Budgeting for a wedding is no small task. Sticking to your budget is even harder! Many couples I speak with have a good idea of how much they'll spend on a photographer or venue, but few know what to expect when getting flower quotes. Couples trying to book their florists for 2022 and 2023 are shocked to get quotes for $5000+ for something that lasts just a day. Here are some helpful ways to help you budget for wedding flowers.
1. Prioritize important flowers
Signing table flowers and luxurious centerpieces look dreamy on Pinterest, but they come with a price tag. Floral pieces such as your bridal bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets are photographed all day, so prioritize them over "nice-to-have" flowers.
Once guests are seated and begin eating dinner, there are purses and personal items scattered over the table. And to be honest, no one will be paying attention to your elaborate, expensive centerpieces a few hours into the reception.
2. Choose seasonal flowers from local growers
I've worked with relaxed couples that went to a local flower farm the day before their wedding, purchased a few buckets of in-season flowers, and DIYed some beautiful Mason Jar centerpieces and wedding bouquets.
Some flower farmers are considered farmer-florists and can pre-assemble and deliver bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnières for you. It's a beautiful thing to save money, support local, and skip the imported flowers grown with pesticides.
3. Keep your guest count and wedding party small
Bridal bouquets can start from $80 each in Toronto, which adds up quickly. If you're planning on having 15 round tables and need centerpieces for all of them, think again! Naturally, the larger your guest count, the more you'll be spending on the entire evening. If you're on a super tight budget, try rethinking your guest count or how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you'll have.
4. Be flexible with flower choice and colour palette
Florists are experts at creating your flower vision within your budget. They know what flowers are in-season, the price per-stem of each bloom, and what colour palettes will look great with your wedding season.
If you're picky about your flowers and want Peonies in January, it's going to cost you! However, if you communicate your flower budget and the minimum floral items you'd like to have, your florist will guide you.
5. Choose round tables
Rounds tables are cheaper to decorate than long rectangular ones. On a round table, you can get away with a small centerpiece. For a rectangular table with about the same number of people, a minimal centrepiece can look awkward and leave gaps. You'll often need to add a garland or spread out multiple low-tier arrangements for rectangular tables.
6. Reuse ceremony flowers in your reception area
I frequently work with couples who want an elaborate arch and entrance flowers on risers for their 20 minute ceremony, and then more fancy and tall pieces for their reception hall. I guide them by recommending they reuse ceremony flowers in the reception area. It can be a pain to spend so much money on such a short part of your wedding.
I often stay on-site to move around flowers between the ceremony and reception (cocktail hour is the perfect opportunity for this). I move the ceremony entrance flowers beside the sweetheart table, and sometimes even move the arch behind the sweetheart table to get the most out of the beautiful decor. The couple saves money, and it's less work for the florist!
7. Rent artificial flowers
Couples are searching for fresh flower alternatives. Wood flowers, silk flowers, and dried flowers are used more frequently for modern weddings. DIY silk flowers can be an exciting, fun adventure. However, buying high quality artificial flowers from a craft store like Michael's can be just as pricey as fresh flowers. I highly discourage Dollarama flowers or buying online! This is your wedding day, so don't go too tacky just to save a buck. You might regret it.
The other issue with buying artificial flowers is - what do you do with them all after your wedding? Silk flowers have fairly good resale value on Facebook Marketplace, and you could keep your bridal bouquet as a keepsake.
Another great option is renting artificial flowers (that's exactly what I do at Bushel & Bloom!) That way, you're not dealing with buying and selling silk flowers, and it's 70% cheaper. The flowers are returned to my studio and repurposed for future weddings! I take custom orders and show brides progress photos well in advance of their wedding so they can make adjustments until they're satisfied with their floral pieces.
8. Avoid late-night pick-up fees
My travel fees and tear-down fees are doubled after 11:00pm, and many other vendors charge a late-nigh pick-up fee too. By this time, your wedding guests are leaving, drunk, or dancing. The last thing anyone is thinking about is their table's centerpiece or your bridal bouquet. It can be cost effective to schedule an earlier tear-down time for decor and flowers. If you choose the right vendor (like me!), they'll be respectful and discreet with earlier pack-up times.
9. Shipped-to-you fresh flowers
There are several services online that ship fresh flowers to you a few days before your wedding. You pick out a package based on your colour palette and the approximate number of items you'll need. Once they arrive, just ensure you give them a fresh snip on their stems, place them in conditioned water, and refrigerate the blooms to extend their life.
This option is still fairly expensive and a lot of work for just a few nights before your wedding, which is already stressful. I would only recommend this flower method to couples that have some floral arranging experience, or have a family member that can help. If you're interested in this DIY option, I highly recommend Lily on the Thames.
Another budget-bride option is to purchase cheap grocery store bouquets a night or two before your wedding and assemble something simple at home with your bridal party. If you're not super picky about colours and professional looking florals, this is a very cheap alternative to hiring a florist.
10. A La Carte Wedding Flowers
Some florists in the Toronto area offer pre-made fresh flower collections. You can browse the website to choose your favourite bouquets and boutonnières and reserve your date. This is slightly more cost effective than having a florist create a unique design from scratch.
That'a a wrap! I hope the above tips can help you and your partner decide the best and most cost-effective way for you to enjoy your wedding flowers. Whether they're artificial, fresh, DIY, or something in between, your special day will be beautiful because of you, not just because of the flowers you hold in your hand.