DIY Paper Flower Wedding Centrepiece: Planning

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If you are planning for a DIY paper flower wedding centrepiece, you've found the perfect place to start! In this series, I will teach you how it's done.

When I began brainstorming ideas for my wedding, I knew I wanted flowers. I considered making fresh flower arrangements, but the last thing I wanted on the day before my wedding was to stress out about the flowers because they were wilting or I did not order enough. I was too Type-A to risk ugly floral arrangements and last minute emergencies. Paper flower arrangements or centrepieces, on the other hand, can be planned ahead of time and can be finalized way in advance. Sounds like my type of arrangement - totally under my control!

Defining Realistic Objectives

As excited as I was, I had to be realistic. I needed at least 17 centrepieces and 7 bouquets. To plan and execute properly, I needed to define my goal(s) and prioritize accordingly. You will too!

Here were my objectives:

  1. To create a beautiful flower arrangement
  2. To be easy to transport and pack
  3. To resemble real flowers as much as possible
  4. To be made within reasonable time
  5. To use all materials efficiently

The most difficult objectives to reconcile will be #3 and #4. You have to find a balance between making each flower look as real as possible and the time required to make each individual flower.

Since I designed my DIY paper flower wedding centrepiece based on the above criteria, in this series, I will post step-by-step tutorials of how to re-create my DIY paper flower wedding centrepiece based on this same criteria.

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The Plan

My plan was to create one prototype flower arrangement and duplicate it 17+ times for my centrepieces. I had ZERO experience creating floral arrangements, so naturally, I turned to You Tube for DIY tutorials. I found the tutorials from Astar’s Place the most helpful.

THE EYE IS LAZY!: The key insight I gained from Ms. Astar’s tutorials is this: the eye is lazy. You have to create interest in the arrangement so that your eye will travel around it. Otherwise, the arrangement will look very flat and uninteresting, and your eyes will literally glaze over it. Interest can be created by adding colour, texture, and dimension.

START WITH A COLOUR SCHEME: I started with the basic flowers I wanted to use, and added one flower at a time to gauge the colour combination and the shape of the arrangement. Even though my main colour scheme was purple, it was important to have a variety of flowers in different shades of purple to create subtle contrast in tones. Real flowers have that by their very nature - each flower is distinctively different from the other even if they are both purple roses. Paper flowers do not have the same quality. You have to create the contrast. In fact, even with a variety of flowers (which already has varying shapes and textures), the purple landscape was too monotone and flat. I added large white peonies and roses to break up the purple.

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CONSIDER TEXTURE TO CREATE VISUAL INTEREST: To create texture, I added carnations in dual tone of purple and white (which drew colours from the main flowers thereby bridging the different flowers) and hydrangeas and blue spires with fluttering petals.

I used a variety of types of papers to create texture and depth. The difference between fresh, real flowers versus paper flowers, is that fresh flowers naturally have unique textures and dimension. If you ever examine a real flower petal, it is not one colour, but a gradient of colours, some parts light, some parts dark. Some parts of a flower are shiny, while other parts are dull. In order to create the same type of texture and depth in a paper flower, you have to manipulate the materials you have. I found that using a variety of mediums within one arrangement helped create that illusion.

ADD DEPTH AND DIMENSION: Once I had the main flowers in place, I considered the types of foliage to use to “flush” out the arrangement to create dimension. This is called “greening” the arrangement. I wanted to create height at the top, so I added the May Nights. I also wanted to draw the eye out so I inserted lily grass around the arrangement. I needed to give some weight to the arrangement so I added lush eucalyptus leafs and large green foliage at the base. The green foliage acts as a background in which the flowers can pop. Lastly, I arranged the flowers at different heights to create depth.

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Once planned, each of my DIY paper flower wedding centrepiece had the following components:

  • 4 Carnations (in french violet)
  • 4 Carnations (in white and purple)
  • 2 Garden Roses (in white and french vanilla)
  • 4 Garden Rose Buds (in royal purple)
  • 2 Peonies (in white and french vanilla)
  • 4 Hydrangeas (in light purple)
  • 2 Blue Spires (in dark purple blue)
  • 3 May Nights (in magenta purple)
  • 4 Eucalyptus branches (in leaf green)
  • 4 Large green foliage (in medium green)
  • 5 Lily Grass Leaves (in light green)

(I used at least 25 flowers and 9 foliages in each arrangement. In the larger arrangements, I used about 30-35 flowers. In total, I made more than 600 flowers as I also used paper crepe flowers for the boutonnieres, corsages, and hanging glass balls).

Stayed tuned for my 1st tutorial for this DIY Paper Flower Wedding Centrepiece Series: Crepe Paper Carnations!

~ Jessie