Friday, November 14, 2008

15 tips for saving money on your wedding flowers

Earlier I had fun sharing some ways to have a wedding on a budget. (here and here) Today I am going to share some more of the ways I have seen or know about for having a beautiful wedding without spending a lot of money.

We will start of today with a topic that is near and dear to my heart:


  1. Do your homework, don't just get roses because that is the only flower you know the name of. :-) There are many, many varieties of flowers and they come in many varieties of prices. If you are using a florist, ask lots of questions to find out what flowers are economical. Also think about how large the flower is or how many come on a stem. If they are large or have a lot of flowers on one stem then you won't need as many of them. So for instance even though a lily is generally more expensive than a rose it is for the most part a better deal because it is quite a lot larger and quite often you get more than one flower per stem. Also, buy in season. For some flowers like roses, carnations, chrysanthemums (daisies) and lilies this doesn't really apply as the price doesn't fluctuate much from season to season but for things like Tulips, Hydrangea, lilac and many more it can make a huge difference! Don't be afraid to ask your florist questions!

  2. When looking for a florist, shop around. I know in our area you can find a wide variety of prices. Feel free to get a quote from each one and compare. Don't waste their time on having a quote done unless you truly are wanting to buy wedding flowers. Also if you are getting a lot of quotes done maybe start with just the basics and then add whatever else you want later after you have chosen the florist you want. In finding a florist also ask around to find out who people have used and recommend. Ask them questions such as: Did you like the quality? Was the florist easy to work with? and Where you happy with the price? I personally recommend looking for a florist that works out of their home and does mainly weddings. This is what I do and I know there are others like me. We are able to have much lower prices because we do not have the expensive overhead of a shop and lots of employees. Also you can get much more personal attention. Do some google searches to help find this sort of florist.
  3. Have a price limit in mind. When talking with a florist it really helps them to figure out what you should do when you have a price limit in mind and tell them what it is. That way they won't write a quote for you using all expensive flowers, fillers and greens and be labor intensive and huge. They can suggest things that go along with your theme and colors but are more cost effective.

  4. Find a talented friend. If you know someone that arranges flowers nicely as a hobby (or even works in a flower shop) ask them if they would be interested in helping you with the flowers for your wedding. I have had the privilege of helping many of my friends with their flowers and I have really enjoyed it!! If you do that I would encourage going over with you friend what all you will need and then you would be the one to purchase the flowers and all the supplies needed (or at least pay for them). When you buy your flowers I do not recommend buying through a flower shop, unless you are able to work out a very good deal it will be very expensive to do it that way. Most flower shops triple the wholesale cost of the flowers. Before I could buy wholesale and I was helping friends I would either buy through a grocery store (They were much more willing to give me a price that was nearer to wholesale) and then when I lost my good contacts there I tried online "wholesale" flowers. I can't seem to find the particular company I used (and I was pleased) but if you google Wholesale fresh flowers you will find a bunch of links to look over. Compare prices (including shipping) and policies carefully to ensure you get the best deal.
  5. Do it yourself? I did do this and I found it fun BUT I was also currently working as a floral Designer (in a different state than where I got married) and I had helpers. And it still was a little stressful. I remember that about the most stressful part of our wedding was when I was trying to work on flowers in my parents house and a bunch of my college friends (whom I dearly love) came to hang out and I hardly had any space to work. If you don't know what you are doing and have not practised at all and don't enjoy working under pressure, Don't try this! If you do it yourself, choose simple arrangements like arm/presentation bouquets. There are videos available online that help to show how you can make corsages and more. This one shows how to make a corsage but below the video are links to other videos that show how to make other things. The story would be different if you want to use silk flowers. You can do them way ahead of time and keep redoing them until they look like you want them too.
  6. Make it a combination. When my older sister got married she ordered her bouquet from a florist (a very pretty one of yellow roses and daisies that was also very reasonable), had the bridesmaids just carry one long stem rose (we ordered those through a grocery store), had friends and family make corsages and boutonnieres (This could have been a fiasco as I was rather in charge and I really didn't know what I was doing, it was in days before I worked at a florist, but thankfully our friend Jason stepped in to help and it all worked out fine.), and other church friends offered to decorate the reception area with garden flowers (And one friend, Becky, even made a very pretty swag of many yellow flowers to hang over the church door), I used garden flowers on the cake and we picked wildflowers for arrangements at the front of the church (which I think I planned to put together but again I was rescued, by my talented Aunt Merna). All in all it was very lovely and not very expensive. Oh and the pew decorations where made by Anna and a friend using silk flowers.
  7. If you want to make centerpieces yourself here are a few simple ideas:
A few ferns and a bunch of Alstroemeria in a short vase. It is quite easy to put together and yet looks quite pretty in the middle of a table.

