DIY bridesmaid bouquet alternatives! These decorative fans are an awesome alternative to expensive bridesmaid bouquets. They’re distinctive, a twist on the ordinary and cost just $10 each to make!
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DIY Bridesmaid Bouquet Alternatives: Decorative Fans
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this DIY Wedding Florals series – DIY Wedding Hair Comb for $12 – I love fresh flowers but I just cannot justify the cost for a few hours’ worth of floral enjoyment on our wedding day. Here in Part 2 of my DIY Wedding Florals series I’ll teach you how to make my gorgeous DIY bridesmaid bouquet alternatives for about $10 each!
Let me put that in context for you so you can understand how Totally Frickin’ Awesome that pricetag is.
On average, the cost of bridesmaids’ bouquets ranges from $30 (on the very cheap end for a basic, small bouquet) to $125, depending on where you live, what’s in season, what flowers you choose, the size of the bouquets, etc. But let’s say we take the median and call the average cost of a bridesmaid bouquet $48.
Corsages run about $10 to $30. So we’ll call that $20.
I have 4 bridesmaids, and between my fiance and I we have 3 mother figures and a sister we would normally provide corsages for on our big day. If I were an average, less frugal bride, I would be spending about $272 on florals for the women in my wedding party/family.
However, being the Pennywise Bride that I am, I will only be spending $84.61, for a total savings of $187.39! Mmmhmm!
Why You Need a DIY Bridesmaid Bouquet Alternative
Considering the high cost of real flowers, let me preface by saying I wouldn’t recommend entirely foregoing something for you and your maids to clutch during the ceremony. Historically, of course, people bathed about once a year and they generally stank, so the bride carried a bouquet of flowers to help cover up her musk.
However, that tradition stuck around long after daily personal hygiene became popular with the invention of, you know, SOAP, and there are some practical reasons for that.
The first relates to nerves. If you’re working with a hetero/traditionally gendered wedding, the guys are wearing suits and have pockets to tuck their hands into if they get nervous and fidgety about being ‘on stage’ in front of a crowd of people. Unless you’re a ballin’ modern bride and you got your maids’ dresses with pockets in them – or your ladies will be sporting suits like the guys – your girls may need something to do with their hands during the ceremony to prevent fidgeting and make them feel more comfortable.
Second, both the guys and girls having somewhere to put their hands also helps your photographer stage well-arranged photos. Arms hanging loosely at sides in photos can look a little awkward and weird. So long story short, the bouquet (or alternative!) serves a practical purpose.
But instead of bouquets for my bridesmaids, I decided on a DIY bridesmaid bouquet alternative. Viola! Decorative fans!
What You’ll Need for Your DIY Bridesmaid Bouquet Alternative
I found some sandalwood fans online that were designed as guest favors for hot outdoor weddings, so I snagged 10 of them at a local wedding store for less than $2 each! I only have 4 bridesmaids but I thought it would be nice to do one for both my and my fiance’s mom, his stepmom, and his sister, in lieu of corsages. Then because they were so cheap and I’m cautious, I got 2 extra in case I screwed any up in the DIY process!
I hit up Michael’s craft store during a huge BOGO free sale on their spring florals and I loaded up! I bought a couple cans of ivory spray paint with a 40% off coupon, and because it was January, I hit the Christmas overstock sale and snagged some beautiful white ribbon to tie to the fans to have a nice delicate trail hanging from the bottom.
Here’s the cost breakdown:
8 fans: $18.08 ($2 each, plus tax)
2 cans of spray paint: $13.20 after 40% off coupons (I bought them 2 days in a row, since you can only use one coupon a day)
20ish glue sticks: $1.50
2 rolls of ribbon: $12.23
Total: $84.61 = $10.58 per fan
Now that I’ve given you the dirt on the cost, I’ll move on to the instructions so you can get your save on with these DIY bridesmaid bouquet alternatives too! 😉
What you’ll need:
Fans: I found mine at a local wedding store, The Wedding Shoppe (because while being Pennywise I try to support my local economy as much as I can), but you can likely find very similar ones somewhere near you, or online. You can also get them on Amazon right here. I did end up experimenting on one of them and fortunately the experiment was successful, but it can’t hurt to order one or two more than you need, just in case. They’re so cheap!
