Monday, October 6, 2014

A Simple, DIY, Hudson Valley Wedding - Picking The Flowers

Whew! It’s been awhile. I got caught up with actually planning and having my wedding! Now I’m back to tell you how it went and what I learned, starting with the flowers. :)

There are an incredible number of options when choosing wedding flowers (or you can choose not to have any). Do you want some for every table? Every person? Or just the bouquet for you? Which florist? What types of flowers? Colors? Are you going to preserve them? The questions go on and on!

If you have decided you want to have someone else design your flowers, you might want to skip the florists and go straight to a flower farm. There are several in the area with many options and some of them will design the flowers for you or know someone who will. This way, you also know your flowers grew locally, seasonally, and even organically depending on the farm. Shoving Leopard Farm even has an option where they grow a bed of flowers just for your wedding if you let them know by December.

For me, I went straight to the DIY approach to save money, and because I wanted a simple, casual feeling that is sometimes hard to find with florists, and in-season flowers were also important to me. I also turned out to be pretty good at it, if I do say so myself!

on the way to the venue! flowers are very distracting while driving, by the way. (photo by Thomm Quackenbush)
If you choose this approach, you still need to figure out where to get the flowers. You can look at flower farms like I mentioned before or look into bulk flower sellers online - this can be a bit pricey but you do end up having the largest number of flower options so you can be pickier about colors or if there’s a specific variety you just have to have.

photo by Daniel Evans

You can also try and grow your own flowers. I tried this and got mixed results, due to the weather and some fencing complications that pushed back when I planted my seedlings. I ended up not having nearly enough flowers by the wedding (I've got a ton now, though!) so I had to get some flowers from elsewhere. However, I did get a ton of pansies that I made ice cubes with that gave the water a slight cucumber taste while looking great, too! So that was a success, and having a few flowers I grew myself making a showing in my bouquet and the other arrangements meant a lot to me, so I’m super glad I tried - plus one of my dahlias finally blooming greeted me when I got back from our honeymoon.

photo by Daniel Evans
Another way you could go is to stop by a pick-your-own farm to pick some flowers. You could even make a day of it with your bridal party! This is the way I went when it turned out I didn't have enough flowers. Most places only charge around $10 for a bucket full of flowers and I only ended up spending around $40 in total. If you go this route, pick them as close to your event as possible and do your picking in the early morning or evening on a cloudy day for the best results. If you have access to a cooler, you might want to pop the flowers in there once you get them home. If not, a dark cool place would be fine. I only ended up putting my bouquet in the fridge once I made it to keep it fresh.

bottles actually used to be for clam juice!
Finally, you can just buy flowers from the grocery store. Some places like Sam’s Club will even have discounts on old flowers that might have a few bad stems, but are generally good. This way is probably the riskiest if you want specific flowers or colors, as they might only have a small selection - but if you’re just looking for roses and carnations or have a seasonal color palate (think oranges and reds around fall and pinks and yellows for spring) this might work out great for you

Now that you've got your flowers, how will you arrange them? There are a ton of great resources online for flower arranging, but, if you’re doing them all yourself, time will be a huge factor, so the simpler the better. For me, I started with my bouquet by simply working in a circle until I had about what I wanted and then taped it up with green floral tape and trimmed the stems. After that, you might want to use ribbons around the base, but I think it looks great even without that.

Next, I designed the table flowers. I used pasta sauce jars and other bottles that I had been saving up, and a few actual vases as well. These, I filled with flowers, generally keeping to a color scheme or feeling for each one. Finally, I used the flowers that were too short for anything else to make the boutonnieres. Those I did like the bouquet, just smaller. And you know what you can do with the extra flowers that just weren't quite good enough or got bent? Save them for the flower girl to throw!

photo by Daniel Evans
As for preserving your flowers, I don’t know much - I just took pictures then added them to my compost pile. Still you can look into drying the normal way ( hanging them upside down) or look into something more interesting, like freeze-drying. You might just want to keep a few flowers pressed in a book, too, especially if you do scrap-booking - all you have to do for that is place the flower in a book and then weigh it down until completely flat, and then wait.

Thanks for reading!


Photo by Jun Ogata dress by Holly Mccabe


  1. Excellent selection of flowers and you look gorgeous!

  2. Gorgeous flowers! Congratulations! It looks like it was a beautiful wedding.

  3. Wow - amazing flowers!! Gorgeous dress too. Love it.