How to DIY Your Wedding Flowers: Advice, Tips, Resources & First Hand Experiences on Wholesale Wedding Flowers

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  • July 10, 2013

Let me just start off by saying that I am in no way promoting DIY wedding flowers over hiring a professional florist for your big day. Obviously a professional vendor is always the best choice for optimum wedding services – however, we have to be real here too and not every couple in the DC area has the wedding budget to afford professional vendors. Sometimes it just comes down to a matter of priorities with regards to your wedding decisions and budget.

So, that being said – for some couples the choice to DIY their flowers is the right one and if you might be considering going the wholesale wedding flowers route, then this post will help you navigate the way and make the right decision over DIY vs Pro. It includes advice, first-hand experiences, tips, and even regrets from REAL couples that went the wholesale flower route (and pictures of what their flowers looked like on their wedding day) with DIYed wedding flowers. *Warning – this post will be pretty content AND picture heavy!!*

How to DIY Your Wedding Flowers – Tips, Tricks & Advice for Having Whole Sale Flowers at Your Wedding

DIY wholesale wedding flowers how to advice

[Theresa Choi Photography]

First things first, before going any further in this post, here are the two most important things to consider if you are thinking about going this route. If you are not 100% with either of these, then you should probably reconsider DIYing your flowers:

1. You need to be able to accept that your flowers will not be 100% perfect or polished on your wedding day.
2. While going the wholesale route will most likely be cheaper than hiring a professional florist, it will NOT be easier.

So …. now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s break it down further:

Accepting that your flowers won’t look 100% perfect or polished

If you are opting to do go the DIY flower route – realize that unless your Aunt or Bridesmaid has experience with doing flower arrangements, chances are, your flowers aren’t going to match that of a professional. You and your partner need to be OK with this – and if you aren’t, then you should probably revisit hiring a professional.

Recent Bride Trey explains, “I was on a budget & 95% of my wedding was DIY. Flowers weren’t at the top of my list, so it didn’t bother me much that they probably wouldn’t look absolutely polished and perfect”

DIY wedding bouquet wildflowers

[Kristi Odom Photography - Trey & JD's Offbeat DIY Virginia Wedding]

Recent bride Alex also reiterates this point and adds that you need to be flexible too! “The first thing I would say about going the DIY route is you have to be flexible.  If you want a specific flower that’s not necessarily “in season”, DIYing might not be the way to go.  But if you know you’re using baby’s breath or teacup roses or daisies or lillies, then DIYing can be fairly simple.  Consider mixing in other flowers that are cheaper into your bouquet & arrangements, if your heart is set on a more expensive flower.”

[Stephen Gosling Photography ~ Alex & Jim's Small Budget, DIY Rustic Virginia Wedding]

Bride, Grace, reflected on what the heat of her outdoor wedding day did to her DIY flowers – mentioning that the DIY ones were not given enough water, and ended up wilting in the summer sun. She had also used a florist for some of the arrangements though, and those held up fine (see: value of professional). Grace explained, “my wedding coordinator did not put water in the bud vases, so the flowers in the bud vases began to wilt in the 100+ degree weather… but the centerpieces from my florist made it through the heat”

Realizing the amount of time and effort involved in DIYing your wedding flowers (scheduling, asking for help, storage, reading directions, and more…)

Click inside for the rest of this post!!!

Scheduling time for pickup AND putting together during your wedding weekend

You will need to make sure you have time during your wedding weekend to pick up the flowers (or possibly have them delivered) AND time during your wedding weekend to put the arrangements/bouquets/etc together.

Trey advises, “Make sure you can pick them up a day before you want to make the bouquets, because when the vendor is ordering bulk flowers, they’re probably coming pretty cold and sealed up (as opposed to the bouquets you’ll see in grocery store departments, they’re usually bloomed and opened).

“I had my mom and my maid of honor helping make the bouquets, while my other bridesmaids trimmed the flowers for the ceremony and reception decorations.” <- This happened the MORNING of the wedding! (I know, because I was there ;).

