Bride & Groom
Bride & Groom
How to Carefully Choose a Florist
and Keep Within your Budget
When choosing a florist, be sure he/she shares your taste and vision. Bring samples of fabrics from your gown and dresses to be worn and if possible pictures of your venue. Ask what flowers are in season which might help keep costs down. You need to have an open mind with talking with these professionals because they often have some great ideas, but have an idea in mind before you talk with them so you don't get railroaded into something you don't want to do. Never make a decision on the spot and it's always best to get three quotes from three different establishments before committing.
Set out with a budget in mind and try to figure out ways to stay as true to that as possible. If the price is getting a bit out of hand, after you have a good idea of what you want, tell the florist what your budget is and they may be able to work with you to come up with a compromise that will work as well, and at that point, when they know your spending limit and what you want, they may throw in a few extras for you to get the contract and figure that if they do a nice job, you'll send referrals their way. Ask to see a portfolio of their work - other weddings they have serviced. Have them do a sample arrangement for you using your favorite flowers. Ask for references. Personal referrals are the best but if you don't have any, getting feedback from other satisfied clients can help you make an educated decision.
Once you make a decision, you should try to book them 6-8 months in advance so you can be sure of their availability when you need them.
The Bridal Bouquet
One place you don't want to scrimp on flowers is the altar, since its' so visible, but even more importantly is your bouquet. I really is the focal point and the essence of your vision of your wedding. It should fit your personality, the real you. Choose one that matches your size too. A bouquet that is too large for your size could detract from your dress rather than accent it. Traditionally bouquets are white or pastel, but more importantly it needs to express the real you.
Flowers for the Wedding Party
Your attendants' corsages and/or bouquets should coordinate with their dresses. If you are trying to cut costs, your attendants could carry a single rose that coordinates with everything else. Both mothers usually get a corsage to wear on the wrist or lapel, or to pin to a bag. Flower girls need a basket of petals to toss or a small bouquet to carry.
If the bride's bouquet is built around roses, then the groom could have a single white rose. All the men in the party get boutonnieres: the groomsmen, ushers, ring bearer, fathers, and grandfathers. A white carnation is the most popular flower for the boutonniere, but again, the choice s yours and needs to coordinate with everything else going on.
Flowers for the Ceremony
It's important to check with your church or temple to see what their decorating policies are ahead of time. While having a white aisle runner used to be pretty popular, many brides are not opting for it any more. While nominal, It is an added expense and some don't feel that it really contributes that much. Another reason it that a white dress will stand out better against a dark floor and an off-white dress may clash. You can cap the pews on every row, alternate rows, or just immediate family rows, depending on your budget. An inexpensive alternative is to use bows instead of flowers for the pews, especially the last half of the rows. You'll probably want several formal arrangements on the altar plus the surrounding area in front of the altar.
If you are getting married in a church, you might want to check as see if there is another wedding scheduled that day, or even that weekend. It's possible that the other wedding party might be willing or even enthused with sharing flowers for both ceremonies that would save you a lot on the cost - if the colors, taste and budget would be something that would coordinate with both parties.
If you are on a really tight budget, and your wedding is going to be on a Saturday evening, you might check with the church to see if they are having flowers delivered that day for Sunday services. Find out what they are going to be and maybe you can use those and just buy some extra arrangements to fill in the gaps. If you do get married in a church it would be a nice gesture to leave your flowers behind for the parishioners to enjoy on Sunday.
Flowers for the Reception
If your reception venue is not providing decorations, you might check with your florist to see if there is a way to use the flowers on the pews, altar, etc, plus the brides maids flowers which would no longer be needed after the ceremony, could be used in decorating the hall and tables at the reception. If so, that would cut your costs considerably, (that is, unless you were able to strike a deal with another wedding party to leave the flowers for their ceremony following yours).
Whatever centerpieces you choose, make them a reasonable size so they don't block conversation at the table. A cheaper alternative is to use balloons, candles, or greenery for centerpieces. Flowers for the cake table and the food tables are standard. Flowers for the restrooms and the guest-book table are also a nice touch.
If you are responsible for providing your own decorations at the reception, and if you have a friend who is handy with greenery and table decorating, he/she could certainly save you a lot of money if you could get them to volunteer to do that ahead of time for you. Then they could bring over the flowers from the ceremony and place them strategically in the reception hall as a last minute addition, (that is, unless they need to be left for another pre-arranged wedding party following yours at the church or other location of your wedding ceremony). It's possible that the price of the reception hall includes table decorations. First of all, you need to be sure you have some input to that, but that may save you some money in the long run, not to mention the additional stress of planning it all.
By the way, since you probably will want to carry out the tradition of tossing your bouquet to the crowd of single ladies, ask your florist to make you a smaller version of your bouquet for this purpose, because most likely you are going to want to preserve yours. On the topic of preservation, if you do want your bouquet preserved, have your maid of honor or mother, someone drop it off at a prearranged preservationists shop. They charge quite a bit to pick it up.
More Money Saving Tips in Selecting Your Flowers
- Avoid using the rose unless you really want it - it's traditional but more expensive than about any other flower you could select. At least maybe just use it as an accent with lesser expensive flowers as your main focus.
- Have a smaller bridal party - fewer bouquets to buy
- Using your choice of flowers, have your florist make smaller arrangements.
- Use only a single stem flower for your bridesmaids instead of a bouquet.
- Choose local and /or in non-traditional and in-season flowers.
- Some florists might charge less if you wedding is on a non-traditional day, i.e.: Friday or Sunday.
- You might get a break with a florist if you have another friend or two getting married a few months apart, and if you book all at the same time.
- If you live in a big city, there is a good chance that there is a floral design school through which you might get a great deal on floral arrangements that would give a student an opportunity to practice and make some money doing it while saving you a bundle as she would not charge nearly as much as a certified florist. You both would benefit tremendously. She would be the experience and you would save money.
- Silk flowers can be less expensive and would last forever. Sometimes you can rent these for a fraction of the cost of real flowers.
Your flower choices need to be based on your taste, personality and the theme of your wedding, not on what different flowers mean or represent,
I thought it would be fun to include here:
What different flowers supposedly mean:
- Red Roses = Love
- White Roses = "I'm Worthy of You
- Red & White Roses together = Unity
- Single Flowers = Simplicity
- Bridal = Happy Love
- Myrtle = Love & Consistency in Affection
- Orange Blossoms = the Bridal Festivities & Your Purity Equals Your Loveliness
- Violets = Faithfulness
- Honeysuckle = Bonds of Love
- Clover = Be Mine
- Red Tulips = Declaration of Love
- Sweet Pea = Delicate Pleasure & Departure
- White Lilies = Purity & Modesty
- Lily of the valley = Return of Happiness
- Iris = Message
- Heliotrope = Devotion
- Clematis = Mental Beauty
- Forget Me Nots = True Love
- Stephanotis = "You Can't Boast Too Much