DIY wedding flowers: More brides taking bouquet-making into their own hands

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 2014 - 1:37 PM
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Natasha Cronen of Woodbury with the bridal bouquet she made herself.

Photo: Rick Gmitro • Flow Event Group,

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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, 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 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 (www.marketflowersmpls.com), which started offering use of its facilities to DIY-ers 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.”

Sold-out classes

Even some professional florists are starting to cater to the DIY crowd.

Bachman’s (www.bachmans.com) 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.

At the most recent class, about two dozen women of all ages gathered in the cool, flower-fragrant basement of Bachman’s flagship store in Minneapolis to learn how to make a bridesmaid’s bouquet, using calla lilies, hydrangea, lisianthus and spray roses, plus two different styles of boutonnieres.

Schmidt and instructor Karen Ortiz demonstrated how to wrap ribbon to finish a bouquet handle, add a touch of bling and how to handle beargrass — without getting a paper cut — while making a boutonniere.

Vivian Tanniehill of Woodbury was at the class, with her daughter Sonja Latimer of St. Paul, in advance of doing the flowers for another daughter’s June wedding in Los Angeles.

Tanniehill has ambitious plans — to create her daughter’s bridal bouquet, bouquets and boutonnieres for five pairs of attendants, centerpieces for 10 tables, plus a flower-decorated broom for the jump-the-broom ceremony, all in her daughter’s chosen peacock theme: blues and greens, accented with peacock feathers. It will be a mother-daughter collaboration, with Latimer helping out.

“I’ve been ordering supplies for months,” Tanniehill said. She’s looking forward to the challenge. “This is something I can uniquely give to her and help send her on her journey.” And it will give Tanniehill a task to focus on during the hectic pre-wedding build-up. “I’m looking forward to having a little fun. Anything to relieve stress.”

Bride-to-be Jessica Dye of Austin, Minn., attended the class, along with her mother, Jan, and sisters Danielle and Sarah. They hope to make bridesmaid bouquets for Jessica’s wedding in late July, although she plans to order one for herself. “I want the feeling of picking up a professional one,” she said.

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  • Jessica Dye, right, and her sister Sarah learned techniques to make bouquets for Jessica’s July wedding.

  • Vivian Tanniehill and her daughter Sonja Latimer made bouquets at Bachman’s. Tanniehill is planning to make the floral arrangements for the wedding of another daughter who lives in Los Angeles.

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