From the rings to the shoes, from the food to the flowers, weddings come at no small cost. It only makes sense that current brides and grooms-to-be are choosing to penny-pinch wherever possible. Wedding flowers often become the first casualty of a budget-minded couple’s matrimonial plans, but there are many tricks of the trade which will allow you to lavish your ceremony with floral bliss and not break the bank. Use these excellent tips to minimize spending and get the biggest bang for your buck!
1. Choose Flowers in Season
This is a critical money-saver. It is also important to keep in mind that flowers look and smell best when they are fresh and in season. This is especially true for roses. But if you have your heart set on a particular flower that holds sentimental value for you, it would be wise to plan your ceremony around the time period it will be in seasonal bloom.
Although flowers in season will give you a beautifully scented bouquet, use caution with the flowers you choose to include in any centerpieces at your reception. The fragrances that come from flowers as gardenia, jasmine or freesia can be overwhelming and may not be the best choice for dining tables. Overpowering flowers might also stir up any allergies that your guests may have.
2. Do it yourself
When considering the daunting task of preparing and designing the wedding floral arrangements on your own, take the time to fully consider all of the responsibilities that will come with such a task. Questions that you might want to ask yourself are:
o Am I motivated enough?
o Will I have enough time to arrange bouquets/centerpieces before the ceremony?
o How much money will I save vs. how much work is involved?
Many women find that, in the interest of saving money, they end up learning a costly lesson. It is important to remember the many challenges involved with coordinating what may be the most important event of your life. You may be able to find a relative or member of the bridal party who would be willing to help you assemble your floral arrangements and bouquets. Think of the fun you would have spending your last days as a bachelorette with your best friends!
If you find yourself industrious enough to go it alone, there are many quick courses in floral design that are available through local community colleges and arts-and-crafts stores such as Michaels.
The internet is a fantastic resource to take advantage of, as well! Web sites such as save-on-crafts.com offer free instructional lessons that will tell you not only which flowers work best in a bouquet, but provide valuable steps designed to help you put your arrangements together successfully. You might also want to check for wedding ceremonies that will be held on the same day as yours. Chances are good that you could share the expense of the ceremony flowers with another couple looking to do the same!
Keep in mind, however, that even if opting for the “budget bridal bouquet”, remember that it is a very key aspect of the wedding and should be an expression of the bride’s personality. Try to keep a sense of balance between the wedding gown, the bridesmaid’s gowns, the ceremony flowers and decorations and the bouquet.
From that point, the other flowers, such as the bridesmaid’s flowers, the flowers at the reception can follow the theme and take on the elements of the bride’s bouquet. Current colors for 2006 are chocolate with pale pink, baby blue or mint green. Colors generally follow the trends of interior designing.
Consult with a florist. This could cost up to $100 in consultation fees, but their wealth of knowledge is sure to add a professional polish to the finished product. If you take into account the fact that florists can generally charge 3 times the price that a wholesaler would and charge additional labor costs for designing and assembling the flowers, you would still be saving money.
Buy your flowers from a wholesaler. Wholesalers sell their flowers much more cheaply than a florist does. If you decide to deal with a floral wholesaler, it is important to know that they use a grading system. When choosing your flowers, make sure that you choose Grade 1 flowers. You can locate many floral wholesalers online. OnlineWholesaleFlowers.com actually offers “Wedding in a Box” packages of varying sizes that come with all the flowers necessary to create the look that you want. Budget-Bride.com has a similar package, which even includes items such as the cake knife and ring pillow!
If you are getting married in the spring/summer time, visit the farmer’s market and talk with the flowers vendors. Find out if they grow the flowers that you are looking for and don’t be shy to ask if they have ever done weddings. Always be sure to ask them what they do with the flowers that they don’t sell. You might be able to grab large amounts of them for a steal!
Tip: Try using masses of one flower to showcase the flower’s individual beauty.
3. Use a school
Most high schools and colleges have horticulture classes that specialize in caring for and arranging flowers and plants. For a small fee, you could hire these aspiring florists who would be thrilled to work on your arrangements. The teachers of such a course will act as your safety net and, as an added bonus to you, will have extensive experience and oversee your project.
4. Have a Garden Wedding
Consider having the ceremony and/or the reception in a beautiful garden! Do you know someone that has a beautiful backyard and would be honored to host a wedding there? There will be no need for arrangements if you are already surrounded by lush greenery and blossoming flowers. Be prepared, though! Depending on the regional climate (or the time of year you hold your wedding), you may want to make use of either awnings, patios or sophisticated white open-air tents in case Mother Nature decides to become a wedding guest!
5. Cut down on attendants
By choosing fewer attendants, you will not have to provide as many bouquets and boutonnieres. Since small ceremonies are currently in vogue, it will be a natural progression to balance out the ceremony with a more intimate wedding party. Many couples favor a secluded setting with soft, glowing candles or lights to provide a devastatingly romantic theme. These more intimate, family oriented gatherings are also advantageous because they help the bride and groom to stay within their budget.
It is also very elegant to have your bridesmaid carry a single flower tied with a piece of satin ribbon. Choose a flower that matches one of those in the bride’s bouquet, or that signifies a special meaning to you.
6. Avoid having your wedding on or near a holiday
Flowers are generally in high demand around Valentines Day, Mother’s day, proms, graduations and other special holidays. Because of this, prices rise dramatically and certain flowers are often impossible to find. As if this isn’t enough bad news, florists tend to be extremely busy during holidays while they desperately try to keep up with their increased business. Will they be left with enough time to put the desired attention into your flowers?
You can take great advantage of this if planning your wedding around the Christmas holidays. It is a safe bet that most venues, either indoor or out, will be festively decorated before you arrive!
7. Use alternate centerpieces
It is not necessary to adorn every table with a high-priced floral centerpiece. Candles are beautiful and provide an amazing ambience! Try submerging an orchid (or flower of choice) in a glass container filled with water and float a candle on top. Also attractive is placing river rocks at the bottom of a glass container, adding water and floating a flower on top. Try using orchids, roses, peonies, camellias or gerberas.
A dramatic and stunning effect can be created with an inexpensive, rectangular mirror (much like the ones designed to hang on a bedroom door). Place the mirror reflective-side-up and let it run the length of the table, placing tealight candles at even intervals down the center. Sprinkle colored glitter or flower petals across the surface. The result is not only attractive, but sets the tone for your reception.
Tip: Search the internet and magazines for great ideas on alternative centerpieces.
8. Rent outdoor plants or small trees for an indoor garden effect
Decorate with greenery. Many nurseries will let you rent plants for your wedding and it is much cheaper than buying them. This will allow you to fill the room with greenery and make flowers more or less unnecessary. Use trees to fill up large spaces, and ivy garland to gracefully drape across the tops of doorways.
9. Let Your Flowers Do Double Duty
If your ceremony and reception are in two separate places (or even two separate rooms), let the floral arrangements that decorate the ceremony do double duty by using them to also decorate the reception! Find out if your florist is able to transport and setup the flowers at your reception after the ceremony is finished. There is usually sufficient time between the two, and you can save an incredible amount of time and money by “recycling” your beautiful, fresh flowers!
10. Forget the corsages
Corsages are not as trendy with modern weddings as they once were. 21st century Moms are trendy and don’t always want a flower pinned on them. Ask first.