Bride Interview: Julia On Her D.I.Y. Florals

02 | 06 | 2009

We usually have one bride a year—who’s not a florist—who braves d.i.y. florals.  This year, it was Julia, and the flowers were beautiful, both soft and feminine.  Her bouquet was one of my all-time favorites, full of peonies, with this gorgeous Garden Lace peony right in the front.

Florals make a huge impact at your wedding, both in person and on camera (why we’re featuring them on this blog).  So Julia suggests—and I agree—taking on d.i.y. flowers only if it’s something you really enjoy.  She points out that, “if it’s stressful for you, you can d.i.y. something else.”

On her doing her own flowers, Julia says:

“I really did consider what kind of flowers I wanted when I picked the wedding date because I knew we weren’t working with a huge floral budget. I considered what flowers would be in-season, so we picked May instead of September.  I love peonies—I’ve always loved peonies. The first house I lived when I was little had almost nothing to recommend it, except there was this long hedge of deep red peonies.  When we moved, I asked my parents to put peonies in at our new place.  [Years later] when the wedding came around, it was a bit too early for the type of peonies growing in our yard to bloom. So our neighbor cut the ones in her yard, wrapped them, put them in warm water [and brought them to San Francisco].  Those peonies made up a substantial part of my bouquet.”

julia's bouquet

{click photo to enlarge}

Did you grow all your flowers?

“No, we bought some at the flower market.  You pay a lot more when you go in two months ahead of time and say you want a bunch of white tulips on a certain date.  So we went in [to look] and bought the flowers on the same day.  I never would’ve picked orchids [ordinarily].  They don’t grow where I live—they aren’t me. But I wanted to be open to what people had.  The orchids were elegant, beautiful.  And we were so happy with them.  I think if I had gone in ahead of time with an idea—I would’ve missed them.”

bridesmaid-bouqet2 centerpiece-1

So … growing, buying, arranging all your flowers is a lot of work. How did you pull that off, logistically?

“I suggest getting the flowers a couple of days beforehand.  The flowers are so tight—you want them to open a little. I got mine on Friday, and we were getting married on Sunday.  We did a rehearsal midday Saturday and a rehearsal lunch.  My married girlfriends, and my fiancé (now husband) Bob, helped with the arranging.  Four to six people worked on it for three or four hours in the suite in the hotel room.  A lot of people came by to visit us in the hotel suite while we were working and stayed to help for twenty minutes or so.  Everything was done the day before except I did my bouquet the morning of the wedding. I was still deciding what I wanted, so I had set aside a lot of the peonies I thought I might use.   All the websites tell you how to order flowers, what to do with them—but not how to move them.  You get flowers in big packing boxes, so we put the arrangements back in the boxes.  Then my uncle drove them over [to the venue] and someone put water and the arrangements into the vases.”

What did you learn through the process, or what advice would you give to would be d.i.y. wedding florists?

“Think it out beforehand and have a plan.  It really reduces a lot of the stress.  Your mom, your aunt, everybody will think that you’re totally crazy for wanting to do your own flowers. But if it’s something you enjoy, you should do it. Also, one of the things I recognized early on was that doing arrangements that required floral foam was way to advanced for me for a big event.  Hand-tied stuff is great. And I found the bouquets easiest.”

whitepoppyanemone julia and bob kiss

We’ll be featuring some other d.i.y. projects Julia and Bob did later today.  Thanks for taking time to share with us, Julia!  You, Bob, and all your family and friends did a great job making your wedding personal and special.

photo credit: Gia Canali

floral source: the neighbor’s front yard & San Francisco Flower Market vases/containers: Save On Crafts
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