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As most of you know, Preston Bailey is one of the top wedding and event planners in the country, if not the world. (If we were to describe him in fancier terms, he is known as a “master event planner and floral couturier” according to Amazon). He is renowned for creative, over-the-top designs and his ability to transform even very ordinary venues into lush, theatrical spaces.

Photo from the Preston Bailey Blog

His client list includes celebrities, royalty, Fortune 500 CEO’s and athletes, with famous notables such as as Oprah Winfrey, Ivanka Trump, Joan Rivers, Jennifer Hudson and Catherine Zeta-Jones entrusting their special events to him.


He has written six books, five of which are bestsellers. His latest offering is entitled Preston Bailey: Flowers and it is a must-look if you are seeking amazing inspiration for your wedding or event flowers. The book is full of “eye candy” photos demonstrating some of Bailey’s most creative floral designs, from floral sculptures, centerpieces, arches, and lush tablescapes. The book also includes fascinating anecdotes from various celebrity events which also make for entertaining reading.

While there admittedly aren’t many of us who can afford the price tag of a Preston Bailey design, we can definitely flip through the pages of this stunning book and derive some tips and ideas to implement (in smaller scale) at our own venue. As Bailey himself states, “Regardless of its size or complexity, the perfect floral arrangement is the one that makes you stop for an instant and smile with surprise and delight.” We’ve gathered a few of the highlights for you to enjoy, with some BunchesDirect comparables. Enjoy!

Don’t forget the entrance. According to Bailey, this important area sets the tone for the entire event. Be sure to include some flowers or other decorative elements to embellish this area and any tables that are set up here. Some beautiful blooms in a vase is a simpler but very effective way to welcome your guests.

BunchesDirect has ready-to-go floral arrangements starting at only $15.95 US —you simply trim the stems to fit your vase and voila, enjoy the perfect look.

Subtle Beauty Centerpiece by BunchesDirect

Don’t be afraid of vivid color combinations to create a lot of drama and impact. Yes, pink, red, and purple can go together. If those are colors you love, don’t be afraid to buy bulk flowers and create your own combination. If you love a vibrant mix of colors, you will love Heavenly Festival or Vibrant Blast bridal bouquets from BunchesDirect.

Get creative. The flowers can be part of the vase too! Shown here, Bailey created a vase covered with rose petals and filled with alstroemeria, both available in bulk at BunchesDirect. What a fantastic, and fantastically simple, DIY project!

Anything is better when covered with fresh flowers. Bailey himself admits, “I would decorate anything and everything I could get my hands on with flowers if I could.” The good news is that if you buy wholesale bulk flowers, you can get creative and still manage the budget.

Take note of these amazing Preston Bailey suggestions and get creative at your own wedding or event!



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Well, it’s time for another BunchesDirect Real Wedding! This month we feature the beautiful wedding of Becky and Cameron, who married on a warm Saturday in August 2014.

For their wedding, the couple went with a “country rustic” theme that is popular with many brides today (including Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert). Becky and Cam’s wedding is also a great example of some inspiring DIY wedding tips that show how much you can do yourself, for awesome results at big savings.

Becky & Cam married just outside Ottawa, Canada with approximately 150 friends and family in attendance. The entire wedding party (bride included) sported cowboy boots. The five bridesmaids wore amazing blush peach dresses with irregular ruffled hemlines. The ladies incorporated crown braids into their hairstyles, Becky included, for a beautiful, romantic look (Ashley Tisdale’s bridesmaids wore similar hairstyles in September).

Cam and the groomsmen wore a handsome modern county combo of dark blue denim, white shirts, brown ties and brown vests (similar to country superstar Blake Shelton’s wedding day look).

The wedding was lighthearted and fun, which also suited the rustic theme. (Don’t you love the cowboy boots?)

The wedding flowers were custom created by Bunches Direct (, in a classic but natural look that would be in keeping with the country theme. Becky supplied some burlap that she wanted tied around all the bouquets to finish them off with a more “rustic” effect. For the bridal bouquet, Becky requested white hydrangeas, a few light pink roses and some baby’s breath scattered through the bouquet to match the bridesmaids’ bouquets. A bit more greenery was added to round out the look; salal leaf was chosen because it is similar to the hydrangea leaves.

