Weddings are the ultimate opportunity for two people to combine their personalities into one celebration of love. What better way to express yourself than to have full control over one of the most quintessential wedding elements: the flowers?
Choosing the Right Flowers
There's no right or wrong answer in terms of flowers - just make sure to focus on ideas that match your wedding and personal style. Below are some common wedding flowers and their meanings:
- Roses: Arguably the most famous romantic flower, roses come in a variety of colors to match any wedding and symbolize beauty and love.
- Peonies: This lush flower evokes a Victorian beauty and stands for both bashfulness and romance between strangers.
- Tulips: Tulips are fun, fresh and affordable - a relief when considering the numerous other wedding expenses. They stand for enduring love and happy years.
- Amaryllis: This beautiful star-shaped flower derives its name from the Greek word for splendor and symbolizes confidence and beauty.
- Hydrangeas: Delicate flowers grouped into bunches, hydrangeas represent honesty and the deep understanding between two people.
- Calla lilies: The calla lily is an elegant flower, almost regal in appearance, and symbolizes incredible beauty.
- Stephanotis: Representing marital happiness, these petite white flowers are perfect for weddings.
Feel free to mix and match unconventional flowers and greenery. It's also important to consider seasonality when making your bouquet. Not every flower is available year round. For example, peony growers can typically only produce these flowers during spring. Roses and carnations, on the other hand, are available all year round.
Choosing a Flower Supplier
There are many different ways to find flowers for your DIY arrangement. Florists know a lot about flower meanings and preserving freshness, but they're likely to be more expensive than an online supplier or grocery store.
Online flower retailers combine variety and low costs.
Still, your local grocer probably won't have the wide variety or high quality of a florist. Online retailers combine variety and low costs, but you have to note how shipping factors into freshness. Often, the flowers arrive still closed and it's up to the recipient to maintain them until they fully open.
The best thing to do is allow yourself enough time to investigate different sources and find a flower supplier that matches your budget. Don't be afraid to use more than one.
Creating Your Bouquet
- Prepare to devote a significant amount of space and uninterrupted time to your project. Store your flowers upright in large buckets with a bit of water until you need them.
- Gather a pair of floral shears, some floral tape, bouquet pins and something to wrap the arrangement, such as ribbon.
- Prepare your flowers by removing thorns, leaves and branches starting where your grip will be and continuing downward along the stem. You can either cut your flowers to length now or wait until the end.
- Choose a handful of flowers - no more than five - to serve as the building point. Wrap these with floral tape, leaving about an inch of stem above and four to five inches below.
- Continue to add flowers around the base, arranging them as you wish. Periodically wrap your bouquet with floral tape.
- Once you're finished adding flowers, wrap the entire arrangement with the tape. Make sure you circle the bouquet enough times to hold the flowers in place.
- Cover the floral tape with a wrap of your choice. Pin the wrap horizontally so it falls parallel to the tape.
Fabric offers a durable, long-lasting alternative to fresh-cut flowers. One option is to combine elements of various fake bouquets into one. A much more unique idea, however, is to create your own fabric flowers.
What's most important is choosing a fabric that matches your personality and the theme of your wedding.
Silky fabrics like satin, chiffon and silk itself are the most common choices for flower bouquets, as are delicate options like muslin, lace and tulle. Still, that doesn't mean you should limit your options. What's most important is choosing a fabric that matches your personality and the theme of your wedding. If you're going for a rustic feel with mason jars and reclaimed wood decorations, for example, you can use color-appropriate cotton twill. You might also find a way to incorporate brocade if you enjoy rich patterns.
Dyeing Fabrics to Match Your Color Scheme
Note that certain fabrics like spandex and those made of metallic or 100 percent polyester material can't be dyed. On the other hand, cotton, linen, wool, silk, synthetic fabrics and fabric blends are perfect candidates.
- Prepare your workspace with a plastic tablecloth and set paper towels nearby. Use gloves to keep your hands free of stains.
- Wash the fabric and use a color remover if necessary. If you're reusing an old piece of cloth, remove as many stains as possible.
