As the saying goes, every rose has its thorn—and that definitely holds true for wedding flowers. Trust me, I should know. When I started to plan my upcoming 2023 nuptials, I assumed selecting a florist would be one of the easier tasks on my matrimonial to-do list. All I needed to do was find a vendor who understood my vision and budget. How hard could that be? While I was able to secure a wonderful florist who can execute my vision at a reasonable rate, the vast majority of vendors near my venue quoted me a baseline minimum of $15,000 to $25,000. (Yes, you read that correctly: minimum.) Since I wasn’t envisioning a big flower arbor or hanging installation—just a little zhuzhing for my venue’s ornate vibe—my jaw dropped and my heart sank every time I received a less-than-economical quote.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who is noticing that wedding flowers are really, really expensive. According to Terri Pantini, founder of Fleur Soiree in Newport, Rhode Island, the pandemic “did a number” on the flower industry. “Many farms closed and now are awaiting crops to be replenished,” she explains. “Also, many big box stores purchased entire flower flowers for their exclusive supply demand, which left out any purchasing from other sources.” Nancy White, floral designer and owner of The Flower Bar in New York, agrees, noting that the backlog of weddings has increased the demand of florals. “Everyone wants white flowers, which have doubled in price,” she says. “Get your orders in early or you won’t even get them!”
Turns out, I’m not the only one who is noticing that wedding flowers are really, really expensive. Due to a continuation of supply chain issues—many of which were prompted by the COVID pandemic—many florists have been forced to increase their rates. (It’s completely understandable, but there’s no denying the up-charge is an investment.)
Nowadays, flowers are by no means cheap; however, that doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re throwing money away at the bouquet toss. With a few quick hacks, it’s possible to cut down on your bottom line without compromising style or quality. To help, two floral and event designers shared their savvy tips for saving on wedding flowers. Whether you’re DIYing your centerpieces or want to share these pointers with your florist, the tips below will help ensure your day is in full bloom. (You know, without breaking the bank.)
Meet the Expert
- Terri Pantini is the founder of Fleur Soiree in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Jacqueline Vizcaíno is the founder of Tinted Event Design, a full-service design firm in Atlanta.
- Nancy White is a floral designer and the owner of The Flower Bar in New York.
Repurpose Your Petals
As beautiful as they are, wedding flowers have a relatively short lifespan. (Unless you’re saving a few petals to press or handing out centerpieces to local guests, most of your flowers will be discarded after the last dance.) That said, making the most of your blooms can pay off in the long run—literally.
“If you’re looking to save on flowers, consider meta-purposing your ceremony flowers for your reception,” explains Jacqueline Vizcaíno, founder of Tinted Event Design, a full-service design firm in Atlanta. “This means you can redesign most—if not, all—of the same flowers from your ceremony and reception.”
Instead of dismantling and discarding your aisle arrangements right after you say “I do,” ask your wedding coordinator or a trusted friend to move a few bundles to your dessert table. (For a seamless transition, think about the flow of the day. After all, nobody wants to weave through cocktail hour with delicate flowers in hand.) No matter where you place them, you can have the illusion of bountiful blooms—minus the waste and high cost.
Opt for Affordable Alternatives
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a luxurious-looking watch to rock with your tux or a cute (and cheap!) pair of pajamas to wear as you get ready, the internet is packed with affordable dupes. So, why would the floral market be any different? According to White, there are plenty of species that offer the look of pricier petals at a fair, affordable price.
“Right now, everyone loves dahlias,” White explains. “However, they are very expensive— twice the cost of disbud chrysanthemums, which come in many variations [and] are a good trade out.” While a little bit of research can go a long way—and seriously help your bottom line—feel free to ask your florist for their thoughts on cost-effective alternatives. After all, they’re here to help!
Think Outside the Box
Just because bridal bouquets and boutonnieres are typically made with freshly cut flowers doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Your wedding day should highlight you and your partner’s unique love story, so here’s your chance to get a little creative, Contrary to popular belief, your wedding decor doesn’t need to feature large, luxurious bouquets.
“If you’re set on having flowers at your wedding but want to save money, get creative with alternative ideas,” Vizcaíno recommends. “You can use paper flowers, fabric flowers, or even fruit and vegetables to create unique and enhanced beautiful arrangements.”
Why limit that one-of-a-kind attitude to your bouquet? When tasked to create budget-conscious designs for a couple who met at a bookstore, White doubled down on the creative spirit. “We created centerpieces around the books that the relationship ‘bloomed over,’ incorporating flowers but using fewer. [I] ordered books from the couples favorites list and adorned the books with flowers creating a different simple arrangement for each table. The savings were significant.” A price-conscious idea that has no shortage of personality? Yes, please.
Be Deliberate About Your Deposit
So, you finally found a florist whose services comfortably sit within your budget. Before you sign on the dotted line, take a close look at your contract and payment instructions. As White says, one small decision can end up saving you a considerable chunk of cash.
“Most florists charge a service fee for credit card [transactions],” she shares. “If you pay with a check you can often save three percent. This can really provide some nice unexpected savings that are a win-win for all involved.”
Speaking of payment, don’t be afraid to ask your florist for clarification on any confusing line items. Whether you want to know what exactly you’re paying for or need to cut down on arrangements, the extra intel can help navigate your blooms budget with confidence.