When planning a wedding, it’s no secret that every last purchase adds up more quickly than any young couple could have anticipated. This is what happened to me when planning my wedding. I set out to spend a specific amount in every one of my categories, and just about every category ended up being overspent on. This wasn’t a matter of me being careless, either. Even with the best intentions and making mindful purchases every step of the way, my wedding ended up being much more expensive than I had initially budgeted for. Sadly, I believe this is a common occurrence, even for people planning more untraditional weddings with small guest lists.
Staying within budget often means letting go of some of the dreams you held for your wedding. The food may not be your favorite cuisine. The music may not be played live by a local band that you and your partner love. There may not be a professional wedding video, and the video taken on your cousin’s smartphone will have to do (trust me, this is not a bad option!) And then there are the things that are non-negotiable. Maybe you absolutely need your makeup done by a celebrity makeup artist. Maybe you want exact replicas of your grandmother’s wedding shoes made to fit your feet. You’ll likely want a professional photo or two. It’s not a bad thing to have non-negotiable elements to your wedding planning, but being realistic about what fits into your budget and what will be most important when you’re looking back in 50 years is important to keep in mind.
For most couples who are planning a wedding, flowers are non-negotiable. Between bouquets, boutineers, table runners, and other decors, flowers take up a larger portion of the wedding budget than most people would expect, especially since flowers are often taken for granted when passed by at your neighbor’s garden to purchased one stem at a time at your local grocery store. This is especially devastating once you realize that these flowers pretty much go to waste after the wedding day. Many couples decide to donate their flowers to a hospital or nursing home in their area, but even then, they seem like a big investment for something that only lasts a night. And yet, what is a wedding without flowers? In order to help you maintain your vision for your wedding and help you stay in your budget, here are my tips for getting cheap wedding flowers without breaking the bank.
- The types of flowers are going to greatly impact how much money you end up spending on your flowers. Flowers that are out of season are always going to cost more, so pay plan ahead for the flowers that will be in full bloom around your wedding date. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your local florist. Roses, hydrangeas, and Gerbera daisies are all full and colorful flowers that are often at a lower price point. At my wedding, almost every bouquet was laced with baby’s breath to fill out and complement the larger the statement flowers. An added benefit of this was that they dried beautifully and still decorate my bookshelf years later!
- Ask a friend to arrange your flowers for you. Flowers are expensive on their own, and hiring someone to take care of making the bouquets, having the flowers ready on the day of the ceremony, and preserving them until guests arrive all add up to a hefty price tag. Even if you don’t have any professional florists in your life, you may have a friend who’s has a great eye for aesthetics and loves to fill their home with flora and fauna. I was lucky to have a friend that took a particular interest in wildflower bouquets. She took on the task of going to a wholesale flower seller (more on this later) to get the flowers that I knew I wanted in my bouquet, but she added her own touch. On my drive to the venue the day of my ceremony, I even say her on the side of the road picking wildflowers that ended up in my bouquet! Since I wanted a very green, wild, and varied bouquet this worked perfectly even though I would have never been able to pull it off on my own. Just make sure the person you as is comfortable figuring out how to refrigerate flowers, as this is a key part of keeping the flowers fresh by the time you walk down the aisle. If you don’t know anyone who can take care of the flowers for you, turn to online services like 1Stop Florists for premade arrangements.
- Shop wholesale flower vendors. The cheapest way to buy flowers is to go through wholesale flower vendors so that you can buy your flowers in bulk. This means they won’t come trimmed or arranged in any way, but you can get the freshest flowers for the least amount of money. Most cities have wholesale flower vendors that you can find online. Most major cities have wholesale flower markets that you can go to and buy your flowers alongside professional florists. Since the flowers are sold at such a great value, people show up early in the morning and flowers sell out fast. Plan to go right when the market opens and have a plan for buying your flowers. If you can, go with someone who has been to the market before so that they can show you where to go and what to buy,
- Decide which flowers really matter. If it gets to the point where you are running close to your budget, you may have to scale back on your flower meadow vision for your wedding. Invest in the bridal bouquet. Beyond that, decide what flowers you really want. Can the flower child throw fake petals? Can the bridesmaids have a mix of silk flowers and real flowers? Can the centerpieces be minimal baby’s breath or eucalyptus rather than a large display? Deciding which cuts to make is a personal choice, but important to have in the back of your mind when planning your wedding flowers.