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DIY Event Flowers

Planning Checklist

  • Fresh flowers come with time constraints. They need to be picked and arranged not more than 48 hours—and preferably within 24 hours—of the event.
  • Decide if you want to be responsible for all of the flowers (wedding party bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres; ceremony flowers; and reception flowers) or whether you would rather take responsibility for some of it and hire a designer to do the rest.
  • Make a detailed list of how many and what kind of bouquets and arrangements you want to make, then calculate 1) how many and what kinds of vases you’ll need, and 2) how many pounds of flowers and foliage you’ll need to pick in order to have enough. Plan to pick some extras in case some get damaged.
  • Set aside at least 5 hours in the 24 to 48 hours before the event to pick the flowers, transport them to your work space, and arrange them.
  • Find a group of friends and family to help who are comfortable working with flowers.
  • Make sure you have access to a cool, dark place where you can store the flowers before the event.
  • Make sure you have access to a spacious vehicle for transporting the flowers with ways to hold buckets and vases upright during transport.
  • Make sure you have a good work space with plenty of room, good light, lots of counter or table space, and access to water.
  • Buy or gather vases and other supplies—shears, chicken wire or floral foam, floral tape, ribbon, decorative pins, etc. Vases need to be very clean, and it’s a good idea to test them to make sure they’re water tight.
  • Decide how much you want your arrangements to match, or if you are happy to let your helpers do their own thing.
  • Put someone you trust in charge of checking water in buckets and vases. Flowers drink a lot, especially in the first 24 hours after they’re cut.
  • Put someone you trust in charge of setup at the venue (putting flowers on the tables, etc.) on the day of the wedding.

A Very Rough Guide
to the Flower Quantities You Might Need

  • Hand-held bouquet: 10 to 35 stems
  • Boutonnieres: about 4 stems
  • Corsages: about 7 stems
  • Centerpieces: 10 stems (small mason jar) to 50
    stems (vase)
  • Bud vases: 3 to 6 stems

Depending on what you pick, a pound of flowers should total somewhere between 50 and 75 stems.

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