More couples get engaged during the holidays than any other time of year. If you’re anticipating a little box waiting for you under the tree this year, it’s a good idea to start considering the type of budget that will be available to you, and how you’d like to spend it. As we’ve mentioned before, with flowers, the sky’s the limit. But since the average bride doesn’t have $15,000 to spend on flowers, I thought it would be a good idea to outline how one bride on a tight budget managed to get what she needed for her wedding day without spending more than she could afford.
Erika came to me requesting a rather tall order for a small price. She had only $1300 to spend with a wish list that totaled close to $3000. Luckily, Erika was happy to listen to ways we could mimic what she originally wanted at a significantly lower cost. Let’s walk through her order:
Bridal bouquet: Erika’s bouquet was lovely! White, green, lush…I loved it. For this item, all we had to do was shrink it a bit in size, which in my opinion is never a bad thing. It maintained its elegance perfectly and looked stunning next to her dress.
Bridesmaid bouquets: There were six bridesmaid’s in this wedding party. A bridesmaid bouquet can easily cost $50-100, and when you multiply that by a large amount it can be catastrophic for a budget. In this instance, we determined that the most cost-effective option was to outfit the attendants with clutches rather than full-sized bouquets. They were petite but perfectly appropriate for the style of the wedding, at a cost similar to a corsage. When you consider how little a bridesmaid bouquet is seen, it made sense to downsize this item and use the money elsewhere.
Walking flowers: This was a rather large wedding party as is often the case in Utah. Corsages were only given to essential people (mothers and grandmothers) and boutonnieres were reserved for the groom, fathers, and groomsmen (of which there were many!). The groom wore a more detailed boutonniere than his groomsmen, and they saved a good chunk of money by outfitting the other men in less expensive blooms. I often suggest that a bride considers who will receive a walking flower very carefully. It is simply not necessary to provide one for every friend and extended family member. Remember that walking flowers seem less expensive than other arrangements but add up VERY quickly!
Centerpieces: The desire for the tables was that the flowers be large and tall. Because she saved money on her attendants’ pieces she had a little extra to spend in this area, but we still had to be very budget-conscious. A tall arrangement typically starts at $150, and that simply was not an option for this wedding. So what did we do? We used a very inexpensive flower in an unexpected way. Gladiolus are often pooh-poohed as sympathy flowers, but by using an unusual color and massing them together, they assumed a much more modern feel. The Oriental lilies dressed it up a bit as well. While Erika had wanted cymbidium orchids floating in cylinders at the base of her centerpiece, we instead used gladiolus blooms which had a difference in cost of about 1600%! After some candles, we were done. The tables achieved exactly what she had hoped — they filled the vertical space and provided color, at a cost bellow an average centerpiece.
Other pieces: A small-but-full mixed arrangement graced the guestbook table and rose petals and candles were used in lieu of accent arrangements elsewhere. The buffet piece, while not huge, was a respectable size and provided a nice highlight to the table. Because of the particular cake design she had chosen prior to meeting with us, we were able to use less flowers than would normally be needed for a traditional stacked cake.
With a few well-thought adjustments, this bride was able to get the quantities she had originally desired and designs she loved at a cost she could afford. The key to a small budget is to be realistic, to keep an open-mind, and to be willing to tweak your ideals. Find yourself a great, experienced florist who can guide you through the process and you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful wedding!
Floral Artistry and writing credit: whimsy floral design
photography credit: Michelle Sallay Photography