Spray paint: My wedding colour palette is greens, blues, grey, ivory, and pops of gold. My girls will be wearing mismatched dresses in blues and greens, so I chose a light ivory/warm white for the fans so they will pop against the girls’ dresses. But the possibilities are endless, depending on what you want. Consider your wedding colour palette, and what kind of florals or other adornments you think you might like, and go from there.
The great thing about spray paint nowadays is that you can get metallics and textured paints, you could spray them ombre in multiple colours, do a rainbow, do a different colour for each of your girls (though keeping in mind that will cost extra for different colours of paint), etc. Get creative! This is going to be WAY cheaper than flowers, so have some fun with it!
Florals/adornments: Given my palette and the fact that my hubby-to-be and I have focused on greenery and plants in our wedding decor, I went more conventional and chose white roses, some blue nobbly flower, wispy pale greenery, eucalyptus and dusty miller. But you could do one sunflower for each girl against a deep purple fan for something that really pops, or go dark and romantic with red roses against a black fan, or even add in beads, vintage keys, fake fruit, or decorative birds and butterflies.
Just a note here: Generally speaking with florals and other decor, odd numbers look best. So I had 1 large rose as the focal point, then chose odd numbers for the other sprigs (1,3,5, or 7).
Ribbon: Optional, but I wanted something soft to flutter down from the fan, so I chose a white shiny satin. A deep colour satin ribbon would also be gorgeous and would make a beautiful bow. Some classic lace would be lovely too! I think burlap is on its way out as a ‘ribbon’ style, but you could use that too if you’re going for a more rustic look.
Glue sticks and gun: I ended up using most of a pack of 20 I got at the dollar store. I already had a glue gun but if you don’t have one, you can also pick these up for literally $2 at most dollar stores.
How to Make Your DIY Bridesmaid Bouquet Alternative
1) The fans I bought were threaded through with delicate fishing wire to hold them together, which was great. But I wanted the fan to stay open and stable so it didn’t mess up the floral arrangement. So I held the fan open completely (without forcing it too far) and filled in a thick strip of hot glue along the back near the base of the fan and held it open carefully while the glue dried. This will be hidden on the back and under the paint, so you will never see the glue and it will make sure the fan stays open.
2) After gluing all the fans, I took them outside and placed a few at a time in a large cardboard box to be spray painted (the box keeps the paint from spraying everywhere in the breeze). I gave each side a thorough coat and made sure the paint got into the intricate cut-outs. Let them dry thoroughly in a safe place away from the elements (at least a few hours, but next day is better).
3) I placed some of the floral sprigs onto the fan to get a visual of how I wanted to arrange them before I committed to the glue. I set that one aside as a model, then proceeded to copy it with the next fan (you could also just take a photo of your ‘model’, but I found it easier to have it right there in front of me). I glued the bottom layers/large flat leaves on first before building it up with other items, and finally attached the focal point white rose on top. Be careful not to have globs of glue visible, but don’t be shy with the glue gun! You want to make sure the adornments are very secure.
You could make all your fans a bit different from each other, but I opted to try to make them as identical as possible. Since my girls will be in different dresses/colours, I wanted something uniform that would pull the look together.
4) Finish off the fans with the ribbon (if desired). I glued mine in three separate strips to the back of the fan, then cut the ends on an angle and at three different lengths for an aesthetic finish.
5) You could also take a gold sharpie and write a little note to each of your girls and your moms on the back of the fan, just as a little special touch. Unlike perishable bouquets, this is something they may actually keep as a souvenir from your wedding. <3
I’m SO excited to see what you come up with for your own bridesmaid bouquet alternatives! Please post your comments/questions/pictures of your amazing finished product below.
Happy Pennywise crafting!
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