Manage your budget and cash in on luxe-looking blooms with these savvy insider tips.
Stay in Season
“An experienced florist knows that the most beautiful, cost-effective flowers are whatever’s currently available,” says Rebecca Feeney of Custom Event Group in St. Helena, California. “Otherwise, they have to be flown in from far away.” Think tulips and daffodils in the spring, roses and peonies in summer, hydrangeas in the fall, and amaryllis in winter. But there is one catch. “You may have to wait to see a sample bouquet until just before the wedding,” says Xochitl Gonzalez, founder and event planner at AaB Creates in New York City.
Keep the Best for Yourself
If you’re dying to use a particularly pricey variety, go for it—in moderation. “I often tell clients to include [more expensive flowers] only in their bouquets, since it’s the one piece they hold and interact with,” says Holly Heider Chapple, owner of Holly Heider Chapple Flowers in Lucketts, Virginia.
Fake Fancy Blossoms
“Carnations and mums cost a quarter as much as other flowers, and it’s easy to make them appear high-end,” Chapple says. When grouped in bunches of four or five, for example, they masquerade as peonies or dahlias. Daisies and daffodils grouped in large quantities will have the same effect. Bundle them in simple vases, such as white cylinders or glass cubes in various sizes. “The eye will bounce around the beautiful groupings and not zero in on the flower type,” says NYC–based floral designer and contributing editor Matthew Robbins.
Give Bridesmaids a Single Bloom
To stay within your wedding flower budget, opt for your attendants to carry a simple stem instead of a full bouquet. “It looks intentional, cohesive, and it’s an easy way to save,” says contributing editor David Stark of David Stark Design and Production in Brooklyn.
Think Outside the Flower Box
You can use blooms sparingly, and instead fill out your arrangements with herbs, evergreen, lamb’s ear, and ferns. “They’re very inexpensive but look incredibly elegant,” says Chapple. Or consider using potted plants as centerpieces; they look lush, and you only need one per table. You can also play up candlelight. If your venue allows it, “cluster together pillar candles in glass hurricanes and smaller ones in votive holders,” says Robbins. For added romance, set them atop low-cost mirrors.
Create Focal Points
It’s a sneaky trick often used by florists: “Place one large arrangement on the bar and another at a centrally located table,” says Gonzalez. “By designing two impressive points of interest, you can get away with using small, simple centerpieces everywhere else.”
Spread the Love
Check with your venue for any events scheduled the day before or after yours. If you’re in the market for big décor items like trees or garlands, pitch the idea to the other clients—they might fancy added touches and share the expense with you. Will your wedding fall around a holiday? Ask your venue if you can piggyback on the decorations they might be putting up.
Upcycle the Bouquets
Rather than tossing your bridesmaids’ posies after the ceremony, put them to work as reception centerpieces. The secret is to choose opaque vases—or wrap clear ones in sheet moss or wide ribbon—so that the water tubes aren’t visible, and ask your florist to precut the stems to the right length.