My biggest piece of advice would be to Pin, Pin, Pin -- start a few boards on Pinterest and collect far more ideas than you think you will need. Pin ideas for corsages, bouquets, flower arrangements, etc. Pin color combination ideas. Pin texture ideas. Pin bouquet shapes that you like or boutonniere components. Get LOTS of ideas.
(Note: the photos in this post are mine and do not correspond to the links posted throughout this post.)
The big question is -- where to get your flowers? If you happen to have a retail merchant license (so you can collect sales tax) then you can order directly from the wholesalers nearby to you. If not, you might want to consider ordering flowers online and having them delivered via FedEx. We have had good results the two times we have used this method. You would want to check out places such as this.
If neither of these options worked for me, or I wanted to stick to a very small budget, I would consider buying flowers at places like Sam's Club, Costco, Trader Joe's or Target. In fact, roses at Sam's Club and Costco might just be the cheapest rose option anywhere! Have you ever looked at the bouquets sitting at Trader Joe's or Costco waiting for people to take home and throw them in a vase? Many of them already look like they would make beautiful bridesmaids bouquets -- all you need to do is pull them together, add more greenery if you wish, and wrap them up with ribbon. If you aren't too picky, this would be a great option!
Here are two sites with helpful articles on doing your own wedding flowers:
Below is a picture of flowers that arrived by FedEx. Wherever you get your flowers, they do need to be prepped before you start work. We always get our flowers and prep them on a Thursday, do the arranging on a Friday, and deliver them to the wedding on Saturday (assuming it is a Saturday wedding).
Read this article for information on how to prep your flowers:
Check out this tutorial for boutonnieres.
Check out this tutorial for corsages.
And check out this tutorial for wrist corsages.
Here is a video of a florist making a bridesmaid's bouquet, giving full instructions.
And here is another tutorial for making bouquets.
And finally, here is an excellent video tutorial on making your basic wedding floral arrangements for church or reception.
We try to keep our bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres in the fridge or a cold room over night. We leave the stems long on the bouquets and then cut them off shorter the morning of the wedding before covering the stems in ribbon.
For those of you that are game to try, I hope that you have fun and enjoy making things of beauty!
And special wishes to my sister, Christina, who will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow and at the same time doing the wedding flowers of a friend. I can't wait to see the photos!