How-to Make your Rose, Hydrangea, & Peony Bouquet

Happy Wednesday! I apologize for my absence and since last writing I have successfully moved out-of-state and started a new internship.  Before I left, however, I took my bridal portraits.  (Bridal portraits are a southern tradition of doing a photo shoot with the bride and her dress prior to the wedding.)  

Using leftover centerpiece flowers from here, I created a large bridal bouquet with about $25 worth of flowers.  Similar, smaller bridesmaid’s bouquets could be completed for about $10-15/each as well…I actually made one and then gave it away to one of my maids before taking a picture!

I love this project because it gives you so many options to save money and still have floral bouquets for you and your girls.   You could opt to have the florist do centerpieces and you do the bouquets.  A florist will typically charge $125-250 for a bridal bouquet and $50-100 for a Bridesmaid bouquet.  Depending on your number of bridesmaids these bouquets could be completed the morning of the wedding in about a half hour and save $100+ per bouquet.  To save even more you could choose to only do floral bouquets and use non-floral centerpieces.  

Easy 2 Step Bouquet Tutorial

Step 1: Buy your Flowers

I actually used the flowers that I purchased for a wedding the previous Saturday.  In the professional pictures below, the flowers were 4 days old and had already been through a wedding, made into a large living room arrangement, and then turned into a bouquet.  Moral of story? Don’t let anyone convince you flowers are too fragile to do yourself.  They weren’t refrigerated, the water changed once before the wedding and once after, and they turned out great.  Seriously, check out the pictures – does that look like a $25 bouquet?

Here’s a picture of the flowers and my initial arranging:

Easy Bouquet Tutorial

Easy Bouquet Tutorial

Step 2: Group Flowers into a Ball

Once you have taken excess leaves and initially trimmed the stems of  your flowers, you should start grouping them together.  This is more of an art than an exact science.  As I tried to illustrate, I simply kept adding flowers to my “bouquet” until it resembled a sphere.  I then took a look at what it looked like when I held it in front of a mirror and rearranged a bit.  Now, the real secret:  simply use rubber bands to secure the blooms.  Three rubber bands to secure the top, middle and bottom of the stems will work well and is much easier to handle than floral tape.  I placed my bouquet into a vase for transport and tied the ribbon on once I arrived at the photo shoot.  

That’s it!  Here’s the professional pictures – what do you think?

Easy Budget Bridal Bouquet

Easy Budget Bridal Bouquet – only $25!


6 DIY Peony, Rose, and Hydrangea Centerpieces for $50 Tutorial

This past weekend I created all the floral arrangements for a friend’s wedding.  The arrangements were classic and very easy to pull together.  

Step 1: Buy your Flowers

On Saturday I purchased the peonies from a local farmers market for a $1.50/stem!  I then found Hydrangea, Spray Roses, and Spider Mums at Whole Foods.  I love working with hydrangea because they are so big & fluffy – they easily fill in space in an arrangement.  In total I had 12 hydrangea stems, 5 spider mum stems, 9 peony stems, and about 10 spray rose stems.  

I left everything in extra vases/containers and on Sunday these stems were evenly divided among 6 dollar store vases to create classic ivory arrangements.  

Purchase your flowers & Gather your Vases

Step 2: Arrange Flowers

Start with your fuller blooms first.  Here, I made each arrangement sequentially, starting with one large hydrangea bloom.  I then placed another fuller bloom on the opposite side of the vase.  Each vase had 5-6 stems that filled in the sides and middle.  While the arrangement was small, I think you’ll agree that it brought a nice presence to the table.  Doubling the stems (and the budget!) would create additional fullness.

Place stems one by one until the arrangement is full

Step 3: Transport Centerpieces and Set-up!

I packed all the arrangements into a cardboard box and used bubble wrap to secure.  At the venue they were placed on the table and surrounded by crackled glass candles – beautiful once lit.  The crackled glass candle set is available here for $14.   My friend lucked out – I am actually using these in my wedding, so she was able to borrow them beforehand.

Hydrangea Rose Peony Centerpiece

Transport your flowers & Place on tables!

What do you think? Would you consider tackling DIY flowers with the help of a friend?