For the bridesmaid bouquets, Becky wanted clusters of baby’s breath to keep things simple. A little less than a full bunch of baby’s breath was needed for each bouquet, finished off with burlap around the stems. The boutonnieres for the groomsmen were done up with little clusters of baby’s breath and a touch of greenery. Again, this provided a very natural look and a bit of twine was tied around the stems to coordinate with the burlap. It’s a good idea to make the groom stand out a little while still coordinating with the wedding party, so his boutonniere was done up in a light pink rose (to match the bridal bouquet) with some baby’s breath, greenery and twine added to match the groomsmen.

Becky and Cam bought bulk flowers and created their own centerpieces with the help of friends and family. To do this they purchased 80 pink mini carnations, 9 bunches of babys breath and 75 light pink roses. They used mason jars and painted white wine bottles wrapped with burlap and lace as the flower vases—what an awesome country look. This is a fantastic way to save on your wedding flowers and as you can see, you can still achieve a gorgeous result!

In keeping with the rustic theme, their table decor also featured several wooden accents. Becky had envisioned wooden candle holders as well as wooden “trays” to support the cake and flowers. She wasn’t able to find exactly what she wanted, so she and Cam decided to make their own by cutting local trees from their rural property. For an added bonus, based on inquiries from other brides they have since sold some of these creative and beautiful wooden creations to other couples, which also helped with their wedding budget. (Way to go, Becky & Cam!)


Becky also made these decorative letters herself by wrapping twine around the forms—another very creative DIY project!

The wedding included a photo booth, with fun props and accessories that Becky and Cam put together from the local Dollar and craft store. Obviously, this was a hit with the guests!

Another awesome DIY creation was this beautiful wooden wedding sign, which Becky made using peel and stick letters (amazing!).


Mason jars were provided for glasses, along with this cute idea to allow guests to customize (and thereby identify) their glass for use during the reception.

Family and friends enjoyed a fun party at the local Canoe Club with great food and great company. The bouquet toss was another popular event of the evening.

Congratulations to Becky and Cam! Not only did you have a lovely wedding, you did it on a fantastic budget, and it’s obvious that you found a lot of joy in each other. Thank you for sharing your special day with us. We wish you years of health and happiness!

Do you have your own fantastic DIY wedding projects? We’d love to see them! Feel free to email them to [email protected]


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Your wedding is very special event, not only for you and your Future Husband, but also for your parents and future in-laws. Parents can be a huge source of support, from financial to emotional to decision making. But, let’s face it, not every parent is unconditionally supportive. Even in the best of circumstances, wedding planning can ratchet up your stress level. When you add some opinionated and overbearing parents into the mix, things can get especially tense. Some parents go overboard, want to plan the entire event start to finish, or have definite ideas on “the fact” that their way is the right way, and your way is not good enough. The very people who love you the most can end up adding to your stress as opposed to diffusing it.

Here are some ways to manage overzealous parents, which will help you stay sane and avoid jail time:
1. Set boundaries as early as you can. Remind yourself that you are the bride, and ultimately it’s your day. Any final decisions that you and your FH make are precisely that: final. It may be difficult to shift to a more adult relationship with a parent who was always used to calling the shots (may we say “bossy”?) but now is the time to start. However, while it’s okay to voice your own opinions and desires, try to do so in a calm and respectful manner wherever possible. Tears, guilt, and hurt feelings are not conducive to family peace (or a good night’s sleep); these are the people who love you most, and with whom you will probably be interacting with for years to come. If you need to disagree, do so privately. It will only get worse if you are giving FMIL a severe piece of your mind in front of the photographer, the cake decorator, and all the bridesmaids. If you have an issue, find a quiet spot and a calmer time, later, to talk things out.

2. Create lists and assign tasks. Give your parent(s) a task that you are okay with. This way they feel included, involved, and cared about. You can save the bigger and more critical decisions for yourself and gain additional help for the myriad of smaller tasks that still need to get done. Perhaps the parent could be assigned jobs like welcoming the guests, selecting the music for the parents dance, or coming up with the first pass at table seating assignments. Another great way to involve them is to let them help with some DIY projects (trust me— you will welcome the extra hands as the days count down).

3. Diffuse, distract, and breathe deeply. Just because your Mom or your FMIL voices their opinion doesn’t mean you have to agree, or let it get to you. Practice saying things like, “thanks for the advice. We will definitely consider that.” Or, “I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the input. FH and I have decided…” If there is drama, try your best to ignore it (…this is where the deep breaths might help. Also see point number 4 below.) If you focus on all the small things and the nitpicking, you might go cray-cray.

