Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on the blog in 2018. It’s currently the most popular post in the archives. I’m reposting it with updated links and fresh tips to create your own bouquet bar for a special event. This post contains affiliate links to help you shop. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase from these links.
Our downtown hosts an annual Ladies Night event. Our great community of small businesses stays open late one evening in the fall. Guests explore main street to shop, dine, enjoy fancy cocktails, and get treated to special discounts and giveaways. For the first Ladies Night in 2018, we wanted to do something BIG. I spotted this pin of a ‘Bouquet Bar’ at a bridal shower, and decided to set up our own version of a blooming bar!
It was a huge hit that night! All the women were so surprised and thrilled to be gifted with fresh flowers. It gave our team all the warm-and-fuzzies to share that experience with them. I highly recommend adding a bouquet bar to a special event, shower, or party. In this post, I spill all the details to help you create your own!
On to the set up!
If you have a small group, set up buckets a variety of fresh flowers and let each person make and wrap their own bundle of blooms. In an intimate setting, this would be perfect 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 prep ahead and design 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 and added a personal touch that elevated the ‘pampering’ experience. Plus, it prevented flower breakage as the bundles were removed from the buckets.
Bonus points if you #shoplocal and buy them directly 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; we offer 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, and back up your purchase with a freshness guarantee.
TIP:: 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 stop the party to sweep up piles of discarded stems.
I used these $1.99 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.
If your guests are going the DIY bouquet bar route, have these supplies on hand:
- a big roll of kraft paper
- assorted satin ribbon and/or jute twine
- a good pair of sharp scissors
- a large clean table for wrapping
TIP:: Here’s a helpful video on how to wrap fresh flower bundles!
Since we had limited time and space for wrapping on-site during the event, I opted for these kraft paper wine gift bags. They were the perfect height to protect the stems of the bouquet. And the reinforced handles allowed easy carrying as guests visited other shops and restaurants through the evening. You can buy a pack of 50 on Amazon for $25.
I displayed all the bags near the front of the line in this super-cute basket from IKEA.
Here’s an example of how we typically wrap our market-style bouquets to give you an idea of how your guests can wrap their bouquet bar creations. We like to add a sheet of tissue paper and finish with a satin bow for a fun pop of color and a little extra texture.
A hand-lettered ‘Bouquet Bar’ sign is my favorite part of this set up! My little chalkboard easel signs helped guide guests with easy directions; like ‘Take A Bag!‘ and ‘Pick Your Cocktail!‘ 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 to make your sign. Just hang it on the wall behind your bouquet bar.
TIP:: I use a washable chalk marker for all my signs around the shop. I always need several (or twenty) revisions when I make hand-lettered signs.
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.