Okay, so, flower crisis has been averted.
Pretty flowers are in hand.
Months of research on assembling bouquets is in my brain.
I have 4 beautiful women and 1 man strangely fascinated with floral arranging to help in the assembly process.
The only problem? There's about an hour of daylight left and we have 5 bouquets to make.
As the boys assemble the rest of the tents and start setting the tables in their place, the ladies are left to the flowers. My sister/maid of honor could not have been more in her element. She has a dormant talent for flower arranging. I think it comes from the long line of gardeners in our family.
And I could not have loved her more for it on that day. As much as I researched, I'm not the most creative when it comes to arranging. I can put flowers into a bouquet, sure, but my sister has a gift.
She spent the first 10 minutes of the assembly process running around the property of the cottage and collecting foliage which would add more green to the $15 Costco bouquets. The other girls spent time splitting up the gigantic bouquets into something more manageable and I started on my bouquet.
And for the next 40 minutes, the rest of us sat around acting as servants to my sister, the flower goddess, as she did what she does. We'd pass her tape, wire, foliage, or peonies but it was all her. As casual and laid back as she usually is, I'd never seen her more focused as she was in front of that table covered in flowers and greenery. She was forever concerned with symmetry and did her best to make sure the bouquets were shaped properly.
While she did her thing, I put my research skills to good use on my bouquet. If you're in need of a tutorial, seriously, use this one from Design*Sponge. I studied that page intently in the days before the wedding and it turned out to be ridiculously useful.
Tying a rubber band around the stems once you have the shape you want... genius. I'd seen other tutorials which advise that you use floral tape every time you had 3-4 more flowers, but I prefer the rubber band method because it allowed me to make changes. Which I did. Many times. I moved flowers that had been squished when I added more. I moved white spider mums out of the way and replaced them with lavender ones. And the ability to easily change the shape at the drop of a dime made the rubber band method invaluable to me.
As much as I love the rubber band method, there is one issue with it: it's not a one-person process. Unlike the taping process, the rubber band method leaves the flowers fairly loose. As good as this is for making alterations, it doesn't give the bouquet much structure and putting them down is not an option if you want to maintain the shape. Holding onto that many flowers for a lengthy period of time hurts the hands so I did a relay with one of my bridesmaids.
Once I had the shape and fullness I wanted, I held the bouquet and she wrapped the whole thing very tightly with floral tape. Success! 20 minutes of floral arranging and we had ourselves a bridal bouquet. I make it sound, easy, I know. But it actually was. Once we had the flowers, the process was pretty straight forward. I tell you, research, research, research.
And within an hour, my sister had also completed the bridesmaids bouquets. She likely would have been done earlier if it weren't for her perfectionist attitude when it comes to floral arranging. But I love her for that too because the bouquets were beautiful.
my sister/MOH's bouquet (photo by me)
photos by our amazing photographer, Julie (click photos to enlarge)
The bouquets for the flower girls were a cinch. We bought one bunch of gerbera daisies in hot pink, split them up, and turned them into 2 bunches of 2 flowers. Add some floral tape and polka dot ribbon that I already had and they were the easiest of the bunch.
our pretty, pretty flower girls with their flowers (guest photo)
We let everything soak in water over night (in a cool, shady place, which is key, by the way) and the morning of the wedding, we wrapped them in ribbon... white for the girls and ivory lace for mine. A little hot glue held the ribbon on securely.
In addition to being fun, the process was a dream for our bank account too. Here's the cost breakdown:
2 bouquets from Costco: $35
3 bunches of spider mums (in white and lavender) from grocery store: $14
1 bunch of gerberas from grocery store: $7
floral tape: $5
ribbon: free! because I already had it
foliage: free! c/o Mother Nature
Total cost for 5 bouquets and 2 flower girl bunches: $61
Thinking about it now, I could not be happier with our decision to DIY the bouquets. We got so many compliments on them and half a dozen people asked me which florist had done my bouquet. Even the people who had previously told me that it would be too stressful of a process seemed impressed. (So ha!)
The desire to impress people aside, we also ended up saving tons of much money since I'm guessing a florist would have charged anywhere from $75 to $100 for my bouquet and the girls' likely would have been upwards of $40 each.
Most important of all though, the good time we had making them and the insane sense of pride I feel every time I look at the photos of our flowers makes the half an hour of panic experienced on Friday worth it.
(Wow. Considering how panicked I was that day, I'm surprised I can even get those words out...)