For true DIY brides, it doesn’t end with crafting guest favors or painting your table numbers. One of the most ambitious (and fun) DIY projects you can take on is putting together your wedding flowers, and we wanted to help out by sharing 10 tips for shopping at your local flower market!
Without a doubt, we are lucky ladies to reside in Los Angeles near one of the largest flower markets in the country. If you aren’t sure if anything similar exists in your area, we seriously urge you to do a little research. We were surprised to see that some of the smaller cities we didn’t think would have a wholesale mart or flower market actually did! Another great option is to check with the flower market in the biggest city near you to see if any of the vendors will ship, or use a flower delivery service like Flower Muse or Blooms by the Box, whose sole purpose is to provide bulk wholesale flowers to their customers.
We’re excited to take you on a little journey through the LA Market + share some of our best tips along the way! The Original Los Angeles Flower Market is located at 754 Wall St (between 7th + 8th) Los Angeles, 90014. There is a $1 cash entrance fee to enter the mart on Saturdays + $2 to enter on weekdays. Hours for the public: Mondays + Wednesdays 8:00am – 12:00pm / Tuesdays 6:00am – 11:00am / Thursdays 6:00am – 12:00pm / Fridays 8:00am – 2:00pm / Saturdays 6:00am – 2:00pm.
GWS Tip #1: If you are planning to DIY your flowers for a wedding or larger event, consider placing an order with a vendor first. This maximizes your ability to get exactly what you want, in the right colors and quantities. Another bonus: you will be given an invoice with a price quote, which can be preferable to aimlessly wandering around with cash in hand (more on that in just a bit…). Not all vendors will allow for orders without a wholesale license, so we recommend doing a scouting trip first and finding a handful of vendors you like. Talk to them about your desire to place an order + they will often be very helpful and possibly even give you special pricing on your order since you are buying in bulk. Love that!
Occasionally, you may arrive to pick up your order and your vendor will let you know that one (or a few) items didn’t make it or became unavailable at the last minute. Expect that this can happen and then shop their floor for something similar (or sometimes even better!) to take the missing item’s place. Flexibility is key, friends! :)
*Note about bulk pricing / minimums: Almost all items sold at the flower mart are sold in bulk or bunches. Typically, you will not be able to create your own quantities or buy single stems.
GWS Tip #2: Wear comfortable clothing + shoes! This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth a reminder that you’ll be walking around quite a bit, carrying heavy bunches of blooms, so make sure you’re super comfy!
GWS Tip #3: Browse, but don’t be afraid to snatch up something if you really want it. Comparison shopping is very important at a place like the flower market where many vendors carry similar items, so doing an initial pass of the whole mart is a good idea to check quality and prices. That said, if you LOVE something and it feels unique or limited in quantity, we highly recommend you consider purchasing it then so you won’t regret it later if you come back and it’s gone!
GWS Tip #4: Stop at different points to make sure what you are buying is cohesive and will look good together. Every so often, pull off into a corner to check your merchandise. Things to look for: a nice, cohesive color palette, enough focal blooms, but enough fillers too, and a good variety so you don’t end up wasting items that look too similar to something else.
GWS Tip #5: The Los Angeles Flower Market also sells plants, like bougainvillea, succulents, air plants + ferns, so if you are looking to incorporate plants into your decor – or buy something rad for your home or yard – consider purchasing from the flower market!
GWS Tip #6: Set a budget ahead of time. We think the easiest thing to do is shop with cash. Most vendors prefer cash anyway (and a few don’t accept credit cards or have minimums) and this allows you to control how much you spend overall. Believe us, it’s easy to get caught up in the beauty around you, so for all of our fellow flower lovers who might come home with way more than you need, make sure to plan ahead!
GWS Tip #7: Shop for floral supplies at the flower mart. Aside from fresh cut blooms, you can purchase clippers, foam, floral tape, vessels, votives and more at great prices. We also saw a ton of amazing decor items, like branches + tree stumps that you can mix with flowers + incorporate into your wedding design!
GWS Tip #8: If you’ve placed a rather large order with one vendor, you may be able to pay for your order and ask them to hold your items on their shelving units for you, so you can keep shopping + pick everything up later. This will keep everything in tact (no dropping or bumping fragile items into people or walls!) and is definitely a better idea than stashing your flowers in the car so you can keep browsing hands-free. Some vendors start to pack up earlier than others, so it’s a good idea to get there early + ask the vendor when they close, especially if you are leaving your purchases with them while you keep shopping!
*Off the record insider tip: Most vendors will usually let you pull from their carts, even as they are rolling them away to pack up. So if they are closing, but you see something you’ve just gotta have, don’t be shy – grab it!
GWS Tip #9: If your wedding or event is on a Saturday, it’s probably going to be best to buy your flowers on the Thursday or Friday before. Talk to the vendors about what will open up in time, or what might open too quickly. Typically, once the flowers are outside of their ideal refrigerated environment, and you re-cut the stems and place them in cold water, they will start the process of opening up almost immediately.
GWS Tip #10: Once you get home, make sure to unpack + prep all of your flowers right away. Almost every item sold at the flower market is unprocessed, so you will need to remove excess leaves + give the stems a fresh cut before placing them in water. And keep your blooms in the darkest + coolest place you can think of, as sunlight and heat will cause flowers to open prematurely or wilt.
For LA DIY-ers, after making your way around the Flower Market, you might want to pop over to Moskatels, a Michaels/Joann type craft store near to the market that has even more supplies + decor at super great prices!
We hope you feel inspired to try your hand at flower arranging after reading through our tips! Are any of you planning to DIY the floral design for your wedding, a friend’s bridal shower, or next dinner party? Do tell, we’d love to hear!
Thanks so much to Katie Pritchard for the photos!
to your wedding faves