The pandemic affected so many aspects of our wedding. Our guest count. Our menu. Our entertainment plans. But we didn't let it derail our overall vision for the day. We knew that we wanted to get married in Milwaukee, so that we could show off our adopted hometown to our closest friends and loved ones. And we knew that we wanted to fill our venue - a historic museum overlooking Lake Michigan with bright, bold florals. Think lots of heat-loving tropicals and petal-heavy blooms like dahlias, roses and carnations (they're so underrated!) in every shade of a summer sunset. When we started reaching out to local florists, asking them how much it'd cost to create all the arrangements we wanted, we realized that the look we were envisioning was way, way beyond our budget. So we had a choice to make: we could either significantly scale back our floral design. Or we could roll up our sleeves and arrange the flowers ourselves. Fortunately, Fifty Flowers made that choice easy. We loved the detailed descriptions on its website, and found that; by mixing and matching a few of the most affordable ready-to-go collections, we were able to achieve the exact look we were going for on a very modest budget. We also loved the fact that we were able to set up a consultation with a real person (hi Emily!) to talk through our plans for the wedding. Our consultant helped us figure out how many stems we should order, and she broke down the arranging process into manageable steps. Unpacking, trimming and hydrating all the flowers we ordered took several hours, and I'd definitely recommend recruiting some outside help for that part of the process (we had three helpers, which felt like a good number). Making the actual arrangements was actually pretty painless. We created an assembly line of sorts, and printed out multiple copies of the worksheet that our consultant sent us, so all of our helpers were able to follow along easily. We also printed out inspirational photos of boutonnieres and bouquets, and that seemed to help too. We were able to make a bridal bouquet, five bridesmaid bouquets, twelve boutonnieres, four large arrangements, six centerpieces and 48 (yes, 48!) bud vases. We also saved all of the flowers that snapped in half or lost their heads while we were arranging them, so that we could float them in the fountain in the middle of our venue's courtyard. At the end of the evening, we encouraged our guests to take the bud vases and centerpieces. And they were absolutely thrilled to be able to bring a piece of our reception home with them; we honestly lost track of how many compliments we received. And no one seemed to realize that we'd made all the arrangements ourselves! When everything was said and done, we got our magical Midsummer Night's Dream wedding without going over budget at all. And we have Fifty Flowers to thank for that.