Thursday, June 5, 2008

Making Bouquets Is Really Easy, or It's Damn Near Impossible to Make Flowers Look Bad

By popular demand (and at the special request of soontobemrsc, ambrosia and wondermart, who is making her bouquet this weekend), I present to you the making of the bouquets. (For you monkey lovers, tomorrow's post will be filled with pictures and video of the Monkey Forest.)

Around 8:45am on Friday, the day before the wedding, I headed out with a carload of helpers in search of flowers. I could have contacted a distributor (or at least the manager of Trader Joe's and Costco) about ordering specific flowers, but that required a little more coordination than I was able to handle in the month before the wedding. Besides, it seemed like it would be a lot more fun to not know exactly what flowers I would get. My only requirements were red flowers for the bridesmaids, and white/cream flowers for me. In my ideal world, I would be able to include stock and hydrangeas, which are my two favorite flowers.

The first stop was Cleveland's West Side Market. Disappointingly, there was only one flower vendor at the market that morning. Fortunately, the vendor had an abundance of red and white flowers in large quantities. There we gathered together about $70 worth of mums, tulips, stock(!) and assorted other appropriately colored flowers. Having cleaned out the stand, I was still looking for a little bit more variety for my bouquet.

From there we headed back across town to Trader Joe's. (Both the market and TJ's are within 20 minutes of my parents' house. In opposite directions. Which meant we spent well over an hour just driving to get the flowers.) Another $50 or so (which includes money spent picking up a small number of groceries and flowers for my mom, as well as hydrangeas(!)), we proceeded to check out. When I very gleefully told the cashier that these were the flowers for my bridal bouquet, he talked with one of the other associates who then came bounding over with a dozen hot pick roses for me, as a congratulations from the store. (It was a thoughtful gesture, although hot pink is not a color I especially like, nor am I a big fan of roses.)

Once back home, the group (which at this point consisted of my maid of honor, her boyfriend, and me) set about to unwrapping the bouquets and pulling the leaves off of the flowers.

Note the lone dozen hot pink roses in the background.
The rest of the flowers

Following what seemed to work well when I gave it a try back in April, I started to arrange the bouquets. (Much thanks to Autumn who gave me instructions on how to use floral tape. Tape turned out to be much easier than wire.) When they flowers were arranged, I wrapped and secured ribbon around each of the bouquets (for mine, I used fabric that matched my dress.) I then trimmed the stems so that they were even, and set each bouquet in a mason jar with about an inch of water. (The mason jars were my mom's storage suggestion. They worked absolutely perfectly.)

As we got done a little bit later than I had anticipated (mostly because we got off to a later start than planned), I didn't take any pictures of the completed bouquets that day.

But I do have some non-pro pics of the bouquets in action at the wedding:

The bouquets, with me and the flower girl.

Note the stock pot used to transport the bouquets in their mason jars.

Some last minute arranging. Turns out the tulips in the bouquets each grew about an inch overnight, making the bouquets look a bit like aliens.

Bridesmaid and flower girl bouquets in action

Up close and personal with my bouquet (that's my youngest brother's hands in the background)

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I really enjoyed arranging the flowers, and didn't really find it very stressful at all. And it's really hard to make flowers look bad, since they are pretty to begin with. Bouquets were not a high priority for me at all, and since I wasn't seeking perfection (if you are, I highly recommend going with a florist), it didn't really bother me that a very small number of flowers in the bouquet looked slightly wilted the day of the wedding.

Total costs (in time and dollars):
Time: 4.75 hours (2.25 for purchasing; 2.5 for prepping/arranging)
Total money spent on flowers and supplies for 5 bouquets: about $110

Lessons Learned:
-It was really helpful to have other people stripping off the leaves.
-If we had used roses, it would have taken substantially longer to prepare and arrange the flowers as they would have needed to be dethorned.
-Tulips, while beautiful, will grow quite a bit overnight. This can leave your bouquet looking like it has alien antennas.
-Assuming you are after "good enough" and not "perfection", plan to allot about a half hour per bouquet. Perfection will take substantially longer.
-Spider mums photograph somewhat strangely.
-The best workspace is a large table or counter
-Have a compost or garbage bag ready for all of the leaves and stems
-Mason jars make great storage vases for the bouquets.
-Some flowers will break when you are prepping/arranging them, so it is best to generously estimate how many flowers you need.

1 comment:

Moewenherz said...

Wow. I found your blog while i was looking for some pictures..
you look so beautiful!
I wish you the best for your marriage. :)

Wonderful dress!!Good choice!