Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DIY Fall Wedding Bouquets

I had so much fun making bouquets and boutonnieres for my friends' wedding this past weekend!  Their wedding was scheduled to be outside overlooking a field and forest in late October, so they chose harvest colors to coordinate with the natural beauty of the landscape.

You can see the autumn-themed bouquets and flowers that inspired us here.

Early Friday morning I made the trek to Potomac Floral Wholesale in Silver Spring, MD.  As always, the staff was very helpful and accommodating!  I also lucked out, and they had about 50% more flowers than usual, so I had lots of selection to choose from.

I spent about an hour picking out flowers and fillers in burgundy, red, burnt orange, and yellow.  My bride really wanted sunflowers, so I made sure to get plenty of those!

My selection at the flower shop

When they added it all up, it turned out that I had quite the eye for expensive flowers!  My bride had really liked these burgundy and yellow calla lilies, but at $3 each, I ended up trading them in for more roses.  I have an affinity for Billy Balls, but those were also on the pricey side, so I replaced them with yellow poms.  I also discovered that you have to be careful with roses!  I had picked out some gorgeous orange garden roses, but they were over $3 each, so I traded those in for more gerbera daisies.  These tradeoffs took about 30% off the total.  While I loved the textures and colors they provided, I was able to substitute flowers in similar sizes and colors for much less.  Even though I was trying to be cost-conscious, I still splurged on the red-tipped yellow roses I used for the boutonnieres and of course the sunflowers!

The staff was also very helpful in helping me find good deals.  The red roses that were in the showroom were all long-stemmed and thus $1-2 each.  I asked about more affordable red roses and was led to the back room where they had plenty of shorter-stemmed roses for only $0.59 each!  For bouquets, you're just cutting them down anyways, so there's no need to pay for extra stem length.  If you try this for yourself, please take the time to talk with the staff about your budget and how to meet it - they can be very helpful.

In addition, I opened an account!  So now I'll get even better discounts if I get to do bouquets for more friends.

As soon as I got home, I got to work cleaning the flowers.  First I recut the stems and placed them in water so they could hydrate.  For most flowers, all I had to do was remove all the leaves and any dead petals or flowers.  Roses are more difficult - I had to cut off all the thorns and remove a number of the outer petals to get down to the pretty ones.  I saved all the petals, and the decorator ended up scattering them in the aisle where they were a beautiful touch!  While they weren't nice enough for boutonnieres, they were gorgeous scattered around.  In all, it took maybe an hour to and hour and a half to clean all the flowers.

I divided up the flowers for the bouquets into seven stacks - one for each bridesmaid and one for the bride.  Everyone got more or less the same flowers and amount of flowers, and I doubled those counts for the bride.  This way I could be sure I'd have enough for everyone, especially because I saved the bridal bouquet for last.

I started by grouping 3-4 flowers together and securing with floral tape.  Then I would add 1-4 more stems at a time, again securing with floral tape.  I mixed colors, sizes, and textures and continued this process until I had used all the flowers.  It was a great idea to prep all the flowers first, because then I could simply add them to the bouquet, rather than having to stop to clean them as I was going.

After all the flowers were added, I wrapped the stems tightly with floral tape.  Next I cut the stems to the desired length.  Finally, I covered the floral tape with a 1.5" satin ribbon, and secured it at the top of the handle with corsage pins.  Then I set each one in about 1" of water in a glass cylinder, to stay hydrated as well as look pretty and stay safe!

In all, the bridesmaid bouquets took about 4 hours.

I made the bridal bouquet Saturday morning using the same technique as with the bridesmaid bouquets.  It took longer because I had more flowers, but wasn't too much trouble.

Next I worked on the boutonnieres.  I used one red-tipped yellow rose, a fern, and a berry bunch for each one, to keep with the autumn color scheme.  I secured them together with floral tape, then cut the stems to my desired length.  To finish them off, I wrapped a 1/2" satin ribbon over the floral tape and secured the end with super glue.  I made 22 of these, and they took a little over an hour.

I ran into a problem with my super glue though!  It was supposed to dry in 30 seconds, but some of them NEVER dried.  The groomsmen had to be really careful about which ones they used, so they wouldn't get glued to the tuxes.  Next time I plan to either use hot glue or simply secure the end of the ribbon with a tiny shirt pin.

In the end, the bride, groom, and parents loved the bouquets!  The kids in attendance had a blast carrying them around all night, and I think even took a few home.

The autumn colors really popped against their clothing and stood out beautifully in photos!  My bridal bouquet even withstood a bouquet toss, so I guess I made it pretty stout!  I noticed a few ruined boutonnieres in the box, but that's why I make plenty of extras.

So was it worth it?  Absolutely!  Congrats to my friends!


  1. Wow, Bonnie! These are beautiful!!! Great job!!!!

  2. wow, you made it sound fun and they turned out super! Love the colors you picked!

  3. Stunning miss Bonnie!! Glad you had a blast! Maybe you should embrace a new career path.... Happy Friday

  4. I love these, Bon! Wish I'd known you when I got married...


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