Below is the step by step process for how we did our own wedding flowers using FiftyFlowers for our wedding (with pictures). I’ll cover what flowers I bought and what tools I bought to make our own bouquets, centerpieces, and decorations. I’ll also talk about how many stems I used, how we stored the flowers to keep them fresh, what my opinions are on DIY wedding flowers vs a florist, and a Fifty Flowers review.
I did some research on DIY wedding flowers and decided to go the DIY route for our wedding last December. Working with a florist did not fit in our wedding budget and I was excited to do our own flowers!
Spoiler alert: The flowers came out great! Would you think my bouquet pictured below was made by me and not a florist?
My DIY Wedding Flower Plan
I planned to create the following floral arrangements for our wedding.
- 1 Bridal Bouquet
- 5 Bridesmaids Bouquets
- 14 Centerpieces with assorted flowers
- Assorted flowers for a fireplace mantle and side tables
I didn’t want to spend a fortune on flowers. Every quote I received from a florist was between $1,000 to $2,500.
I figured if I could do them myself, I could do them for much less.
Now my mother hated the idea that I was going to DIY the flowers but I knew it was the right thing to do for our budget.
My husband and I were paying for the wedding ourselves by choice and we needed to keep the entire wedding under $15,000 which is difficult to do for a wedding in the Boston area.
There is no way we could stay in our budget without attempting to put together the flowers ourselves. I also thought that this could be a fun project! I’m not crafty but I was optimistic about being able to do this and I thought it would be a fun activity to do with the bridesmaids.
Everything I bought to DIY my wedding flowers:
Below is just a quick list of what I bought and where for you to refer back to as you read the post. Scroll down for the pictures as we are making the flowers because I think that provides context.
- Big buckets from a hardware store
- Flower food from a local florist
- Ribbon and burlap to wrap the bouquets
- Vases, lanterns and whatever you want to use for decor
How to DIY Wedding Flowers Guide
Click the links below to jump to that section of the post.
Where to Buy Flowers to Make Your Own Bouquets
The first step is buying the flowers. I wanted to buy wholesale flowers to avoid the premium added on by florists.
I did a bit of research and found the following places sell wholesale flowers.
- Local Flower Markets – I heard about a great local flower market in San Francisco that sells wholesale flowers. We got married just outside of Boston and the wholesale flower market in Boston is trade only meaning for florists and not regular people.
- Sam’s Club – You can get flowers for less than a dollar per stem at Sam’s Club. Wholesale flower prices are often discussed in terms of price per stem. Sam’s Club has great deals on roses and baby’s breath and you can order online.
- FiftyFlowers – FiftyFlowers is an online wholesale delivery service. The flowers are shipped in from Ecuador a few days before the wedding. You are responsible for hydrating the flowers and putting together the arrangements. These are the ones I went with and I had a really great experience with them.
Why I Went with DIY Flowers vs a Florist
I chose to go with FiftyFlowers and DIY my wedding flowers vs a florist because:
- You get a lot of value for the money.
- I fell in love with their blush and burgundy wedding pack.
- I had an amazing group of bridesmaids who I knew would help me arrange the flowers.
- I have a huge problem with the wedding industry which jacks up prices for couples.
Spending all that money on one night just wasn’t for us. We have dreams and goals that we need money for (like living abroad someday maybe!)
FiftyFlowers offered us a beautiful arrangement for MUCH LESS (if we were willing to roll up our sleeves and put in some work).
The best thing is that the work you have to do is NOT right before the wedding. We did all of the work two days before our wedding.
With the average cost of wedding flowers totalling $1400 to $11,000 according to this article, it’s a no-brainer to at least consider doing them yourself.
What was the customer service and support like with Fifty Flowers?
The customer service at Fifty Flowers was also really good. We talked on the phone in advance and that calmed my nerves (because who isn’t nervous about something like this, right?!)
They were totally kind and patient with me and helped me figure out when I needed to have the flowers shipped to me. You may not know this but depending on what flowers you get you have to get them shipped a certain number of days before the wedding so they have time to open up and bloom. When they are shipped to you, they are closed.
Fifty Flowers is an expert on flower care for flowers that come in a box so you don’t have to even worry. They’ll figure out what needs to go when and you just make arrangements for your bridesmaids or family to come over then to help.
