Flowers – with their striking, pleasing and colorful appearance, are a fundamental feature in wedding decor – quite naturally, as luxurious and pretty they are to look at. But given the fact that they cost a lot of money, only last a few hours and can never be used again, it is a good idea to be aware of how to achieve the same romantic and impressive effects using a bit of ingenuity and creative flair.
Wedding flowers can cost as much as 12% of your total budget, with many couples spending a number around $5000, so if you want your wedding to be colorful and lush with less wastage on natures resources or your wedding budget, read on!
Discuss as a wedding couple where flowers really matter to you, then consider scrapping the rest, or finding an alternative. You might find that you don’t feel strongly about corsages, aisle petals, a floral back drop, flower crowns etc, and in the areas you feel are more significant, use your creative thinking. How about an olive branch “flower” crown for the bridesmaids, and just a sprig of thistle for boutonnières for the groomsmen? Forgo the chairs decor in favor of a ribbon – or nothing at all?
Some scrutinizing tips!
Elaborate centerpieces can look impressive in photos, but in reality they are costly, unnecessary and can obstruct the view across tables. It also feels sad to throw away so many beautiful flowers the next day when the wedding is packed up, after having been used for only a couple of hours.
Fewer, well executed decorations are going to be as effective and stylish than big, opulent and jam-packed ones. Keeping the centerpieces small will benefit the guests too, as they will be able to see each other and talk easier.
Once all guests are seated, and the ceremony begins, their eyes will be solely on the ceremony arch and the wedding couple. The brides dress is usually the key decor piece of the ceremony, why you can get away with keeping the aisle style decor and flowers to a minimum.
Focus on the arch, perhaps add a focal piece on the ceremony table, then keep it simple elsewhere. That is where people will notice and appreciate it.
Consider replacing your floral backdrop with fabric, makramé or foliage. If you are a minimalist, hang strings of lights, branches with leaves or a beautiful chandelier instead. This could be a satisfying DIY project and result in a truly unique feature.
2. Establish the budget
Just as with wedding planning in general, you first want to decide on a maximum budget for flowers and decor. Have an upfront discussion with your florist about how much you want to spend, and make sure to ask about ways to make the installations more budget friendly. It is great to show her your inspiration boards, preferred colors and varieties, then hand over the process to her of selecting the flowers that will suit your style and budget.
3. Be flexible
It will serve your budget well to not have too strong opinions about your flowers to start with, as your florist will be able to work magic with flowers you might have initially wanted to avoid. Be open to suggestions as she is the expert! When it comes to displays, it is actually so much more about the composition and colors as a whole, than types of individual flower heads.
4. Think outside the box
Hiring a florist is not your only option. Consider supplementing or replacing using foraged wildflowers, potted plants or flowers from a friends garden to save the wallet and environment.
Paper flowers are an alternative that should not be overlooked – they make amazing features and can be a fun craft project. They will last forever too, if you store them right. If you don’t want to keep them – how about selling them to another Bride?
5. Less is more
Sticking to less than 3 varieties means you will get a bulk deal, save on labor costs, as well as a polished and cohesive display. Using your color scheme as the leading thread and foliage to give bulk and interesting textures ties it all together to a uniform and sophisticated look.
Less is also more in terms of the volume on display. Single flowers or a small, tasteful arrangement gives a refreshing and refined aesthetic.
Your bridesmaids can carry a single stem flower, or how about a floral hoop with a simple arrangement?
6. Fill the void
Fillers such as eucalyptus, solidago, waxflowers, pittosporum and thistle have great textures and can be used generously to add bulk and interesting shapes. Combined with just a few feature flowers of choice, amazing arrangements are achieved at a fraction of the cost.
7. Go for Green
As the Greenery trend has showed again and again, you can further reduce the expense by replacing some – or all flowers – in favor of green fillers and botanicals.
Lush leaves fill arrangements as well as add on-trend style. Oversize tropical leaves, ferns, eucalyptus garlands and succulents creates visual interest. Use greenery on its on for a minimalist look, or combine with white for a chic and modern display.