4. Get help. Perhaps you can enlist a bridesmaid, sister, aunt or cousin to help you manage the interactions (or keep the problem parent busy and away from you, if it comes to that.) Don’t be afraid to ask for help in managing a stressful relationship.

5. Take breaks when needed. Go for a walk or a drive. Go out with friends and do non-wedding-related activities. Go to the gym. Get a massage, or even better, a couples’ massage. Do anything that you enjoy, that will distract you from tension. You can’t be in planning mode all the time.

6. Remember the big picture. The important thing is that at the end of all this, you will be married to the person you love. You will be starting your life together as a team and, with hope, all the drama will be behind you. And it never hurts to recall that in many ways, you are lucky to have parents who are there for you.
Best of luck and try to enjoy the planning, as well as your special day as it unfolds!

Ugly Bridesmaid Dress CONTEST!


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Always a Bridesmaid, but now a BRIDE! You had your turn at being bridesmaid at assorted weddings of friends and families. Finally, you are the bride! You get to be in charge. And you get to learn from the challenges of the past…like wearing a truly heinous bridesmaid dress down the aisle.

"It was the 70s" is Still No Excuse

Okay, so we’ve all been there. We are asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, and it’s an honor and it’s supposed to be fun. We go dress shopping. Things get decidedly less fun. The bride has distinctive tastes and you end up with a disaster of a dress that makes you look like a reject from a bad 80s musical.

It’s not that uncommon. Even Hollywood has played off this theme, in movies such as 27 Dresses, Bridesmaids, and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Many of us have one, or maybe like, five, such offensive garments lurking somewhere in the back of our closets. Maybe we keep them so we don’t feel like the money we just spent on this ugly dress (not the mention on the ugly matching shoes) was completely wasted, we don’t want to insult the bride, or we feel we are going to re-purpose the thing somehow.  Maybe re-design it so that it is actually wearable in sane society, or use it for other occasions (Hallowe’en costume, painting the house, scaring off a bad date, need for curtains, etc.)

Let's Save Money and Sew Curtains...Oh Yes, and Bridesmaid Dresses

So why does this happen so much? You might even suspect closet sabotage so that the bride will look even better, or perhaps she really doesn’t like you. (Is she getting you back for that time you borrowed her best heels to wear to a club, danced for five hours, walked home in the rain, then tried to sneak them back into her closet?)

And why do we wear these less-than-flattering creations? Realistically, there isn’t a lot of choice. A bridesmaid can try to voice her concerns to the bride (with extreme tact and diplomacy), but if the bride gets upset? Suck it up, and wear the bridesmaid dress.  It’s the bride’s day, and it’s the job of the bridesmaid to support her before and during. If that means flaming orange satin with royal blue trim, then so be it. And also, chances are you truly care about the bride and want her to be happy, so what’s a little gold satin between friends?

Disco is Dead...Please Bury these Dresses

Of course, now that it’s YOUR turn to be the bride, you will select dresses for your bridesmaids with kindness and the very best taste…and you can have your fun showing off the bad bridesmaid dresses you endured from the past!

The Ever Popular "Disney Princess on Crack" Look

Yes, ladies, it’s the Bunches Direct UGLY BRIDESMAID DRESS CONTEST!  We are looking for photos or videos of the ugliest bridesmaid dresses of all time. Send your photos to me, Sue, at [email protected], along with a short description of the event. Be aware that photos or videos will be posted on our Bunches Direct Facebook page, the blog, and our other sites. BEST PHOTO OR VIDEO (i.e. Ugliest Dress) WINS A $500 SHOPPING SPREE AT BUNCHES DIRECT!! Yippee! Free flowers for your wedding!

Contest opens TODAY, and contest closes on SEPTEMBER 17, 2014. Good luck!

(And see, you were right: there really was another use for that ugly dress!)

Terms & Conditions

1. By submitting your story and/or photos, you agree that they become, as submitted, property of BunchesDirect, and allow BunchesDirect to post your submitted materials publicly on Bunches Direct media sites.

2. Please include “Ugliest Bridesmaid Dress” in your subject header.

3. The ugliest dress will be determined by a panel of BunchesDirect employees, who will take the Facebook likes and responses into account.

4. DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES is Wednesday September 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

5. The winner receives a $500 gift card to use at or for the purchase of any flowers of their choice. One entry per bride please. Winner may not combine their gift card with any other discount/promotional offer.

6. Contest open to residents of the United States/Canada.