Follow Friday: DIY Bride for the uber-crafty!

Next week we will be discussing the big picture for wedding planning as well as featuring a Chapel Hill wedding for $4000 (including a full dinner and open bar for 80 guests!).   Today, however, I want to share a site that may be helpful to those who are uber-crafty (unlike my own quasi-craftiness): DIY Bride.

DIY Bride features beautiful weddings with fun, inspiring projects.  They have a small section of free downloads to get you started, and a fantastic selection of projects and tutorials.  While some are a bit more challenging than others, it’s a great source for anyone looking to add that handmade touch to their wedding.

Lastly, the blogger Khris, has published 3 DIY books, including this one.

An example of a project:  A Cricut Paper Bouquet

cricut paper bouquet via DIY Bride

cricut paper bouquet via DIY Bride

Quasi-Crafty: DIY Flower Centerpieces for $13-33

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am not a crafty bride.  I don’t have a stash of markers, hole punches, and tissue paper. I definitely do not own a glue gun.  Yet, despite these limitations, occasionally I find myself wanting to recreate the gorgeous details of weddings that fill the blog world. Enter the world of Quasi-Crafty projects.  Somewhat akin to a boxed cake-mix, these projects require little skill yet yield surprisingly close results to the real thing (and at much lower cost!).   This weekly post will provide how-to’s to some of my own crafts & highlight those from other real weddings.  

Dollar Tree Vases & Grocery Store Hydrangea

Let’s say that you love flowers.  You’ve always dreamed of being surrounded by lush, bountiful bouquets and dazzling centerpieces.  In your wedding, the flower girl is not regulated to throwing mere flower petals – instead, she would have a crown of flowers in her hair, a pomander attached to her dress, and drop individual rose stems as she rambles down the aisle.    Your tables would be adorned something like this:

Spring Wedding Centerpiece

Spring Wedding Centerpiece

A professional florist will cost you $2000+ to recreate this vision of floral bliss for 10 tables.  Unfortunately, your budget doesn’t accommodate a $2000+ florist fee…(Or even a $1000 one for that matter!).  What’s a flower-loving bride to do?

Now, if you were a full-on DIY bride then you could consider the more elaborate DIY approach discussed here.  You can even recreate a couture-inspired arrangement here.   Of course both of these require floral tape, floral foam, floral adhesive, large floral buckets, and special floral shears…oh, wait, you don’t own floral tape?  You’re apartment floor isn’t big enough for 10 buckets of flowers?  You’re still not interested in spending the $700-1000 that this DIY-method entails?

pink hydrangea vase

diy hydrangea vase $13

Then what do you think of these?

DIY peonies & Mason Jars

DIY peonies & Mason Jars $30

DIY Hydrangea & Milk glass

DIY Hydrangea & Milk glass $33

DIY Hydrangea & Spray Roses $23

DIY Hydrangea & Spray Roses $23

    All four of these different arrangements will cost you just $12-33.   Better yet none of these require floral foam, floral tape, or special scissors.  All you need are vases, flowers, household scissors, and a large box for transportation.

1. The Peonies & Mason Jars will be $5-6/stem at your local Whole Foods, Harris Teeter or florist shop (though you can always wholesale order them here for less).   If you have mason jars (lucky you!) then that’s a $30 arrangement; if not add $2-6 for the jar.

2.  Similarly, the Hydrangea & Milk glass arrangements – which would look great as 2 small centerpieces – is about $18 in flowers from your local grocery store or farmer’s market.  The Milk Glass Vases are readily available on Etsy, but are usually cheaper at your local Goodwill or Thrift Shop.  I would try not to spend more than $2-6/vase.   8 stems of Hydrangea and 5 vases at $3/each brings the total to $33.

3. The Lavender Hydrangea and Dollar Tree vase includes 4-5 stems of Hydrangea for a grand total of about $13.  

4.  Lastly, the cream Hydrangea & Spray Roses includes 5-6 stems of Hydrangea and a bunch of spray roses ($3-4 at Whole Foods Market).  Adding in the simple vase brings your total to about $23.

Even better, these arrangements are all very simple to make.  

