To DIY or not to DIY, that may be your question!

I am an enabler. Or maybe I should say, I am an Enabler.  When a client comes to me with a project, whether it’s a wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate dinner for the Board of Directors, or a holiday party, my first inclination is to always find a way to enable their vision for flowers and decor.  Mirriam Webster, the dictionary people, define enable as ‘to make something possible, practical or easy.’  There are other definitions, and although they relate to different industries, I think they can easily apply  as well - for example, when you’re working with computers, you enable something to make it active or available for use.  Yes!  That’s what I do!  I help you tap into your inner design diva and think inside, outside, around and through the box.  To help you visualize all the possibilities and then help choose the one that best matches your vision, budget and capabilities.  It’s that last one that I’d like to talk about today:  capabilities.  

Capability has absolutely everything to do with DIY.  Everyone is capable, given enough time to learn and practice.  Some of the most beautiful weddings I’ve worked on/attended have been very personal to the bride and groom with lots of wonderful little details that made the occasion all theirs.  Not every one of those little details were handmade or designed by them, but they were nevertheless all them.  But quite a few were designed/created by the couple.  What makes the difference?  Balance.  Knowing what you’re capable of, and knowing when you need someone with more experience to help.

Are you crafty?  Good with your hands?  Like to paint, nail, glue?  Did you, like me, ask for a reciprocating saw for Christmas (not kidding!)?  Do you have a good sense of proportion, working knowledge of a color wheel, and can you tell me what rhythm is in relation to floral design?  Then you may be a perfect candidate for designing your own flowers!!!  It will only take some classes and reading to get you into the game.  If you’re not quite that advanced, there are quite a few internet companies out there who will sell you their pre-designed kits with everything you need to make the bouquets.  I’m not a fan, in my humble opinion, it’s like calling 1-800-you-know-what for your wedding flowers.  And since you’re here, reading this blog, I know you care more about your wedding flowers than that!  

So how’s a couple to handle wanting to save the money and yet make their mark on the flowers?  Talk to a professional.  Most of us will meet with you at no cost or obligation, and can help you determine if you’re the right candidate for a DIY wedding, and give you pretty accurate estimates of what it will cost you, both on your own and if you hire a pro.  You may want to create your own centerpieces and leave the bouquets and personal flowers to us.  You may want to handle the cake flowers and leave the arch or chuppah to us.  Any last minute decor is not something you want to be fussing with right before your hair stylist arrives. Sunburn is not a good wedding photo look.

At Design In Bloom, we love helping our brides and grooms be as involved as they want to be.   We can create a custom wedding flower design plan for you to DIY, help you find flowers, and even host a Bridal Party Design Riot the week of your wedding!  So get involved, whether it’s leading your chosen professionals through your vision and allowing them to create for you, or getting off the bench and doing it yourself.  Either way, it’s always a team effort that make the best marriages!

If you do decide to DIY, here’s a down and dirty timeline of how you’ll need to prepare:

One Year Before:
Create a budget.  Typically, wedding flowers are 8-15% of your total budget.
Start creating a mood and style for your wedding by choosing a venue and staying true to its roots - formal or informal, indoors or out, country or city.

9 to 12 Months:
Choose a style or theme and start thinking about tying your details together.  Color plays an important role, and your wedding dress may be your jumping off point for choosing your style.  Is it formal and elaborate?  Loose and airy?  Very simple?  This of course should tie in with your overall scheme - a very formal dress looks best in a very formal location.  

Start researching skills training.  If you have minimal or no experience with floral design, now is the time to search out classes and/or teachers to help.  Read some books, checkout some YouTube videos.  It goes without saying that if you aren’t crafty, get thee to a professional for help and guidance, you shouldn’t be attempting your own flowers.

6 to 8 Months:
Your gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses should be chosen.  These decisions often play a huge role in the avenue your flowers take.  Spend some time with a color wheel and learn how to use it.  

Start working on a tally of the flowers you’d like to have at your wedding.  Bouquets for you and your bridesmaids, boutonnieres for the groom, groomsmen and dads, corsages for moms, ceremony decor, centerpieces for the reception, detail pieces for the bar, cake, even the ladies room - fresh flowers make a huge difference and make an event special, even if it’s just a bud vase in the ladies.

Tap your crafty friends and family for help.  Unless your floral needs are uber minimal, you’re going to be needing some help on The Day.  Start talking to people now. Most people are thrilled to be asked.

4-5 Months:
This is a nice rest period for flowers - you don’t need to do anything here but keep up with skills training.  If you’re considering a collected look for reception centerpieces (using vintage vases and containers), you should be in full tag sale/antique store/GoodWill hunting mode.

2-3 Months:
Now is when we get to nitty gritty.  You are going to have to come up with a recipe for each floral design that includes every little thing going into each piece.  Anything non-perishable should already be in storage.  Containers should be cleaned and ready for flowers, including vases for the bouquets.  

Once you have a working list of the flowers you’ll need, start looking for the best place to buy them.  Ask for a quote at florists and supermarkets, look online, check out what’s growing in your yard, in your Moms, and your future Mother-In-Laws.  Check out local farms and go to farmer’s markets.  Place orders with suppliers as far out as you can.

Logistics should be discussed.  Where are you going to keep the flowers when they arrive?  Where are you going to design?  Who’s going to help?  Where are the designs going when they’re finished?  Do you have adequate refrigeration? Who is delivering and setting up?

4 Weeks Before:
Trial run.  Create at least one of everything you’re planning on.  You don’t want any surprises the day of your wedding.

2 Weeks Before:
Timeline.  You must create a timeline that includes where, when and who.  

Double check and confirm your flower orders.

3 to 4 Days Before:
Take delivery of all flowers and begin the conditioning process.  

2 to 3 Days Before:
Once properly conditioned, begin the design process, leaving any flowers that won’t have a water source (like corsages and boutonnieres) until the day before the wedding.  

The Day Before:
Finishing touches on all bouquets, ceremony and reception decor.  

Create corsages and boutonnieres and refrigerate until ready to use.

The Day Of:
Here’s when your logistics timeline comes into play.  Flowers need to go the ceremony and reception sites, bouquets to where the bride and her attendants are getting ready, boutonnieres to the guys, corsages to be pinned.  

Having just written and considered this brief outline, I think you not only have to be crafty to create your own wedding florals, but a force of nature when it comes to organization.