Exactly What Flowers I Bought from Fifty Flowers and How Many
First let’s talk roses. I really love blush-colored roses and I thought that a blush and dark red color scheme would go perfect with our winter wedding. We got married in an old estate from the 1700s and the blush roses are very romantic. Anything brighter would have been a bit too much I think for the look of the venue.
I also wanted to do a lot of greenery since I like the way that looks on Pinterest and let’s be honest – it’s also cheaper to fill your bouquets and centerpieces with more greenery pieces than to have to buy extra roses. Plus, it looks good too in my opinion!
Here is what I ended up buying in advance. The latter items are the tools to put together the flowers of course. You’ll notice I have Home Depot buckets in the pictures and you can get those buckets at any hardware store. You need them to store the flowers.
DIY Wedding Flowers in a Box
We went with the Burgundy Blush DIY Wedding Flower Pack from FiftyFlowers in Medium. I also bought a Eucalyptus Greenery Pack from FiftyFlowers in Small.
The Burgundy Blush DIY Wedding Flower Pack comes with eucalyptus but I wanted to buy extra greens so that I could get more out of my order. Stuffing your bouquets and centerpieces with extra greens is a way to save money and still create a beautiful look.
My flowers looked exactly like they are pictured on the website below and were true to color.
What size wedding flower pack should I get?
This Medium-sized pack came with over 200 stems and was enough to handle my entire wedding. I was tempted to go with the Large pack but I was trying to do the flowers under $500. The Medium pack plus the extra greens was enough to do everything I wanted to do.
Just for reference we had a 90 person wedding and I planned on doing small centerpieces at each table. Scroll down for more of the pictures so you can see about what you can get for that price.
I bought extra Fifty Flowers Eucalyptus greens
As I mentioned, I bought extra eucalyptus greens to add as fillers and make the flowers last longer. I personally like that extra green look and I was scared that the Medium pack wouldn’t be enough (it was enough).
The extra greens personally made me feel better and they were beautiful!
If you are worried that you won’t have enough flowers for everything you want to make, definitely buy extra greenery so you can stuff centerpieces and bouquets. It’s really just peace of mind and that is worth it when you’re getting married! Trust me.
When To Get the Flowers Delivered
FiftyFlowers provides a recommended timeline so you know when to get the flowers delivered to keep them fresh for your wedding.
And they call you by the way, so don’t stress about messing up the timeline! You talk to someone on the phone to make the arrangements and confirm the schedule.
In general, they recommend delivering flowers on a Wednesday for a Saturday event. This recommendation differs by flower.
For example, the Secret Garden roses (as part of the Blush DIY Wedding Pack) I ordered should be delivered two days prior to an event but the carnations should be delivered three days prior.
I decided to get everything delivered two days prior to the event and was told I can put the carnations in warm water to open them up sooner.
Okay, here is the part of the post where I get into the tutorial about how I put together the flowers to make bouquets and centerpieces. These pictures below were taken in my parents living room.
Plan to have a space to store the flowers until the wedding. If your parents are hosting people throughout the week and don’t want buckets in their living room, find another place. We don’t live in the Boston area or we would have put them together at our place.
What To Do When the Flowers Are Delivered
The flowers come in boxes so be ready to receive the shipment. It’s truly crazy to see flowers shipped to you in a box but also really cool.
1. Leave the flowers to open up
The flowers are super dehydrated when they are delivered so you have to take them out of the boxes and put them in water immediately.
You can use buckets similar to the orange ones you see at Home Depot and fill them up with four inches of water each.
The flowers need a lot of water to open up and bloom further. Don’t freak out if your blooms look closed when you get them. It’s part of the process.
2. Strip the flowers of leaves below the water line
You need to strip the flowers of any leaves below the water line and thorns. Put gloves on so you don’t poke yourself.
You also need to cut an inch or two off the bottom of the stems at an angle to allow for optimal hydration.
I’ll include links to the Amazon items I purchased below.
- I bought a few pairs of cute but cheap gardening gloves so that my bridesmaids can help me.
- I also bought two pairs of these pruning shears since you shouldn’t use regular scissors on floral stems.
Below are pictures of the flowers hanging out in my parent’s living room.
How to Arrange Flowers for Centerpieces and Bouquets
I’m no florist but I came up with a pretty good plan to create my own bouquets and centerpieces.
