Why pay $60 for a centerpiece when you can pay $15? Once you have some supplies, you can make your own professional looking flower arrangements in less than an hour.
In my last post, How to Shop at the Los Angeles Flower Market, I detailed the steps to shop wholesale in LA. After shadowing my friends Julie and Linda on their flower shopping trips, I went over to their houses to learn about how they make their flower arrangements.
Professional Looking Flower Arrangements
Step 1: Plan Where You Will Get Your Flowers
Plan to go to your local flower market or the grocery store for flowers. If I can’t get to the flower market, I like to get flowers at Costco and Trader Joe’s. I find Vons in Hermosa Beach has the best local orchids which last for months.
The best time to buy flowers is 1-2 days before you want to make the arrangements. This gives the blooms about two days to open up (especially roses).
Try to make the actual arrangements on the morning of the party.
Step 2: Get Your Supplies and Plan Flower Colors & Sizes
- Get 3-5 short glass vases for the dining table. These square vases are great. Alternatively, go to the dollar store, T.J. Maxx or Home Goods for some inexpensive containers.
- Have a few other vases on hand of different heights for entertaining spaces. For orchids, get a bowl-shaped vase which will be tall enough to cover the plastic orchid pots.
- Banana leaves to wrap around the flowers. An alternative to using banana leaves is wrapping the vase in ribbon or burlap.
- Choose your color scheme before going shopping for flowers. Do you want a mixture of colors or the same color in different shades? Julie likes the colors purple and yellow together. They are complimentary colors on the color wheel, so they help brighten each other. Julie likes to add variations in color (like orange) and add green or white as neutrals.
- Have an idea of the size of flowers you want. For dining table centerpieces, the bouquet should be small and short, so it sits low on the table.
- Choose flowers with different bloom sizes and textures. Julie usually has both “thriller”(main flowers) and “filler”(greens) along with background flowers in the same arrangement.
- Try to use flowers that are in season. They are easier to find and will be the best pickings.
- Buy a bag of green moss to hide soil for potted plant arrangements (like orchids).
- Avoid buying fragrant flowers for dining tables. They will compete with the food.
Step 3: Prep Your Flowers
- Once the flowers are home, cut at least 2″ off of the stem, at an angle. The angles create more surface area for the flowers to absorb water. Place the freshly cut flowers in water. They are thirsty!
- Trim all the leaves off.
- Keep them in cold water with flower food or a teaspoon of bleach to fight off mold – your flowers’ enemy.
- Keep the flowers away from direct sunlight and in a cool location.
Step 4: Create Your Arrangements
- Make a grid on top of the vase with scotch tape, or secure the bouquet with a rubber band before placing it in the vase.
- Wrap the stems in banana leaves in the short, square vases. They have a beautiful green color, and the width of the leaf is the perfect size for this type of centerpiece. If you don’t have leaves, wrap the vase with ribbon or burlap instead.
- Consider where you will place your arrangements and at what angle they will be seen. For instance, if the arrangement will be up against the wall, it can be arranged as a semi-circle.
- Start with a central flower and add other flowers around it.
- Start arranging with the heartiest flowers, as they can handle being jostled around.
- Try to end with the most delicate.
And there you have it! Your creations with a lot of love. And a lot less $$! Are you ready to make your own professional looking flower arrangements? If you haven’t already, check out my blog post on How to Shop at the Los Angeles Flower Market. I hope this post was helpful to you! Leave a comment if you can!