Generally speaking, the botanical or minimalist approach to centerpieces will always hit the jackpot in terms of beautiful looks and wedding ingenuity.
8. Opt for desert plants
Cacti and succulents are perfect for weddings as they don’t need to be thrown away after – just put them back into soil and they will take root and last many years. Unusual and delightful, they are not very expensive either especially when you consider their re-usability.
There are flower “lookalikes” that will give you your desired effect with a cunningly similar flower at a cheaper cost. An example is to use fully developed roses (they are cheaper to buy than regular roses) in favor of peonies, which still brings about the most romantic and luxurious flair.
To extend the beauty of your orchids, pick carnations in the same color to make the most out of the joy.
10. Display in the right place
Choose your must-have flowers but display them only in paces of high visibility such as in your hair, your bouquet and on the wedding cake as these will be photographed a lot. If you really need the peonies, place them in your bouquet and substitute them elsewhere with similar looking flower heads.
Splurge on your Bridal flowers, and save elsewhere, as everyone will notice them on you.
11. Go for size and color
Large, colorful and high-impact feature plants will give a stronger impression; therefore you won’t need as many of them. Good examples would be protea varieties which will make a grand statement in your arrangements, even if the price per bunch might be a bit more.
As these flowers are more vibrant and have more presence you will only need 1 per vase as they are a feature in themselves. Perhaps they can even be displayed as single stems on their own, enabling you to have the high-end look on a smaller budget.
If you go for a tropical or green vibe, enormous palm or monstrea leaves will add sculptural effects.
12. Choose local and seasonal
Flowers that are abundant and easily available will always come with smaller price tag. Choosing varieties that grow locally and are in season gives you the freshest flowers at the best price. Your florist will be able to advise – a tip is to research prices at your local flower market.
Another option is choosing highly popular varieties that are farmed all year around such as roses, lilies and carnations. If your flower only grows in spring on the other side of the continent, you can be sure to pay a premium too.
Going indigenous also means transport costs and fuel emission will be cut – a bonus both for you and the planet!
13. Use your surroundings
You take take “local” a step further by checking around in your area what actually grows and could be harvested or purchased directly from the farmer. If you live in a place which has bougainvillea, use it to add vibrant pops of color – it is also incredible durable and wont wilt. Perhaps there is a beautiful olive tree on your plot, or a sunflower meadow, lavender farm or a cotton field nearby – how about using sprigs for decoration?
(Be sure to ask for permission before you harvest somebody else’s property!)
Potted or harvested lavender is inexpensive, adds the on-trend purple color and has a lovely scent. Lavender has many uses when dried, too. Perfect for confetti!
You can use other objects found in nature to replace flowers in arrangements and centerpieces – how about branches, rocks or beautiful leaves?
14. Add other objects
To cut costs on your tables, consider using other items than flowers as decorations. Candles, foliage and loosely arranged floral elements goes a long way. Consider using potted succulents or cacti and other non-flower botanicals.
This is an opportunity to add personality such as with books, or something that matches your theme such as moss or pine cones for a woodlands wedding etc.
Candles, tea lights and lanterns in abundance also create atmosphere and beautiful focal points, meaning just adding some green sprigs would be enough decoration.
Each table can look different too, that is okay!
16. Make it edible
Fruit and vegetables have stunning colors and shapes, and has the advantage of being edible. Fresh fruit comes in a range of seasonal varieties. How about using apples for your fall wedding?
Ornamental cabbages are basically a huge rose, and artichokes are always reminiscent of flowers with the added association of hearts. When your guests and family has taken what they can, donate the rest to a soup kitchen.
17. The power of pots
If you don’t like wasting flowers, potted herbs or pot plants make beautiful features. Living flowers in pots can be added to your displays and will obviously last much longer if you keep them watered.
