DIY Wedding Flowers

Seriously. I did all of my own wedding flowers: centerpieces, garland, flower crowns, bouquets and boutonnieres. The whole fucking shabang. After lots of research and pouring over inspiration, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford the types (and abundance) of flowers I dreamed of. So I did what any self respecting bridezilla would do, I started researching doing my own wedding flowers. There are lots and lots of amazing resources out there – it all told me “You Can Do This” – but not without some pain. So here we go, I am spilling the beans on how I pulled off my DIY Wedding Flowers.

make your own centerpieces

Photography by: Wild Eyed Photography

 No need to reinvent the wheel here. I am not the first or last person who is crazy enough to tackle my own flowers for a wedding. I was incredibly motivated by all the stunning photos on Instagram but knew my budget wouldn’t allow me to hire the likes of my city’s top florists. I would like to give a shoutout to other amazing florists who didn’t get featured on this list such as Floralora Flowers (technically PEC) and Blush and Bloom. Here is a list of the most helpful articles and tutorials I found:

diy flowers collage

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

And finally, I took a dahlia flower workshop hosted by Sas from Floralora Flowers. It gave me the basics and let me see how to select the right flowers. I am still in my infancy stage of doing flowers, but man do I ever love it.

Floralora Flower Workshop

 So how did I start? I decided on what I wanted. I knew I wanted the following: dinner plate dahlias (preferably cafe au laits), small amounts of an earthy Merlot type colour and lots of greenery. So, pretty simple. I wanted to stay away from traditional wedding flowers and have more earthy, wild looking flowers. That along with the desire to attempt to use more locally sourced flowers drew me towards Sas and her beautiful work. I loved all the dimensions, shapes and textures that her flowers had. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford her full service flowers, so I decided the next best thing would be to take a workshop with her and order as many flowers as I could afford from her. My dahlias came from Joanne at La Primavera Farms and I bought most of the filler and all of the eucalyptus from a local flower shop. I gathered up as many flower buckets as I could and borrowed some from Sas and Joanne. By 3pm the night before the wedding, I had assembled all my flowers in my garage.

DIY eucalyptus garland

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

So here are my steps to how to I managed to tackle this humongous task without hiring professionals:

Determine what flowers you want and what the typical price range for them is (consider: do they grow where you live? Are they rare? Are they hard to keep alive? Are they in season?)

Determine what aspect of flowers for the wedding you want to tackle (all of it, arrangements, bouquets… you get the idea)

Once you decide the above two, sort out what materials you need to make that happen (flower arranging tools, ribbon, vases, floral tubes/picks, pins for boutonnieres).doing your own flowers for a wedding

Photography: my step mom

  • This is what I needed for my own project: flower wire and tape, corsage/boutonniere pins, 10 vases for tables, extra vases for placing around the venue, flower sheers, scissors, wrist corsage elastic bands, floral tubes/picks, ribbon, twine, chicken wire or oasis, clear tape and buckets to store the flowers. And finally, a spray bottle that allows you to mist flowers.

Budget – I had a rough idea of how I could spend on my flowers. I wanted to spend no more than $800 (I ended up spending ~$750 on flowers). And that was to include everything living. So that budget did not include my second hand vases or supplies mentioned above that a friend hooked me up with (thanks JL!). I have already resold the vases I bought and recouped that cost.

Make a list of what can be done in advance (night before) and what has to happen day of.

Ask friends and family for help but be prepared and set up to accommodate several people working in the same area.

  • We did all the arrangements and garland the night before – from 4pm – 6pm essentially. I set up all the buckets of flowers in one area – and had the vases ready to be arranged. I created one prototype to show what I wanted set a few people to it.
  • I removed what I felt were the nicest flowers to make bouquets, flower crowns and boutonnieres so no one would take and greenery on the cake table

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

  • In hindsight, I wish I had bought an extra $50 worth of flowers. Florists have the luxury to just walk into a cooler and grab what they need to fill out arrangements. I didn’t have that and was under a huge time crunch so I just had to forget about it. Looking back at some of the pictures, some of the random vases didn’t look as nice as I had planned.
  • Don’t invite TOO many people to help. Too many cooks in the kitchen can happen. Pick good worker bees. I read that somewhere about a bride who invited a gaggle of friends and put out food… then everyone just wanted to snack and talk! Sorry friends and fam – I purposefully did not offer anyone anything but water.DIY bridal party flowers

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

Decide what are essentials to you and what matters less or are just frills.

  • Centerpiece arrangements and garland for the fireplace were an absolute must – after that came head table garland and additional random vases. I also put aside extra blooms in case some died overnight (backup plans are always a good idea).
  • I utilized many hands for the above projects as I knew it would take me hours to do the same thing. It was chaotic, but we did it in two hours.
  • Boutonnieres had to be done the day of (no one talks about this!) – they die super quickly because duh, there is a pin stuck through the stem. You must do these the morning of.
  • Eucalyptus and most greenery is hardy. For god sakes, it seems to stay alive even when it is left out of the water for a few days!

head table eucalyptus garland

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

We had enough eucalyptus to make two very long garlands, over 8 feet each. Truthfully, I wish I had made them a bit thicker.

cafe au lait centerpieces

I loved making the centerpieces. Some were wild and out of control.

