Want to save on wedding flowers without sacrificing your vision? It’s possible. All flowers are not created equal — depending on the season and the scarcity, the cost of blooms will vary. Getting wedding flowers on a budget is all about finding flowers that are in season, choosing your florals strategically and finding creative ways to save.
Flowers can add such beauty to your big wedding day, but they can also add a lot to your expenses!
With so many different uses for flowers in a wedding – the bride’s bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres, various corsages, flower girl petals, altar arrangements, pew decorations, cake decorations, and reception decor – brides can spend upwards of $10,000 on the flowers alone.
But you can still have a gorgeous wedding, without emptying your wallet.
No wedding day would be complete without fresh flowers. Professional arrangements add life, colour, and beauty to your ceremony and reception.
However, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, altarpieces, and centrepieces can add thousands of dollars to the total wedding bill. If your budget can’t accommodate a professional wedding florist, you may wish to consider a less-expensive alternative.
Move Flowers from the Ceremony to the Reception
I didn’t want to spend a lot on flowers at my wedding, so what I did was transfer the flowers that were set up at the ceremony over to the reception venue. Since I didn’t have too many, the person who was in charge of this task had no problem grabbing the altar flower display, taking it to the reception, and giving it to the wedding planner who got it inside the reception hall before anyone entered.
Repurpose the Bridal Bouquets
Choose In-Season Flowers
Just like with your wedding food, they are using in-season flowers can save you a lot of money. For example, tulips are beautiful, but they are winter/early spring flowers. If you are able to find them during their off-season, the price could be as much as five times the cost during their in-season.
Get Cheaper Flowers
Some flowers are just cheaper than others. Carnations are probably the cheapest flowers that you can get. Gerber daisies are also inexpensive. If you are not a fan of either of those, use them for some things, like alter bouquets, and then get a more expensive flower for the bride’s bouquet if that is preferred.
Discuss Your Budget With Your Florist
Be up-front with your florist about your budget. Give as many guidelines as you feel necessary, but hand over some creative licensing to your florist too—she’s the expert after all. “Try and make suggestions based on style and palette, but let your florist select the blooms that make the most sense based on your bottom line,” says Sarah Brysk Cohen of Blossom and Branch in New York City.
Stay Local and Seasonal
Local, in-season flowers are the way to go. This will guarantee the freshest blooms, plus the stems will be less costly too. Your second-best option is choosing from widely available, year-round blossoms, like roses, calla lilies and orchids. If you go local, you’ll save on transport costs too (tulips from Holland don’t come cheap).
Choose Big Blooms
Sure, cymbidium orchids will cost you more than spray roses, but they’ll make a much grander statement in your centrepieces. “Talk with your florist about incorporating some pricier stems into your arrangements, and let her figure out how to make the pricing work,” Cohen says. Oftentimes, these flowers pack a bigger punch, which means you need fewer of them. So you may be able to have the luxe blooms and stay within budget.
Swap Out Costly Stems
Learn flower lookalikes, and trade expensive buds for more affordable varieties, like swapping peonies for roses. Pick a florist you trust—then let her expertise get you the look you’re after. Share images to hone in on style and colour, and then allow the florist to select stems that fit your look and your budget. If you’re set on a certain flower, discuss including it in your bridal bouquet (which will be photographed like crazy) and substituting it in your centrepieces.
Don’t Immediately Count Out a Flower
“Often brides will say, ‘I don’t like regular roses’ or ‘I don’t like carnations,’ but you may not know about the amazing varieties your florist can get,” Cohen says. You may have never seen a cluster of heirloom carnations or a gorgeous arrangement of spray roses. Be open to your florist’s suggestions and ask to see examples—you may be totally surprised.
Order Your Flowers Online
You can save quite a bit of money by purchasing your flowers from an online wholesaler, which is much less expensive than your local florist. That being said, you will have to trim the flowers, arrange them, and care for them prior to the wedding yourself.
Sometimes less is more. Not only will being simplistic cost you less, but it may also add to the overall impression of your wedding. An easy way to simplify wedding flowers is to get just the basics: bouquets, boutonnieres, and an altar arrangement.
