I know that this is a website about helping people DIY their own flowers. But I figured this would be an important article to write just to clarify my stance on the whole DIY movement in wedding planning and how it pertains to your flowers in particular!
Wedding budgets come in all different shapes and sizes, some are $5000 and some are $50,000 and beyond. This is what this website is for, to help brides who have a more modest budget figure out how to still have gorgeous flowers by DIY-ing them and for those who have bigger budgets, to point them in the direction of some of the best florists this city has to offer.
There is absolutely no such thing as a "bad" budget, it is completely dependent on you and your significant other's financial situation and personal tastes. However, the WIC (wedding industrial complex) has been programming us to think that bigger is better and you HAVE to have extravagant flowers in order to have a beautiful wedding - this is just simply not true.
Here are a few key things to consider if you are deciding whether or not to DIY your own wedding flowers.
BUDGET - There are some florists who require a minimum order of $1000 or $2000 or more depending on their level of experience and how in demand they are. It is because these florists need to pay their bills, wedding season is only so long, so they really need to make their business as profitable as possible which is completely understandable. Shop around for quotes, if you can't find any florists who are willing to work with your budget, lets say you can only spend a few hundred dollars on your flowers - go the DIY route.
TIME - since cut flowers don't last very long, you really should be doing your wedding flowers the day before or two days before the earliest especially if you are using delicate flowers that are prone to wilting quickly such as an anenomes and veronicas. Are you willing to endure this time crunch? Other options are to use silk flowers which you can purchase here or dried flowers for some of your arrangements, which will reduce the time crunch and allow you to work on your flowers in advance.
HELP - if you are going to do flowers by yourself, it will literally take an entire day and 24 hours before your wedding there will probably be a lot of things left to take care of. If you are going the DIY route - make sure you have a few people who are JUST in charge of putting together the flowers. Make a few example arrangements for your centrepieces to show your helpers and then let them take over.
FLOWERS - if you are dead set on having peonies in the middle of winter, it will probably be best to go with a professional. The local flower markets that I shop at that are open to the public are very seasonally dependent. But if you want flowers that are available all year round such as roses, hydrangeas, wax flowers, baby's breath etc then you can just shop at the flower markets I go to at Avenue and Davenport. Keep in mind for these shops that if you are buying in bulk, ordering in advance - offer to pay in cash and ask if you can get a 5-10% discount. Try to buy more than you think you will need, you don't want to run out!
QUANTITY - How big is your wedding? How many people are in your bridal party and how many centrepieces do you need? If your wedding is on the smaller scale, lets say under 100 people and you don't need huge, complicated arrangements then you can definitely DIY and save a lot of money.
FLEXIBILITY - how flexible are you about the kinds of flowers you want? If you are not particularly picky about having certain flowers in your bouquet and centrepieces, DIY is definitely a viable option. My Luscious Backyard is a local Toronto based business who grow their own organic flowers and you can buy in bulk from them, and in the winter they source from local greenhouses.
RESOURCES - Here are the bare basics you will need to have to DIY your flowers. A car in which to transport the flowers. Large buckets with lukewarm water. Floral snips and scissors for the heavier woody stems. Floral tape, wire, ribbon and safety pins for your boutonnières and bouquets. Vessels such as mason jars, find vases from Value Village/Goodwill or the dollar store.
DRY RUN - If you can, practice putting together at least one centrepiece and one bouquet to put your mind at ease beforehand and troubleshoot if you have some flowers that might be a bit problematic.
MIX & MATCH - Some florists offer a la carte style services. So let the professionals take care of the bouquets and you and your flower brigade do the centrepieces. Especially if you want your bouquet to have special blooms such as peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, anenomes, poppies and the like - if you have a very specific vision in mind that is quite complicated and is not in season, leave it to the professionals
EXPECTATIONS - My flower library has examples of arrangements that I made for around $20, bought locally from the flower shops that are open to the public, DIY friendly, took me about 15-20 minutes to put together. Here's a hypothetical DIY scenario to give you more of an idea of budgeting. Lets say your budget is $500, then that means you can have 1 $50 bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaids bouquets ($20 X 4 = $80), 5 boutonnières ($5 X 5 = $25), Centrepieces ($30 X 11 = $345)...Grand total of $500. Of course you can play around with these numbers to suit your needs but that is to give you a rough idea of budgeting.
There you go! Ten important things to consider for your wedding flowers to help you decide whether to go DIY or hire a professional. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For future posts I'm going to be featuring my favourite Toronto florists for those who want to avoid DIY all together and just hire a professional, stay tuned for those updates!
Also here is another very helpful article about DIY-ing your flowers if you want to learn more!
Best of Luck,