Broke-Ass Category: Florists & Floral Inspiration

6/21

Early in my engagement, literally in the first few months of adorning my new bling, I shared with friends that I planned to plant a rose garden and DIY my wedding bouquet and flowers. Of course everyone thought that I was crazy and that eventually the idea would fade as I began to make decisions and evaluate how much time I would have during the week of the wedding.

Well they were right, kind of right …

I aborted the idea of growing my own garden but secretly I held on to the idea of DIYing my flowers. I tried to do it the traditional way: I made appointments to look at florist portfolios, I invested hours in explaining my “vision” and I reviewed a pile of quotes. At the end of the day, I returned to my original DIY decision! Now I just need to narrow down where I will purchase the flowers. I did some research and explored lots of options, It’s By U caught my eye and I decided to give them a try. Once my sample bouquet arrived, I quickly discovered …

Five ways to avoid a DIY bouquet meltdown.

1. Delivery timing is EVERYTHING!  The contact at It’s By U asked me if a Saturday delivery would work and I thought that it would be perfect. I just didn’t think about the flowers being delivered to the leasing office, the FEDEX notification email landing in my inbox after the leasing office was closed and my fresh flowers sitting in the office until Monday at 10 a.m. because the office was closed on Sunday. Lesson learned! When I order my flowers for the wedding I will think about all of the potential risks and plan ahead for them. It’s very important that you get your flowers in water ASAP so that they remain hydrated.  The upside is that once I picked up the flowers, I immediately put them on water and they were still in good shape.

I immediately placed the flowers in the kitchen sink to hydrate!

2. While my flowers were soaking up some water, I began to read through all of the instructions and supplies that were included with my delivery. This is a VERY important step! If you think that you can just create your bouquet based on the pictures that you have seen on Pinterest, you may be in for a surprise. I learned everything from the way that you should cut your stems to the proper way to hold the stems in order to achieve the shape that I wanted. It’s by U covers all bases to ensure that you have what you need to be successful. The instructions were on paper, in my email inbox and on a Youtube video.

Detailed instructions from It’s By U

3. Next up, I prepared my working space. Parchment paper or newspaper is a good idea because loose stems and leaves were all over the place. I would DEFINITELY recommend laying everything out so you have all you need right in front of you. The flowers need to stay near water because you don’t want to pause while you are in the middle of the process. Also, this is not a task that should be done while watching Lifetime. I had to pay attention to the Youtube video while keeping my paper instructions nearby and there was no room for multitasking.

Setting up my space

4. Once I started to make my bouquet, I gave myself GRACE — remember this is not your day job. It’s OK if you make a mistake or two. If I didn’t like the shape or I forgot to add the berry fillers, I would just start over. Also, I could appreciate that in the instruction video, they give you a heads up that it may take two or three attempts before you make a perfect bouquet. Basically your wedding day bouquet should not be the first time you embark on this journey. I plan to pick up some flowers from the grocery store once a week and each time do a little practice session. I might even try making corsages next!

Practice makes perfect!

5. Last but certainly not least, once you are done, the #1 way to avoid a meltdown is to CELEBRATE your success! You did it! It may not be perfect but you tried. I immediately took a picture and sent it to my bridesmaid GroupMe. They were authentic and supportive and it was just what I needed to stay motivated. After I cleaned everything up, I dropped the bouquet in a vase, poured a glass of wine and put my feet up.

Not too bad for a first try!

Are you taking on any big wedding day DIYs? How are you avoiding a DIY meltdown?

  • 4/11

    If you saw my last post, you know what I’m in the middle of packing and moving everything. I can’t find anything because most of it is already packed. A few days before I found out I was getting a new job and moving, I started doing trials on drying flowers. As a broke, DIY bride, I was hoping I could preserve my own wedding bouquet and use it as art in a shadow box after the wedding.

    I scoured the Interwebs for tips and tricks and decided to do a dry run (pun intended) on some flowers I got for my birthday. In the chaos of moving, I didn’t take pictures of all of the steps, but some are self explanatory.

    29 Cup Snapware Container from Amazon

    I started with about 8 roses, a gerber daisy, and some random greenery. My bouquet will be sunflowers, but since they aren’t in season, the daisy had to do. I wandered over to amazon and picked up some Activa Silica Gel for Flower Drying. It comes in 5 pound boxes. I quickly realized one wasn’t enough and ended up with three. Depending on the size of your bouquet and the bin you put them in, you might need two or three. At first I tried using a Gladware container but quickly realized they weren’t deep enough so I also bought an 18.5 cup Snapware Container and a 29 cup Snapware Container since it was in the recommended with purchase section on Amazon. I really like these containers, but if you have a similarly sized one laying around, it should be fine. It does need to be air tight and deep enough to allow an inch of gel on the top and bottom of your flower. Roses have fairly tall blooms.

    Insert wire into stem and fold it over for later

    For the rose and gerber daisy, I trimmed the stem off right at the base and shoved about 3 inches of greenery wire into the stem. This will allow me to anchor it to the shadow box or back into a stem later on. Fold the wire over a few times and bend it up so it is out of the way.

