When Natasha Cronen got married last September, she knew exactly what her bridal bouquet would look like, down to the petal.
That’s because she’d made it herself, two days earlier, along with all the other flowers for her wedding.
Cronen, of Woodbury, Minn., and her bridesmaids gathered at Market Flowers near the Minneapolis Farmers Market to craft coral and white roses into bouquets, centerpieces, corsages for the bride’s and groom’s mothers and grandmothers as well as boutonnieres for the fathers and grandfather.
“I had never done anything like that before,” said Cronen, who had worried that doing all the flowers might be stressful or that her friends would get bored. “Actually, it was a lot of fun.”
She loved the way her flowers turned out. “I got a ton of compliments on them.” And she also saved a lot of money, spending about $500 total on wedding flowers vs. the $2,000 she would have paid to have a florist create similar pieces, she estimated.
The explosion of online tools and scrapbook boards, along with the trend toward casual outdoor weddings with simple floral arrangements, have fueled a wave of DIYers trying their hand at wedding flowers. With how-to instructions just a Google search away and inspirational photos abloom on Pinterest, amateurs now have the resources they need to nurture their inner florist.
“It’s really grown,” said Diane Barriball, owner of Market Flowers, which started offering use of its facilities to DIYers several years ago. They can pre-order the flowers they want or choose from what’s available, make their creations at one of six design stations, then store them in the cooler for a day or two before the big event.
The first year it offered the service, Market Flowers hosted one or two DIY groups, Barriball said. Last year, they were booked every weekend from May through October – not just for weddings but also graduations, class parties, dance recitals and other occasions. And not just for women. “We’ve had guys – a few grooms, brothers and dads,” she noted.
“It’s the whole Pinterest, Etsy thing,” Barriball said. “And the whole vintage, outdoorsy wedding thing lends itself to what we do.”
Even some professional florists are starting to cater to the DIY crowd.
Bachman’s in Minnesota offered its first DIY bridal floral class last fall, which sold out, said Leah Schmidt, wedding and events manager. “It was a big hit. There was huge demand for another one.” So Bachman’s offered another class last month, and it, too, sold out. “DIY brides are full steam ahead,” she said.
Some people who’ve taken the DIY classes show a knack for flowers, Schmidt said, while others decided it’s more than they bargained for – and end up ordering professionally done flowers. One of the hurdles for beginners is that they’re often too timid about altering flowers to get the look they want. “People get nervous about taking the petals off or the foliage,” said Schmidt. “They don’t realize how sturdy flowers are.”
And while a talented DIYer can produce a pretty bouquet, it’s tricky for an amateur to pull off the sophisticated designs many of today’s brides want.
“There are design elements that we study – line, structure and color – that the brain registers as beauty,” Schmidt said. “Designers add all those elements. Some people naturally can do that, but most of us study the craft to know how to make that beauty happen.”
In addition, struggling to create floral arrangements on a deadline at an already hectic time can be a recipe for stress, she said. “It is incredibly stressful to do flowers for yourself. I myself didn’t do all my own flowers.”