How to Create a Cheap, Chic Bouquet to Bring to Thanksgiving Dinner

published Nov 13, 2019
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Instead of baking another pumpkin pie for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year, why not bring something a little more creative? A DIY floral arrangement will wow even your most cynical relatives. If you know what to use, making a bouquet can be affordable and even therapeutic, especially as holiday season stress ramps up.

Unsure of your arranging abilities? According to Cyrus Paktinat, floral designer and owner of The Flowerfall of Westport, anyone can find their inner florist with the right supplies and some pro tips. “Gather your items, and give yourself some time with no one around,” he recommends. “When you start putting things together, you’ll start to like it, and it turns into something beautiful. With natural elements, how can it not?” Here, Paktinat shares his best tips for creating a fancy Thanksgiving floral arrangement that looks way more expensive than it is.

Think Outside the Bloom

For a Thanksgiving arrangement, Paktinat loves to use materials that aren’t necessarily floral. Think brassicas like ornamental cabbage and kale, which come in several colors and nail that harvest look. If you remove the outer leaves, these vegetables look like beautiful flowers, and they can take up a lot of space in your arrangement, aka you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.

Other farm-fresh fruits and vegetables can work as well. Paktinat loves how pepper berries hang down in arrangements. Or use pomegranates, kumquats, oranges, or lemons on branches for colorful, cheery bouquet additions. Can’t find them on stems? Paktinat says you can use a skewer and floral foam to add fruits to an arrangement, and they’ll stay fresh for a few days. 

Add Affordable Flowers

With festive cabbages, fruits, and vegetables as your base, Paktinat suggests adding in seasonally affordable blooms like sunflowers or roses, which you can find at places like Trader Joe’s. Another smart idea? Cut blooms from your own backyard or ask a neighbor for a few stems. Mums, amaranth, and dahlias are perfect for fall bouquets.

Credit: Agnes Kantaruk/Shutterstock

Use a Foam Base

Paktinat recommends using floral foam to help stems stay in their intended position. Grab some at a craft or grocery store and soak it in water for a few hours. Use leaves and moss to hide the foam if it’s visible in your vase.

Credit: S_Photo/Shutterstock

Incorporate Natural Elements

“We’ve had a good fall,” Paktinat notes. “There are lots of items in the backyard that you can pick for your arrangement.” Gather oak and maple branches, pods, berries, or bittersweet branches. Bittersweet branches, he says, will open up and turn yellow for a fun pop of color in your composition.

Have a leftover Halloween pumpkin you didn’t carve? Paktinat loves the idea of scooping the insides out and using the pumpkin as a vase. And don’t underestimate anything that seems past its prime, he adds. Dried hydrangeas or sunflowers without petals, for example, can add moody, autumnal vibes to arrangements at this time of year.

Credit: Galina Zhigalova/Shuttherstock

Use Greenery to Fill Blank Spots

When you’re ready to build your bouquet, Paktinat suggests starting with greenery around the edges to form a base. He likes thistle in fall arrangements, as well as the steadfast eucalyptus. When your centerpiece is past its prime, Paktinat notes you can simmer the eucalyptus in water to cleanse the air in your home. Or put it in your shower and enjoy the last of its fresh scent while you bathe.