap.

7. & 8. Once the bouquet is secure, use your floral scissors to trim the stems by cutting straight across. (Pro-tip: leave the stems long enough to make a second cut the morning of the wedding for an extra hour of hydration.)

9. I learned recently that there are lots of ways to attach ribbon, burlap, or lace to create a bouquet wrap. You can use corsage pins, a floral glue gun, or floral adhesive. Blooms by the Box used floral adhesive for this tutorial (just dab a little right on the stems).

10. After the glue has had a minute to dry, pull the burlap around the stems. Make sure you are pulling tight so the stem wrap is secure without looking bulky. When you’re done, use the floral adhesive again to glue the burlap in place. (You can also add extra lace or other textures at this point by simply replicating the steps you took with the burlap.)

And that’s it! The lazy girl’s guide to creating a bouquet. You don’t even have to shop around for this one. Just click and done.

And since we care, a few additional tips from Blooms by the Box (the full scoop is at their Do-It-Yourself Flowers 101 page, or on our How To page, which has enough projects to really get you in trouble):

Usually a large or full bridal bouquet calls for about 25–30 stems (depending on the size of the flowers you plan on using). A medium bridesmaid bouquet calls for around 15–20 stems. Small bouquets for flowers girls or mothers of the bride and groom call for 10–12 stems. These measurements should help you estimate flower quantities for your order.

Pick three or more colors to be incorporated in the bouquet. Two-tone bouquets can look flat, but adding at least one more color or shade of a color creates texture and depth, and helps make DIY bouquets look more professional.

How To Make a Grocery Store Wedding Bouquet

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The Complete APW How-To Series

Photos provided by Blooms by the Box 

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  • mimi

    Pretty! I like the design. I’m getting married August 3 in northern Michigan and I’m planning to go up in a few weeks to find a flower vendor at the local farmers’ market. I know these flowers are mostly spring flowers, but I want to use a similar concept in making my bouquet.

  • Looks awesome! Thanks guys!

  • Jen

    I just got married a few weeks ago and used Blooms by the Box- though I fretted a lot about it, it worked out perfectly. Blooms gave awesome instructions on how to care for the flowers (with specific tips for certain flowers that require extra TLC- that tip on hydrangeas? golden!). And they also have helpful information for when a flower is hard to work with, as well as other similar flowers if the ones you want are a) not available or b) too pricey.
    But definitely do a few practice bouquets, they help you feel more comfortable with the flowers and (perhaps most importantly) gives you the confidence so that you can delegate to folks helping you out for the big event. You WILL need help. But hopefully it will be fun for all involved:)

    • I am so happy you had a great experience with us! We would love to see your pictures!!

      • Jen

        As soon as I get them back from the photographer:) We got lots of compliments on the centerpieces. Thank you for providing a viable alternative to a traditional florist!

  • Emily

    We did our own flowers for our wedding two months ago. I think Blooms by the Box would be great if you have a large bridal party and want to make large centerpieces. For us, with only two bouquets, and maybe 16 small centerpieces (put in mason jars) it would have been overkill. We went to some grocery stores Friday morning (for a Saturday evening wedding) and bought maybe 12-15 bunches of flowers. It was a little stressful since we just didn’t know what they would have, but I knew I didn’t have any must have flowers and it did all work out after going to three or four stores (2 different Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Safeway). I practiced the bouquets and centerpieces once a couple of weeks before, and in the end it all worked out.

    We had a blast putting everything together Friday afternoon and it cost us about $150 with supplies like burlap, stem tape and pins. Another way you can go about doing it!

    • Jen

      Oh yes, that is a good point. Blooms only sells in bulk, so if you have just a few centerpieces a farmer’s market is probably the way to go.

      • Actually BloomsBytheBox sells in small quantities! You can buy in quantities as little as one bunch (one bunch is only 10 stems)! The minimum order is only $50.00 too, so you really do not have to buy in bulk. Check it out!

        • Jen

          Oops, apologies- I didn’t mean to spread false information:) BloomsbytheBox is great!

      • meg

        I was going to say. I’ve used Blooms by the box several times. They specialize in the grocery store amount of flowers, not so much bulk. Not to say both approaches aren’t valuable. There are just different levels of control/ predictability/ convenance, depending on what you want.

        We did Blooms for a wedding where we ONLY did a few bouquets, no centerpieces.

    • I did my own flowers by going to the grocery store, too, and something I learned is that Whole Foods will order flowers specifically for you. Other grocery stores might do it, too. I called a few weeks ahead of time, told them what I wanted, and then picked them up the day before the wedding. I probably would’ve been fine just going to the store and buying flowers (they always have the white hydrangeas that I wanted to use), but it eliminated the stress of me thinking, “What if someone else wants 20 bouquets of white hydrangeas and gets there before I do?!?”

      • I heard that you can do this with Costco too, but I never verified that.

      • Chiara M

        I’ve had my local grocery store order in greenery for my bouquets. I’m planning on just picking whatever market flowers they have that day, but am getting greenery in special.

  • Lauren

    Yes! I needed this! For my bachelorette/hen party we are making bouquets and sipping cocktails. So mistakes will be understandable, but yay tutorial!

