Life

How I DIY’ed My Wedding Flowers for Less Than $500

With my wedding anniversary coming up next week (3 years!), I wanted to share with you how I DIY’ed my wedding flowers and saved tons of money!

 

I have been a Pinterest-aholic since I was first placed on the waiting list for Pinterest years ago. So naturally, I wanted beautiful, Pinterest-worthy wedding flowers – but flowers are so expensive! Boutonnieres alone would have blown my budget. And you can’t even keep them forever. I really did not want to spend thousands of dollars on a florist, so I did a little bit of shopping around. Here’s how I was able to DIY our wedding flowers for less than $500! (Pinnable image at the end!)

 

1. Support System

Seriously, you can’t do this alone. You will need lots of hands, and lots of pizza as payment. A few nights before the wedding, all of my bridesmaids came to town, I invited my cousins, aunts, my future mother-in-law, the mother-in-laws of my bridesmaids – I literally cashed in on all of those “if you need any help at all, let me know!” offers. We grabbed a bunch of pizzas and wine and threw a flower party! It was really fun! It also helped me to enjoy the moment and get a little creative ahead of the big day.

 

Wedding Flower Centerpieces

 

2. Sam’s Club / Costco Membership

A lot of people don’t know that Sam’s Club and Costco both sell bulk fresh flowers! They have Eucalyptus, Hydrangeas, Roses, Baby’s Breath, Daisies, Carnations, Lilies… so. many. flowers. And so reasonably priced! You can get 36 stems of Garden Roses for $84 (and if you use Ebates, you can get 1.5% cash back). If you don’t have a membership card already, or know someone who does – I was able to get a cheap membership to Sam’s Club through Groupon! I know they run that promotion a couple of times a year, so just keep a look out! They even have pre-made bouquets you can purchase if that’s what you’re looking for.

 

The Sam’s Club website also offers a lot of information on how to care for your flowers, tips for arranging your flowers, etc. I was able to score free shipping, and choose what delivery date I wanted. Because I have a touch of anxiety, I ordered them to be delivered the day before the flower party, just to avoid any issues. This worked for me, however my hydrangeas didn’t exactly last (I’ll get more into that later). The flowers came boxed up with explicit instructions on how to unpack them, cut them and place them into vases with water to hydrate. You’ll probably want to let them hydrate over night because they’ll be very thirsty from the travel. All of my flowers were the right color, they were all alive, and I was very happy with my order!

 

Wedding Flowers in Buckets

3. Buckets

Because I had ordered a total of nearly 250 stems, vases weren’t going to cut it. We used 5 gallon buckets filled with water to hydrate the flowers before the flower party, and they worked perfectly!

 

Tall Wedding Flower Centerpieces

4. Tools

I had a concept in mind for centerpieces, and sketched out a few ways to create the final product. Luckily, my parents are awesome and helped me out a lot 🙂 I found wooden spindles at Home Depot that we spray painted gold, and nailed into wooden blocks so they’d stand on their own. My dad hammered a giant nail in the top of the spindle to hold the flower balls we would make at the Pizza Party. Obviously, this was just for my own centerpiece, but make sure you plan ahead for the tools you’ll want for your own centerpieces!

 

For the flower balls, I purchased these wet-foam balls and these trays to help keep the fresh flowers alive. If you do purchase the wet-foam balls, just make sure you order the right size for what you’re thinking! For our centerpieces, I punctured the tray so it would fit onto the nail at the top of the spindle, then used electrical tape to seal the tray to the nail. When you’re ready to arrange your flowers, follow the instructions to wet the foam ball, and stick it right on the nail.

Here are a few other tools I had available at the flower party: (pretty much every “station” should have some shears!) The spray bottle is to spray the flowers throughout the night and in the morning to keep them perky and fresh!


 

Bouquet

5. Wedding Party Flowers

If you are doing your wedding party’s flowers this way as well, just remember you’ll probably want some floral tape, floral wire, ribbons, etc depending on your vision for your bridal party! I asked my bridesmaids to make their own bouquets and I think that made it more fun and personal! I’m going to be completely honest – my amazing cousin and mom made the boutonnieres for me while my fiance/husband and I spent time with our bridal party. Have I mentioned how lucky I am?  Here are some floral tools so you don’t have to look around too much!


 

6. Things to Consider:

Because I’m not a florist, there were a few things I learned along the way that I need to share with you! Most importantly: hydrangeas need a LOT of water! I read this ahead of time and blew it off, thinking I’d be able to water them and keep them hydrated. This is the last thing you need to be worrying about ahead of your wedding! All of my hydrangeas died the night before the wedding. Lucky for me (again… so thankful, so lucky! Actually hashtag blessed) my dad has a hydrangea bush! My amazing cousin and mom came to the rescue, while my bridesmaids and I were enjoying our time at a hotel, these two swooped in and rescued the wedding flowers! They plucked the hydrangea bush clean to replace the dead ones!

 

So when you read that the flower you really want requires a LOT of water, maybe save those for the end and put them into your centerpieces the morning of the wedding! I don’t know what I would have done if those two lovely ladies wouldn’t have been available to help!

