How to Keep Wedding Floral Costs Down
8 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Budget Weddings
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to cut your wedding flower costs if you're on a budget. You can save money by purchasing only locally grown flowers that are in season. You can buy flowers in bulk and make your own bouquets and centerpieces. Or you can forgo fresh flowers altogether and use either artificial ones or creative (and low-cost) alternatives.
Going with seasonal fresh flowers
You can get pretty much any kind of flower you want at any time of year — for a price. But you can save money by concentrating on flowers that are in season.
Some flowers, like roses, baby’s breath, carnations, orchids, and calla lilies, are available year-round, and their prices don’t really fluctuate much with the seasons. But others are much cheaper in season. Here are some common wedding flowers and the seasons in which they’re available at the lowest cost in the United States:
Spring: Anemones, daffodils, delphiniums, hyacinths, lilies, peonies, sweet peas, tulips
Summer: Asters, chrysanthemums, daisies, English lavender, forget-me-nots, hydrangea, irises, larkspur, lilies, zinnias
Fall: Asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, marigolds, zinnias
Winter: Amaryllis, anemones, camellias, Casablanca lilies, daffodils, forget-me-nots, hollies, poinsettias, stargazer lilies, sweet peas, tulips
Nearly all flower prices, and especially prices for roses, go up during the first two weeks of February in the lead-up to St. Valentine’s Day. Flower prices also may be higher in the two or three weeks leading up to Mother’s Day.
Creating your own floral arrangements
More and more brides are buying flowers in bulk and creating their own bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. The Internet has helped this trend along in two ways:
You can find good online deals on bulk flowers. You can order bulk flowers from virtually anywhere and have them delivered to your door — in some cases, without even paying extra for shipping.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to receive your order and make your bouquet, centerpieces, and so on. You need storage space and time to put together your arrangements — essentials that often convince couples they’d rather spend the money on a florist.
You can visit countless Web sites that have videos and instructions on making floral pieces for any occasion. Plenty of online resources can help you make your own bouquets, centerpieces, and other decorations. Check out Save-on-crafts, The Flower Exchange, Do It Yourself Weddings, and even YouTube for videos and instructions.
If you prefer one-on-one instruction, check with craft stores in your area to see whether they offer classes or seminars. Some craft stores also have instruction sheets for various projects.
Use inexpensive artificial flowers to experiment with styles, and when you come up with one you like, take pictures of it so you can re-create it with real flowers for your wedding.
Considering alternatives to fresh flowers
Flowers may be a wedding tradition, but you can always decide to do something different. In fact, if you or your betrothed suffer from allergies, fresh flowers may not be practical. More couples are using alternatives as they try to keep costs down:
Artificial flowers are the obvious choice for the allergy-prone. Craft stores are stuffed to the rafters with an incredible variety of real-looking artificial flowers and greens, perfect for making your own bouquets, centerpieces, and other decorations.
No rule says that a bouquet — or a centerpiece — has to be made of flowers at all. Brides today are carrying bouquets made of feathers, crystals, candy, antique buttons, and even origami birds.
You can ditch the bouquet idea altogether and carry a fan, a parasol, a Bible, or a rosary. Some brides who have a unity candle in their ceremony walk down the aisle with a lit candle instead of placing it on the altar.
You could opt to carry nothing, too. But many people get nervous when they’re the center of attention, and carrying something down the aisle gives you something to do with your hands.