Last week, our downtown hosted Ladies Night: a free, open-house-style block party where women (and men!) could shop, dine, enjoy fancy cocktails, and get treated to special discounts and giveaways from our great community of small businesses. We knew we wanted to do something BIG for the ladies who came to the event — we all deserve a little extra pampering and TLC, especially these days — and when I spotted this pin of a ‘Bouquet Bar’ for a bridal shower, I knew we had to do [some version of] it.
It was a huge hit that night! All the women were so surprised and thrilled to be gifted with fresh flowers, and it gave our team all the warm-and-fuzzies to be able to share that experience with them. I thought I’d share my DIY bouquet bar set up with you guys; if you’re planning a bridal/baby shower, having a big party, or need something special to celebrate the ladies in your church, community or workplace, I highly recommend it!
If you have a small group, you can fill several buckets with a variety of fresh flowers and let each person make and wrap their own bundle of blooms for a hands-on, collaborative experience. In our case, we planned to serve 350 ladies in just 2.5 hours, so we needed to get them through the shop quickly; we opted for pre-made, hand-tied bundles that they could grab and go. Since it was Ladies Night, we wanted a fun boozy theme for our bouquet bar, so I designed the bundles by color and named them after specialty cocktails: a sunflower bundle was a ‘Tequila Sunrise‘; light pink roses and carnations made a ‘Cosmopolitan’; a mix of hot pinks and purples was a ‘Strawberry Daiquiri‘; peach roses and carnations made a ‘Fuzzy Navel‘; and a petite mix with lavender mums was a ‘Lavender Martini‘.
I put my handsome husband behind the ‘bar’ as our bartender; each lady picked their favorite ‘cocktail’ and he ‘served’ them. This helped the line move quickly, added a personal touch that elevated the ‘pampering’ experience, and prevented flower breakage as the bundles were removed from the buckets. Plus, he’s super cute and charming, so the ladies love him. *wink*
On to the set up!
Bonus points if you #shoplocal and support a small business by purchasing them from your local florist. Many flower shops are willing to sell their fresh cut flowers directly to clients by the bunch or case; we call this ‘market-style’ in our shop. Ask your florist if they offer volume discounts for bulk orders; for example, our shop gives a small price break per bunch if you buy a whole case. Your florist can help you find the best flowers for your bouquet bar’s theme and budget.
I recommend cutting your stems to the desired length as part of your set up process. This way you won’t have to do any trimming during your event, which means less supplies and less mess: your guests can grab and/or assemble their bundles and get straight to wrapping; and you won’t have to sweep up piles of discarded stems.
I used these $0.99 3-gallon trash bins from IKEA; they’re sturdy, easy to clean and cute!
I skipped water in the bouquet bar buckets so we wouldn’t have to worry about a mess, slippery floors, or soggy bags for our guests. If you go this route, keep your flowers hydrated in other large buckets* with water that you’ve previously sterilized by washing with hot water and bleach. Then do a quick transfer shortly before the event begins; the flowers will be fine out of water for several hours. We instructed each lady to cut her flowers and put them in fresh water as soon as she got home.
* We love using white 5-gallon utility buckets from Walmart or Lowes to process and store our flowers around the shop; they’re cheap, stackable and easy to clean.
Since we had limited time and space for wrapping 350 bundles on-site during the event, I used kraft paper gift bags for wine that the ladies could drop their bundles into; they were the perfect height for the bouquets, and the reinforced handles made it easy for the ladies to carry them around as they visited other shops and restaurants through the evening. You can buy a pack of 50 on Amazon for $25.
I displayed all the bags in a big metal tub and this super-cute basket from IKEA near the front of the line. When the bags ran out, I knew we were done for the night.
A cute sign!
A hand-lettered ‘Bouquet Bar’ sign is my favorite part of this set up! I have several chalkboard signs lying around the shop, but here’s an easy hack: find an unused photo frame/old framed art print around the house (or your local thrift store) and paint the glass with chalkboard paint. (Warning: once you start painting things with chalkboard paint, you will want to paint all the things with chalkboard paint!)
You can also use a large white poster board or a big piece of kraft paper and a large colorful marker to make your sign; just hang it on the wall behind your bouquet bar.
I use a washable chalk marker for all my signs around the shop; I love them because I always need several (or twenty) revisions when I’m making a hand-lettered sign, and they make all my chalkboard signs reusable. I used little chalkboard easel signs from Michaels to make ‘Take A Bag!‘ and ‘Pick Your Cocktail!‘ signs, but you can’t see the latter in the photos, dang it.
Finally, I labeled all our ‘cocktails’ with cute boozy tags I found in a stationery set in my office — I love when my paper hoarding pays off, lol — but any pretty card would do; even if you aren’t doing a cocktail theme, your guests will probably appreciate seeing the flower names on the buckets.
I wish I had a shot of the final setup with the crates under the table, but I had lots (and lots!) of bouquets to make as our guests arrived. I made over 400 bundles of blooms between that afternoon and evening, and it was well worth all the hard work to make so many ladies feel special and appreciated. *heart-eye emoji*