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How to save money on your wedding flowers: 9 tips and 6 myths

Photo by Injoy Imagery

Today I’m giving you my top tips for minimizing wedding flower costs ie, how to save money on your wedding flowers! I’m sharing 9 tips and 6 myths about saving money on your wedding flowers. Though I’m based in Hamilton and serve Southern Ontario, these tips will ring true no matter your location. The 6 myths are particularly applicable in this market but the principle (ask your florist and trust them to recommend good value) still stand no matter where you are!

When I’m writing a proposal for potential clients these are what I keep in mind to help maximize their budget and minimize their bottomline. The truth is that no florist will be able to give you your entire wish list of items within any budget. There are a lot of ways to trim your bottomline *but* this generally means adjusting your expectations and trimming low priority items. But don’t worry, even if a flower wall doesn’t fit in your budget, your wedding day will still be beautiful and joyful. I have no doubt about that!

Tip #1: Prioritize the most important items

Your bouquet is going to be photographed a ton and you’re going to be holding it for a while! Don’t skimp here. If your ceremony and your reception are in the same room then your ceremony backdrop can double as a head table backdrop and will be seen all night. Think about the areas that will be most visible and impactful and focus your dollars there (especially if your budget is limited).

Tip #2: Keep your guest list in check

More people means more tables. More tables means more flowers. You should budget at least $1000 (+ delivery and HST) per every 100 guests for centrepieces alone. 

Tip #3: Keep your bridal party small

Similar to Tip #2, more pieces means more money. If you have 9 bridesmaids you’re looking at about $1000 once you account for HST. Fewer bouquets can really save you some extra dough.

Tip #4: Skip extra personal flowers

Kids who are 3 and under aren’t super patient with wearing flower accessories and frankly, some items can be a choking hazard. Foregoing flower girl, ring bearer flowers and corsages/boutonnieres for extended family members is a great idea. These small savings really add up.

Tip #5: Opt for round tables

Generally round tables are cheaper to decorate than rectangular tables. A round table (seating between 10-12 depending on the size) only needs 1 arrangement. A standard 8’ rectangular table (seating 8, 10 if you put a guest at either end) can look awkward with only one arrangement right in the middle unless it’s larger and quite long. I often suggest doing a few smaller arrangements spread down the table. Visually it feels more balanced but the cost is generally similar. Bottom line, rectangular tables have more possibilities but they always cost more versus a comparable style on a round table.

Tip #6: Minimize the need for late night pick-up!

Unless you need a lot of rentals and will save a lot by renting vs. purchasing, rentals come with the additional cost of pick-up. Late-night rental pick-up *starts* at $300 (+HST!) because hiring somebody to climb out of bed at 1am is pricey! Ask about lower-priced, plain glass or ceramic vessels instead of fancier, rental vessels. Your guests can take them home at the end of the night and everybody is happy! If you only have a few smaller items that will need to be returned, put an enthusiastic cousin in charge of packing them up at the end of the night and return them yourself the next day.

Tip #7: Provide your own arbour structure

Sometimes the arbour structure is the only rental item that needs to be picked up at the end of the night. Save the rental and the pick-up fee by relying on structural features of your venue like a beautiful fireplace mantel or providing your own arbour. You might be able to buy a garden arbour at a hardware/garden supply store or you might opt to build your own. Just make sure that the structure can support the weight of the flowers and withstand any unexpected wind. Sturdiness is super important here!

Tip #8: Be flexible with flower choice and colour palette

Peonies are pretty pricey whether they’re in-season or not. A lot of the recommendations you’ll find on the internet about “affordable substitutes” for certain flowers are utter bullshit (pardon my language!). Subbing garden roses or ranunculus will likely not save you much money – unless your florist gets a great and unexpected deal at the market. Trust your florist to give you the the best value by staying flexible and open minded on flower choice and range of colours. If you do, then your florist might actually be able to take advantage of a great and unexpected deal!

Tip #9: Repurpose items from your ceremony to the reception

This is a great option as long as the items being repurposed are easily transported and reused like self-contained urn arrangements. However, moving an entire arbour from one venue to a completely different venue is labour intensive and logistically difficult. It is also unlikely to save you money if you plan to have an arrangement completely dismantled and the flowers reused to build an entirely new piece.

Money saving MYTHS

Myth #1: Skip the roses. They are too expensive.

They’re not. Compared to many other flowers, roses aren’t the priciest option. They are actually good value when comparing their price to size. Don’t confuse standard roses with *garden roses* – they are pretty pricey.

Myth #2: Buy seasonal flowers, they’re way cheaper!

Flowers that are in season will generally always be better quality but they won’t necessarily be “cheap” across the board. Pricey flowers (like peonies!), even if locally grown in season, will still be pricey! Rely on your florist to know what will be the best value for you.

Myth #3: I just want greenery because it is cheap.

No. Certainly not the greenery in photo that is paired with that headline. Garlands are labour intensive and require *a lot* of greenery. Eucalyptus is pretty much always imported and expensive! It is a beautiful look but don’t choose it because you think it will be cheap. There are more affordable greenery varieties, but rely on your florist to know how to pair them to produce something beautiful with good value.

Myth #4: Single stem submerged flowers/a million thrifted bottles with single stems/spray painted succulents will be cheap/a million pillar candles with loose greenery will be cheap!

These very popular “cheap” flower hacks you see on Pinterest are only cheap if you are DIYing. The cost for materials might be lower but often the labour is significantly higher. If you’re doing the labour yourself then that’s a great savings but asking a florist to do these arrangements means you’ll be paying for somebody else’s labour. DIY designs are only cheap if you plan to DoItYourself!

Myth #5: Silk flowers will save you big time!

Only if your silks are coming from the dollar store. Honestly, in our area mid-level silks cost just as much as fresh flowers and nice silks often cost much more. The only way you’ll save money doing this is if you plan on reselling the silk flowers after your wedding. But you’d have to plan to pack up everything at the end of the night and sort and store the silks until you can find a buyer for them. Cross your fingers that you can find a buyer for them!

Myth #6: DIY’ing your wedding flowers is easy and affordable.

Just remember that you can do your own taxes but accountants exist for a reason. If your vision is *very simple* DIY’ing might be a great option. But as the job gets bigger and more complicated, DIY’ing gets harder and more expensive. Producing an entire wedding’s worth of flowers takes lots of time, special tools and knowledge. By the time you do all the research, buy all the necessary tools, practice and source your flowers you might not actually be saving that much. Beware of a deal that is too good to be true when it comes to bulk flowers. The first wedding I ever did for a friend (*many* years ago before I was properly in business) I ordered from FiftyFlowers.com. There was a 40% up charge to cover shipping and duties to Canada! In the end the prices weren’t as good as I thought they’d be! If you are interested in DIY’ing your wedding flowers please check out my blog posts A.) to make sure it’s right for you and B.) to get some important tips! DIY’ing your wedding flowers Part I and DIY’ing your wedding flowers Part II.

I hope these money saving tips are getting your creative juices flowing. Feel free to have a look at my blog called How much should I budget for wedding flowers for guidance on establishing a reasonable budget for your vision and then get in touch!

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