    Fill around base of flower first to avoid petals spreading too far

    I 300% recommend laying out a towel or plastic drop cloth over your work area before you open the gel. Newspaper does not cut it and the gel gets everywhere and WILL scratch your furniture. Though it’s called gel, it has the consistency of fine sand. Pour about an inch of gel into the bottom of your chosen container. For tall blooms like roses you will want to cushion the sides of the bloom before adding any gel into the inside. Do this by placing the bloom down and pouring gel around it, slowly creating a little mountain. Do not fill the inside of the bloom until the mountain of gel reaches the top of the blooms. The gel is heavy and will crush, bruise, or bend the petals if you aren’t careful.

    “Bible paper fragile” dried rose

    I broke the lone gerber daisy removing it from the gel, so I do not have pictures of it. For flat petaled flowers like daisies and sunflowers, lay the flower petals down near the top of the container, on top of buried sturdier flowers like roses. Since these petals are flat, they are more likely to bruise and should only be covered with enough gel to cover it, not a drop more. I made the mistake of burying them deep in the gel and the extra weight bruised the petals and made it look gross. It’s OK if the stem and wire stick out a tiny bit from the gel — once the container is sealed, the gel pulls the moisture out of the air and will dry the stem as well.

    Rose petals can be dried in stacked layers

    There are detailed drying time charts included with the silica gel for each flower. Roses are densely petaled flowers and take a very long time to dry out. The instructions suggested four days but up to seven. I uncovered one at the four-day mark to find the interior still moist. There’s no such thing as over drying them apparently since they’ve been hanging out in the powdery gel now for about a month and are totally fine, some of these pictures were taken today. They seemed safer still in the gel for the move.

    The resulting dried flowers are SUPER CRAZY fragile. It feels a little like Bible paper, super thin and a little brittle. Whatever you decide to do with your dried flowers, make sure they are in a setting that will keep them from being bumped around.

    Rose petals, surprisingly, hold up to tons of weight unlike the daisy petals. I filled the 18.5 cup container full of layers of petals with the vague idea of saving them for my flower girl to throw. My venue requires real flower petals if they are to be thrown outside. I managed to get about one and a half roses’ worth of petals into the 18.5 cup container. The amount of space that the flowers take up is a bit staggering. The must be fully covered to dry properly.

    Dried rose petal

    After the allotted time passes, lay out your drop cloth again and grab a spare container. Gently pour the gel off until a bloom is visible. Dust it off with your fingers and make sure it’s fully visible before pulling it up (especially if its delicate like a daisy, roses are sturdier). Store the used gel in an airtight container. The box includes instructions for baking it once it has lost the blue, so don’t lose (or accidentally pack) the instructions, you’ll need them again.

    So a quick recap if you decide to dry your own flowers:

    • Silica gel is a bit pricey, but can be used over and over again
    • Sturdy flowers like roses can be buried deep, flat-petaled flowers like daisies should only get a light dusting of gel
    • Shove some floral wire into the base so you can attach them afterwards
    • They take up way more room than you think they will, plan accordingly
    • Use plastic or fabric drop cloths, newspaper just makes a huge mess
    • Make sure your container is actually airtight
    • No peeking! Wait the number of days in the instructions and then add a few more just for good measure

     

    Anyone have any other recommendations when drying your own flowers?

  • 3/1

    ... I am still on the hunt for a florist, how about you? The original plan was to keep the flower plan simple: bouquets and boutonnieres only. Well that plan is not realistic! Who was I kidding? I love fresh flowers and buy them weekly to decorate my house. A minimal flower presence at my wedding was a silly idea. What was I thinking?  I…

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    1/10

    I mentioned a while ago that we planned to use fake flowers when it came time for bouquets, bouts, corsages and decor. So that's what we did. Other than my bouquet, every other piece of flowery goodness was made with artificial flowers, and we were insanely happy with how they all turned out. We had two separate seating areas since dinner was outdoors, and dancing…

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    11/21

    Credit: Shaina Sheaff Hello lovelies, I’ll be honest, I haven’t been thinking about wedding stuff much this week. I’ve been very hard at work and probably wont be slowing down until about April. I’m okay with that, though -- almost all of the major vendors have been nailed down. We have a venue, caterer, DJ and photographer, and I’ve got my dress. The only two things…

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  • 10/24

    Flowers were not a priority for me in the wedding planning process. I gave the florist a few photos and gave them full control. I have to say, I was blown away by my bouquet on my wedding day! It was exactly what I would have asked for if I could have put it in to words. I was thrilled, but sad at the same…

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    6/7

    DIY wedding flowers can be a tough project to take on -- especially when it comes to figuring out where the hell to order your blooms from. Putting your trust in a wholesaler you're not entirely familiar with could potentially result in flowers that are a bit off-color (uh, peach and hot pink aren't the same, y'all) and it can be tough to find bulk…

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    5/25

    Don't buy them. Brilliant advice, right? Lol, or not. Obviously it's possible to have a wedding sans flowers, but I can't think of many brides who go with that option. I am not a flower lover in general (they cost money and then they die ... so just buy me something else), but even I have always known that they would be included in my…

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  • 4/5

    Something that we value is shopping local or independent retailers when we’re able. We love supporting the Milwaukee economy and I’ve sort of made it a personal wedding mission. Obviously, most people’s wedding photographers or florists are local, but I thought I’d share a rundown of how we’re supporting local or other independent vendors elsewhere. Dress: While Maggie Sottero is an international designer, I was…

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