|Belles On A Budget: A How-to Site for Weddings on a Budget||
Photo: Aesthetic Life Studio
Flowers have that special way of really defining the feel/ambience/atmosphere of your wedding. Bright and cheerful, classic and elegant, playful and quirky- flowers can do it all. From bouquets to alter arrangements to centerpieces, flowers can play a big role in both your ceremony and reception…and possibly your budget. Check out the tips below for ideas of how to create that perfect ambience with flowers without breaking the bank.
1. Visit a farmer’s market and buy your own flowers or arrangements there. Local farmers’ markets often have beautiful bouquets that you could easily transform into bridal bouquets or turn into gorgeous centerpieces simply by placing them in a vase. This fairly simple DIY approach could save you hundreds of dollars.
2. Find a friend or relative with a flair for arranging or at least a creative eye that is willing to prepare the flowers the day of the wedding. This could be their role (include them in the program to acknowledge) or even ask them to give this to you as a gift. Having an amateur florist could save tons of money and end with fabulous results if you know the right person. This is especially successful with simple arrangements such as a vase filled with one kind of flower.
3. Buy your own vases! Whether doing your own flowers or working with a florist, this is a crucial way to save money. You can stock up on vases for your centerpieces and ceremony arrangements, and then drop them off to your florist to place the arrangements in prior to the wedding. There are TONS of options for cheap vases. The nice part about this cost-saving measure, is you can do it in advance! Our advice? Start with the Dollar Tree! They carry some standard glass vases for a pretty unbeatable price (yeah, you guessed it- $1). You can even order in bulk (select in-store pick up so you don’t have to pay for shipping!) or just go to your local store. If you are looking for something different check out Michael’s, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, or A.C. Moore- they are always good options, especially if you have some time before your wedding, since they both carry a wide selection of vases and offer weekly coupons (usually 40%) off a non-sale item. Clip those coupons, bring a few friends, and make your weekly trip to buy vases! If you are going for the modern mismatched look, hit up yard sales, and family friends to gather a collection of fab vases, which will be sure to be budget friendly.
4. Swing by Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and get your arrangements there. These stores (or similar grocery stores in your area) have gorgeous organic bouquets, all pre-arranged for you. You just need to pick them up the day before or the day of your wedding, put them in a vase, and viola!- you have instant centerpieces for a fraction of the cost of a florist! While this can be an awesome way to cut down your wedding costs, there a couple of downsides—you won’t be able to guarantee the exact flowers or number of bouquets at the stores, so you may have to adapt to different flowers or a mixture of bouquets if the store doesn’t have enough. If you are one of those flexible brides, though, make friends with your Trader Joe’s manager, check out the flowers whenever you are in the store to get a feel for your options and go for it!!
5. Stick to seasonal flowers. Florists will say this time and time again, and it really is true- selecting the flowers that are in the season of your wedding will reduce your overall flower budget, since florists will not have to make special arrangements to have flowers shipped in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Talk to your florist about similar flowers that would be in season or local and would cost less.
6. Skip the cut arrangements and opt for potted plants. This is especially perfect for garden weddings and outdoor receptions. They will still be real flowers, you can present them beautifully in gorgeous pots or decorated planters, but they will be cheaper than the cut and arranged variety. AND these are much easier to DIY. Instead of hiring a florist, take your girls to a local greenhouse or even the garden centers of Lowes and Home Depot and select your favorite flowers. Other bonuses? You have more control of the price, you can use coupons, and there is a better chance the flowers will stay beautiful/gorgeous all day. After the wedding, ask your family or friends to plant some flowers in your yard while you are on your honeymoon. You’ll return to a landscaped yard (and save on landscaping costs later!), and you’ll be able to enjoy your wedding flowers for months (or even years!) to come.
7. Talk to your florist- in your initial meeting, be upfront about your budget, tell her what you like and how you could cut costs and still accomplish the effect you have in your head. Remember- the florists want your business! They will be willing to work with you as much as they can.
8. Contact your local Votech Center. Some of these centers include vocational training programs for students interested in floral design (check under Horticultural programs). Some of these classes may be able to incorporate your wedding as part of practical experience, offer floral design services a huge discount, or recommend a recent graduate trying to establish themselves in the field. This is a great resource for professional design services on budget-friendly prices!
9. Look at Costco, Sam’s Club, or B.J.’s. These wholesale clubs actually offer some reasonably-priced wedding flower packages, complete with bouquets, boutonnières, and a few centerpieces, a great option for for brides that would want to save on flower costs but want avoid making flower arrangements themselves. If you are up for the DIY route, though, these clubs also offer wholesale flowers at great prices! You do have to be a member to order the flowers, so check with family and friends to see if they or members, or figure the annual membership fee into the total cost of the flowers.
10. Love flowers but your budget really prohibits the cost? Go for touches of flowers rather than an all out floral package. Have bridesmaids carry small bouquets or single flowers and then have centerpieces with a touch of flowers, such as a few carnations/peonies/gerber daisies floating on water or candles with a flower at the base. Check out the décor section for more inspiration!
11. No matter how small your budget, don’t count out florists right away. Many florists, especially new floral designers trying to break into the wedding business, independent flower shops, or small, local florists offer very reasonable prices for their professional design services. Make sure you check out some nearby florists and ask them about their prices. You may be surprised to find that they are one of the most budget-friendly options, especially considering that they take care of everything for you. For all of your Belles in metropolitan areas, look for florists in nearby small towns (out of those suburbs!) that are willing to travel, or that will charge a small fee for traveling. Their prices are typically much more affordable but they will still have the professionalism and resources of florists in your city. And don’t be afraid to ask around! Ask friends and family members from the area if they know of anyone to look into to, or make it a project for your mom or mother in law (a perfect distraction!) to ask their friends and coworkers about affordable options.