Thursday, April 30, 2009

Budget Crunch: Seven Ways to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

Depending on when and where you are tying the knot, the average cost of wedding flowers can range from $800 to $1900-and that’s not including floral centerpieces or extravagant bouquets. But let’s face it. Flowers scream romance-and your wedding will be romantic. So what can you do?

As with other areas of your wedding, you might be able to save money if you:
- Get married in off season
- Don’t get married on or near a major holiday (like Valentine’s Day or New Year's Eve)
- Get married on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday

Still itching to slash that budget? Ok, then. Here are Four More Ways You Can Save Some Green on Your Wedding Floral Bill.

1. Shop Around
All florists are not created equally, hence the final bill between two similar florists will vary greatly. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times-shop around. Keep an organized account of what you are being quoted and don’t be afraid to share your lowest quotes with potential florists. Often they will offer you upgrades or freebies to get the contract.

It is important to ensure you are comparing equal bouquets and centerpieces. Get all of the details in writing to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the Big Day.

2. Stay in Season
It makes sense that seasonal flowers that are grown locally will be less costly than expensive imported flowers. Ask your florists or look online to get an idea of which flowers are grown in your area and which flowers will be in season during your wedding. You could save hundreds of dollars by not importing blooms from around the world. Here is a seasonal flower guide to help you get started.

3. Use Alternatives
Unless you have your heart set on a particular flower, look outside the bud for a less expensive alternative. Calla Lilies run around $7 a stem, while similarly-shaped Tulips are less than $3. Cymbidium Orchids can run as high as $60 a stem-ouch!-while Dendrobium Orchids are less than $4. Other less expensive options include Orange Blossoms, Lavender, Daffodil, Daisies, Chrysanthemum, Carnations and Ivy.

4. Do-it-Yourself … well, almost
While I am a big proponent of a Do-it-Yourself Wedding, I would never-ever!-recommend doing your own flowers. Everything else I’ve recommended for Do-it-Yourself-the programs, the escort cards, even the invites can all be done weeks, if not months, in advance. The flowers can’t. They have to be done at the last minute. Believe me, you will want to spend those last few hours of single-girl stardom being pampered, having brunch with your friends or relaxing in a hot bath. You don’t want to be stressed out because the bouquet you are trying to recreate doesn’t look like the picture you pulled from Brides Magazine.

However, there are low-cost ways around this. Look on Craigs List or ask a local university or horticulture school for a recommendation on their best flower arranger. This person will usually work for hundreds less than a florist who has high overhead costs and staff salaries to consider. Purchase your flowers yourself from a local flower wholesaler. You should place your order with the wholesaler weeks (if not more) in advance and ask the flower arranger all of the same questions you’d ask a full-service florist.

What other ways can you think of to save money on your flowers?

Photos courtesy of EricByer and boeke


Wedding Postage Invitation Stamps said...

Another idea is to actually rent the flowers from a florist or make a deal with a local business that uses flowers such as as fancy hotel - agree that you will use them first for the wedding and then sells them to the hotel for a discounted price.

Cherrye Moore said...

Interesting. I've never heard of that, actually. I did something similiar with chargers I wanted for my wedding. I bought them and they gave me about $1,000 in upgrades. Win-win!