For timelines, it really depends on what kind of flowers you are getting and this is information your florist/nursery will be able to help you with. For example: when I picked up my peonies, they were in various stages of being tightly closed and slightly open. However, because they’re a hardy flower, I was able to give the tightly-closed flowers a hot water soak (refreshing the hot vase water every few hours, until I was happy with their “opening progress”) and the rest I just let sit outside in the cool air (it dropped into the 60s at night, so it was just like keeping them in a cooler!!).
If you still have time, buy a few flowers that you plan to use in your arrangements and play around with them. By doing this, I learned that I COULD NOT USE hydrangea in my boutonnieres, because they’d wilt overnight without water. However, the roses and fillers I used stood up just fine. Also, when I did my test arrangements, I stored the bulk flowers and finished arrangements at room-temp (~75 F) for several days and never saw any wilting.
Here’s my timeline:
Thursday: Flower pickup.
-Make sure to have plenty of 5-gallon buckets with you to store the flowers in and a way to stabilize them in your car (your florist should be able to give you an idea of how many you’ll need; you can pick them up from the hardware store).
-When you get the flowers home, you’ll want to process them – basically, this means taking a sharp knife and cutting off the bottoms of the stems at a diagonal cut then placing them in water IMMEDIATLY (once cut, you don’t want them out of water for more than 15 seconds).
-If you’re going with a hot water bath to force the blooms, Thursday evening was when I did it. ***WARNING!!*** Not all flowers can take hot water baths!! Depending on the flower type, hot water may kill it!!
Friday: Making arrangements.
-12 Quart mason jar arrangements, 14 pint mason jar arrangements, 8 boutonnieres, 6 corsages, and 3 bouquets took about 4 hours with my MoH (who had flower arranging experience; she did all the corsages/boutonnieres/bouquets, then made samples of the other arrangements for my family members to arrange) and 3 helpers.
-Remember, when you’re arranging the blooms, you may have to trim the stems again… follow the two golden rules: have-it-out-of-water-for-less-than-15-seconds and trim-at-a-diagonal.
-For the corsages and boutonnieres, stay away from delicate flowers; we used roses and filler because those flowers are SUPER hardy and will survive without water overnight. We stored them in the refrigerator.
-For the bouquets, as we were wrapping the handles in ribbon, we left the bottom portion of the stems exposed so we could put them in a shallow vase of water. They just sat in their vases on the countertops in the backyard with the rest of the flowers overnight, enjoying the nice 60 degree weather. Same with the rest of the completed arrangements. Had I kept the arrangements inside (at ~72 degree F), they would have been just fine because the air temperatures were not hot enough to wilt the roses or peonies. However, I didn’t want to take any chances with my hydrangeas, as they were more delicate. So, outside they went.
– Our wedding was in the evening, so we transported everything in the early afternoon (I was getting my hair done while this was happening).
-Make sure your attendants / whoever is helping you know which arrangements go where so they can help during setup. As a DIY bride, you can’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others.
-Backup arrangements, in case something gets lost or broken, is never a bad idea and can always be used as decoration elsewhere if it’s not needed (better safe than sorry)