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“We’re doing it to save on costs, and for the satisfaction of doing it ourselves,” Jessica said. “I think it’s doable.”
Her sister Danielle sounded a little less sure. “They [the instructors] make it look really easy,” she said. “But it’s harder than I thought.”
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 DIY-er 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 added. “It is incredibly stressful to do flowers for yourself. I myself didn’t do all my own flowers.”
That’s why she often advises brides on a tight budget to consider having a pro make the arrangements but then do the set-up themselves, placing the centerpieces on tables and the altar flowers on the altar.
Prepared to go solo
DIY-ers should be prepared to work independently, without much hand-holding, at Market Flowers. “We tell them to bring their own supplies and prepare as if we can’t help you, but if we can help, we do,” Barriball said.
Cronen got the tips and advice she needed to complete her arrangements. “Diane gave me a lot of good information about what flowers would be in season,” said Cronen, who changed her floral plans as a result. “My colors were Tiffany blue and coral, and originally, I was thinking Gerbera daisies for my bridesmaids and hydrangea for myself. But Diane cautioned me, especially with that hot summer last year, that hydrangeas start turning brown very easily.”
Barriball also let her know that daisies in her chosen color might be in short supply by the time of her September wedding. “The Gerbera daisies coming into season were mostly hot pink and baby pink; they weren’t getting a lot of coral,” Cronen said.
In the end, Cronen switched to roses to ensure getting the color and look she wanted. On the day of the project, “Diane put us on an assembly line, and showed me cool techniques and tricks for the day of the wedding, like how to open the flower heads to make them look fuller,” Cronen said.
The process went so smoothly that Cronen’s family and friends may do it again — with a different bride. “My maid of honor is getting married this August, and we might be going back.”
Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784