Don’t Be Picky
You may have to compromise with your decorations if you are on a budget. This is especially true with your flowers. Be open to several different types when it is time for you to choose. If you decide to buy your flowers through a local florist instead of online, tell your florist your budget and see what types of flowers she proposes to you and be open to the suggestions.
Have a Christmas or Easter Wedding
Churches are already beautifully decorated with flowers for both Christmas and Easter. Take advantage of that fact by setting your wedding date during the Christmas or Easter seasons.
Have a Small Bridal Party
Since a big chunk of your flower money will be going to bouquets and boutonnieres, you can cut down on your wedding flower costs by going with a smaller wedding party. This will also save money on dresses, tuxedos, and bridal party gifts, just to name a few.
Use Flowers from Your Own Garden
If you have a garden, are there any flowers that will be in bloom at the time of your wedding? If not, consider planting some so that they will be ready in time for the big day. You can start a basic garden for not too much money.
Keep An Open Mind
We’ve all gotten lost scrolling through Pinterest and have probably saved some pretty extravagant wedding flower inspiration photos. If you have a few saved in your wedding board and want to share them with a flower consultant, that’s okay. It’s important, however, to keep an open mind and ask a professional how realistic is it to recreate the look while staying within your budget. A floral designer will be able to provide suitable suggestions or alternatives to fit your budget best!
Take Advantage of Statement Blooms that Fill Space
Statement blooms like garden roses or hydrangeas take up a larger volume of space in arrangements, which means you don’t need that many to create an impression since these flowers tend to be a little more costly. These blooms are also known as focal flowers since your eye is automatically drawn to them.
Only Use 1-3 Flowers so You or Your Florist Can Buy in Bulk
If you want several different types of flowers, you or your florist will often still have to buy in bulk, meaning there will be lots of extras. You can use these extras in other areas, but that also requires more work. Each flower has to be prepped, cared for properly and then arranged as needed. You can still make a big impact with just one or two focal flowers, or check out our DIY combo packs that have an assortment of just the right amount of flowers.
Corporate More Greenery
There’s a variety of inexpensive greenery you can use to create a lush bouquet. Greenery like silver dollar eucalyptus, parvafolia, and leather leaf greenery are just a few to look into! Whether you choose to have more greenery than flowers in your bouquet, or you decide on an all-greenery bouquet, there are many benefits! One of them is the price (obviously) and the other being the longevity of the greenery. No matter the weather, you don’t have to worry about the greenery wilting. Be cautious though, depending on the greenery type, sometimes the price may be just as much as if you were buying flowers.
Alternatives to a Florist for Your Wedding
Visit the Floral Section at Your Grocery Store
Many grocery stores – including Whole Foods, Vons, Safeway, and Publix – have a floral department. And in many cases, employees are accustomed to putting centrepieces together – some of them have even been professional florists at some point. Contact a few stores, and you may discover that they can provide the same centrepieces and bouquets as the average wedding florist, and at a much lower price point.
Stores may also offer full floral packages that include boutonnieres, corsages, and ceremony flowers. As an added bonus, you can have your cake prepared by the grocery store bakery and consolidate vendors. However, some grocery stores won’t deliver your flowers – or they may charge a high premium to do so – so be prepared to have someone pick them up the day of the wedding.
Avoid a florist’s markup by ordering flowers wholesale and arranging them yourself. If you live in a big city, check out a local flower market to get fresh buds at low prices. Alternatively, services such as FiftyFlowers and BloomsByTheBox.com ship flowers to you in insulated containers or cooler packs.
It is important to realize that arranging your flowers requires research, practice, and tools. You need to invest in floral shears, floral tape, decorative wrap, and pins for the bouquets. For the centrepieces, you need a vessel for the flowers and floral foam to keep them moist and help them retain their shape. Unless you’ve arranged flowers in the past or have a fantastic eye for design, you may want to find an online flower arranging tutorial.
