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?

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!)