As many of you may know, we're in crunch mode when it comes to planning our Modern Tiki Wedding. It's just four and a half months away so we're starting to really focus in on the details and decor at this point. Since we're on a super tight budget for our event, we're trying to take the DIY route as much as possible. It helps that we're both creative people but a lot of this is still new to us.
Getting floral arrangements made professionally looks great and saves a ton of hassle but, for us, it just might be out of budget. Since we're trying to go full force with our tiki theme, we do have flexibility when it comes to decor. Things like fruit, shells, giant leaves, etc. can be used as substitutes for more formal centerpieces. Still, we've been curious about our options so we decided to find out if we could make some super awesome looking floral arrangements on our own.
Since we live in LA, we're lucky to have the huge, affordable, and convenient Original LA Flower Market at our disposal. We didn't even know it existed until Greg's sister-in-law recommended it (thanks Jess!). One day, we decided to check it out and buy a few things to see what we could accomplish. Here are a few pictures of our finds while we were there:
And here are a few things we learned:
- Flower selection REALLY does depend on the season even in LA. Our options for the colors and flowers we wanted were fairly limited at the end of March. We hope that we're able to find what we really had in mind come August.
- If you have time (and patience), it's best to do a walk-through before you start buying to see all of your options and to compare prices. A lot of the time we found that booths that listed prices often offered better deals than when we requested prices...but maybe that's because haggling is my least favorite thing to do.
- All prices are super super reasonable compared to what florists charge.
- The vendors we dealt with were all really laid back. We kind of expected people to be pushy and intense but they weren't. Phew.
- Flowers are pre-bundled. This was good to find out because for some reason I expected to have to request a certain amount from the vendor and that the whole process would be more complicated than it actually was.
- It's definitely worth going ahead of time to scout out all of the different things they carry. A lot of the vendors sold non-floral items like succulent arrangements, flower pots, potted plants, and other decorations that we didn't expect to find. There are also nearby businesses that are stocked with an unbelievable amount of things in terms of flower pots, vases, floral supplies, and decorations.
- If you plan on buying a decent amount of things, bring a large bag or two to help tote your flowers around.
- Test out the exact types of plants and flowers you're going use in advance to make sure they're not going to have any trouble surviving up until your event. It's also worth noting if they're showing any signs of wilting/turning brown before you buy. That pretty much guarantees they won't be looking their best when they're on display. I'm happy I had the opportunity to hold onto my arrangements for about a week to see how the different species held up.
- Make sure you grab a decent amount and variety of flowers & filler. After our visit, I realized we hadn't actually bought enough types of plants so I headed over to Trader Joe's to pick up a few more bundles of flowers. In total, I spent about $50 on experimental supplies.
Wondering what floral arrangements we attempted, what we learned, and how they turned out? Find out below!
I think I watched one YouTube video or briefly glanced at an article on how to make your own bouquet online before tackling this project so I definitely wasn't fully informed. I jumped right in anyway (how hard could it be?).
I started by laying out all of my flowers and filler and trimmed them all to bouquet-like lengths. I then arranged them in some sort of reasonable order based on color/type.
Then I began by grouping a few flowers in the center and taping them with floral tape. As I expanded outward, I would periodically wrap with more floral tape to keep everything bundled together. In general, I tried to keep the look fairly balanced by making sure there was an evenly dispersed amount of variety. Here's what I ended up making:
Not bad for a first try! But when I was done I realized a few things:
- I may have included a little too much variety
- The bouquet may have been a little too tightly gathered (can you see those crumpled orange flowers?)
- My arrangement didn't quite look like the ones I've been saving for months on Pinterest (I probably should have referenced them more closely when shopping for/building this for inspiration)
- The whole process made me kind of anxious (basically because as you move outward building the bouquet using the technique I chose, there's no turning back)
- Making a bouquet is more time-consuming than I had imagined
Still, with a little more training and a more focused selection of flowers this might turn out better on round two. I might be willing to make my own bouquet for my wedding (especially if we have no money left in our budget at that point) but I don't think I could handle mine plus 7 bridesmaids! Good thing is, I kind of want them to carry pink pineapples in lieu of bouquets - on theme, super affordable, and easy!
