Flowers

DIY Centerpieces vs. Florist

Needing some advice on which way to go with my flowers.

I talked to a florist on Friday and for my bouquet, 4 bridesmaid bouquets, 6 boutonnieres, and around 40 centerpieces (20 big arrangements for tall centerpieces and 20 smaller arrangements) she would charge about $3000. Which I personally do not see as being a terrible price.

But here's my dilemma. My FMIL worked at a local floral shop (over 10 years ago) and has mentioned a few times that she would like to help with the flowers. While I would love to have her help, I have 3 big concerns about this.
First, I'm afraid the price of acquiring enough silk flowers is going to be about the same/more than the price the florist gave us.
Second, I'm worried she's not going to be able to make the centerpieces like I want since it's been so long since she's really done anything like that.
Third, and probably my biggest concern, is that she is a PROCRASTINATOR. She did the bouquets and boutonnieres for my future brother-in-law's wedding, which was earlier this year. They asked her a year ahead of time if she would do those for the wedding (these were silk flowers, btw) and she didn't finish them until THREE days before the wedding and had to have the bride come help her finish them. And that was only bouquets and boutonnieres and she waited that long to finish them. I'm wanting her to do entire centerpieces for the reception (I'm still going to have a florist make the bouquets because I want those to be real flowers). 

What would everyone else do in this situation? 

Re: DIY Centerpieces vs. Florist

  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2014
    So what I'm doing is all DIY and buying bulk flowers and a few buckets to store them in until I get them into vases/bouquets. It has worked for two of my sister's weddings and it will work for mine. People go on and on about how arranging flowers is really hard or whatever, but it's a flower and it's pretty hard to make a flower look ugly. Someone will probably yell at me for saying it's not hard, I always get yelled at.

    My advice is to google flowers in your area that you can buy in bulk, stay in season and read up a little on flower arranging if you don't have a lot of creativity. You have to do all this the day of, so if your FMIL can help you can speed through it. I don't know anything about silk flowers, sorry! I just know what has worked for me in the past. I always did all the arranging, and I have exactly 0 experience professionally. 

    Like I said, silk or real, flowers are really hard to mess up, so my advice is to DIY and invite FMIL over when you do it on your time.

    Seriously, I can't stress enough that if you are willing to work on real flowers the night before or day of, bulk flowers are so inexpensive. You don't have a huge selection, but it's so much cheaper than a florist. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    waterjazzy
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As someone who worked as a florist for 8 years I can tell you that $3K for 4 bouquets, 6 bouts and 40 centerpieces is a freaking steal!!!  I would take that quote and sign on the dotted line right now.

    Getting nice quality silks will cost you the same but most likely more then what you are going to pay at a florist for real flowers.

    As for her length of time away, floral designing is kind of like riding a bike.  Now I am not sure of her style and if her style of design does not line up with the style of centerpieces/bouquets you want then that is where the issue lies.  Some designers are more modern while others are more traditional so you need to see how the two fit together.

    Her being a procrastinator would be worrisome but really what I am wondering is if she has enough space in her home to construct and store 40 centerpieces, 20 of them being tall centerpieces?  That is a lot of arrangements and a lot of flowers so hopefully she has a large basement or random room to do this in.

    Personally, if I were you I may appease FMIL and have her put together the personal flowers but leave the larger centerpiece portion to the florist.  This way FMIL is involved but you won't have to stress about her getting all of it done on time.

    I am going to disagree with PP and I am sure your FMIL would disagree with her as well on the "arranging flowers is not hard" statement.  Yeah, there are some arrangements that a blindfolded monkey could put together, but then there are others that are more intricate and detailed and elaborate that having background knowledge of the specific flowers, how they can be used and the construction of certain arrangements come into play.  Anyone can throw some flowers in a vase or tie some together to make a bouquet, but the reason you pay a professional is for their knowledge of what will work with what and that they know how to handle and store and take care of your flowers the correct way.  I think it is kind of shitty to basically tell an entire profession that what they do anyone can do, talk about a slap in the face.



    ohannabelle
  • your comment was super helpful to me as I was thinking of DIY flower centerpieces, but do you know how long they last alive after placed in green styrofoam thingys?  we have a small wedding of 50 people and the flowers will be inside vintage birdcages, just wondering when can i put them together to drop them off the morning of and wedding is not until 4pm =)
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    your comment was super helpful to me as I was thinking of DIY flower centerpieces, but do you know how long they last alive after placed in green styrofoam thingys?  we have a small wedding of 50 people and the flowers will be inside vintage birdcages, just wondering when can i put them together to drop them off the morning of and wedding is not until 4pm =)
    @waterjazzy - it really depends on the type of flower and how you are storing them.  At the shop I used to work for we would usually put together the centerpieces on the Thursday before, store them in the cooler and then keep the foam watered well until it was time to deliver them on Saturday.  We would also spray the flowers with some water to keep the petals hydrated as well.

    Just a tip about using the floral foam.  When you insert the stems into the foam you need to be pretty sure of your placement.  The foam only works when the cut end of the stem is pushed up against it because the foam is what provides water to the stem.  You don't want to insert the flower and then pull it out a bit if you accidentally pushed it in too far.  If you have pushed it in too far then you will need to remove it completely and insert it into another portion of the foam.

    waterjazzy
  • I would 1000% go with a florist over silk flowers. Also, that's a lot of work for someone who is also IN the wedding, and you're right, she's been out of the business a long time. I would tell her you appreciate her offer, but don't want to stress her out and want her to just be able to enjoy the day :)
  • ohannabelleohannabelle member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    edited October 2014
    And no, it really isn't that hard to make flowers look shitty. It's like anything else- frosting a cake, sewing a dress, writing a poem. Lots of people could. Many shouldn't. Our corsages and boutonnières were made by a friend who had (years ago) worked in a floral shop. I love her and was grateful for the help, but even as an amateur I can see that they were awkward and clumsy and just not great design.
    (I feel mean saying it, but anonymous truth here.)

    There are DIY wedding flower fails all over the web.
     

    These are a couple of WTFs..........


    imageimage
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    And no, it really isn't that hard to make flowers look shitty. It's like anything else- frosting a cake, sewing a dress, writing a poem. Lots of people could. Many shouldn't. Our corsages and boutonnières were made by a friend who had (years ago) worked in a floral shop. I love her and was grateful for the help, but even as an amateur I can see that they were awkward and clumsy and just not great design.
    (I feel mean saying it, but anonymous truth here.)

    There are DIY wedding flower fails all over the web.
     

    These are a couple of WTFs..........


    imageimage
    That first picture, the "designer" (I use that term loosely) didn't even cover the floral foam and the ivy looks half dead.  And the second picture is someone who does not know how to use hanging amaranthus correctly.  First, you don't use it in a low container.  Second, it is called HANGING amaranthus, thus you should not have it poking out of the top.  Ugh, those pictures make my head hurt.

  • The hanging amaranthus looks like a frikking octopus eating the hydrangeas.
    And yep, horrifying proof that two pretty things can be put together in really effing bad ways.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    The hanging amaranthus looks like a frikking octopus eating the hydrangeas.
    And yep, horrifying proof that two pretty things can be put together in really effing bad ways.

    LOL!!  Watch out for the Kraken!

    ohannabelle
  • I originally was going to go DIY but then that requires a lot of work 2 days before the wedding and our venue only allows set up one hour before the reception, so I'd have to hire someone anyways to set up.  Moreover, I feel like the time and effort and worry I would put into DIY is worth the $2,000 - 2,500 that I'm going to ante up for flowers...

    And that pinterest board with DIY disasters scared the bejeezus out of me. 
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