By Carol O’Meara, Colorado State University Extension 

It all started with a simple question, a lady entering a florist shop and saying “I want to do my friend’s wedding flowers and am planning to do a cascade bouquet. Can you tell me how to do it?” But though the question was simple, the answer was not. Building the dramatic, draping floral design takes skill and experience, and Cherrie Silverman, owner of Cherry Blossoms Florist, 9975 Wadsworth Parkway in Westminster, gently explained to the well-intentioned but inexperienced client that what she was asking for could lead to trouble.

“I told her cascades typically take me two to three hours to make; do you want to take a chance it’ll fall apart as she walks down the aisle?” said Silverman, Certified Professional Florist with 31 years of experience and member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and American Academy of Floriculture. “I recommended hand tied bouquets and which flowers to use. She could make her something beautiful, but simpler, that will hold up.”

callaWedding day disasters are nothing new to florists, and flowers breaking apart are sure to cause panic.  “One girl came in saying her friend was getting married and another friend was doing the flowers.  But they kept falling apart so they stuck them in the freezer.”  Frozen blooms are often dead blooms, which isn’t exactly what the bride wanted to show up with at the altar.  Using what flowers she could salvage, Silverman whipped up six corsages, five bouquets, and six boutonnieres in an hour and a half.

To avoid this at her friends’ wedding, Silverman taught the inquisitive client to produce bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnieres.  The client was thrilled, and Silverman realized classes for the growing niche in being a Do-It-Yourself bride are needed.  Her D-I-Y Wedding Flower Class is a three hour workshop on how to envision, and fulfill, your bridal flower dreams.

“It’s the way trends are going, not just because of cost but because girls get a kick out of doing it themselves,” she said, “Girls like to feel they have a vested part of their wedding.  They don’t want to just hire it done; they’re making it their own.”

Though the internet has information on how to do arrangements, learning from a skilled instructor ensures the bride gets the personal attention, tips, and tricks for gorgeous flowers that last through the ceremony.   Participants learn to grid a vase for placements, correctly cut and process flowers, then create and refine flower plans, customizing the colors and flowers for their big day.  The plan includes amounts of flowers to order, something notoriously difficult to estimate by novices.

Purchasing flowers from Cherry Blossoms is optional for the bride, who can shop sources once they know their plan.  But Silverman offers competitive pricing on flowers that are pro quality and conditioned to last.  “I buy direct from California at good prices, this allows me to resell to the Do-it-yourself brides at less than they can get wholesale.”

Anyone can make a hand tied bouquet that’s lovely, even if you’re not gifted in creativity, says Silverman.  Making something classy with roses, hydrangeas, and lily grass is fun.  But if your dreams mean the more complicated cascades, consider hiring a pro.  “If you want something harder, that’s when you go to a florist.  They do the tough work, then you fill in the pieces you feel comfortable doing.”

Get a group to join you to share in the fun; classes are perfect for bridesmaids’ parties.  They’ll leave the class with bouquet, centerpiece, and boutonniere, plus the confidence to make their day special.

Colorado State University Extension provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information visit