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How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers / a quick guide

The worst feeling is when you start to shop for something, say wedding flowers, and immediately feel your throat tighten up when you see that they cost a lot more than you anticipated. No one likes the feeling of sticker shock, but alas, floral decor for dinner parties of over 100 people adds up quick. I’m not here to defend the pricing ways of florists, that’s a way longer post for another day that includes mark-ups, paying staff, paying our bills, how flowers are imported, etc. Today, I’m giving you a down and dirty guide on how to save money on your wedding flowers.

There are a few tricks that I use with my clients to help them save money while still providing enough decor to fill their venues and giving the floral company (me) the correct profit margin. No one wants to say it, but yes, we make money on your wedding. That’s how I feed my kid. And pay my rent. And buy that fancy face oil. Talking about money is weird, and I get it that you might not have a gazillion dollars to spend on your wedding flowers. There are smart ways that you can lower your floral bill without compromising style or asking your florist to provide more than they are comfortable doing at a lower profit margin:

Do a mix of centerpieces

Decorate some tables with pricey tall centerpieces, some with lower floral centerpieces, and some tables simply with candles. This strategy always lowers the flower bill at least a few hundred bucks, if not more, and keeps the same aesthetic as if every single table was dripping with flowers.

Cut unnecessary floral items

Tough talk time: saving money often means that you can’t have everything you want. Cut floral items out of the “must haves” list to save some dough. Your wedding will not miss any of these items:

Boutonnieres: I’m starting with a controversial one. The majority of weddings that I’ve designed that have a groom, they could care less about boutonnieres. All of your guests will know who the groom is, and who the dads are, and who your VIPs are, without a spray rose pinned onto their lapel.

Bathroom flowers: Sure, they are nice, but not needed.

Cocktail hour table flowers: Use a bunch of candles here instead.

Bar flowers: This one is venue dependent. Huge bars with tons of surface space under high ceilings could use a focal point of some pretty flowers. Smaller bars, movable bars, or bars where the staff uses the top surface to store the glassware won’t have space for flowers. Double check with your venue that the bar has adequate space before adding bar flowers to your floral quote.

Trust the florist that you chose

Ask your florist what changes they can make to their quote to save a few bucks. It could be as easy as using carnations instead of spray roses or subbing in lisianthus for sweet pea. They could possibly use clear glass votives instead of special ordering mercury glass ones. Tell them that you trust their vision, their expertise, and their ideas to design you some pretty wedding flowers that fall within a budget you are comfortable with.

Put the fancy flowers where they count

There is a reason why you pinned certain images to your pinterest board: they have the most beautiful, interesting, flowers that you’ve ever seen. They don’t look like the regular flowers you normally see at the grocery store – they look special. They ARE special. And in the flower world, special = expensive. The frilly flowers are often grown in Japan or Holland, have the prettiest color variations in each bloom…and the price tag to go with them. We are often talking a price tag of $15+ per stem. Those can add up QUICKLY. But – you can still have them! Ask your florist to use the most expensive blooms where guests will be able to experience them the most. This is in the centerpieces and in your bridal bouquet. You could save thousands of dollars by using standard roses on your chuppah and garden roses in your centerpieces. The bridal bouquet can be accented with Japanese ranunculus and the bridesmaids bouquets use spray roses. Put your money in the pieces that will get the most eyes and photos. Sub cheaper blooms for everything else.

There you have it! A quick guide on how to save money on your wedding flowers. This post could easily be way, way longer, and one day I’ll write that one for you. For right now, the majority of you just want to hire a florist and save a few bucks doing it (while still respecting the florist’s time and profitability).

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Wedding at the Bowery Hotel | Alison and Andrew

A wedding at the Bowery Hotel was the perfect way to spend a warm summer day last year. Allison and Andrew were married in a whimsical, beautiful wedding surrounded by dahlias, sunflowers, and freesia.

Their chuppah, styled in front of the grand fireplace at the Bowery Hotel, was decorated with kitchy props that reflected their personalities, travels, and hobbies. It was such a cute idea! Scroll down to see how we hung them on the chuppah to seamlessly blend in with their wedding flowers. I can confidently say that this was, and probably will be, the only wedding with a hand weight, cowboy hat, wooden spoon, and chopsticks on their chuppah.

Thumbs up to everyone doing things their own way.

Photos by A Heart String Wedding Co.

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How to Quickly Figure out a Floral Budget

This is a friendly PSA that Mother’s Day is this Sunday. What does this have to do with the floral budget for your wedding? Well, Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days for florists around the county, coming in a close second to Valentine’s Day. This gives you a great opportunity to see what a florist can do for certain price points and apply that knowledge when deciding on a floral budget for your wedding. Even though you’ve probably never had to purchase floral decor for a dinner party of 100 people before, you might have ordered flowers for your mom.

While your browsing those online floral shops or stopping into your local florist, take mental notes of the size, shape, and types of flowers that are used in what you are buying. Say you paid $80 for an arrangement with a $20 delivery fee. That’s $100 for the floral arrangement you sent to your mom. Would you use that same exact floral arrangement for your centerpieces? Is it big enough? Does it look sparse? Do you like the flowers used? Or is it really small, with flowers you aren’t into, in a cheap vase?

The quickest way to figure out a rough budget for your florals is to use the knowledge about flower arrangements that you already have from sending flowers to loved ones. Remember what those arrangements looked like upon delivery and how much they cost. You can use those numbers as a rough starting point as you create the budget for your wedding.

Using the $100 example from above, assuming that you thought the arrangement delivered was adequate for your wedding centerpieces. For this example, we’ll also assume an average wedding size of 150 guests for a sit down dinner, 3 people in each wedding party, personal flowers for parents, and some ceremony florals:

$80 per centerpiece x 15 centerpieces = $1,200

Bridal bouquet = $150

$75 x 3 bridesmaids = $225

$20 x 4 boutonnieres = $60

Personal flowers for two sets of parents = $150

$200 x 2 ceremony urns (twice the size of the centerpieces) = $400

Estimated total: $2,185 before tax, delivery, and set-up fees.

Remember, we are putting that same exact arrangement your mother received for Mother’s Day in the center of your reception tables here. For anything bigger, more complex, using nicer high-end flowers, in a different vase, or with the addition of candles will be an increase in cost. I’m sure what you sent your mom was lovely, but does it look anything like the inspiration you pinned on your wedding pinterest board? Probably not.

When you sit down to make your wedding floral budget, think about the money you spent for the product that was sent to your mom on Mother’s Day. Use that one arrangement as a rough guide to deciding on the floral budget you are comfortable presenting to prospective florists.

ps…need help shopping for a florist? I wrote two posts that are super helpful in making that decision: Choosing a Florist Style over Price (my recommendation) or Choosing a Florist Price over Style.

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