Another nugget of information, in the spirit of keeping flowers alive: if you can, put them in a cool, humid place! If you cannot, then make sure to spray them with water if they look droopy, and keep them out of direct sunlight so they don’t fry!

 

Are you doing your own wedding flowers? If you’ve done your own wedding flowers, do you have any tips to pass along?

 

This Weekend in Chicago – Derby Day Edition

Looking for something to do in Chicago this weekend?

With two of the biggest drinking holidays being this weekend, and the weather finally cooperating – there seems to be a lot going on! Here are my plans for the weekend, leave a comment if you’ll be attending any of the festivities!

Friday

Minus the Bear is playing at the House of Blues! The location is perfect for us, being right next to our apartment, and tickets were only $20! The House of Blues is such a great venue, even if there’s not an “official” show going on. They always have music on the first floor and Sundays they have Gospel Brunch (which I’ve been dying to try!).

Saturday-Day

From noon until 6p, Joe’s on Weed St. hosts a street festival for the Kentucky Derby! They put up a huge screen to stream the race, and it’s right next to an Off Track Betting where you can place your wagers on a horse. (Personally, I always go for the pink one, and the cutest name – great strategy). Bub City will be there serving food, and you can drink outside! The street festival is free, and if you want to venture into Joe’s on Weed St, it’s a $2 cover. With this year’s Derby Day falling on Cinco de Mayo, they are turning the upstairs of Joe’s into an El Jimador lounge where there will be El Jimador giveaways and Derby drinks, too.

This will be our fourth year attending the Derby Day Street Festival! Now the million dollar question: what to wear?? (still TBD) but I do know I will be busting out these adorable bad boys for the first time this weekend!
I would love to invest in the actual Free People version of these shoes, but that’s just not practical for me! Cute though, right?

Saturday-Night

Dr. Dog is playing at the Riv! If you’ve never heard of Dr. Dog, you can listen to my favorite album here! They are a very fun and energetic band to watch. Last time they were in town they came on St. Patrick’s Day, and this year it’s Cinco de Mayo, but maybe one day they will come on a lesser-drinking holiday 🙂

Between the Derby Street Party and the concert, I’m hoping to knock back a few margs and tacos to evenly-weight the holidays! I do love the street tacos they make under the bridge next to the Riv… (you should check them out). Anyone have other suggestions?

Runner Up

Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line Draper James has teamed up with Crate and Barrel for a collab of dinnerware and other hosting items. They are kicking off the launch with a party at the Crate and Barrel at 850 W North Ave (yes, a 3 minute walk from the Derby Party), between 1p and 3p, and they’re serving Sprinkles Cupcakes, so… may have to stop by.

What are your weekend plans?

10 Mother’s Day Gifts Under $40 on Amazon Prime

This is the Mother’s Day gift guide for procrastinators, or if you’re like me and you’re really bad at sending packages – you can just have Amazon send these gifts directly to your mom!
**Pinnable image at the end**

 

1. Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

$17.99, prime eligible
Joanna Gains is probably the most popular mama around right now! Her new cookbook is huge and beautiful, and filled with a lot of yummy sounding recipes. You can even make your mom a recipe out of the book for dinner, and give her the book as a gift!

 

 

 

2. Create 365 The Happy Planner Mini, #MomLife

$36.99, prime eligible
For the creative mom-on-the-go, this planner is amazing. I’m not even a mom and I love it. There are tons and tons of stickers you can use to help plan a visually-pleasing week. There are sticker booklets specifically dedicated to mommin’, sports practice stickers, seasonal stickers, recipe stickers, fitness stickers, budgeting stickers… seriously. So. Many. Stickers.

 

 

 

3. Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

 

$27.99, prime eligible
Essential Oils are supposed to help with allergies, feeling relaxed, and sleeping better! This particular diffuser has mist control, 7 color-changing options, and it’s BPA-free. You can make Mom feel like she’s at a spa, for a lot less than an actual spa.

 

 

 

4. Picnic Basket

$24.99, prime eligible
Most of the time, all moms want is to spend time with their kids. Breakfast in bed was cool, but now that the weather is finally on the up & up, take mom for a picnic! It’s thoughtful and fun, and you can leave her with this awesome picnic basket that comes with everything she’ll need to picnic next time!

 

 

 

5. A Cute Vase and Some Flowers

$33.49, prime eligible
One way to step up your annual-flower delivery game is to include a cute vase!

 

 

 

 

6. Cute Gardening Tools

$17.99, prime eligible
Give mom’s gardening tools a little update, These floral tools have great reviews and look super cute!

 

 

 

7. Bath Bombs

$26.80, prime eligible
Because mom deserves to relax! Grab these bath bombs, a good book, some wine and voila! Plus, this set of 12 has 5 star reviews, with 5,021 reviewers!! That’s awesome.

 

 

 

8. A Coffee Mug

$13.99, prime eligible
Amazon has some really funny Mother’s Day mugs! This was my favorite, but here are a couple of other good ones:

$10.99, prime eligible:

$13.94, prime eligible:

 

 

 

9. Decorate Terra Cotta Pots

$6.67, prime eligible
This is particularly great if you have kids, and you’re looking for a gift for your own mother, have your kids decorate pots and plant some flowers for her! Even if you don’t have kids, this is a great personalized gift that isn’t too cheesy.

