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Congratulations on your engagement! After all the excitement of the proposal and announcements, you’ll need to start planning the big day. Unless your last name is Trump or Rockefeller, you’re probably on a budget and that’s true for flowers as well. However, enjoying beautiful, fresh flowers at your wedding isn’t just for the wealthy! Here are some tips to stick to your budget while still having a beautiful wedding.
1: Prioritize. For most brides, the bridal bouquet is the most important floral piece and will appear in the most photographs, so that is where you want to put your money. Perhaps the church flowers or corsages aren’t quite as important to you. Everyone is different. The point is, put first things first.
2: Be Seasonal. Love Peonies? Great, then get married in May. Otherwise you could pay upwards of $30 a stem. Is your heart set on a fall wedding? Then Dahlias, sunflowers and mums are a good call. Buying flowers in season will not only save you loads of money, they will also look better too. Some flowers, like roses or orchids, are readily available year round.
3: Rent Your Centerpieces. Many florist shops have their own vases you can “borrow” (for a small fee) for your special day and then they will come and pick them up afterwards. You only have to pay for the flowers. Also, keep in mind that a single, large flower like a stargazer lily or hydrangea can look beautiful in a globe vase for a fraction of the cost of a traditional centerpiece.
4: Try Alternate Centerpieces. It’s really the reception flowers that run up your flower bill. $60 for a lovely floral centerpiece sounds affordable till you realize you have 20 tables and they now cost $1200. So perhaps potted plants or candles would be a better option.
5: Get Double Use. Assign a friend or relative the job of transporting the church flowers to the reception after the pictures so that you can continue to enjoy them at the reception hall. Just be sure the church isn’t expecting the altar flowers to be there on Sunday morning.
6: Mix It Up. Love roses? Great! But if you insist on all roses, everywhere then you’re going to pay a pretty penny for them. Consider mixing your favorite, more expensive flowers (i.e. roses, orchids, calla lilies, etc) with less expensive flowers. My favorite roses are a warm lavender color. When I got married I mixed them with purple alstroemeria and lime green hypericum to great effect.
7: Schedule Wisely. Want to save big money? Don’t ever get married close to Valentines’ Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas. The cost of flowers goes way up at those times (not to mention the cost of everything else) so avoid that as much as possible.
8: Shop Around. Check out several florists on line and visit their shops. Have a sit down visit with at least a few different florists to see what they charge as well as how pleasant they are to work with. (Be sure to call ahead to schedule a meeting!)
9: Hire a freelance florist. Not looking for a boat load of flowers? Perhaps flowers aren’t your biggest priority and you just want something fresh and lovely? Consider hiring a freelance florist. Not having to pay for a full time store and gift shop can keep their costs very low, just be sure to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. I’ve been to a few weddings where they had beautiful flowers put together by someone who obviously didn’t know how to arrange flowers.
10: Think filler. Greenery saves money and gives a centerpiece a big wow factor. “Greens are about one-third the price of most flowers,” says Gaffney. Eucalyptus, lemon leaf, or pittosporum can supplement flowers in centerpieces and bouquets, or act as filler in urns lining an aisle at the ceremony.