A small cluster of daisies. These are actually in a mushroom can which I then covered with Equistrem (or joint weed) and a strip of birch bark. Feel free to use your imagination and your crafting abilities to come up with fun vases.

Float some flowers. This takes practically no arranging ability but can be very pretty. Find some pretty shallow bowls to do your floating in. Zinnias (which are quite easy to grow in your garden) look very striking. I also added a little greenery. However don't make these to far in advance (preferably just a few hours before everything starts) as everything will start to deteriorate.

8. Use arrangements more than once. What I mean is this: You can use your throw bouquet as decoration. (as in picture below) You can also use yours and the Bridesmaids bouquets as the centerpieces for the head tables. (You might rent or buy clamps like these to attractively display your bouquets )It can also possibly work to use decorations at the church at the reception as well. This would work best if there is a little lapse in time between the two. Also you might be able to simply use flower arrangements (silk) that are already at the church for decorations.

9. Shop sales (new and USED) and provide your own vases, ribbons and other accessories. Vases and other bouquet containers from flower shops are not usually very cheap. Shop at Goodwill and garage sales and buy them for under a dollar instead. Or ask around with friends and family or see if your church has some you can use. Don't worry if they are all identical. It can often be much more interesting to have a variety of styles all in clear or another color (that would be much harder to find). If you find ribbon you like you might be able to get it for a much better deal than your florist can as well. (And maybe use your 1/2 off coupon at JoAnns). Candles are another things that quite likely you can find cheaper on your own.

10. Use Candles to decorate fairly inexpensively. For this it would be best if you can hit some good after Christmas sales. Candles definitely say elegant and they can really make your flowers stretch.

11. Find your own seasonal greenery. For my wedding in December we went out in the woods and picked a lot of evergreen boughs. They were pretty and free. We also used some pine cones (also free). A commenter in an earlier post said that she and her husband used pretty fall leaves to decorate. In the summer time we have ferns growing wild all over as well as much other greenery. Don't be afraid do be a little different and you might end up with a very gorgeous wedding! Do be sure to have permission to pick before you just go cutting things here and there and everywhere.

12. What is in your garden? If you are getting married when flowers will be blooming maybe you can use them for some of the flowers. This can be hard to schedule but if you feel flexible and aren't the type to get all stressed, you could save a lot of money. Lilacs are one particular flower that grows in abundance and looks very elegant when you just pick it and stick it in a vase or just tie it with some ribbon.

13. Petals to throw. If you have a bunch of extra flowers or any flowers that all falling apart, you might like to use them to have thrown at the Bride and Groom as they are leaving. It is very pretty and it deteriorates nicely afterwards. You might like to make pretty paper cones (Like at left) to put petals in and then give to each guest to throw.

14. Pew Bows. This is something you can definitely do yourself. (And save a bunch of money) You can use ribbon or tulle or combine the two. You can also add a few flowers (if fresh they can be in a water tube) or anything else that might go along with your wedding. Feel free to be creative! Here are directions for making a multi loop bow. Here are more instructions which may be easier for beginners.

15. Ice Sculptures are another thing you can make to make your wedding elegant for pretty much nothing. You can use them in combination with flowers to create a big look without lots of expensive flowers. The first one that I have pictured is just an ice heart which I put red food coloring in and froze in a heart shaped cake pan. I also froze some ice in an ice cream bucket which I had attached a small container on the lid to that when I took the lid off after the water froze, I had an indentation in my ice. Then I was able to slip the tip of the heart inside that hole. I set it on a bed of crushed ice on a platter (It works well to use a tray with a drain hole with a tube coming out of it that can drain in a bucket under the table). I then put one flower and a bit of greenery with it.

You can also easily make ice bowels by putting water in a large bowl and then placing a smaller bowl inside. Make sure it is secured (I often tape it in place) and then stick it in the freezer. When making ice forms you usually have to let them thaw a bit in the container before they come out. With a bowl you can use it for fruit or other various foods or you can make a flower arrangement inside.
People usually find ice sculptures very fun.
Well I had hope to share all my decorating ideas and such today as well. But I am out of time and will have to save that for another day!

For more Frugal Friday posts visit Biblical Womanhood.


abncparties said...

Excellent tips on doing flowers on a budget.

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Anonymous said...
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Carol D. said...

Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas. I am one such home-based event florist and greatly appreciated reading your post today. I especially liked your homemade ice bowls and sculpture-very creative and simply stunning! Keep up the good work!


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