I narrowed down my favorite looks to a color scheme and shape.
How many stems should you use for DIY wedding flowers?
I recommend 15 stems for bridesmaids and 25 stems for the bride.
I purposely bought the extra greenery pack so I could make the bouquets look more full without having to buy more flowers. I planned to use 15 stems each for the bridesmaid bouquets and 20 to 25 stems for my bridal bouquet.
Wrap stems with floral tape then add stems
To create bouquets, you typically take four stems and wrap them with floral tape to create a base. You then add stems around the base to create the bouquet.
My bridesmaids and I posed with the bundle until we liked what we saw.
I had to deviate from the original plan a little bit to get the best look possible but I was thrilled with how the bouquets came out!
How to Make the Bouquet for the Bride
The bride’s bouquet is a little bit harder because there are more flowers involved. It’s the same process where you bundle together the stems and tape with floral tape until the bouquet looks good.
My bridesmaid’s husband ended up being surprisingly talented at bouquet making. I saw that he arranged one of the bridesmaid bouquets really well and then had him help me put together my bouquet.
He made my bridesmaid bouquet with just under 25 stems. Here it is below.
What the bridesmaid bouquets looked like:
If you have to skimp on bouquets, skimp on the bridesmaid bouquets. Yes, I just said that – but it’s true. It’s important for the bride’s bouquet to look great for pictures but no one really looks at the bridesmaids bouquets, even in the group pictures.
I don’t think you’ll have to do that but just a headsup. I made the bridesmaids bouquets a little smaller from a rose perspective and just stuffed with more greenery. Keep this in your back pocket as a backup plan.
How to Make Wraps for the Bouquets
The last step is to wrap the finished bouquet with ribbon, burlap, or lace. At first I was going to go with a gold sparkly wrap but decided on burlap.
We used pins to secure the burlap. I finished off the bouquets with a champagne satin ribbon.
You can’t do this until before the wedding because the flowers have to stay in water.
How Much Help and Time Do You Need to DIY Flowers
My husband and I did the first step of removing the leaves below the water line and cutting the stems. It took us about an hour to do 200 stems.
The next day, our two moms, my bridesmaid and her boyfriend, and my sister helped with the flowers.
I recommend getting a good amount of help but not having a huge group either. The group we had was perfect. If you have too many people, you might have to spend more time organizing people and giving directions than getting stuff done.
How my Mom reacted to the idea of doing the wedding flowers ourselves
At a certain point my Mom had to step out of the room because she was a little nervous about the DIY flowers process and was freaking me out. If you are not getting support from your family on wanting to DIY the flowers, I’m totally there with you. It was hard to convince my parents that it was worth it.
She eventually got over it and she LOVED how the flowers came out at the wedding.
Looking back now though, they are proud of us for making smart decisions for our budget. We are now in a great position financially and so are our parents because neither of us spent a crazy amount of money on the wedding. Yes, it was expensive but it would have been a lot worse if we gave into our nerves and got too scared to do the flowers ourselves.
How long did it take to make the flower arrangements yourself?
It took us about four hours total. Most of the time was spent experimenting with different bouquet arrangements until we found one that looked good.
DIY Wedding Flower Disasters
We did not have a DIY wedding flower disaster but I did have a few lessons learned that I can share with you.
- We didn’t start early enough and were a bit rushed and stressed at the end trying to make it to the rehearsal dinner since we arranged the flowers on the same day. I recommend starting very early in the morning. We started at 10AM since we had a leisurely coffee run and breakfast. That was too late to be comfortable.
- We left the stems too long. Shorter bouquets just look better to me for some reason. Use your phone and take a picture of yourself from the front holding your bouquets when you are figuring out what the arrangement should look like. Do this for the bridesmaid bouquets and your bouquet. If the stems look too long, cut it. Now don’t cut too much off but don’t leave them crazy long either.
- The bridesmaids forgot to tie on the ribbons. You leave the flowers in buckets overnight so you can’t wrap it in the burlap and tie the ribbons on until the day of the wedding. With wedding and hair going on, it’s easy to forget to take the bouquets out of the bucket and finish them with burlap and ribbons. This wasn’t a big deal at all and I didn’t remind them to do that but everyone forgot to tie the ribbons around the bouquets.
