Some of you may remember my announcement from a few weeks back that I got married at the end of 2016! (And, if you missed it, you can read it here along with a recipe for my favorite no-bake chocolate coconut pie.) Although I decided not to bombard you with wedding details during all the planning, I did want to share a few lessons and thoughts about the experience – plus a fun DIY tutorial on how to make a wedding bouquet!
The best thing I learned through this experience is to be authentic. I still don’t fully understand the cultural craziness we have about weddings, but we both knew we wanted a small, simple ceremony that reflected us. For that reason, we decided on a courthouse wedding (which, by default, meant a maximum of 8 guests).
Prior to the wedding, we met our photographer downtown to get some photos of us and family and then headed to our favorite neighborhood (grass-fed!) burger joint for dinner afterward. We also decided to ditch a lot of wedding traditions and events because they simply weren’t important to us (e.g. no bridesmaids, engagement or bachelor parties, wedding favors, etc). In looking back, my favorite part of the entire experience is that it felt like us and we didn’t spend excess time, energy, or money on things that didn’t matter to us.
This leads me to my next lesson (and words of advice), which is to be intentional with your time and energy. We picked our December 23rd date since our immediate families would already be in town for the holidays, but it also meant that the wedding was happening during one of the busiest times of the year. And, on top of the usual holiday craziness, Q4 is the most stressful time at my job and I had a huge contract project due at the end of 2016 so I knew I was going to be stretched thin.
Before going into December, I had to up my self-care game. This meant healthy eating, daily workouts, and getting 8+ hours of sleep were mandatory. Setting my self-care intention ahead of time definitely helped me to prioritize my health and well-being, especially on days when I really wanted to eat cookies that my co-worker baked or take a nap instead of going to yoga. 😉
This motto of being intentional with my time and energy also helped me to keep things in perspective, especially when last-minute or stressful things came up. A few days prior to the wedding I realized that my dress neckline was waaaay too low and hadn’t been altered. Although I could have taken it back to the place where it was altered and made a fuss, this was also an hour drive (each way) and I realized it would be much more stressful for me to try and take it back and hope that it gets altered correctly when I could just grab a needle and thread and fix it myself. This solved the problem in about ten minutes and the best part? It drastically decreased my stress and saved me hours of time.
The last lesson that this situation reinforced for me is that is doing stuff yourself is awesome and, especially in the case of weddings, will save you a ton of money. As if it’s not apparent from the situation above, I’m definitely a DIY-er, but when I saw what things cost simply because they’re associated with a wedding, I had to take matters into my own hands. Hence, this tutorial on how to make your own wedding bouquet!
How to make a wedding bouquet:
First, let’s grab some flowers and supplies. I picked up three different bunches of flowers from my local Trader Joe’s: baby’s breath, white roses, and a mixed bouquet with an ornamental cabbage that I loved.
- Floral tape ($5)
- White ribbon or ribbon of choice ($8)
- Pearlized pins ($3)
- Flowers of choice (mine cost $14)
The total cost of the bouquet ended up being about $30. If you compare this with the fact that most bridal bouquets are $200 and I couldn’t find any local florist to make one under $100, I feel pretty good about saving myself at least $70!
First, lay out your flowers and sort them by size.
We’ll start with the largest flowers as they’ll be in the center of the bouquet.
Arrange the large flowers first, then secure them in place with the floral tape. Be sure to not place the floral tape too high on the bouquet as we’ll eventually want to cover this with the ribbon.
Next, arrange your medium-sized flowers around them. Make sure the bouquet is tight and there are no gaps, then secure with tape.
Finally, add smaller flowers or accents around the arranged bouquet and to fill in any small gaps. Secure in place with the tape.
Next, we’ll cover the floral tape with ribbon. I cut about 3 feet of ribbon and then began to wrap it around the stems of the bouquet. When I finished, I pinned the ribbon in place pointing the pin upwards (this ensures you won’t get poked!).
To make sure the ribbon stayed in place, I added additional pins going up the ribbon in a straight line to secure it.
Finally, you’ll want to cut your stems so that they are even.
Then, voila! Your bridal bouquet! 🙂
And, if you’re going to make your own bouquet, it’s super easy to make a boutonniere while you’re at it! I used a small rose and two tiny pieces of baby’s breath to make this boutonniere.
Hold the flowers together with a bit of floral tape, cover with ribbon (if desired), and then pin onto your spouse’s lapel with one of the pearlized pins!
Hope you have fun making your own bouquet!