DIY wedding flowers

[Kristi Odom Photography]

Storage & Transport

Think about where you will be arranging the flowers and how you will be transporting them to and from your wedding spaces.

“Make sure you have enough storage space for them and buckets to put them in!” – Not all the wholesalers will provide these for you, while Bride Erin’s did. She said, “They gave me buckets and boxes for transport, and it all fit in the trunk of our normal sized car. When I got it home we unpacked it all into the buckets until that evening, when my aunts arrived to help arrange things. ”

how to dIY wedding flowers wholesale

Read the Directions / Fine Print

Recent Bride Elizabeth shared some advice on making sure you READ the website or delivery packages when you get them to ensure your flowers look the way they are supposed to! She said, “when getting wholesale flowers it is really important to read the directions about how to take care of them when they arrive. There was a TON of info on the website, and it was overwhelming at first, but you just have to read through it all. We had to buy 5 gallon buckets, and on delivery day we made sure that they were filled with water and ready to go.”

DIY wedding bouquet flowers wholesale how to

[Abby Grace Photography]

Do a test run!!

Again, unless your friend/family member is a pro – you will want to do a couple test runs of putting your arrangements together a head of time!

Recent bride Grace shares her experience with doing a mock-up of her flowers so that her day-of coordinator knew exactly how to setup the DIY flowers on the big day. She said, “Before I decided to go the wholesale flower route, I purchased some peonies from Whole Foods and vases from Ikea and did a table mock up at home.  I took some pictures and sent it to my wedding coordinator to see if it was something that she would be willing to set up for 6 tables.  I’m glad I sent her the pictures, because the tables looked exactly how I envisioned them to look on my wedding day :)”

how to DIY wedding flowers wholesale advice

[Theresa Choi Photography]

Online Tutorials & Tips - Check out our DIY Bouquet Tutorial !

In addition to doing a test run with your arrangements – Trey recommended using online tutorials to help, if you have never done a floral arrangement or made a bouquet before.

[Abby Grace Photography ~ DIY Rustic Wedding Bouquet Tutorial]

Bride, Trey explained, “I started with three or four stems and bound them with floral wire, adding stem after stem and continuing to wrap the wire around the bouquet until it reached my desired look. I then wrapped ribbon over the wire, and secured it with pins (I got pearl-tipped ones for aesthetics).”

Bride Erin also learned a trick after the fact that would have made her flower stand-up straighter. She said, “I’ve since learned that florists will often thread wire up the stems of the ranunculus because they can droop a little, and if I did it over I would have done that to them. I had a few break off of my bouquet due to my abuse, and the yellow one I put in Chris’ boutonniere broke right before the ceremony and is pretty much dangling off in all those pictures.

DIY wedding flowers tip advice how to

We wrapped the handles of the bouquets with some clearance ribbon from Michael’s and on mine I put two gold rose pins that I inherited from my grandmothers, who are no longer with us. ”

The following pieces of advice are from the brides on the specific wholesale stores they used and their experiences with using those stores:

Wholesale Flowers Experience at Potomac Wholesale Flowers

Another past bride, Zareth, used Potomac Wholesale Flowers . This was her experience: “I went to the website, and I looked for the flowers that matched my fuchsia and turquoise theme. I got garden roses, and regular roses in different shades of pink, and carnations. I visited their store, and made a list of the flowers that I wanted.

My friend helped me calculate how many we were going to need. I actually don’t remember exactly how many I bought. But I think it was about $1 each, approximately, so I’d say between 325 and 350 flowers.

DIY wedding flowers centerpieces wholesale how to

[Tim Riddick Photography]

Bride Erin also used Potomac Floral Wholesaler. “The flowers were $325, which created two bouquets, six corsages/boutonnieres, nine medium-large vases of for centerpieces, and four or five smaller vases that went in the bathrooms, on the bar, and on the fireplaces at the reception. I also bought the vases that we used on each table at Potomac – only $35 for nine vases. We used spare square vases we had at home for the smaller arrangements.