- Apply the dye according to the instructions on the package. Generally, you'll soak the cloth in a mixture of dye and water over even heat. Remember that your fabric will look darker during this stage than it will when dry.
For an additional twist that makes fabric flowers appear more realistic, consider scenting the bouquet with a bit of perfume. You can also try a diluted essential oil, which can have the additional benefit of assisting your mood during a stressful wedding day. Popular oils include rose, jasmine, peppermint, lavender and ylang-ylang.
- Using cotton: Before creating your flowers, cut a white cotton square so it's about the size of a fabric sheet. A simple way to do this is to find an old t-shirt. Dispense no more than five drops of essential oil onto the square. Wash the fabric you plan to use for your bouquet with a gentle, unscented detergent. Then, toss the fabric and scented sheet into the dryer.
- Using a spray bottle: Combine 10 to 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of water in a small spray bottle and shake well. If you want, you can add a dispersing agent to help the oil mix evenly with the water. Spray the mixture gently over the bouquet fabric, about four to six inches away.
Simple Fabric Flower Tutorial
Making fabric flowers can look complicated, but the only major difficulty is finding time amid all the other wedding planning essentials. Below is a simple tutorial to create beautiful layered flowers, but feel free to experiment with different textures and shapes to see what you like best.
- Collect a lighter, some silk-like fabric and several push pins. Pins with a white, pearl tip are a good choice for weddings, but it's best to pick a style that matches you. If you'd rather not use push pins, find a glue gun or a needle and thread.
- You'll also need to find some sort of bouquet holder. Some have a way to attach flowers directly. If yours doesn't, you'll need to find a foam orb to which you can secure the flowers.
- Cut out one circle of fabric about the size of the mouth of a coffee cup. Continue with at least two more fabric circles, each smaller in size than the previous one. You want at least three circles per flower, but creating more gives the appearance of more petals.
- If you want, you can cut into each circle to strengthen the illusion of petals. Be sure not to cut all the way through.
- Carefully use the lighter to melt the edges of each fabric circle. The objective is to cause the fabric to softly curl without burning it or leaving any soot. Applying heat to the fabric also prevents it from fraying.
- Stack the curled circles on top of each other with the largest circle on the bottom and the smallest on top.
- Use a pin in the center to secure the fabric. Alternatively, use a glue gun or a needle and thread to sew pearls or other beads into the center.
- Secure the flowers to the foam or bouquet holder with push pins or glue.
Additional Factors to Consider
If your finished DIY bouquet doesn't quite convey the beauty or mood you'd hoped, you can always add more elements to perk it up. Try including:
- Faux-pearl strings
- Fake fruits like apples and berries
- A small family heirloom
Preserving Your Flowers
Flowers are one of the least-permanent aspects of a wedding, but there are ways to make them last.
- Fresh flowers won't last forever, no matter what you do. However, you can keep them a little longer by placing them in room-temperature water and keeping them out of the refrigerator. The humidity and temperature of an average fridge kills flowers instead of preserving them.
- Try hanging your flowers to dry for several weeks or months. You can also press them.
- Use silica gel or have them freeze dried.
Consider every part of your wedding an opportunity to make things more unique.
Making Other Arrangements
Consider every part of your wedding an opportunity to make things more unique, including the altar, aisles, seats and reception centerpieces. Maybe each table would look dazzling with a small succulent or clear vase of fresh, simple flowers. Meanwhile, a backdrop of ivy could be the perfect setting for you and your loved one to exchange vows.
If you don't completely trust yourself to make a beautiful creation from scratch, keep the following tips in mind:
- Remember the silhouette.
- Periodically evaluate your arrangement from a distance as you add flowers. An arm's length is fine, although taking a few steps backward helps you see the flowers from the guests' viewpoint.
- If you're afraid of making an overwhelming bouquet, create one focal point and use smaller flowers to embellish. For a little fun, try moving the focal point away from the center.
- Consider the age-old wisdom of accessories - always take off the last one you put on. This prevents your outfit - and your flowers - from becoming overwhelming.