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.
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.
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 KoyalWholesale.com 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.