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Flowers on A Budget
Flowers are an essential part of most weddings. Sure, they look pretty, but they offer much more: their fundamental function is to help create the joyful, romantic, and transportive atmosphere that every wedding tries to achieve. So, the fact that most wedding planners advise that only 10% of your overall budget is spent on them is- to put it delicately- a pain in the bud (seamless, I know.) But the sad fact is that for the vast majority of brides, they’ll be working within a pretty tight allowance while choosing their dream floral arrangements. So, here are some general budgeting tips when it comes to flowers:
- Be absolutely honest with your florist about your budget from the get-go. Irrespective of your specific allowance, they should be able to help you pick out some great options. Also, any misrepresentation of your allowance can cause headaches and disappointment (for both parties) down the line.
- If you are on a budget, create a ‘must have’ and a ‘wish’ list- that way, you know what to add on if you have a little extra dosh, or what to pare down if you overspend.
- Use expensive flowers sparingly, such as in your bouquet and centrepieces.
- The cost of centrepieces add up notoriously fast. Consider less elaborate, or even non- flower centrepieces to keep your costs low.
- Get creative with how you collect your flowers: don't be afraid to raid your garden to supplement the flowers you’ve already bought. The key thing to remember is that the flowers match and that they’re in great condition (so pick them the day before your wedding and store them in the fridge!).
- Use particularly fragrant flowers to give the impression that there are actually more flowers. Some of these highly perfumed flowers include: lilies, hyacinths, jasmine, sweet pea, and frangipani.
- An increasing alternative to real flowers are silk ones. These wedding flowers will last a lifetime and are generally cheaper than the real thing, but still look fantastic.
- Your flowers can be used more than once on the day! Use your ceremony arrangements as centrepieces for your reception.
- Where possible try to select wedding flowers that are in season as this will help to save you money. A note to remember is that flowers are usually in higher demand during special occasions such as Valentine's or Mother's Day. Try to avoid these dates and you will be surprised how much you can save. Ask your local florist what’s in season around your wedding date, as varieties can vary month to month.
- Centrepieces do not always have to be flowers. You can still achieve a classic, elegant look by using candles or plants. This will allow you to have lush foliage without breaking the bank.
- Instead of having a bouquet of expensive flowers, consider using cheaper plants and foliage to fill out, or even solely constitute your bouquet. You will have a cheaper bouquet that still looks fantastic.Consider using varieties like carnations, anemones, hydrangeas, Majolica roses, goldenrod, mimosa, and passion vine.
- Your bridesmaids can each carry a single flower instead of a bouquet. This will not only save you money, but can make a simple and elegant statement.
- If your wedding is in a garden, take advantage of the flowers and greenery already surrounding you. This should allow you to cut down substantially on extraneous floral decorations.
- Don't overlook smaller and independent florists as they will often charge less than large chain stores.
- If you are intending to use cheaper flowers for the majority of your arrangements, save the pricer flowers for the greatest focal points- your bouquet and centerpieces, for example.
- For beautiful and unique boutonnieres, layer cuttings of ‘filler’ flowers with herbs and fruit. A great way of keeping this look consistent is by matching them with centerpieces, corsages, or even your bouquet. To make the boutonnieres, cut each flower to around 8 cm, then stagger the clippings at different heights, bind the stems with floral tape, cover the stems with ribbon, and clip the ends to even them out.
- Make colour, rather than flower variety, your guiding principle. This allows you to easily mix less traditional flora together, such as fruit, grains, herbs, leaves and vines along with flowers. Great sources of popping colour, volume and structure for your centerpieces can be found in navel oranges, clementines, and kumquats, lemons, starfruit and the like. You can also cater fruit to suit your wedding style as easily as you can flowers- from traditional, to decadent roman feast and everything in between (Note: palm-leaf- fanners optional, having someone feed you single grapes is not).
- Create a tablescape. Not only does this allow you to use less flowers as you're essentially creating a single line of them, but you're also creating cute keepsakes by which the guests can remember the event. Also, using tall, thin vases creates a huge impact whilst using minimal flowers. Map out the assorted shapes of vases to keep the tablescape looking consistent. Place the tallest vases in the centre of your display, use medium sized ones throughout the edges of your display, and spread the smallest vases throughout. Place one or two stems in each vase, using the biggest flowers in the biggest vases. Long stalks such as caspia and agapanthus work best for this.
- If you have access to it and you like the look, pick your own wildflowers! A bit of higgledy- piggledy brings fun, interest and effortless beauty to an otherwise simple colour scheme.
- Create a unique ceremony path by lining the aisle with flowers attached to a wooden flower frame (a great idea is to again match the flowers to those of your bouquet). This tends to look best with huge amounts of flowers (wildflowers being a popular choice here). BONUS: You can then use these runners as the backdrop to your name card display (have your friends place the runners on a table for cocktail hour). At the end of the night, recycle them again to use in your backyard as trellises.
- Go rustic! Use wheat or similar grain (found in craft stores)as a cheap alternative centrepiece that celebrates autumn.
- Create a statement ceremony marker- an entire curtain of flowers. To do this yourself, you’ll need monofilament, a large needle, and about 1,000 carnations. Make the strands a day or two in advance and store them in the fridge. After the ceremony, use them to decorate the bar or main table at the reception.
- Alternatively, you can achieve a similar look for less effort with a flower archway. Go minimalist or decadent, this look is bound to make a lasting impression.
- Make fewer flowers go a longer way- use a few flower heads in a fishbowl. If you're using flowers like roses, ranunculus or peonies, where the head is the focus, cut the stems off and place into a fishbowl partly filled with water (play around until you acheive the desired effect). If you’re using long- stemmed flowers, such as calla lilies or orchids, forego the water.
- Use locally grown flowers for your centrepiece- use a tin pot, watering can, small barrel, white paper bags (slipped over the containing pots) or small wooden crates to embrace the home-grown and organic feel of the pieces! Use flowers with contrasting colours and textures to keep the displays individual and interesting.
- Bulbs make a great display piece, and are usually less expensive than their bloomed counterparts. ‘Plant’ the bulbs in some pebbles at the bottom of a wide vase or any plain pot to make a creative and beautiful focal point.
- Make your ‘vases’ as much a point of interest as the flowers themselves. Use vintage tureens, candelabra, teacups or whatever else catches your eye to create a quirky vintage look.
- Use a collection of tiny potted flowers, herbs or plants in the centre of each table instead of a more traditional centrepiece. BONUS: Instead of table numbers, you could organise the seating chart according to flower colour or herb.