Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DIY Wedding Flowers

Good news! My photographer says I should receive our wedding photos this week! I'm so anxious to see them but also nervous at the same time. There are portions of the wedding festivities that I missed entirely while hiding out at the venue so Justin wouldn't see me and while taking photos before and after the ceremony. I haven't seen any pictures of the guys getting ready and Justin and I missed the whole cocktail reception since it took place while we were getting our photos taken together. Seeing those photos will be like experiencing some of the wedding moments for the first time. I was so heavily involved in the planning of the wedding that it was hard to relinquish control and not know exactly what was going on every second of the event. I am fully aware of how much I sound like a freak. I won't make matters any better by telling you I thought it'd be fun to control do my own flowers too.

To save money, my month-of coordinator advised me to do as much of the wedding flowers as possible on my own. She did not recommend that I attempt my own bouquet (apparently they are quite tricky) so I hired a florist to do my bouquet, the boutonnieres for the men, and some minimal ceremony decor. I took on the bridesmaids' bouquets and the centerpieces for the reception with the help of my family, my mom's best friend Jane and my sister's boyfriend Cody.

I had this fantasy of strolling the Santa Barbara farmer's market with a steaming latte in hand, completely relaxed and happy at the thought of saving thousands of dollars on flowers by doing them myself. While the farmer's market itself was pretty breezy, putting together centerpieces the day before your wedding is a bit of a logistical stresser. Since I had a Saturday wedding, we purchased the flowers Friday morning and needed to have them done by the time we left for the rehearsal that evening. We were dropping off all of the wedding decor, wine, printed materials, etc. the night of the rehearsal and luckily the winery agreed to store the flowers in a cool room away from the sun. I was going for a wildflower winery feel with the florals, so this photo I found on Pinterest inspired me to spend the months before the wedding collecting and cleaning wine bottles to use as vases.


After filling the wine bottles with fresh water we started arranging the centerpieces. I purchased all of my flowers for this project at the Farmer's Market for around $100. I was limited in the quantity of each type of flower available so every centerpiece was a little different, which was part of the fun.

We completed the wine bottle centerpieces with custom wine labels, which served as the menus for dinner.

The wine label menu was actually something my caterer suggested to save space on the tables since we were having a family style dinner service. There were two wine bottles placed at each table, and each were labeled front and back. I found Nancy Nikko Design on Etsy and she incorporated my oak tree theme and menu on self adhesive wine labels. She was excellent to work with and made sure I received my items in time.

I must admit to having a minor melt down when I realized that the labels weren't working quite as well on the rounder bottles that usually hold white wine. Their circumference must not be consistent from top to bottom because minor bubbling occurred. With only a few hours until I was supposed to leave for the rehearsal I was in a panic thinking I wouldn't be able to use the labels that had bubbled. I had stupidly only ordered as many labels as I needed so I had to make it work. My family calmed me down and we decided to use them anyway rather than have missing elements.

In addition to the wine bottle centerpieces, I had also drawn more inspiration from Pinterest for a lavender-lined hurricane candle to adorn the center of each table with the wine bottles on either side.


When I mentioned this idea to my florist, she was hesitant to use fresh lavender since the flowers would be set outside hours before the wedding and they wouldn't be in water in this case. I purchased dried lavender from her instead and rented her hurricanes. My sister and her boyfriend Cody assembled our version of the lavender candles. If Cody doesn't make it through law school, I think he has a future in floral arrangement ;)

Assembling these items ourselves saved me around $12 per candle compared to having the florist do it. We had around 15 hurricanes so that was a savings of nearly $200.

In keeping with the lavender theme, I ordered dried lavender bunches online from for the bridesmaids' bouquets. I kept it simple and tied them with lace ribbon and twine that I had leftover from other projects. All six of them took under thirty minutes and cost less than $100.

Unless flowers are one of your biggest priorities for your wedding, I would recommend going the DIY route to save some cash. Although stressful at times, everything came together as I had envisioned it in the end and I saved thousands of dollars to put towards other elements of the wedding. To be honest, I liked the simple lavender bouquets I made on my own more than my own bouquet that I paid way too much to have done. Le sigh.


  1. Those were the best flowers ever. What a great arrangement and to get those immigrants to assemble everything was genius. Your folks did such a good job of flower buying and everything. congrats on those super parents. they must b the best. Happy post wedding times.

  2. Ahhh the pictures make me want to go back and have a wedding round 2!!! Can't wait to see the professional photos
    And thanks for posting the picture of me with my eyes closed...