DIY dahlia centerpieces

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

Each centerpiece had two large dinner plate dahlias in it. I figured based on what materials were in each arrangement, each one cost approximately $20-$25, which is pretty amazing. One trick is that I bought slightly smaller vases.

make your own boutonniere

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

After the arrangements and garland were set up at the venue – James and I went home and my best pal and her husband crashed with us. Like all good pals should, they brought awesome craft beer. We drank beer and made bouquets. Truly. Well actually that’s a lie. First I made Nan’s neck garland.

dog garlandPhotography: my step mom

So after Nan’s wedding garland was made, Leigh helped me make bouquets and flower crowns. I looked after my own crown, while Leigh made the flower girl crowns.

diy side flower crown for wedding

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

I slapped this crown on after I changed out of my more formal dress and into my fun party dress.

The morning of my wedding, I woke up at 7am and started making boutonnieres. Lucky for me, Leigh is a total champ and helped me again. So there we were, 7am – drinking coffee and making boutonnieres for the first time. It was oddly cathartic and calming for me. I could not have done it that morning without Leigh’s steady hand and encouraging voice. She (behind the scenes) asked for coffees and water to be brought out to us and made sure I was taken care of while I worked. James’ boutonniere got the nicest white rose along with a bit of greenery. Cost (for something that is going to die so quickly)? Likely $3.50 max. But they were a labor of love. The stems broke. We had to start over. But it worked out.

diy boutonnieres

Photography: Leigh

So, I did it. And you can too! You just need to play around. Ask for help. Attempt to buy directly from flower farmers. And when you can’t, ask a competitively priced flower shop that does do much arranging if they will give you a deal. I went to a shop – told them what I wanted – they grabbed it from the Flower Auction (that I do not have a license to go to) and they let me grab it basically off the truck when they got back. She gave me bulk prices. Another tip – buy your flowers as close to your wedding day as possible. And do as much beforehand as you can – prep the area, lay out your materials, pre-tape the vases. Those minutes add up when you are stressed out.

Doing my own flowers was one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning for me. Look at me here. Love.

doing your own wedding flowers

Photography: my step mom

It was also one of the more calming activities I did before the wedding. It was pretty hectic trying to pull off a wedding without a planner. It was magical to work with flowers and create beautiful things. Flowers are pretty no matter what. Sure the end product wasn’t as beautiful and creative as a professionally made bouquet. But my bouquet was made by me. For $35 max. Not $250-300 which is the base price here in Toronto. And I feel like my flowers matched me. Not totally put together (ha!).

Ontario Dahlia bouquet

Photography: Wild Eyed Photography

All professional images shot by Alex Neary of Wild Eyed Photography. Candid and ‘before’ pictures by myself, friends and family.

A huge thank you to everyone who busted their butts to help me pull off my flowers! Couldn’t have done it without ya!

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  • Erin

    Hi, I would really like to do my own wedding flowers as well, what time of year was your wedding? My wedding is in the beginning of june and I’m afraid that it will be difficult to find the flowers that I want. Any advice?

    • Hi Erin!
      Thanks so much for writing. Congrats on your engagement. My wedding was in September but I totally think you could pull it off! There are lots of flowers available in June. There are lots of guides online about what flowers are available during different times of the year. I also suggest going to different florists and flower growers and/or wholesale flower dealers and asking them what is available at that time of year and what the approximate prices are for the items you are interested in. That’s what I did. For example, eucalyptus is always out of season in Canada – so I knew that would be expensive and sadly, not local. Make a list of what you want ideally and go start talking. I was deadset on dahlias which are fall flowers so I was fine in that department…But had to let go of a few other blooms I loved but were out of season. Remember, you can still get flowers that are out of season they will just be $$$…. Let me know if you need anymore help, I love this stuff!!!

      • Erin

        Thanks for the great advice! I’ll check out some local florist but is it possible to buy from growers and/or wholesale flower dealers without a license? Are there any that you know of in the GTA? I also really love dahlias but I think they will be very difficult to get in early June 🙁

        • You can ask a florist to cut you a deal – I basically got a florist to buy me flowers at the flower market and give me a great deal (getting around the license issue). Also – growers will sell to you for a great price but local ones can be a little more expensive (as they are small etc.).
          Dahlias might be hard for June but you never know – foreign growers can do magical things.
          There are several around the GTA – floralora in PEC, there is a flower grower down in Dundas/Hamilton but her farm name escapes me (google it) and there is another farmer up by Caledon. I think I saw them on Instagram. I found the first two by seeing them sell at farmers markets in Toronto.
          Hope that helps!


    • The places I went are listed in the blog post Erin! I just double checked!

  • It is great to hear that all the wedding flower is done by you. Congrats on that and also I appreciate the effort you gave in wedding flower. Pic shows your real effort and that effort is best. I wish I also had a chance to DIY my wedding flowers.