Perform a dry run a few weeks or months beforehand so you’re not flustered when the actual day arrives – and order more flowers than you think you’re going to need, just in case some wilt or fall apart. Keep your flowers in water and a cool environment, such as a refrigerator, until you’re ready to transport them to your wedding venue. Arranging flowers is a time-consuming task, so enlist friends, family, or your bridal party for additional help.
Preparing your flowers is a lot of work. As an alternative, order prepared bouquets and centrepieces from a big box store. This costs more than purchasing flowers wholesale but doesn’t require you to spend hours learning and practising the art of arranging. Costco sells more than 40 wedding flower packages online in different colour schemes at different price points. 1800Flowers.com also has a wedding collection you can choose arrangements from.
One of the perks of using a prepackaged online service is that you know exactly what your flower bouquets and arrangements are going to look like. This makes it much easier to coordinate colours for the bridal party and plan your table decorations. On the flip side, this does not give you the ability to customize your arrangements, so you may not be able to get the exact look you want. As with wholesale flowers, keep these arrangements in water and a cool, protected environment as soon as you receive them.
Ask a Friend to Help Arrange
If you don’t want the commitment of arranging flowers yourself, find a friend or family member to help. You’re not the first person to DIY your flowers, so there may be one or two folks in your social circle who have done it before.
Remember to be sensitive to the time and cost required to arrange centrepieces and bouquets. At a very minimum, offer to pay for all the flowers and supplies. In addition, try to find some way to compensate your friend or express your gratitude – a gift certificate and a thank you card are always a thoughtful gesture. If the friend is getting married in the future, you can offer to take on the wedding planning or flower arranging duties in return.
Opt for flowers that have a large head, like hydrangeas, peonies or dahlias. This will allow your florist to create a full bouquet using fewer stems – saving those all-important pennies.
Flowers between venues
If you are having your service at one venue and then moving to a different venue for your wedding reception, allocate someone from your wedding party to coordinate moving the flowers with you.
The arrangements at the end of the aisle, venue’s entrance and from chairs can all be repurposed at your reception venue, saving you from buying the blooms all over again.
Grow your flowers
While all of the planning is taking place, you could grow your flowers and pick them the day before the wedding to create your table arrangements.
Just make sure you’ve had a practice, been to a workshop and feel con dent. Don’t risk creating your bouquet though – leave that to the professionals.
Use Silk Flowers
In many respects, artificial flowers are much more practical than the real thing. They won’t wilt, bruise, or fall apart. Since they don’t need to be kept cool or moist, you can buy them ahead of time, and transport is a breeze. If you’re dead-set on a flower that’s out of season or extremely pricey, silk flowers can help you create the look for less.
Keep in mind that not all silk flowers are created equal. Many of the artificial blooms you find in craft stores have a distinct plastic or fabric texture. Silk flower companies such as Afloral.com tout higher-end “real touch” flowers that are more convincing than what you can find in the bargain bin of a craft store. However, these flowers also come with a much higher price tag.
Although more practical than cut flowers, silk flowers aren’t necessarily less expensive than a traditional centrepiece. You can try to resell them after your wedding though, which can help defray the cost. Some florists also allow brides to rent silk flowers and return them after the event. Still, even the most convincing silk flowers are missing the authentic scent and fresh texture that makes live flowers so stunning.
I was intimidated when it was time for me to pick out flowers for my wedding. Since I knew so little about flowers, I consulted a local florist and worked closely with them to figure out what flowers would fit my budget. I only had two bouquets, a couple of boutonnieres, corsages for my grandmas, and an altar arrangement. My total flower bill was only $200. With the above tips, you too can save a fortune on wedding flowers.
What have you done to cut the costs of wedding flowers? Did you have to sacrifice aesthetics at all, or did you replace the flowers with something else?
Traditional wedding florists can charge exorbitant amounts. Of course, they also offer convenience, expertise, and assurance that your flowers will be on-time and beautiful. If you simply need the convenience of a wedding florist, reach out to newer professionals who are still building up a portfolio. Be honest about your budget and ask what your options are. If they want your business, they’ll find a way to get you the look you want for a price you can afford.