When it comes to the flowers, the two most common pieces of advice are (1) do your own flowers, and (2) under no circumstances should you do your own flowers, which, understandably, can leave you totally confused. The real answer lies within your abilities, available time, and tolerance for silk versus fresh flowers, as well as a few strategies for getting the best use of your dollars.
This is one of those areas where both timing and talent come into play. Flowers are beautiful for only a short period of time; so, unlike other components of your wedding, you cannot finish them ahead of time. Fresh-cut flowers must be arranged in the days just before the wedding, when you will be busiest, and they MUST be kept cool to remain fresh looking. That means a refrigerator or big cooler. Also, floral design is an art; unless you are going with only basic bouquets and configurations, an experienced florist or planner can make all the difference between amateurish-looking and gorgeous flowers.
If you like the look of artificial flowers, they can offer significant advantages.
• Give yourself more time by using synthetic flowers. You can make or buy them as far ahead as needed, and they will look like new on your wedding day.
• Buy used imitation flowers, and resell them after the wedding to keep your costs low see here for a current selection.
• Carry unique-to-you “flowers” by making the bouquets from buttons, brooches, or paper instead of flowers.
In general, you can split floral functions into two parts: wedding party accessories and decorations. The first includes bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets, mothers’ corsages, flower-girl’s basket, and men’s boutonnieres. These are generally, but not always, ordered fully arranged from a florist or increasingly, an online service that ships your completed order overnight just before the wedding.
Candidates for floral decorations include aisle, pew, altar, and miscellaneous ceremony adornments, as well as reception centerpieces, backdrops, and other embellishments. While a florist can often handle all of these assignments, the wedding planner and venue’s employees may be able to coordinate and even arrange them themselves.
In either case, there are the options for doing it yourself, having a professional do it all, or a blend of the two.
Choice of Flowers
The type of flowers you choose goes a long way in determining your cost. Some, naturally, cost more than others. There is also the seasonal factor: While most are available year round, the availability of non-greenhouse flowers during a plant’s natural blooming season may create more deals for you. At the end of this chapter I’ve noted the blooming season of typical varieties of each flower. Note that because location and weather conditions may affect growth and specific hybrids can vary, these are general guidelines. Your local market or certain online sellers may also differ.
• Compare prices when you buy or order flowers. The same type of flowers can dramatically vary in cost from one source to another. I found a HUGE range in prices while researching bloom costs.
• Research reviews before choosing final flower vendors or suppliers. Flowers are extremely visible in your wedding, and freshness and bloom quality play a significant role in the end results. Consequently, a trustworthy source is especially important. I found Wedding Wire to have a candid review section, but it’s a little clunky finding specific reviews. A fast way to research a specific vendor without jumping through hoops is to go to Google or Bing and search like this: site:weddingwire.com vendor name reviews (If you want to find out about Costco, for example, type in site:weddingwire.com Costco reviews). You can then go straight to the good stuff.
This post is an excerpt from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook by Bobette Kyle.
Date: April 1, 2014