If you are really savvy, you could choose to give a mini-succulent, pot of lavender or herb as favors, display them on the tables as centerpieces – and voila: you have nailed two jobs and expenses in one genius strike – saves on items to clean up after too!
18. Be modern
Traditionally, wedding centerpieces are tall, colorful and opulent. A modern-minimalist approach means you’ll only spend a fraction of the costs and still achieve a super stylish wedding concept.
Modern doesn’t only need to be minimalist – a rustic or bohemian wedding theme will give you the same benefits as it opens up opportunity for innovation.
It is not impossible to DIY your wedding flowers, all of them or only select projects. Boutonnières, flower crowns and corsages are not very hard to make, even your ceremony arch, bridesmaids/ bridal bouquet and centerpieces are not impossible either, especially if you love the romantic and deconstructed look.
Pick up fresh bunches from your wholesaler and get it delivered to the site the day before the wedding. What you need is a dedicated team, a cool storage room, many buckets of water, scissors, pliers, green string and green garden wire and some images for inspiration. There are plenty of DIY florist instruction videos on Youtube to snap up ideas.
If you are using other objects other than flowers in your centerpieces – such as branches, pine cones or other decorative pieces, remember that metallic or white spray paint can turn the most ordinary ingredient into something exciting and novel!
21. Consider life span
Save on your wedding flowers not only on the day, but also in terms of how long they will last afterwards. The nice thing about begonias and succulents is that they root – meaning they can be planted after the wedding and will give enjoyment afterwards.
22. Display creatively
By displaying your centerpiece creatively, you make more out of the arrangement than displaying the flowers by themselves. A terrarium, wooden slice or an unusual vase turns your centerpiece into something fresh and exciting, meaning you won’t need as many flowers.
An arrangement displayed in a dome, a wooden box or a creative table runner such as the faux grass below will enhance the effect.
You will of course have to spend money on the objects used in the display, but as the item won’t wilt like the flowers, it can be reused or sold after the wedding!
23. Re-think the float
A popular centerpiece look is the flower suspended in water with a floating candle. These are indeed striking – but how about rethinking the look using grasses, fruit, pebbles, leaves or branches?
24. Reuse during the wedding
Assign a family member or usher to move your flowers from ceremony to the reception area – how about to your sweetheart table? This way you’ll need to purchase less flowers as you will get more mileage out of each arrangement. Use the bridesmaid bouquets this way too, for example to decorate the cake display.
25. Pass on the pleasure
To pass the enjoyment of your cut flower displays on after the wedding, arrange to donate the leftover flowers to a hospital or old age home where they will be highly appreciated.
Potted plants or herbs stay alive, meaning their cost will give you or someone else extended benefits after the wedding. How about giving arrangements and the potted plants to your family or wedding party as a thank you gift? Or perhaps you or a family member has a garden it could all be planted? Wouldn’t that be an incredible keepsake to have?
LAST… Choose within your budget
For the actual flowers, carnations, daisies, hydrangeas, alstroemerias and some varieties of roses are reasonably prices and come in a range of colors.
Inexpensive flowers are also beautiful, and if used in moderation with botanical leaves and other features – such as foliage or vegetables – you make a unique style statement that is just as impressive and enjoyable as masses of peonies and orchids.
These are some price ranges for popular wedding flowers, but it also depends on season and where in the world you live of course.
Budget – chrysanthemum, cosmos, daisies, dahlias
Moderate– roses, anemones, ranunculus, hydrangea, calla lilies, stephanotis, lisianthus
Expensive– orchids, peonies, lily of the valley, tulips
Just as with other aspects of decor, it is easy to fall prey to “wedding peer pressure” – by that we mean the imagined need to have it all. Remember, your wedding is not going to be more fun or successful because you spent an arm and a leg on flower decorations, and very few of your guests will analyze your wedding in that way. Some might not even take note of the flowers at all! What strikes the most is creativity, color and your personal style on the overall wedding – flowers only being a small part of it. So be sure to choose both with your budget and integrity in mind – your guest are going to have the best time either way!