A couple of weeks ago I attended the DIY Wedding Flowers Boot Camp at the Floral Design Institute. I learned about the school on Groupon, where they offered this one-day intensive workshop for half off the regular price. What caught my eye were the words wedding, DIY and boot camp. Sold. The class was great for brides-to-be to get a crash course on creating their own floral arrangements to cut costs at their wedding. My hope was to learn more about the "engaged" population, learn more about flowers and maybe even network with the Floral Institute instructors. What I learned was this is an incredibly rewarding profession and so fun! I could see myself doing this! I naturally lean towards creative opportunities, plus I've always thought I was rather talented at arranging the grocery store flowers in a vase (I know, it's really not that hard). It was just incredible to hold all these flowers in your hand and decide exactly where each flower will go. Plus knowing how much effort went into preparing those flowers, you are really proud of yourself at the end!
We got to take home our arrangements at the end of the class. We made two bridal bouquets, one boutonniere, one corsage, and a flower girl's halo wreath. My favorite was the hand-tied bouquet we made with big, beautiful peonies (my absolute favorite flower!).
But I also learned about filler flowers, and the difference between North American and South American roses (South American are much bigger). I kinda feel like a pro now! Not to say that I could run out and do a wedding tomorrow, but I certainly feel one step closer to understanding when a bride comes to me and asks me "What's the difference between Queen Anne's lace and Sweet William?" (Sweet William was used in Princess Catherine's bridal bouquet as a nod to her now-husband).
As most women (and some men) know, flowers are a huge part of a wedding, and the wedding budget. Now I understand the key to having beautiful, budget-friendly floral arrangements. Choose in-season flowers, local if possible, and focus on the reception flowers. You can always incorporate some of your reception arrangements to decorate your ceremony. Note to all brides-to-be: hydrangeas are only in season later in the year, closer to fall. Do not try to have them at your spring wedding because even if your florist can get them, they will be wilting by the time you say "I do". Also, don't expect to get a great deal on buying flowers from your local florist in bulk. Good sources can be at farmer's markets, or if you're lucky enough to know someone with a wholesale license, you can get flowers for a third of a price than what you would pay at the florist. But you also end up with bulk amounts. Supplies to build bouquets and boutonnieres are also expensive and difficult to find. The Floral Design Institute does sell these supplies, not at a bulk price; however, you can buy exactly the amount you need and not end up with yards and yards of floral tape after the big day. Or, you can just leave it to the pros :)
The biggest takeaway from this experience was do your research and know which flowers are in season. That way you have a higher success of getting what you want, when you want it and not being disappointed come the day of your event.