I found Potomac on Yelp, and they had decent reviews, so I went to check them out about three weeks before the wedding to see things in person. Well, long story short, I LOVED it there! They have almost anything you could think of, and can order other things if you want something in particular that they don’t normally stock. They also have a whole section in the back of greenery, an orchid room, a potted plants section, TONS of little succulents, and the section with the vases has EVERY KIND OF VASE you could really need, plus ribbon, preservatives, little rocks, little LED light things you can put in the vases if that’s your thing, etc. We didn’t have a color theme for our wedding, nor did I have a “dream bouquet” so I just kind of walked around and checked out what was in season and what might look good together. The warehouse was really busy with customers (it was right before Easter) and I think I looked a little lost because an employee (I think his name is Steve) took me under his wing and helped me place an order for some key things, and we decided that I could pick out some extras day-of if I wanted. He was WONDERFUL at helping me choose things to get the look I wanted, but to also stay on budget.”

DIY wholesale flowers potomac

[Amber Wilkie Photography]

Wholesale Wedding Flowers Experience at Wegman’s

Traci went to Wegman’s for her wholesale flowers, this was her experience: “I went to Wegman’s a couple months ahead of time and sat down with their florist to discuss the color scheme I wanted (purple, orange and greenery) and what types of flowers those colors came in. I wanted flowers that wouldn’t wilt in the summer heat, and I didn’t care too much about their scent – I just wanted them to look good! The florist told me how many flowers to expect on each stalk, so I could ultimately total how many of each I would need. The only mildly odd thing was I didn’t have to pay until I picked the flowers up. I honestly would’ve felt better had I had a receipt in had saying I had paid a deposit or something, but it wasn’t a problem!

I think the total cost was about $600 and this is what I got:

My bouquet (used a bit more flowers than for the regular bouquets), 6 bridesmaids’ bouquets, 1 tossing bouquet, 9 boutonnieres, 4 corsages, flowers for mason jars to hang on ceremony chairs, flowers for table at ceremony, flowers to put in lanterns as centerpieces at reception”

Wholesale Wedding Flowers Experience at Giant Supermarket

Alex used her local grocery store for her wedding flowers! She said, “I went to my local Giant two weeks before my wedding and asked them when the best time to get Baby’s Breath would be for my wedding date and they made sure to make a note to order a little more than usual for their Wednesday delivery. Went in, picked them up, they carried them to my car and BOOM -  $30 for the bridesmaids bouquets, various centerpieces and aisle markers.”

[Stephen Gosling Photography ~ Alex & Jim's DIY, Small Budget Virginia Wedding]

Wholesale Wedding Flowers Experience with FiftyFlowers.Com

Elizabeth gave Fifty Flowers a glowing review!! This was her experience: “I had no idea how my flowers to get, but, thankfully 50flowers.com has all sorts of wedding packages to chose from. I got the 50 rose wedding package, which allowed me to pick two different colors for roses, three types of filler, AND it came with greenery! In addition, I ordered some garden roses, just because these were the flowers that I wanted. We ended up having a lot of extra flowers, but, they could have easily been used up to make additional decorations if someone had had the time to do so.

Not long after I placed my order, someone from the company contacted me to tell me that one of the filler flowers that I selected just did not look that good. She said she wouldn’t want to send them to me in that condition, and made some suggestions of what I could chose to replace it. I was really impressed that they took they time to call me, instead of just sending me less than perfect flowers.

DIY wholesale wedding flowers advice

[Abby Grace Photography]

Wholesale Wedding Flowers Experience with Wholesale Blossoms (Online/delivery)

Grace went the online route – buying her flowers online and having them delivered to her house ahead of time. She shares, “I bought my flowers from Wholesale Blossoms.  I purchased an assorted bunch of pink peonies to decorate some tables at my reception.  I wanted some of my tables to have bud vases and it was cheaper to just order the flowers and have my wedding day coordinator put the peonies in the bud vases (that I purchased from Ikea) than it would be to have my florist do it.  The centerpieces from my florist were $225 per table.  The budvase/peonies cost less than $60 for each rectangle table that sat 12 people.”

