Monday, April 14, 2008

unexpected success (or flowers are so #$%* expensive!)

The one thing that I have cared the least about in the process of planning has turned out to be one of the (relatively) bigger headaches. We shopped around and spoke with no fewer than seven (7!) florists before settling with our current florist, who is familiar with both the church and the reception venue.

Early on, I had decided that I didn't want to have bouquets. When Calvin's mom asked me if I would change my mind, my response was, "Then I'll go to Trader Joe's the day before the wedding and buy myself a bouquet." But upon reflection, I decided that I actually did want a bouquet.

However, the florist quote came back, and including bouquets for myself and the three bridesmaids put us at about $400 over budget. And it included roses, which I specifically requested not to have. In a fit of frustration, I thought that I'd see what happened if I tried to make a bouquet for myself, with the following hypothesis: Flowers are pretty. A group of pretty things together will look pretty. Therefore, a group of flowers bunched together will look pretty.

The test:

$20 worth of flowers from Trader Joe's. From top to bottom:white ranunculus, a bouquet of white and green flowers, and cream/pink calla lilies.

Supplies:
flower tape (~$1.50 at Joann Fabric's)
flower wire ($.25 on clearance at Joann's)
ribbon (~$2.30 at Joann's)
white pearl pins (~$4.50 at Joann's)

Following the guidelines suggested here, I figured out that arranging flowers for a bouquet is really easy. The only trick is to wire the stems of heavy flowers (like ranunculus or gerbera daisies) to help support the head. This really sounds a lot more complicated than it is.

With the flowers above, in the next half hour I pulled the leaves off of the stems, trimmed the stems, wired the heavier flowers, and arranged them. Take a couple of flowers, wrap them in tape or wire. Add a couple more, tape/wire. Repeat until the bouquet is done. (Partway through I found that the floral tape was not holding so well, so I switched to wire.)

Calvin graciously holding the bouquet

Closeup
For a finishing touch, I wrapped the stems in ribbon and secured it with the white pearl pins.


A little lumpy because the wire wasn't pulled too tight.

Closer shot of the handle.

Believe it or not, arranging the flowers was actually relaxing. So I'm planning on arranging the bouquets the morning before the wedding. (A day later, my sample bouquet looked just fine.) And unlike centerpieces, no one needs to be around to set up the bouquets, as they will be totally set to go the day before. My mom said that she's happy to bring them to the church before the ceremony.

Where have you found unexpected success planning your wedding?