After Kevin and I became engaged and I started wedding planning, I had the startling revelation (like many brides before me) that weddings are...expensive. Big surprise there, right? Whether you're planning a wedding or not, most of us know that the average wedding isn't cheap, and even the smallest elements of your day can cost you a pretty penny if you aren't careful. When I started budgeting out our wedding, I knew right away what things I wanted to spend money on and what things I didn't. One thing that I didn't want to splurge on were flowers. Don't get me wrong, fresh flower bouquets are gorgeous....but they also cost a LOT of money, and as I mentioned in previous posts I felt like putting most of our budget toward the venue and band instead.
After deciding not to use fresh flowers, there was only one other option I considered: fabric flowers. Now there are many ways to assemble fabric flowers, but most normal, sane people head to their local craft store, buy some fabric flowers, stick 'em to a bouquet base and BAM you're done! But since I'm crafty and overly ambitious, I decided to make my fabric flowers by hand. Each and every one. And not just for the bouquets, but for the boutonnieres and wrist corsages as well. Since I knew this was a tall order, I started making flowers two months after we were engaged so I would have ten whole months to get 'em done, and by golly it only took me four!
I first started making the flowers out of scrap fabric that I had around the house, but eventually went to JoAnn's and found another sheer synthetic fabric that was similar for the rest. Each flower was made using the same technique used here, except I decided not to snip the petals into four different sections. The center of each flower was either hand-beaded or decorated with some vintage buttons found here on Etsy. After all the flowers were made I had to figure out how to make them into bouquets. That's when I stumbled upon this tutorial where the bride made hers using a wire whisk. Brilliant! I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of $1 whisks, bent them into a round shape and spraypainted them the same color of the flowers so the shiny metal couldn't peek through.
I stuffed the inside of each whisk with some cheesecloth (which is super lightweight), which you can find at your local Target or fabric store. To attach the flowers to the whisk, I hot glued small metal alligator clips (found here) to the back of each one and simply clipped them onto the whisk. This was handy in many ways- not only did it allow me to move the flowers around until I got the arrangement I liked, but it also allows each bridesmaid to take the flowers off the bouquet and use them for something else if she chooses. Each handle was wrapped in felt, wrapped again in twine, and finished off with some scraps of lace.
I felt so accomplished once the bouquets were done, but I wasn't done yet! I also created boutonnieres for the guys: 5 for the groomsmen, a navy blue one for my groom to match my bouquet, two for the dads and one for my grandpa.
These were made with smaller versions of the same flowers and were attached to a simple cardboard leaf cut-out. Since I had some green fabric left over from my fabric-dying classes in college, I used it to cut out some random leaf shapes which were attached to the cardboard backing with hot glue, topped off by the flower. I then took a wood skewer, wrapped that in twine, and attached it to the back with hot glue as well. (As you can tell I used a hot glue gun a lot for this stuff, and I have the burns to prove it!) I also attached a pin to the back to make the pinning process easier on the guys.
Now on to the wrist corsages for the moms and grandmas!
These followed the same assembly concept as the boutonnieres, except the leaves and flowers were attached to some pre-made corsage wristlets bought at Hobby Lobby that look something like this. The metal base of the wristlet was big enough where I could just hot glue the leaves and flowers directly onto it, which made it super easy.
And there you have it! For any other brides interested in making fabric flowers for their wedding, if you have the time and patience to do it I say go for it! I personally think they'll make a big visual statement at the wedding, and I love the fact that the people who receive them can keep them as keepsakes for years to come. After all, this day only happens once- why not create some mementos that can remind you of it?
*POST UPDATE*Now that Kevin and I are all married and got our photos back from our photographer, I figured I would include the professional photos of my fabric bouquets and boutonnieres in addition to my previously posted amateur ones. Enjoy!