For Kelly’s bridesmaids, we had decided to keep things a little more neutral / creamy and less pink. For each bouquet, I wound up using the following:
3 cafe au lait dahlias (peachier flowers), 5 stems cream colored roses, ~2-3 stems hypericum berries, 3 stems tuberose, 4 – 5 stems ivory stock, and ~3 stems dusty miller.
I tied them in twine, with a bow that you can’t see in these pics!
For the bouts, we used tuberose buds, a lisianthus bud, hypericum and dusty miller for the groomsmen (to coordinate with the bridesmaids):
And dusty miller, brunia berries, and lisianthus in the groom’s bout:
I wanted to share what I bought at the Flower Market for this wedding of 4 bouquets and 4 bouts, vs what I actually ended up using, and some thoughts / commentary on each. Maybe they’ll help a DIY bride or just starting designer estimate what quantities they’d need to buy for bouquets, or at very least the established designers who read this blog can get a chuckle at how much I overbought ; )
Cafe Au Lait Dahlias
Bought: 3 bunches
Used: 2 bunches
Notes: I wasn’t sorry I overbought these – they’re really fragile and a couple of the big ones in each bunch had petals that were already starting to show wear and tear. Plus I wanted to be picky about using pink-ier flowers in the bride’s bouquet and peachier flowers in the bridesmaids, so I needed variety to choose from.
Bought: 2 bunches
Used: 1 bunch
Notes: I just flat out overbought this. I was afraid that I’d need filler and stock is inexpensive and basic, so I “stocked” up ; ) No real harm done though- was a good safety net
Bought: 3 bunches
Used: 3/4 bunch.
Notes: I had planned on using cream lisianthus, and had told the bride it would factor into the designs, and so I bought the pre-planned amount even though it didn’t look all that great. The cream color was still a little green-ey for my taste in this design (but I didn’t want its stark white counterpart) and many of them were a little banged up. I still picked out the 3 best bunches I could find, but didn’t end up using very much of it at all – there were just better flowers to work with for these particular designs! I also bought the stock which ended up taking up lots of the ivory filler type space in the bouquet, so I should have cut way back on this buy. Lesson learned!
Peaches and cream colored Lisianthus, Pink Ranunculus and Fringed Tulips
Bought: 1 bunch of each
Used: 3/4 of each bunch (1/2 in the case of the fringed tulips)
Notes: The pink lisianthus is gorgeous! I can’t wait to work with it again! These were all easy to estimate the quantity for because I was only going to use them in the bride’s bouquet.
Bought: 1 bunch
Used: 1 bunch
Notes: This was an impulse buy but I loved it! I ended up using it in all three bridesmaids bouquets (I didn’t really have a plan when I purchased it) and in the groomsmen’s bouts (there were dozens of discarded buds since I turned it from a line element into a round accent flower). It’s the one thing I used all of!
Bought: 2 bunches, plus I had almost another whole bunch left over in great shape from another project
Used: About 1/3 of a bunch
Notes: This was one of the biggest wastes because it’s not cheap. I could have JUST used what I already had and not bought any! I learned that a little of this stuff goes a LONG way. Most of the stems have more than 1 sprig on them and they can be wired in, so you could really accent a whole bouquet with just one or two great stems of the stuff! Also I just ended up using this in the bride’s bouquet, not in the bridesmaids. I didn’t know where I’d want to use it until I got everything home and started really combining stems though, and I appreciated having the options. (But I’d still have had extras even if I used it in all 4 bouquets).
Bought: 2 bunches
Used: About 2/3 of 1 bunch
Notes: There are a million varieties of this stuff. I bought standard sturdy peach berries at first that were more salmon colored, but later found a version with much paler colored and daintier berries. It looked way better with the other flowers, so I bought it knowing full well the first bunch would be a waste. I should have walked around more before buying the first bunch (I also bought the first bunch earlier before I had most of the other flowers, so I didn’t yet have the whole collection of flowers to compare it to). Lesson learned!
Bought: Pack of 25
Used: About 15 of them
Notes: You can’t buy less than 25, and I got a great deal on these roses because I was buying them the day before using, and wanted them to already be good and open. So nothing I’d do differently here!
Bought: 2 bunches, plus had leftovers from another project
Used: About 3/4 of a bunch
Notes: Same as brunia berries, a little goes a long way. 3 stems in a bouquet makes a pretty big statement, any more and it would really start to take over the design. Plus some of the clumps can be split into two and still be long enough to use in a bouquet. However, I have found that it’s hard to get a pristine bunch of dusty – often there are “scuffed” leaves where the fuzzy coating has been knicked off of and leaves distracting marks, generally misshapen clusters, ones with dark spots, etc. So I think to be safe, if you haven’t seen each and every stem in the bunch clearly, get extra to cherry pick great stems.
Overall, even though there are a few things I’d have bought less of, I appreciated the freedom to pick the best flowers from each bunch, and to have enough different flower types to allow for some fun improvisation on the spot, rather than *having* to use almost every flower in a certain pre-planned way. Flowers are living things – no two bunches are the same, and the quality isn’t always consistent even from the same sources week to week – I learned that you really have to stay flexible while shopping (and when working with a bride, build in some flexibility into your relationship and agreement) to create the best designs.
Next time, I’ll try to split the difference though!
Designers, if you have overbuying stories I’d love to hear them (while they can be painful, they’re way less painful than underbuying stories, right?!)
I’m also so interested in hearing whether other designers pre-plan exactly what will be included in a bouquet, or leave room in their own minds and in their agreement with brides to play with what they might find (or substitute for what they order but don’t wind up liking) at their wholesaler