Obsession of the month: Flowers

‘‘This wedding has got your scrimpy fingerprints all over it.’’

It’s true, I am questioning every penny we spend. Due to a quality error with our save the dates, I managed to get a full refund – it was THE BEST EVER and I am so proud. Saving money makes me so happy. Start as you mean to go on, am I right?

The above statement was made by Dan while I was once again worrying about the fact that we wouldn’t normally spend this much money on things. To which Dan replied, ‘Well we wouldn’t normally get married would we?’

The main reason we are DIYing so many aspects of our wedding is because it’s actually really fun, minus the hard work and stressful situations. The other reason, however, is of course the money aspect. By sourcing and creating things ourselves, we are bound to save and guaranteed a certain uniqueness.

Flowers at New Covent Garden market

This conversation stemmed from a discussion about flowers. I’ve had a fair few warnings when I tell people I am planning on doing my own flowers. ‘Only the bouquets!’ I exclaim. ‘Oh and the centrepieces, but they aren’t big or anything. Then just a few bits dotted around the venue, nothing major…’

My attitude may seem too complacent regarding the effort and workload it takes to create a DIY wedding, but believe me, I am not taking any of it lightly.

My main ammunition when it comes to DIYing, especially with doing the flowers, is research. I am excellent at finding out what I need to do doing, when I need to be doing it and how long it will take – as well as how much it will cost. The planning of these types of tasks is sometimes the main battle, then its fingers and toes crossed for the execution.

There are two main aspects to add to a plan of action for DIYing your own wedding flowers. More important than the actual arranging itself is the sourcing. Where will the flowers come from, how will you care for them and when can you pick them up all comes before the fun finale.

Almost a year before to the day, I planned for us to get up early and head to our local flower market to do some investigating. The aims for my visit to New Covent Garden Flower Market was to find out how sourcing works logistically, what is available during this particular season and what the average prices are. While the vendors weren’t exactly interested in giving me much of their time, I did manage to grasp some understanding of the process. Turns out you can’t create a complete plan when it comes to DIY flowers – especially if pricing is a deal-breaker for you. Luckily I am rather lax in terms of how I want the floral decoration to look. You can plan what you want in terms of the different elements – number of bouquets, centrepieces, venue decorations, but when it comes to ordering from a wholesaler rather than a florist, it will all be coming together a mere few weeks beforehand. In the meantime, I will be twiddling my thumbs waiting to order my flowers. I was told to head to the market 2 weeks before the wedding, select and order my flowers then pick them up 2 days before.

Flowers at New Covent Garden market

As I found out during the early morning visit, the selection of flowers is one of the things Dan isn’t all that interested in. When I queried him as to whether he is bothered about what types of flowers we choose, he showed that he isn’t completely uninterested by saying ‘I don’t want ugly flowers.’ Well, neither do I.

But I really do wonder why flowers are such a focal part of weddings. Why do we carry bouquets, why do men have buttonholes and why is it so expected and expensive? Apparently they are considered a ‘gift of nature’. Nowadays, they have turned into a superficial spectacle, a beautiful one nevertheless, but certainly a spectacle.

Having flowers at a wedding originated from the idea of scaring off trolls, warding off evil spirits, providing good luck to the happy couple and ensuring the bride will have a happy life – I think it’s clear the traditions of wedding flowers may have become commercialised. I am rather skeptical of carrying out particular elements of a wedding for the sake of tradition. It’s fair to say I won’t be tossing the bouquet, which apparently originated as a distraction so guests would stop ripping the bride’s dress for a piece of good luck, but I will be upholding the confetti moment tradition. Mainly because it’s fun and makes for a pretty cool photo.

New Covent Garden Flower market

I’ve come to terms with the flower facade because at the end of the day, flowers make people happy. So why not surround ourselves with happiness and beauty, because they really do have the power to transform a space. If it happens to scare off a few trolls along the way, then it’s a win-win situation.

My pure genius tip: Place empty vases in your reception setting for you and your bridesmaids to put your bouquets into, and voila! You now have additional floral decoration and the flowers will continue to serve their purpose until the end of the day.

All photographs are my own

 

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