Tips for DIY wedding flowers
• Don't be scared. Flowers are not scary.
• Pin up pictures of arrangements you like and let them inspire your decorating.
• Mix textures, mix flowers, mix color. Be brave. Use crazy flowers, herbs, leaves, twigs, feathers, etc. Too much of just the colors you love will be bland, use something different to make it pop.
• Work in pairs.
• Remember scale. Just because you can afford to have flowers the size of your head doesn't mean you want to have flowers the size of your head. Remember that flowers are heavy.
• Make peace with the fact that your flowers will not be perfect, and, if they're real flowers, you'll need to make them the day before the wedding.
• Throw a flower-decorating party the day before your wedding.
Dana Smith was not only a creative bride, she was a frugal one.
The 34-year-old schoolteacher from Soddy-Daisy decided to make her own floral arrangements for her recent wedding rather than purchasing them from professionals. In doing so, she saved hundreds of dollars.
Although she didn't get a cost quote from a professional florist, Smith says she knows she saved money on her wedding to Charlie Smith.
"After pricing some of the table arrangements online, I'm pretty sure that I came out on top going the homemade route," she says.
With the average cost of weddings on the increase -- $29,000 in 2012, according to cnn.com -- many of today's frugal brides are looking for ways to cut costs. And with brides discovering that do-it-yourself floral arrangements and bouquets are a good place to start, online DIY wedding websites have popped up, including a practicalwedding.com and mrsfancee.com.
The Knot, a wedding website, reported the average cost of flowers for a wedding in 2012 was nearly $2,000.
Smith got ideas on how to make the floral arrangements and decorations online via Pinterest, bridal blogs and YouTube. Along with help from a couple of family members and her maid of honor, she made all the floral arrangements, ranging from the bridal bouquet to corsages, boutonnieres, table centerpieces and the backdrop for the ceremony. She spent about $250.
And there's a bonus to DIY floral arrangements if you use some handmade flowers like she did. The majority of her floral arrangements were made from such materials as burlap, ribbon and brooches, including special jewelry from her grandmothers and one belonging to her late sister.
"I used a lot of burlap," she says. "Since we were getting married in a log cabin, I felt it fit with the rustic charm theme. I had a blush sash that I was wearing with my dress, so I went with pastels and light colors. I had the bridesmaids wear different colors of dresses and I matched some of the colors in the decorations to fit with that."
And the handmade ones don't deteriorate, she notes. "I liked the idea of having it as a keepsake -- something that I can have forever."
Princella Lloyd chose to craft her floral bouquets for the same reasons as Smith, wanting to save money and keep the arrangements as keepsakes.
Lloyd, 35, who married Larry Torrence in 2011, used blue and white silk roses, some of which were handpainted, and accented with ribbons, beads, and baby's breath.
"I still have my bouquet and so does my bridal party," Lloyd says. "Flowers wither and die. I wanted to do something that will last without all the worrying."
Lloyd, a licensed practical nurse and cosmetologist, purchased the silk flowers online. She learned how to make floral arrangements from her mother who, along with her sister, helped make the wedding flowers at least one month before the wedding.
Like Smith, Lloyd says she spent around $250 for the flowers and accessories, about $600 cheaper than the estimate of $800 she was given by a professional florist.
"I had over 1,000 roses, and plenty was left over that I have used for other decorations for other occasions," she says.
Smith says the project was more challenging that she had anticipated, but worth the effort. "It all looked so nice on the day of the wedding."
Still, she advises brides-to-be that, if they're going to make their own arrangements, especially if making floral pieces from silk, burlap or other materials, to start early.
"It took a long time to collect the brooches," she says, noting that many of the were ordered from eBay and Amazon. "If you begin with plenty of time, you can search out good deals and save a lot of money instead of having to go to a regular store and drop a large chunk of change. I got much of my materials on sale by just waiting and timing things correctly. Craft stores will usually run 50 percent off deals on wedding, floral, and ribbon supplies (the three major components for DIY flowers) at least once a month."
Lloyd advises brides-to-be to shop around for the best prices.
"Look around and price check. Just don't jump and grab the first thing you see. Bargain shop," she says. "It is OK to ask opinions from family and friends but, at the end, this is your wedding. Your decision is the only one that matters.
"Husbands, too," she adds.
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress or 423-757-6396.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...