Cheap wedding flowers seem to be as elusive as the Abominable Snowman. Great at a conceptual level, but when push comes to shove the reality is this often is simply nothing more than a hypothetical construct, right? After all it remains a common fact that wedding flowers have the potential to be prohibitively expensive.
Not necessarily correct, and a lot of brides would probably be pleasantly surprised as to how they can curtail the cost of their wedding flowers with some creative thinking.
What is a fact and is well documented is that the cost of your wedding flowers will set you back by between 8-12% of your total wedding expenses. When you align that, with the fact that an average wedding in the USA cost approximately $20 000-$25 000, it puts it into perspective.
Clearly one of the less pleasant activities associated with a wedding is sitting down and having to find places to cut costs. However not is all lost when it comes to managing the cost of wedding flowers, and sometimes a deliberate strategy using one or a combination of the following approaches can prove to be surprisingly effective:
· Types of florals
You get selections that are classically expensive and you get less expensive selections. Calla lilies, roses, gardenias, peonies, hydrangeas and tulips are expensive, period, whereas carnations, gerbera daisies and iris are very affordable. Understand the cost of your selection and be prepared to be flexible in your choice. Always have a plan B option in the event your flowers are not available on your wedding day.
· Be cost savvy
It could well be that you have extensively researched combinations and types of wedding flowers, and you have seen an array of permutations published in well referenced blogs, sites and books. Just understand that these perfect wedding floral arrangements have been selected from the most perfect specimens and constructed by professionals, all of which carries an expensive price tag. Be realistic about your choices and what you can afford.
· Using wild flowers
A real cost saver would be to use wild flowers and thereby circumvent the cost of the very traditional wedding flower. Very few of your guests will be qualified botanists and very often will not know the difference. This approach is particularly popular for rustic wedding venues.
· Focus on bouquets
Lush, perfectly designed and constructed wedding bouquets are beautiful. Unfortunately these wedding bouquets come at a cost. Keep your wedding bouquets modest yet attractive and possibly even consider using the bridesmaid’s bouquets as part of your centerpiece floral arrangements at your reception. Limit the volume of your bouquets, or if that contradicts with your design, bulk the bouquets up with greenery.
· Leverage your purchasing power
Try and combine your purchasing with other brides who are getting married at the same time, and preferably in the same town as you.Try and negotiate reduced prices with a common vendor, alternatively use the same flowers in a back to back wedding with another bride.
· Optimize the supply chain
Every individual vendor in the supply chain takes their cut and adds to the collective cost. In this modern age there are various online suppliers who will offer you a full service, from the flower bed to delivery at your front door. Alternatively grow your own wedding flowers at home in your garden.
Check which florals are in season for your wedding day. Seasonal flowers will be more readily available and less expensive. Flowers that are not in season will bring an extended cost as a result of an extended supply chain. Avoid holiday seasons and specific public holidays, like for example Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, when the prices of flowers can dramatically increase.
· Book your florist well in advance
Book your florist and specific floral selection well in advance. This will allow the florist to ensure wedding floral availability and will eliminate most last minute surprises.
· Stem planning
Get your florist to plan the detail of your wedding flowers down to each individual arrangement, and then plan the number of stems per arrangement. Cost all the flowers and determine a total cost of ownership, including all logistical delivery costs, florist costs and commission costs. Take a deep breath and compare this to your original estimate. Trim the plan to align it with your budget, using this zero-based budgeting approach.
· Using common flowers at different locations
Use the same flowers at different locations, for example the flowers you use at the ceremony can be subsequently transported to your reception before any of the guests arrive. Just ensure you have reliable people who you can trust to do this at the right time and place.
· Use silk wedding flowers
Using silk wedding flowers might be initially expensive, but will provide you with alternatives. You can either sell the silk flowers online afterwards, and recoup most your costs, or you could even mix mix and match silk flowers with genuine cut flowers, substituting the more expensive natural selections with silk flowers.
Use non-floral cheap additions to add volume to your arrangements, especially centerpiece arrangements, thereby reducing the need for the more expensive wedding florals, for example candles and succulents.
Doing the full wedding floral project yourself remains a theoretical possibility, from the original design, purchasing, logistics and even down to final floral assembly. For a bride to co-ordinate and manage this is extremely challenging, and is preferably left to a professional. By doing it all yourself you can save on the cost of the florist, but bottom line is it comes down to personal choice. Do you really need this additional of pressure and do you realistically have the time and focus to take it on?
Wedding florals accentuate a wedding and exert a very real influence on the visual success of your wedding day. You need to find the balance between the cost and investment return on that cost. Managing your costs well, but still getting the most out of your flowers can be a tricky but infinitely rewarding process.