Related Posts about Frugal Weddings:
How to Create Your Own Centerpieces with FiftyFlowers
I was planning to create these elaborate centerpieces with floral foam but then I lucked out.
My caterer let me know that she had leftover centerpieces from previous weddings including vases in all shapes and sizes, candles, and lanterns in four different colors.
I was sold. By using her vases, lanterns, and candles, I could cut down on the amount of flowers I needed for the wedding and save myself time.
I still put a small arrangement of flowers in a vase on a few cocktail tables but nothing elaborate like I had planned prior. So most of the tables had lanterns and individual flowers around them and then cocktail tables had vases with flowers.
If I had chosen to create my own centerpieces with floral foam, I would have purchased wet floral foam versus the dry floral foam.
By using wet foam, I would ensure my flowers stayed fresh through the wedding. Dry floral foam is better for fake flowers.
While I didn’t use this approach, another money-saving tip is to alternate centerpieces at every table to cut costs.
How to Keep the DIY Flowers Fresh Before the Wedding
The best way to keep your flowers fresh for your wedding is to keep an eye on them.
Change out the water if it becomes cloudy or gets sucked up too quickly.
You can also buy flower food to preserve the flowers longer.
My sister and maid of honor picked up 12 packets of flower food from a florist for $12 prior to the wedding.
Most online wholesale flower companies do not ship their flowers with flower food.
Most important of all – do not put the flowers in the refrigerator!
The refrigerators that florists use are actually at a higher temperature than your standard kitchen fridge.
Also, storing the flowers with fruits and vegetables in the fridge can actually harm the flowers.
How to Transport the Flowers to the Wedding Venue – DIY boxes
Many brides spend forever arranging the flowers and then spend five minutes messing up their work by not properly securing the flowers before transport.
You can use the boxes that the flowers come in to transport the flowers by cutting holes (big X’s) into the top of them, just wide enough to hold the flowers and vases.
More complicated floral arrangements might take a bit more securing prior to transport.
What You Need to Do the Day of the Wedding
We had the bouquets in a bucket with us while we were getting our hair and makeup done since we wanted the flowers to look fresh for the wedding.
The bridesmaids cut the stems of their bouquets and my bouquet that morning and the plan was to add the ribbons right before we left for the venue.
We all forgot to add the ribbons to the bridesmaids bouquets! Oops! My bouquet did get a ribbon though which looked nice.
I also didn’t have a concrete plan about how we were going to get the flowers to the venue the day of the wedding.
I figured one of the bridesmaids would be able to bring the flowers over to the venue. We were all running late though and didn’t have time!
Our friend, who is marrying one of my bridesmaids, saved the day and brought the flowers to the venue.
I highly recommend delegating someone (who is not in the wedding party) be in charge of the flowers the day-of the wedding.
The wedding party and the bride and groom have too much going on.
I also recommend starting hair and makeup two hours earlier than you think you need to start.
Hair and makeup took much longer than I expected.
Total Cost to Do My Own Wedding Flowers with FiftyFlowers
It cost me around $450 to purchase the flowers and materials to do my own bouquets and centerpieces.
I skipped the boutonnières and corsages since I figured they were not integral to the wedding.
Flowers are certainly not cheap but I saved hundreds and maybe thousands (although I never would have spent that much!) by skipping the florist and doing my own thing.
I’m so glad I chose the DIY flowers route.
Overall FiftyFlowers was awesome and I highly recommend them to any future bride.
Check them out here and see what sales they having going now.
Summary of the DIY Flower Items Needed
The tools needed:
- Big buckets from a hardware store
- Flower food from a local florist
- Ribbon and burlap to wrap the bouquets
- Vases, lanterns and whatever you want to use for tables
- Helpful friends!
Did you make your own wedding bouquets or centerpieces? How did it go?
Other posts in My Frugal Wedding Series:
- Choosing an Off Season Winter Wedding
- Saving on Catering and Photography
- Saving on Wedding Invitations
- How to Minimize Costs for Your Bridesmaids and Guests
- Saving on an Officiant
- The Don’t Forget Ski Trip Packing List (+ Printable PDF) - February 15, 2020
- These 3 Courses in the Genius Bloggers Toolkit Make it Worth It - January 16, 2020
- How to Gnomes with Felt Hats in 20 Minutes (St. Patricks, Valentines, Easter) - January 13, 2020