Wedding flowers on a budget
Wedding expenses can get out of hand and flowers can be one of the areas you can save on. Keep reading because I’m going to share how you can do your own flowers for your own wedding, or at least train someone in your family or a good friend to do them.
Now you may be wondering what a jewelry artist is doing blogging about wedding flowers when I’m usually the one supplying the jewelry for the bridal party like these pearls.
The fact is, I’m pretty handy with pliers and wire and I'm usually willing to try and also learn new things, which a lot of my close friends know.
A little while ago, when a friend’s daughter was getting married, she put me on flower duty after I had offered to help. I would be making the corsages, boutonnières and one of the bridesmaid's bouquets. I was guided by a floral artist in how to construct them, so these are my creations, but with the originals being made up by her and me copying and making multiples for the bridal party. I guess what I’m saying is that these are floral artists tricks and techniques and not just me, Andi Clarke, the jewelry artist, winging it.
Here’s one of the groomsmen's boutonnière’s with the succulent that was actually from the bride's grandparents garden.
And this is one of the Mother’s or Grandmother’s corsages.
What you will need:
- Pliers with a wire cutting section
- Green floral tape (most craft stores stock it)
- ribbon to go with the color scheme
- Green floral wire (craft store)
- Flowers and greenery
- Good plant cutters
A couple of points on flowers and greenery. It’s usually dependent on the general colors of the wedding, bridal party, bridesmaids and groomsmen’s etc and it’s very dependent on flower availability in your area.
You can check your local Farmer’s Markets or find where your nearest wholesale flower market is, our local one is Seattle. I suggest you make a trip to the flower market and ask some of the vendors what flowers and greenery are in season for the month of your wedding, the colors they get, how long they last and how much they will cost. The whole point of this is to not spend a couple of grand on just the flowers.
Try to think out the box with reasonably priced fillers like gypsophila (baby’s breath) and greenery. It’s also a great idea to create a board on Pinterest with color ideas, flowers you like etc. I personally have a few boards dedicated to weddings as some of my customers have been brides and I have some flower ideas there too. They are titled Boho Wedding, Beach Wedding and Vintage Wedding and here's the link to me on Pinterest if you want to check those out
Corsages and Boutonnieres
Have your design or copy as a visual in front of you, this is your main guide.
For the main buds you will use the wire to spike through the base of the flower and twist a small section around the other piece of longer wire. Keep the stem the length of about 5cm or a couple of inches, or shorter if you wish.
Stem with floral wire passed through the base just below the bud or flower.
Now wrap this prewired bud and stem with the floral tape stretching it a bit at and angle as you overlay it in a diagonal spiral. You will be using this technique for anything that is bud sized.
Getting a feeling for the composition with the other greenery and flowers.
For other greenery, you will be combining them as stems and wrapping the entire boutonnière or corsage with one final layer of green floral tape.
Just add in the stripped stems of the other greenery, the floral tape has some grip to it and so it will hold them in place.
All this needs now is some pins and a spritzing of water and being kept in the fridge overnight.
Corsages may have a ribbon. If this is the case, decide on the size, tie it and wire it and incorporate it within the design. Corsages and boutonnieres are also sometimes spriraled or coiled at their ends and then attached to a wrist elastic thing and worn on the wrist of the Mothers or Grandmothers. This seems to be a convention in the United States, but is not in my native South Africa, where a corsage is pinned to a woman’s outfit or dress.
Decide what are going to be your focal flowers in the bouquet. In this case it was the greenish/white hydrangeas. Since succulents were a part of the greenery, we prewired some succulent rosettes to green floral sticks and wrapped them with green floral tape so that they could be used in the bouquet. As you add in flowers, you push them in from the top of the bouquet so that you get an idea of how the bouquet looks. You do not add them horizontally or from the side to the clump of stems. Once you are happy with the composition of the bouquet, tie some ribbon around the stems and cut off the bottom of the stems at a length you think the bouquet should be. Place these in a cool place in a bucket or large vase about half way full of water, but not up to the ribbon around the stems.
Look how gorgeous this is, especially with the succulents i it. Please excuse my shoe in this photo though.
Two days before the wedding, purchase your flowers, bring them home, snip off the bottom 5 cm or couple of inches and immerse the flowers in tall buckets with water up to their necks. You want them to be as hydrated as possible.
One day before the wedding (don’t worry, they will last if prepared correctly and this blog post includes these tips) have your sisters and/or girlfriends over, you know, the ones who are good at crafts or who aren’t scared to learn something new.
Have your design of a corsage and boutonnière already made up. Spread a workspace with a plastic table cover as it will get messy. Once your helpers are there, show them how to make the components and how to wrap up and position the individual flowers and greenery.
Having some precut pieces of wire will help and also reduce wastage. It’s also a good idea to have a few pairs of pliers that have cutters built into them. Then let everyone jump in and start creating. If you happen to be a control freak, just do this with one other person as the flowers will more likely look the same.
Once each corsage or boutonnière is complete make sure you have those lovely pearl topped pins for each one, poke them through. Lay all the completed ones flat on a waterproof tray and spritz them with water from a sprayer and place them uncovered in a refrigerator. You can spritz them again a few times before the ceremony. Being kept cool and moist means they will be fresh and ready on your big day.
For the bridal and bridesmaid bouquet flowers, just follow the instructions above and you should have incredible flowers that everyone will be amazed at and no one will even suspect that you did not use the services of a floral designer, unless you want them to know of course.
I'd love to know how you use these instructions to help you save money on your wedding. Please email me photos or tag me on Instagram in your photos. I'm sure you will create amazing flowers for your special day. Oh, and if you are still looking for jewelry for yourself or your bridesmaids, you know where to find me. I also have a range of sea glass and silver sand dollar jewelry which is perfect for any beach themed wedding. If you are having a vintage themed wedding, my upcycled and vintage china jewelry may be just the perfect addition to your or your bridesmaid's outfits.