 

 

10. Did I Mention Wine??

 

$15.95, prime eligible
This wine glass with a cute wine opener and a bottle of wine make for a great gift basket!

 

What are you planning on getting your mom this Mother’s Day?

 

This post contains affiliate links with amazon.com, which I’ll make a small commission on if you purchase!

10 Quick Facts About Me

My Photo

Hello! Since we’re both new here, I thought we should get acquainted. Here are 10 quick facts about me! Leave me a comment with a few things about you!

    1. I’m married to my high school sweetheart.

      This is number 1 (as it should be), because I am still so in love and I’m so proud of us! We met when I was 15, then we went to the same college, and post-graduation moved to Chicago together. I could write an entire post about this… and I might. But my husband asked me to leave him out of my blogs so, I’ll stop (for now).

    2. I am a Senior Art Director at an Ad Agency

      Sometimes when I tell people this, they have no idea what that means. Here’s the gist: I get to do fun creative things on the computer every day. I get to make logos, brochures, websites, etc, and play with fonts, colors, and layouts.

    3. I Graduated from Michigan State University

      Go Green!

    4. I have recently lost 30lbs

      I’ve been working extremely hard, doing BBG by Kayla Itsines for 1 year, and I joined Weight Watchers Jan 1 of this year. If you want to learn more about BBG, read this post.

    5. I grew up in a small town in Michigan

      Seriously. There are 3 stop lights and a McDonald’s. Oh, and a bunch of wineries! It’s not my fault I like wine, I was bred for this. I am so thankful for my upbringing in such a beautiful corner of the world. If you haven’t been to Southwest Michigan, you need to add it to your list ASAP! And if you say you’re from Chicago, and someone calls you a FIP, just ignore it and move on!

    6. I was a Cheerleader for 10 years!

      Yes, 10 years. It all started with some gold pompons in a church gymnasium where my mom and aunt coached a Cheerleading team for little ladies like myself. I even coached with one of my best friends while we were at MSU. I love Cheerleading.

    7. My favorite snack is ice cream with peanut butter.

      Which is why I needed to lose 30 lbs.

    8. My first job was on the beach, working for the Carousel Society

      Yep, there’s a Carousel Society, and yes it’s as awesome as it sounds. From 1891-1971, Silver Beach (the local beach in St. Joseph, MI) was home to a small amusement park. A carousel was added to the park around 1916 until the park closed in 1979, and the attractions were sold off. 20 years later, the Carousel Society was formed with the sole purpose of obtaining funds to bring the original carousel back to Silver Beach.

      Unfortunately, they were unable to fund the project before the carousel was sold to someone in Washington State. So instead, they raised money to create a whole new carousel, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it! I worked at a Silver Beach Museum, and the proceeds went to building this new development. I was able to meet the Carousel Designers from Carousel Works in Ohio, and witness just how much work and detail goes into a carousel! Who knew?

    9. I have a pet turtle

      I was slightly intoxicated on a spring break trip in Panama City, and came home with a baby turtle. It’s impossible to tell the gender of a turtle until they’re older, so I named my turtle Oliver. Welp, it’s a girl! So she’s still Oliver, but more like Olive(r).

    10. According to Ancestry.com, I’m a Real McCoy

      Not from the TV show, but like, the real McCoys. The Hatfield/McCoy feud. I’ll definitely be writing about this later.

If You Don’t Have a Library Card, You Should.

Card Catalog

If you’re like me, you haven’t thought about the library since college.

Honestly, I think I’ve replaced the idea of a ‘library that you check out books’ with ‘a library is a place to sit and study until 2am’. I distinctly remember thinking, “I cannot wait until I can read a book I want to read and not one that I have to read!”. So after college, I started buying books at Target and on Amazon, bought a Kindle (decided I prefer reading real books) and I’ve spent so. much. money. on books in the last few years.

Then one day I was like, “What’s that place? A library? A building filled with books, that I can go to for free, and read the books… for free?” It was almost like remembering your best friend from elementary school and realizing they live next door (exciting!).

The Chicago Public Library System is awesome. I went in and got my library card immediately, and here’s what I learned:

  1. The CPL website is how you’re going to find out if your book is on the shelf, and where it’s located.
  2. If the book you want is checked out already, you can put yourself on a waiting list and you’ll receive an email when it’s ready to be picked up. They’ll put your name on the cover and place it on a “hold shelf” (organized by last name). Then, you go and pick up your book! They actually ship books across Chicago based on where the next hold in line is, so you don’t have to wait too long.
  3. They have new books! All those books I was buying at Target and on Amazon were at the lib this whole time. Who knew?
  4. You don’t use a real card catalog or talk to a librarian. In Chicago, even the checkout process is with a machine. (I kinda miss the smell of the card catalog tbh).

I have a renewed love for the library, and I think you will, too! I’ve made a goal in 2018 to read as many books as I can. Check them out here!