Here’s a DIY-Plan in 3 Simple Steps:  Grocery-store Hydrangea & Milk Glass Vases

1.  Collect your vases & jars.  Decide how many arrangements you will want per table.  If you have 10 tables and want to replicate 3 of the vases for a hydrangea & milk glass centerpiece, then you will need a total of 30 Milk Glass vases.  (Buy in bulk! Thrift Shop! Aim for $60-100 for vases.)

2. Buy your flowers.  The day before your wedding stop by your local Whole Foods, Trader Joes, farmer’s market, or flower shop.  You will need one stem of hydrangea per vase for a total of 30 stems.  At about $2.50/stem that’s $45 in flowers.

3.  Take your flowers home and Arrange them.  First, lay the flowers on your kitchen counter and trim the ends and any excess leaves with regular scissors.  Second, fill all your Milk Glass vases with water.  Place 1 stem in each vase.  If needed re-trim the ends again to adjust the height of the flower.  There’s no need to refrigerate overnight; simply add a bit of fresh water the next day before transporting them.  All 30 vases should take no more than 45 minutes – hour to complete.

When you want to bring the vases to the Reception venue simply place them upright in a couple of large cardboard boxes.  Towels or newspaper tucked into the crevices will hold them upright for the short drive.  

And that’s it.  10 centerpieces from $150-330.  Need more smaller centerpiece inspiration? I’m loving these:


Centerpiece via Budget Savvy $27

Centerpiece via Budget Savvy $27 diy (includes candles)

Flower Fall wedding centerpiece

Centerpiece via Style Me Pretty, about $16 diy (includes candles!)

Rethinking Weddings: Do not let your Budget define your Wedding Date

Last night I wrote about not valuing your wedding based on what it cost.  Today I want to talk about not letting your budget define your wedding date.  I promise tomorrow I will get back to the pretty details.  I have a ton of posts that are coming that talk about nitty-gritty planning: how to diy-flowers, how to choose a wedding cake.  But at this moment I want to talk about the big picture: Choosing when to get married.

Most of us contemplating marriage in our mid-twenties are lucky if we have next month’s rent and enough pesos in our pocket to buy a beer on the weekend.  It’s not unrealistic to contemplate the thousands of dollars that a wedding CAN cost (but doesn’t have to!) and to think that we can never afford it.  Or that we will only be able to afford it when we graduate, or when one of us gets a job, or when we get a raise, or when we can afford the perfect diamond ring (because clearly you need a big diamond ring before you can set a wedding date. FALSE), or the economy improves…etc.  

We put so much pressure on ourselves (why don’t we have the blog-worthy wedding money?!), there’s pressure on our partners (why aren’t you making enough to support a wedding?!), and there’s pressure on our parents (why didn’t you save $30,000 for my wedding?!).  But, can I make a proposal?

Take the pressure off.  Get married now. 

There’s never going to be a perfect moment.   You will probably never feel like you have enough money. Set a date, set a number that you feel comfortable with, make a plan to save.  And whether it’s $50 or $5,000  – move forward.  Make your plans. Live your life.  Own the wedding you will have, and get prepared to be married on an emotional level.  And then Get Married.  Your wedding will be beautiful because its YOUR wedding.  You are marrying your partner – the one that will be there “for richer and poorer.” (And for most of us, we’re going to spend more time on the poorer side of things.)

But, but, wait you say…oh, you want a wedding for 200 of your closest friends, a couture cake, and full dinner?  Married bliss just won’t be the same if you don’t have a glitzy gown and exotic honeymoon?  Well, that’s fine.  I want those things too.   And maybe those things are worth waiting a year (after all, it does take some time to plan out a full course dinner for 100…)  But if your realistic savings plan is going to put all of that 5 years down the road….then I leave you with wise words from someone much more brilliant than myself:

“So. To all of you waiting and wondering? You don’t get perfect. You just get someone that you want to spend imperfect with.  And that is the biggest gift in the world.” (Meg‘s thoughts)

Let me leave you with this inspiration (also found in Meg’s thoughts):

An emotional, beautiful $2000 wedding

An emotional, beautiful Wedding

An emotional, beautiful Wedding

Need more inspiration?  How about a fun, smiles-filled City Hall Affair.     Or a tear-jerking living room wedding.