Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just Days Before 'I Do': DIY Flower Shopping

The Wednesday before our wedding was an early one! I picked up our 10 foot Uhaul truck at 7:30am, and Mr. Cola and a groomsman loaded it with all the stuff we needed to take to my mom’s house, like our patio table, mini fridge, Styrofoam boxes, ice packs, etc. The table was for our Sunday-after lunch, and the rest was for storing all our wedding flowers.

(Me, waiting to get going in the truck, checking my Weddingbee comments, of course!)

Then it was time for BM Heather and I to head up to my mom’s in the Uhaul. Let me tell you, driving this truck wasn’t easy. I’d never driven a Uhaul before, and had to sit up very straight to see over the steering wheel!

We left the Uhaul at my mom’s house, and drove in two SUVs up to San Francisco with my mom, aunt, and great aunt, on a mission to buy a ton of flowers for not a ton of money at the
Flower Market. We got to go in earlier than the general public because my mom still had her badge from her floral arranging classes.

(Wow, can you believe I’m not wearing heels? Weird, I know! But my mom said I should wear jeans and tennis shoes, and bring a sweatshirt, because the market is chilly and wet. My response was, “Ok, cute sundress, sweater and platform slip on tennis shoes it is!”)

Upon entering the Flower Market, we were bombarded by the sight of flowers EVERYWHERE! For what felt like miles and miles!

(I kind of had the urge to skip up and down the aisles--so many flowers!)

We walked from flower vendor to flower vendor, my mom and aunt clutching their flower shopping lists, and jotting down prices. Luckily I was a very relaxed bride about my flower selections (I liked purple and green, not many roses or pokey looking mums, and that’s about as picky as I got), which you really have to be if you’re DIY’ing all your own flowers. I kept getting asked, “do you like these," “what do you think about this bunch of flowers,” and "what about these ones" and pretty much my answers were, “sure,” “looks great,” and “sounds good.” Finally, after about an hour and a half of looking and looking at flowers, it was time to start making some purchases!

(I thought of Mrs. Pug, with all the California artichokes we saw)

My BM found the perfect shade of purple orchids, so we started with buying those. Then came hydrangeas, bells of Ireland, statice, and…..ok, I’m a fail bride when it comes to flowers! I don’t know all the types we bought, but they sure were pretty!

After about two and a half hours at the Flower Market, our cart was fully loaded of wedding flowers; everything to make all the centerpieces, cocktail table arrangements, ceremony flowers, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, pretty much all flowers except for the aisle petals, which we ordered online from
Fifty Flowers. And guess what? We spent less than $200 for all of this pictured below! Combined with about another $200 in supplies (tons of vases, floral foam, floral tape, wire, ribbon, etc), and $200 for 260 cups of rose petals, we came in at under $600 for our floral budget. Of course, I’m not including the time spent making all the arrangements, and time and cost for my mom and aunt to attend floral arranging classes at a nearby college (which I might recommend to anyone trying to DIY more than a few of your wedding flowers, since as you will see, our flowers were a bit more advanced than most DIY wedding flower arrangements I’ve seen).

We pulled around the cars, loaded up everything, and headed back to my mom’s house to unload.

After filling buckets with water and flower food in my mom’s garage, my BM and I were going to stay to help with cutting off the tips of the flower stems and putting them in water to open overnight. But we got persuaded otherwise, by the guys.

Where was Mr. Cola and two of our groomsmen while we were flower shopping, you ask? Well, they had been tasked with two very important errands, dropping off all our out of town guest boxes at the hotel, and picking up
Its Its ice cream sandwiches for our rehearsal dinner dessert (another local San Francisco treat, similar to how our wedding favors were all San Francisco snacks).

Mr. C and the GM met us at my mom’s, where we would be storing the Its Its in their full sized freezer until Friday night. And as it turns out, they were all starving, being how it was about 12:30 in the afternoon at this point. And so was BM Heather and I, since we’d only really had coffee all day. So everyone convinced me that we needed to take off, and leave all the flower prep to my mom and family. We definitely had a full afternoon and night (and early into Thursday morning!) ahead of us, so I’m glad we left when we did!

Miss any wedding week details? Catch up here:

- I packed an emergency bag that saved my dress
- We had a crazy 4 days prepping for house guests and stuffing favors

(unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post are personal photos, taken by myself, my family or wedding party)


  1. Way to go to your mom and family for taking on DIY flower arrangements! This is one area I definitely had to let the pros handle. I can't wait to see how they turned out!

  2. Wow- yeah I just had a small amount of bridal envy! I so wish we had a flower market like that here! My mom is going to be doing my flowers- she was a florist for a long time- but we're still trying to figure out the best place to get our flowers from since her flower connections are all out of town!

  3. You are brave for wearing a sundress in SF in the middle of June! And the flower mart is really cold and damp, yuck! The flowers looked amazing - you couldn't tell that they weren't done by a wedding florist. Your family members are so talented, and you definitely inherited that gene, too :)