DIY wholesale wedding flowers how to advice

[Theresa Choi Photography]

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19 Comments

  • Maddy Buell says:

    Bree – thank you SO much for putting this together! There’s a dearth of wedding blogs in Pittsburgh, where I’m located and where I’m planning to have my wedding, so I’m exceptionally happy to have followed yours for years now. I’ve been looking at the possibility of going with wholesale flowers, and this was just the guide I needed to weigh my options. Thank you, and keep up all the great stuff you do here!! :) in LFS – Maddy

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Maddy! It’s so good to hear from you – no idea you followed my blog :) so thanks for reading AND thanks for the feedback!!! So happy the blog is helping you – even out in pittsburgh, oh and CONGRATS on your wedding girl!!! hope you are well!

  • Bree,

    Great post! I love Potomac Floral Wholesaler. Another option for the bride that doesn’t have her heart set on specific flowers or colors and just wants something pretty is Fields of Flowers in Purcellville, VA. It is a little bit of a drive from DC, but you can pick your own flowers for about $30 a bucket. You could turn it into an outing for your bridesmaids the day before your wedding and have lunch in Leesburg and then go pick some flowers. I would advise you to bring your own clippers and 3 gallon buckets (which are about $3 each at Home Depot). Here is the website: http://www.fields-of-flowers.com/

  • Emily Harmon says:

    Bree, this article is spot on! Exactly the advice I would give to anyone DIYing their own flowers! Flexibility is KEY!

  • liz says:

    I would add to not discount how much greenery can add to your DIY arrangements. There are some really interesting and sculptural leaves out there that can be just as striking as flowers in some instances, and it could be a place to cut back more on costs.

    I considered the wholesale route with my flowers, but actually ended up sourcing all but $20 of my stuff from my mom’s Virginia property. Keeping an open mind was definitely necessary! We planned to use all white flowers, but higher than normal temps left us only with pink so we were forced to roll with it. I was pleased in the end, and you featured my wedding, so it must have been a success!

  • Anna Marie Whitford says:

    I did my own flowers for my wedding and I seriously regret it. We were up til 2am putting the flowers together and I knew nothing about floral design. It showed in my pictures and although it wasn’t the worst looking, I wish I would have paid to have someone do it. I read all the how to’s and watched videos even. The centerpieces turned out pretty good though – it was the personal flowers where it obviously required some skill to create. Proceed with caution if you do care about your flowers. You have so much else going on that day that you will most likely end up in a rush job (like I did) and be unhappy when the pictures come back.

    My sister found her florist on craigslist – and her flowers turned out amazing and she saved a lot of money because the business was a start up and trying to build a portfolio. But make sure that if you go this route that the person you hire has more experience than you do lol or else you’ll be in the same boat as me and out more money.

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Anna Marie – thank you for the input!! Couples DEF need to hear the “realistic” side of DIY flowers for sure. Couples certainly need to be aware of the time involved in doing it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Maggie says:

    Or if you have a totally non-green thumb, there’s always Princess Lasertron! Her bouquets are insanely awesome!

  • NOOOOOIIIIICCCCCCEEEEEEE PICTURES!!!!!!

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  • Kelsey M. says:

    I used BloomsByTheBox.com and they were awesome! I don’t think I would have got enough flowers without the help of their representatives! It was a lot of work but saved me SO much money! I actually had fun putting the flowers together with my girls the day before!

  • […] Social | Cake: Sophie Camp with Northside Social | Favors/Centerpieces/Decorations: DIY | Flowers: Potomac Floral Wholesale & DIY | Hair: Keiko Goto from Ozuki Salon | Makeup: Akea from Sephora | Jewelry: Anthropologie | […]

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