Flowers are always the main focus at weddings and big events: they bring a space to life like nothing else can, When flowers used to decorate any event, they endow it with a warmth and beauty perfect for welcoming your guests or celebrating the holidays and special occasions. Unfortunately, creating a beautiful floral arrangement can be expensive, time consuming, and seriously intimidating. To find out how novice floral artists can create affordable floral arrangements that make a big impact, we turned to professional Certified Floral Designer (AIFD): Renee Thomas. She's the owner and creative director of Maui Wholesale Blooms and Renee Thomas Designs, and her advice will change everything about how you think of flowers.


Question 1: Where's the best place for girls on a budget to buy beautiful flowers?

Renee Thomas: Your local farmer's markets are an excellent source for finding local blooms in season. Or check out your local flower market. Some wholesalers sell to the trade and to the public. 


Question 2: What's the first thing you should do when you get flowers home?

RT: Hold the stems underwater and cut the stems while they are submerged. It keeps pockets of air from getting into the stems and allows them to take in more water, extending their longevity.


Q3: Do you have any tips for making flowers live longer?

RT: It seems easy enough, but keep the water clean. Change it out every couple of days. Also, just because two or three flowers in an arrangement start to wilt or die, don't throw out the entire thing. Remove all of the remaining flowers that are similar in style or color and put them in a new vase or even a drinking glass and, voila, you've got an entirely new arrangement.


Q4: What are the common mistakes you see people making with floral arrangements?

RT: People overthink flowers. They are afraid to mix and match, so they don't do anything! There is no such thing as a Flower Police, so please feel free to experiment. Or stick with one type of flower; for instance, do bunches of white tulips or a mix of flowers that are all yellow in color. Just because it's simple doesn't mean it can't be dramatic!


Q5: What is the secret to arranging flowers in a beautiful way?

RT: It's like decorating a room. You should buy what inspires you, but look for varying sizes (big and small), textures (grasses or branches, along with velvety blooms), and colors (don't forget the color wheel!). Think beyond the vase! If you have a vase of flowers on a dining table for a quick dinner party, think about scattering flower petals, leaves, or even fruit along the tabletop.



Q6: Can you suggest some types of affordable flowers that will make a big impact using local Hawaiian Flowers?

RT: Fresh greenery, for sure! I love local greenery such as Areca Palms, Ti Leafs and Ferns, most of which are already growing in your yard! Free pickings! If you want color, Orchids are always a classy choice. Buy a lot of them (they're inexpensive), cut them very short, and put them in teeny tiny bud vases or juice glasses.


Q7: What are are few beautiful and unexpected ways to incorporate flowers for the holidays and beyond?

RT: I bought a large Mason jar from Walmart, $10, and have filled it with gold spray painted pinecones and added a $10 box of 50 white christmas lights inside. Fast, easy and looks incredible! Grown Paperwhites — they smell heavenly and you can often pick them up from a big home improvement store garden center already planted in pretty terracotta pots.