Wedding Flowers Preview

This past weekend I had the honor of making bouquets and bouts for the wedding of Kelly and Ken.  Kelly’s colors were shades of pinks and creams, with burlap brown accents (and the groom and groomsmen were in gray suits).  We agreed early on to take advantage of cafe au lait dahlias being in prime season for her mid August wedding weekend, and beyond that, she wanted organic texture (but nothing hard or spiky; we nixed wheat, curly willow, and blushing bride protea, and she loved ranunculus, round berries, and dusty miller).

I took a ton of photos of the preparation, bouquets, and an arrangement I made with a few of the *many* leftover flowers (I WAY overbought for this one), so will share them in a few posts this week, and then I’d love to get back to sharing collections of other florists work – something I still do daily via Pinterest but that I miss housing on this blog!

This project started when I met my new flower friends Meg and Annie of The Little Branch (more on them in upcoming entries for sure!) at sunrise at the LA Flower Market.   It’s so fun getting to know people in the industry and it was great to have company as we shopped for our weddings.

I had ordered the key elements of the design – the cafe au lait dahlias, ranunculus, and silver brunia (stuff I knew I wanted to incorporate and that I wasn’t sure would be readily available at the mart) from my favorite wholesaler, Mayesh.   I had planned to buy lisianthus, roses, dusty miller, and hypericum from whichever vendor had the best selection that day, but also came home with two really pretty surprise additions – tuberose and lovely pale pink-white fringed tulips.  I bought some cream colored stock too, out of fear that I wouldn’t have enough flowers and would need filler (note to self: ha! I had about 3 times too many flowers)

I didn’t take photos downtown (really must do a photo tour of my next trip!), but here are some photos of the flowers conditioning at home, and the beginnings of the work.

Here are the dahlias and ranunculus, hanging out in their buckets (from Dollar General; $1 each and perfect for bunches of flowers):

dinner plate cafe au lait dahlias ranunculus conditioning flowers diy how to tutorial

In case anyone is interested, here’s my trash system for floral design – it’s a collapsible cart that I bought from the grocery store (I shop the Flower Mart with it) that I convert into a trashcan on wheels to catch waste when I design:

floral design trash can system cart

Here’s a closeup of the Dahlias in the sink.  Cafe Au Lait dahlias range from really cream colored to a sandy color, to ones with magenta streaks (this was actually perfect since my bride wanted her bouquet far more saturated / pink than the bridesmaids which would be more neutral):

dinner plate cafe au lait dahlias conditioning

Some of the dahlias have these dreamy, swooshy petals (others are more raggedy, in a good way!) I love both kinds but these are particularly photogenic up close!

dinner plate cafe au lait dahlias dahlia pink fuchsia wedding bouquet

The dahlias and ranunculus, conditioning in their buckets:

dahlias pink ranunculus wedding bride bouquet fuchsia magenta

The tuberose, dusty miller and brunia berries hang out together:

tuberose dusty miller brunia silver wedding bouquet diy tutorial how to


Tuberose is my new favorite thing – when still in tight bud form like this it looked like some sort of berry – super textural!


The lisianthus I got was a somewhat rare color – creamy with light peach-pink tips- it’s one of my favorite flowers, and this is my hands down favorite shade for it:

lisianthus dahlias hypericum wedding bouquet bride


brunia dusty miller lisianthus tulip fringed roses hypericum wedding bouquet bridal diy tutorial

I got the roses fairly opened because I bought on Saturday for a Sunday wedding – they were perfect in the bouquets- nice and open but not over-ripe!

roses tulips tuberose bouquet diy wedding tutorial flowers

Love me some stock:

ivory cream stock wedding bouquet

And these fringed tulips were darling!

fringed tulips pink white bridal wedding bouquet how to diy tutorial

wedding flowers lisianthus dahlias hypericum roses bridal

In terms of altering the flowers to get them ready for the bouquets, for both the tuberose and stock, which are line elements, I removed all but the tops, making them little “pom poms” – round elements suitable for using in a round, hand tied bouquet:

I also wired the dahlia heads to make them stand *closer* to straight up – they’re so heavy and even with wire and tape face at an angle, but without it, they were facing directly out – not at all up, and that makes them really hard to work with in bouquets:

how to wire dahlia stem

Finally, wanted to post a photo that encapsulates what I love so much about this job (if you guessed that it’s because you can do it at 9 PM on a Saturday night, while drinking a great glass of wine and listening to Pandora, you are correct!):

I’ll post pics of the finished pieces, plus the “leftover” arrangement (which I actually love!) later this week.


August 15, 2011 - 8:34 pm

botanical brouhaha - Oh, Kate! Those colors are so dreamy…in love with the slight blush tones. The flower selection alone is amazing and gorgeous. I can hardly wait to see the finished bouquets!

August 16, 2011 - 12:31 pm

Kate - Thank you so much Amy ; )

August 27, 2011 - 10:02 pm

janet - I usually bend my wire into a hairpin and pierce straight through the face of my dahlias, straddling either side of the stem on the back side of the flower head. Pull the wire through carefully until it is buried in the face of the flowers. I do the same with gerberas and chrysanthemums. Seems to work really well – you can position the head any way you want, and it cuts down on the bulk in the stem.

August 29, 2011 - 10:20 am

Kate - Oh wow, so you actually remove the stems (which can be SO thick and bulky!) and just wire them in? That’s a cool idea – guess there would be no making the bouquet the night before and leaving in water that way, huh? But then they really could face any which way! I want to try that (also want to try that scary boiling water dahlia trick that a few people have raved about but have to get up the nerve!) Thanks Janet!

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