Monday, December 18, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

DIY bridal bouquets in bloom

MINNEAPOLIS — When Natasha Cronen got married last September, she knew exactly what her bridal bouquet would look like, down to the petal.

That's because she had made it herself, two days earlier, along with all the other flowers for her wedding.

Cronen, of Woodbury, Minn., and her bridesmaids gathered at Market Flowers near the Minneapolis Farmers Market to craft coral and white roses into bouquets, centerpieces, corsages and boutonnieres.

"I had never done anything like that before," said Cronen, who had worried that doing all the flowers might be stressful or that her friends would get bored. "Actually, it was a lot of fun."

She loved the way her flowers turned out. "I got a ton of compliments on them." And she also saved money, spending about $500 total on wedding flowers versus the $2,000 she would have paid to have a florist create similar pieces, she estimated.

The explosion of online tools and scrapbook boards, along with the trend toward casual outdoor weddings with simple floral arrangements, have fueled a wave of DIYers trying their hand at wedding flowers. With how-to instructions just a Google search away and inspirational photos abloom on Pinterest, amateurs now have the resources they need to nurture their inner florist.

"It's really grown," said Diane Barriball, owner of Market Flowers in Minneapolis, which started offering use of its facilities to DIYers several years ago. They can preorder the flowers they want or choose from what's available, make their creations at one of six design stations, then store them in the cooler for a day or two before the big event.

The first year it offered the service, Market Flowers hosted one or two DIY groups, Barriball said. Last year, they were booked every weekend from May through October — not just for weddings but for graduations, class parties, dance recitals and other occasions. And not just for women. "We've had guys — a few grooms, brothers and dads," she noted.

"It's the whole Pinterest, Etsy thing," Barriball said. "And the whole vintage, outdoorsy wedding thing lends itself to what we do."

Even some professional florists are starting to cater to the DIY crowd. Bachman's, another Minneapolis florist, offered its first DIY bridal floral class last fall, which sold out, said Leah Schmidt, wedding and events manager. "It was a big hit. DIY brides are full steam ahead."

At the most recent class, about two dozen women of all ages gathered in the cool, flower-fragrant basement of Bachman's flagship store in Minneapolis to learn how to make a bridesmaid's bouquet, using calla lilies, hydrangea, lisianthus and spray roses, plus two different styles of boutonnieres.

Some people who have taken the DIY classes show a knack for flowers, Schmidt said, while others decided it's more than they bargained for and end up ordering professionally done flowers. One of the hurdles for beginners is that they're often too timid about altering flowers to get the look they want. "People get nervous about taking the petals off, or the foliage," said Schmidt. "They don't realize how sturdy flowers are."

And while a talented DIYer can produce a pretty bouquet, it's tricky for an amateur to pull off the sophisticated designs many of today's brides want. "There are design elements that we study — line, structure and color — that the brain registers as beauty," Schmidt said. "Designers add all those elements. Some people naturally can do that, but most of us study the craft to know how to make that beauty happen."

In addition, struggling to create floral arrangements on a deadline at an already hectic time can be a recipe for stress. That's why she often advises brides on a tight budget to consider having a pro make the arrangements but then do the setup themselves, placing the centerpieces on tables and the altar flowers on the altar.

DIYers should be prepared to work independently, without much handholding, at Market Flowers. "We tell them to bring their own supplies and prepare as if we can't help you, but if we can help, we do," Barriball said.

Cronen got the tips and advice she needed to complete her arrangements. "Diane gave me a lot of good information about what flowers would be in season," said Cronen, who changed her floral plans as a result. "My colors were Tiffany blue and coral, and originally, I was thinking Gerbera daisies for my bridesmaids and hydrangea for myself. But Diane cautioned me, especially with that hot summer last year, that hydrangeas start turning brown very easily."

Barriball also let her know that daisies in her chosen color might be in short supply by the time of her September wedding. "The Gerbera daisies coming into season were mostly hot pink and baby pink; they weren't getting a lot of coral," Cronen said.

In the end, Cronen switched to roses to ensure getting the color and look she wanted. On the day of the project, "Diane put us on an assembly line, and showed me cool techniques and tricks for the day of the wedding, like how to open the flower heads to make them look fuller," Cronen said.

The process went so smoothly that Cronen's family and friends may do it again — with a different bride. "My maid of honor is getting married this August, and we might be going back."

Comments

Tell Me About It: Fianceís abrupt breakup feels like a death

Fianceís abrupt breakup feels like a deathQ: Arriving from a work trip, I texted my fiance that I had would be home soon. He responded with, "I love you. Iíll bring home pizza for dinner." Thirty minutes later: "Actually, I canít be in a relationship...
Published: 12/17/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 18-24.

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 18-24.

Gasparilla Bowl: The postseason college football game at Tropicana Field on Thursday brings Florida International University from Conference USA to play the Temple Owls from the American Athletic Conference. ($40-$80). gasparillabowl.com. The 8 p.m....
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/17/17

Tell Me About It: Thrown off by sudden, no-gift Christmas

Thrown off by sudden, no-gift ChristmasI am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin e-mails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my...
Published: 12/14/17
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Superstar Katy Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which arrives i...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Leave gender out of division of housework

Leave gender out of division of houseworkWhy is it that when a woman cares about the division of labor at home ó like her home being a decent level of clean ó she is considered to be overreacting?OK, Iíll get down from my soap box now. (Iíll also bre...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Overwhelmed parent weighs out options

Overwhelmed parent weighs out optionsQ: Since my kids were born, my job basically covered the cost of day care. The kids came home overtired and overstimulated.As they became preschool age, I restructured my work to freelance so I could drop off and ...
Published: 12/12/17

Tell Me About It: Identity of biological father is revealed

Identity of biological father is revealedQ: When I was 18, my mother revealed that the father I grew up with was not my biological father. She claimed she didnít even know my bio father, and never contacted him again after their brief weekend fling a...
Published: 12/11/17