While you may not be capable of sewing your own wedding dress, there are a bunch of smaller projects that you can enjoy doing yourself, like arranging your own centerpieces. We chatted with Meghann Ingram, a wedding guru at The Bouqs Company—the only flower company that delivers stems straight from the farm to your door—to get some tips for tackling DIY wedding centerpieces.
1. Pick the Robust Stuff
Not all flowers have the gusto to work well as centerpieces for hours on end. Hydrangeas and roses are sturdy and both have a full shape, so they're your best bets, Ingram says. Varieties with relatively weaker stems just won't cut it (think tulips and ranunculus) because they can break more easily. It's also smart to stay away from tall line flowers because striking a balanced look in the vase can be tricky. So avoid delphiniums and gladiolas.
2. Save Cash by Being Casual
Formal or modern centerpieces tend to be fuller arrangements with tight, compact buds. This means you have to use a lot of stems to get the effect of abundance, so a great way to make more cost-effective centerpieces is going with a looser, more informal composition, Ingram recommends. Use just two or three different varieties and be open to using whatever flowers are in season. You'll save money and hopefully sidestep the stress of being so focused on just one flower. And since they're so delicate and perishable anyway, you need to be prepared for last-minute substitutions.
3. Condition the Flowers
When buying flowers in bulk, Ingram suggests conditioning the flowers. Give a 1-2 inch fresh cut to every stem. Be sure to remove thorns or leaves before they touch the water because they will poison the water if left in; then, take away any guard petals on roses.
4. Get Your Tools in Order
Before jumping in to work, buy all the necessary floral tools in advance. Ingram says you'll need foliage/thorn strippers, shears, flower food, buckets, floral tape, decorative ribbon and a safe, cool space to store everything.
5. Build in Time
It will probably take only a few minutes to assemble a single centerpiece, but multiply that by however many tables you have and then add all the legwork behind researching, ordering, and then prepping the flowers—it can add up. Build that time into your wedding week schedule, and then allow for extra time in case there are any unforeseen delays or problems.
6. Start with a Squat Vase
You'll want to buy some 5 x 5 or 5 x 4 bubble or square vases. Then, create a small grid using clear tape to anchor the flowers and keep everything in place.
7. Begin Filling With the Big Stuff
Put the largest flowers in first, and then work your way down to the smallest. It's a good idea to add the smaller buds in groups of three because it's pleasing to the eye. As you're adding flowers, turn the vase around to see it from all different angles. It'll help the final look be more balanced (check out this instructional video for a foolproof way to arrange).
8. Assemble a Team of Helpers
Ingram recommends asking friends or family to help with the centerpieces in advance. That means finding reliable volunteers to assist in prepping the flowers, assembling the arrangements, and safely transporting them to the venue. And don't forget to have fun with it; consider throwing a fun flower arranging party with snacks and champagne.