Monday, August 15, 2011

DIY Blue and White Wedding Centerpieces

One of my close friends got married recently, and I did all the florals for her wedding!  That means 20 centerpieces, 6 bouquets, and 18 boutonnieres!

I ordered 32 bunches of flowers from - 16 white and 16 blue.  I pretty much just guessed and hoped that would be enough for everything.  I'd never done any of this before, so I definitely had my fingers crossed that it would work out!

I teleworked the Thursday before the wedding so I could take delivery of the flowers.  The delivery guy showed up late, and only dropped off one box of flowers.  I opened it up, and it was only the blue ones!  I frantically called the company to see about the white ones, and made double sure they wouldn't say anything to my bride.

Turns out the white flowers got stuck in Indiana.  No biggie, because I didn't want to start the centerpieces till Friday anyways.

Friday morning I left my house at 6am to drive up to Potomac Floral, a wholesale flower shop in Silver Spring.  They told me to get there when they open at 7am for the very best selection.  It's a huge shop, with a big refrigerated room with most of the flowers, another room with just greenery, another (warmer) cooler with orchids, and a whole store room full of glassware.  It's nuts.  Even at 7 in the morning, there were people running around everywhere getting shipments together.

Flower room at Potomac Floral
I spent about an hour there and picked out beautiful flowers, mostly for the bouquets.  I got white roses, artichokes, snap dragons (by request of the bride), eucalyptus (she's from San Diego), ferns for the centerpieces, and other assorted greens and prettiness.

Eucalyptus, snap dragons, roses, artichokes, and more!
The white flowers arrived just after I got home, and looked... TERRIBLE.  They must have been left on the tarmac in the heat or something, because they were essentially unusable.  More calls to fifty flowers ensued.  They were actually really nice about it, and after I sent them photos as evidence, agreed to refund the money for the order and not to tell my bride.

Obviously, these just weren't going to do!

But then I didn't have ANY white flowers!!!  So I drove back up to Silver Spring, pouted to the sales guys, and came home with even more bucketloads of beautiful flowers!

Altogether I had ten 5-gallon buckets STUFFED with flowers and greenery.  I cooled my house down to about 72 to keep everything as fresh as possible, then bundled up in jeans and fleece to keep warm.

Thankfully I had prepped the vases with tape weeks prior to the wedding, and had assembled all the ferns earlier in the morning, so I was ready to get started arranging flowers as soon as I got back from Silver Spring.

Creating a grid with narrow tape makes a good base for building the arrangement.

Stuffing the grid with ferns makes it so any other flowers you add won't move around
I did two centerpieces at a time.  I used one bunch of blue flower for every two arrangements, then added in white flowers and extra greenery to spruce them up.

Ta Da!

It was at about this point that I realized that even if you know the mechanics of how to assemble a centerpiece, you may not know how to do it, shall we say, aesthetically.  It took a while to get the first two right.

But once I got the hang of it, the other centerpieces came together pretty smoothly.  If you can imagine throwing a flower shop through a wood chipper, that is more or less what my kitchen looked like by midafternoon, save for the table of beautiful centerpieces growing in my living room (thank you for the table, Tommy!).

I was really worried about using too many of the flowers in the centerpieces and not having enough for the bouquets, so I was very conservative in my use of flowers.  However, after finishing the bouquets on Saturday I went back and used up as much of the extras as possible to really punch up the bouquets.

Tommy, bless his heart, left in the middle of his Saturday morning golf game to help me deliver the centerpieces to Seqouia.  Shockingly, they all fit in the Fit!  We delivered them with no trouble at all (the extras I made in case I had a whoops just got to grace the hostess stand).
The Fit never fails me
In a lovely twist of fate, Sequoia has these dangly blue art installations hanging from the ceiling that perfectly coordinated with my centerpieces.

All in all, making 20 centerpieces took me about 20 hours, if you count shopping, prepping the vases, going to Silver Spring twice, arranging the flowers, and delivery.

So was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I had a blast, and I was so glad to be such an integral part of my friends wedding. Would I use fifty flowers again?  Maybe.  The blue flowers were inexpensive, beautiful, and came in the mail just as expected.  The debacle with the white flowers was remedied to my satisfaction.  However, the customer service, pricing, and quality from Potomac Floral was a lifesaver.

At least it's a beautiful mess!


  1. wow, you look like a flower shop! I love the cobalt blue vases and the lovely arrangements. Do you have any photos of the venue all set up?

  2. Those are so beautiful, Bonnie!

  3. Love it!! Those white flowers must have given you a heart attack...!! The result is gorgeous and that thin tape grid is a great (grate? ;) idea.

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