Conclusion: I think for sanity's sake, I'll price out getting my own bouquet done by some local florists just in case my bouquet bustling skills don't improve by August.
I decided to play around with a variety of containers to test my flower arrangement prowess beyond the bouquet and they were much easier to handle. Using the pre-trimmed flowers leftover from my bouquet experiment, I was able to pick and choose and easily rearrange thing until they were to my liking. This was much easier than the last experiment.
As I mentioned earlier, we have a lot of ideas and options when it comes to table arrangements beyond flowers due to our theme. Also, given the size of the tables at the SmogShoppe, we only have about an 18" square in the center of each table to play with. For this reason, large formal arrangements don't really make much sense.
I originally envisioned that each table would have three tiki mugs at varying heights filled with flowers. When I set this up, it was overkill for the space and the flowers seemed like they would be annoyingly tall at the table.
We substituted a pineapple for one of the tiki mugs. Still too much.
We then tried a single lower arrangement supplemented with fruit & leaves and this seemed to work much better.
- Sometimes less really is more
- Supplementing flowers with items that match your theme looks more fun and can really be a money saver
- Sticking flowers in a vase is much easier to tweak and pull off than bustling a bouquet
- For wider arrangements (like the one I tried in the pink bucket), that green foam they sell for floral arrangements would really help to keep everything looking neat and nice
- Even if you're not doing your own flowers, it's a good exercise to take your table size into consideration when deciding what you'll need in terms of floral arrangements
Conclusion: Each table will probably get a small, low DIY floral arrangement supplemented with tropical leaves, fruits, and other on-theme decorations. Money saved by not needing a florist for table decor!
For some reason, I thought making succulent boutonnieres was going to be way harder than making floral arrangements for the tables. I was completely wrong. These were SO easy to make and fun too!
Since I had no idea how to get the succulents to work in these, I looked it up online in advance. You simply remove the plant from its container, shake out/clean off any dirt, poke floral wire through the base of the succulent near the root, and wrap that wire around the base of another plant trimming with a stem. Similar to my process with the flowers, I laid out all of my small plants and flowers and trimmed them to boutonniere height in advance. Then I had fun grouping different options together, bundling them with floral tape, and wrapping with some tule I had on hand. I'm glad I tried the tule now because I didn't really like the way it looked. It was a little messy and it distracted from the beautiful colors of the plants. A more neutral material like twine definitely works better.
Overall, minus the tule wrappings, I was really happy with how these turned out. I liked varying the styles with different plants so I think I'll do that for wedding day as well.
- A neutral-colored material like twine would look a lot better wrapped around the base of DIY boutonnieres
- A glue gun would have helped secure the tule I used
- The more creative options & variety you have with your plants, the better
- A mix of three plants and some additional leaves makes for a great combination
- Succulents are super easy to work with
- I need to get buy floral straight pins (I resorted to my sewing straight pins for this trial)
Conclusion: These were super fast and easy to make so I should have no trouble making them for the guys the day before the wedding. More money saved!
In all, I'm really happy that we did this experiment. It should be no problem at all to make our own boutonnieres and table arrangements for our wedding. This project also helped us realize that our tables don't need as much in the center as we had originally anticipated - great! I do, unfortunately, feel that I don't have the time or skills to do seven bridesmaid bouquets & my own. I'll likely outsource my bouquet and have the bridesmaids each carry three pink pineapples as I mentioned above. All-in-all, this has been super useful in terms of sizing up my own capabilities and having a better idea of our flower cost. Mission accomplished!
Anyone else have experience making their own floral arrangements? We'd love to hear any tips you have!