I often tell you how excited I am to share a story from one of our DIY Brides, probably because so many of our Brides have little to no experience with flowers, yet they somehow, and usually with help of friends and family, put together the most amazing wedding arrangements! Well, today is no different…Today, I get to share Suzanna’s story! Suzanna was our July ‘Pin to Win’ Contest Winner. She wanted a look that was colorful, whimsical, and supple yet minimalist. To refresh your memory, click here. Then read on to hear her story and see how it all turned out…
Who: Suzanna & Noah When: Sept. 6, 2014 Where: Catskills, NY
From the Bride:
We decided our first priority for our wedding was to have a big community celebration, inviting everyone we love and encouraging them to bring plus ones in any form (friends as well as spouses) and to come be part of our big fun party. We ended up inviting about 150 people and having just over 100 make the trip to the Catskills for our wedding. We had the help of both our families, and our savings, but we were still on an incredibly tight budget to throw a ‘big’ wedding, so all our other decisions were made based on this priority, and we also wanted to make a conscientious effort to stay within our available funds and not take on a lot of debt to put the wedding together.
We decided on buffet style food from a catering company that often does much fancier plated catered wedding meals, and bought all our own wine and alcohol, having a few friends bar tend haphazardly. The few things we splurged on we still did through friends of friends for much less than often spent, we decided a good DJ would make it feel like a real party, and found an amazing guy (Neal Becton) who runs a record store in DC and spins all vinyl and was willing to come up for the weekend on our budget because he was excited to come to the Catskills and hadn’t been since he was a kid. And we had an amazing wedding photographer, Jon Ervin, that was a dear friend of Noah’s from grad school at SVA. The only decorating I had planned on and splurged on was Pendleton wool table runners, we ordered fabric on sale from their woolen mill and made them ourselves.
I had thought abstractly about flowers, but was not set on anything in particular. I still remember the day I decided to start figuring out wedding flowers, I googled ‘how much is normal to spend on wedding flowers’ and the first blog entry I found was a girl saying she had just received an $8,000 quote from her florist and was wondering if that was normal or a lot. That was over half our budget for the whole 100 person wedding and I literally started crying. Reading the thread I found some people who had spent 3,000 or 4,000 and then a few who had said they ordered bulk flowers and did it themselves for much less. That is how I got the idea to do DIY flowers. At this point I didn’t even have a line item in my wedding budget for flowers. I found FiftyFlowers while searching for DIY flowers online – not remembering the specific site but I read a bunch of reviews about different DIY/bulk flower companies and FiftyFlowers had great reviews. I ordered Rununculus right away, knowing that if nothing else I could always just have a bouquet of them. Then as the months went on and my pinterest board filled up with beautiful flower ideas from wedding blogs and floral design, I decided to take a free online class on whimsical wedding bouquet design. I then realized I wanted a few specific things, and filled out our wedding flower order to include Anemones, Eucalyptus and Garden Roses. The whole thing cost about 700, which we could manage, especially as we knew we wanted sparse table arrangements and had been collecting little glass bottles to put the flowers in.
The morning of the wedding, before we did makeup and hair, the bridal party, including me and three bridesmaids ‘best people’ as we called them, each put together our own bouquet, at the same time, helping each other make adjustments and securing with flower tape and different Pendleton remnants I had on hand. I made my bouquet sitting in the bedroom with them, hair up and wet, not in any way ready yet, quickly tucking flowers into some design I had ruminated on for months and then in the moment just didn’t even think about, but balancing colors and shapes for a small, elegant arrangement that would look soft and natural with the rest of the outfit (vintage 60s dress from a family friend, hair down and simple make up). We didn’t have a color scheme, just funky Pendleton prints and many colors, but the bridal party wore black and white. The bridesmaids each made their own bouquets and compared them – no discussion on how they should look – just a fun fluid process. Then we stuck them in ball jars until it was time for the ceremony. The flower remnants on the floor were picked up by someone who remembered my ‘flower thrower’ boys needed something for their beautiful colorful baskets and they threw whole anemones as they walked down the isle. Totally not preplanned just glad someone remembered.
For us flowers mattered, because they bring beauty, color and life to a wedding, but they mattered less than feeding & watering/boozing (ha) and providing good tunes for our big party, and FiftyFlowers allowed us to have beautiful flowers, exactly what I had imagined, without making a financial commitment out of sync with our overall priorities. And then… as anyone planning a wedding knows, the wedding is always is more expensive than you anticipate, and winning the FiftyFlowers contest the month before our wedding was like a gift from the wedding fairies. Expenses we hadn’t expected had been piling up (outhouses, rentals, fees, the ‘oh crap we really need that’ stuff) and the contest funds helped us pull it all together at those last moments.
DIY means ‘do it yourself’, but really, and thankfully, our whole wedding was DIT, Do it Together. Literally everything was done by our friends and family, and though a bit haphazard and more intense than having a wedding planner and staff put it all together I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because the energy of the space felt exactly like that – like US, like our community, not something manufactured for a wedding blog or styled by professionals. Our wedding was exactly what we were hoping for, more! It was a joyous and emotional ceremony with our supportive community (that came from around the country and also canada & europe!) followed by an awesome dance party, and wrapped up with scotch and s’mores by the fire.
Sounds like an amazing celebration! Congrats Suzanna and Noah!