The Great Debate: DIY, Florist, or … Artificial?

posted 3 years ago in Flowers
Post # 3
1175 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@whitemochi622:  Have you contacted any florists in the area?  I was having the same issues.  I was going to hire someone, then I was going to DIY, now I have hired a florist.

If you are going home at Christmas, I would go ahead a meet with some florists.  I totally get the sticker shock.  After much shopping around, I did find someone to do my florals, and the price was much lower than all the other quotes I was given.  The only word of caution is June is wedding season, so you will have to book early.  So keep that in mind when you are shopping around.  You may not be able to wait till December to book a florist.

I went with someone who does florist work out of thier home.  No florist shop to contend with, which brought the price down.  Even though you want specifically olive branches, I think that in June you should be able to get them.  You would have to have them shipped (which will cost a little more), but I don’t think that all hope is lost.

Good Luck!

Post # 5
626 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@whitemochi622:  I really had this wonderful fantasy of DIY the flowers but I know NOTHING when it comes to flowers and how to put it all together without looking like a hot mess, not to mention keeping them alive and not wilted before the wedding even starts.  I just cant deal with the headache and stress of it all.  So I am using a florist, it is pricey but for me its completely worth it.  I am using artificial rose petals to line both sides of the aisle but other than that everything will be fresh flowers. 

Post # 6
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I totally planned on DIY but when I looked at logistics of ordering bulk, it didnt seem to work (delivery on a Thursday…for a Saturday wedding. Store them…WHERE?)

At a friend and former florist’s advice, she suggested I just speak with a florist. I did. I got my bridesmaids (5) bouquets, my bouquet, the dude’s (7) boutennieres, and small bouquets for the moms for $402. We used in season flowers only, no roses. Our “splurge” was some Stephanotis, because my husband and the guys had Star Wars boutennieres and they look like little stars. Just talk to florists – so much less stress, and you don’t HAVE to do if it is too much.

Also be aware that DIY will take a LOT of time the night before/morning of your wedding. Is that how you want to spend that time? It can be fun, but a lot of work, especially if you have centerpieces (we used fake for centerpieces so made them weeks ahead.)

Post # 7
1721 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@whitemochi622:  I think you should definitely call around and talk to some florists.  I was in a similar situation but found a florist that has great prices.  MUCH MUCH cheaper than others I had spoken too that had made me feel like I should just give up on having flowers. haha.  It takes some work talking to people and getting quotes, but its definitely worth it.  I had looked at doing fake flowers for a while, but it doesn’t necessarily turn out to be that much cheaper so I went with real flowers. 

Post # 8
2630 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@whitemochi622:  I think that DIY would work nicely for the look you’re trying to accomplish. There isn’t any magical, professional technique for putting olive branches in boxes after all, and the bouquets you’ve posted seem like pretty simple arrangements and can be hand-tied with a pretty ribbon. DIY would be a nice compromise between the cost of a florist and having to go with artificial. (Not that there’s anything wrong with artificial mind you, but it might be a point of contention with your mom.)

There are some great flower sale sites out there, and you could also try grocery stores, Costco, etc. Several bees have had great luck going that route! Keeping them alive and looking good when delivered isn’t hard at all. You just need some buckets and a nice, cool area where they can hang out like a coat closet, guest bathroom, or some out of the way corner. The places from which you can order will give you plenty of information about that. As for olive branches, if you can’t find a place that sells them and/or they’re too expensive, maybe you can get an olive tree sapling? Just a wild thought 🙂 

In the meantime, you could buy some artificial flowers to practice arranging them if you’re worried about technique for the day of. Good luck!


Post # 9
42166 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think you can get the look you are after without necessarily using olive branches. Do you have friends or family back home in New England who have yards and gardens?

I think you could use many different kinds of greens. One of your pics shows rosemary used with the other greens (the nosegay of peonies on the open book).

When you are home at Christmas will you have time to contact some farmers who supply flowers to farmer’s markets? You could do some research online nefore you travel, even email some of them. If you can meet with them, they can let you know what will be available in June and at what cost.

As a pp has suggested, if you buy some faux flowers and greens to practice with, you can get the centerpieces down to a science. The bouquets can be hand tied and boutonnieres are easy.

faux olive branches





Post # 10
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@whitemochi622:  the one photo actually looks like bay leaves? Italian ruscus might give you the look you’re going for as well and be easier to find in NE or order online. Herbs and other branches are hardier than flowers so you could put that part together 4-5 days ahead of time. Or you could use small potted herbs and place them in the wooden troughs. Pick up some cheap flowers at the grocery store and play around with them to see if you’d be comfortable doing the bouquets. 

Post # 11
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I DIYed my flowers… Actually very simliar to what you’re thinking of! 🙂 I got all my flowers from Costco and We actually had wayy too many that I didnt know what to do with… But I only spent 500 and we made everything!


Post # 12
3442 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I would do artificial white anemones with black centers for your centerpieces, and maybe some artificial succulents (they have some great ones at Hobby Lobby).

I did all hand crafted fabric flowers for our bouquets and bouts, and did deep purple freeze dried lilac for our centerpiece. I am SO happy I didn’t go real flowers. The idea made me too nervous since I had no help with set up.

Post # 13
1102 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@whitemochi622:  My moms best friends family used to own green houses (big huge ones that supplied flowers all over the lower main land in b.c. (near vancouver) 


I was all pumped thinking of doing them my self my grandmother and I used to make center peices for xmas and thanks giving easter and such …. well she popped the bubble on that idea 


she told me the temp you keep flowers at can have the whilt, I pointed out lots of people seem to be ok with it she says they lucked out do i want to risk it 


then she went on to add its alot of work the morning of when you should be enjoying your morning and speical moments with people you love not rusing arond trying to do a million things and to leave it to pros 


shame they no longer own the green houses but i found a great little shot that told me it be about 900 for 10 tables and the brial party flowers so thats epic my best firnd paid 260 for her flowers 170 for mine and the other girls so lol needless to say she spent 1000’s on flowers for the room lol so shop around avoid the big city and go to smaller towns near by i live 40 min out of vancouver the flower shop i went to is local and its i gonna go 2-3k cheaper 

Post # 14
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

All of the above! 

I DIY’d the bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. All the important people in our lives got a permanent, personal, handmade souvenir of the day.

At that point, I’d spent 60 hours making stuff and I was covered with glue gun burns, so I hired a florist to do centerpieces. Making the personal floral stuff saved us money, so it all worked out. I wanted more greenery and some “weird” stuff like lotus pods and cat tails (it was a lakeside wedding). The florist pulled it off magnificently, and it looked classy.

You could certainly ask a florist about olive branches–it doesn’t hurt to ask. And sprigs of herbs could give you the same look. They’d smell amazing, too. I think one of your inspiration pics includes a sprig of rosemary. Mmm, rosemary and thyme would be cool.

Post # 16
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

@whitemochi622:  I would let your florist know that you’re thinking of doing some additional decorations yourself with your own materials. Some florists have clauses in their contracts stipulating that they be the only floral designer for an event (so their brand isn’t changed or misconstrued) but not all of them do. Personally, I would want my clients to let me know that they intended to do some additional decor themselves just so I wasn’t surprised when I arrived to set up for the event.

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