  • This is exactly what I needed!! Yay!

  • Class of 1980

    Hmmm. Who wrote this? I was curious, but don’t see a name.

    I need to know who to tease for thinking ranunculus was like a peony.

    Kidding! But it’s funny. ;) ;) ;)

    • meg

      Maddie. Ha.

    • Maddie

      Me! I know next to zip about flowers, and I knew less about them when I was 22 and getting married. (I’m from Maine. We have pine cones, not peonies.)

      • Class of 1980

        It’s still funny, Maddie.

        I can imagine the look on your face when the ranunculus showed up … tiniest peonies ever!


        • Maddie

          Oh it was hilarious. :) I was in deep denial, so I kept pretending they’d just bloom huge in the day and a half we had before the wedding.

  • Marcie

    I have made the bouquets for several weddings including my own (shopped for and made the bouquets on Thursday for a Saturday wedding – everything lasted in the fridge in water and flower food just fine!). It is super easy and a fun thing to do if you have the time/energy to DIT. Thanks for the How To APW!

  • I have to admit I was SUPER inspired by all the APW posts about doing your own flowers and adamantly wanted to do it for my wedding. I also had a super great and realistic idea that I would grow all of them myself in containers. Uh oh, the weekend before the wedding rolled around and I had like 4 flowers actually blooming. I went to the local farmers’ market with my mom and talked to a couple of flower vendors and made arrangements to go to a flower farm a couple days later. I was still going to make all the bouquets of course!

    Meanwhile, my mom went and ordered bouquets from one of the farmers’ market vendors behind my back.

    It turned out picking zinnias and glads a couple days before my wedding at the flower farm is one of my favourite wedding planning memories, but those all just went into the extremely simple (single flower in lab glass with water absorbing beads) table arrangements and the fact that my mom ordered those bouquets behind my back was one of the best things to happen after all.

    Moms: why do they always know stuff??? So annoying but also awesome.

  • Rosie

    We ordered just the flowers rather than bouquets etc. from a flourist and made our own bouquets and decorations. To keep the cost down I practiced making bouquets using wildflowers, so instead of ranunculus and gypsophilia I used dandylions and cow parsley! I wasn’t going for a particuarly neat look so it did the job :) I imagine if you want it more precise you should probably practice with the real thing.

  • dragonzflame

    Beautiful! I’d intended to do something like this, but as we were travelling a couple of hours to our wedding I was just going to grab a pretty bunch of flowers (and not tell the florist what they were for) before we left. Flowers were not a big priority for me.

    When I realised there would be NO time to buy flowers on the Friday morning, my friend who rents my parents’ outside room (long story) suggested I grab sunflowers from the garden. Totally perfect. We cut the flowers right before we hit the road, put them in a cupcake box so they were shielded from the sun, blasted the aircon in the car, and when we got to the wedding venue we borrowed a bucket. Water and some pre-purchased flower food meant the sunflowers were in stunning condition the next morning, and they didn’t cost a cent. Then my bridesmaid just tied them together with pretty ribbons.

    So simple, so effective, and it meant more to me than I’d have ever imagined to have the flowers come from my family home.

  • Copper

    Anyone have a good rule of thumb for how many flowers to order? Like, number of bridesmaids x 10 stems + 5 stems per table… or am I trying to be too precise about this? My fear of DIY flowers is winding up not having enough.

    • Katy

      Well the article suggests 25-30 stems for a bridal bouquet and 15-20 for bridesmaids. My wedding is in August, and a couple months ago my mom and I went to our local florist, who was extremely helpful, and bought some practice flowers just to get a feel for things. I can’t recommend that enough! Go get some practice flowers to get a feel for how many flowers you’ll need, how big the bouquet will be, etc. Also, my florist recommended that your bouquet should be just skinnier than you are. So if you are rail thin you will want a smaller bouquet than if you have a wider silhouette. Hope this helps!

    • We have a flower quantity chart right here! Brand new!

  • Canadian Bride

    I am getting married in August and absolutely love all of these DIY bouquet blog posts, thanks APW. I’ve been reading everything from the Blooms by the Box DIY guide as well as starting to plan out how many of each flower I want. I feel like i’m ready to go, but I just don’t know where to get my flowers from as Blooms by the Box doesn’t ship to Canada! I am wondering if you know of similar companies in Western Canada, specifically BC if possible. I know this may be a stretch, but any help would be great.

    • Robyn

      You should just check out farmers markets. I’m in Saskatoon and we have lots of local flower wholesalers at our market in the summer so I imagine a nicer climate like B.C. would for sure have similar vendors. Possibly even u-pick!

    • Aubry

      Do you happen to be in van? My friend just got married recently and she told me about a rediculously inexpensive florist she used in north van (the quay) but it is really local :)

  • Emily

    If I’m folding my own origami flowers (irises), would I still need to follow the guidelines for number of stems? I was thinking of 7-9 flowers for my bouquet, then 5-6 for the bridesmaids’. They’re each ~5″ across total, with the “petals” and the base of the flower (ice cream cone shaped) is 1.5″ at the top and 3.5″ high. Would just a handful of flowers seems to sparse?

  • These are great. Flowers don’t have to be expensive if you do it yourself.

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