A- All tied up
Time is money and the cost of a complex, wired bouquet will reflect the hours of prep time that go into it. Instead, try a hand-tied posy of blooms.
B – Back to basics
Affordable ‘filler’ flowers can look amazing too, so don’t dismiss them. Carnations make striking pomanders, colourful daisies are lovely in bridesmaids’ bouquets and tall glass vases filled with gypsophila can create sweet (and cheap) centrepieces.
C – Complement with candles
Non-floral elements can really enhance a simple arrangement. Add romance to a small table centre by surrounding it with a scattering of tea lights.
D – Double duty
Combine a few beautiful blooms with edible extras for a display that doubles as a centrepiece and favour or dessert tray. A tea-party theme using vintage cake plates piled high with bite-sized cakes and flower heads: Dessert and a floral table centre in one – delicious!”
E – Embrace your budget
Be upfront with your florist about what you are comfortable spending so that he or she can maximise the money you’ve got rather than wasting time on looks that are out of your price range. Keep in mind, too, that it’s always easier to spend more as the day approaches than to frantically try to cut costs once the designs are finalised.
F – Flower heads
Save money on table centres by placing a single bold flower head (camellias, gardenias, roses and zinnias will look lovely) at each guest’s place setting or in a square, mirrored vase on each table.
G – Greenery
Fresh foliage is generally cheaper than cut flowers, so pad out larger arrangements with some pretty greenery. Shiny green palm leaves are affordable, while garlands of ivy can cover vast swathes of church space at a more modest price tag than fresh roses.
H – High Impact
One big display makes more of a statement than a series of small arrangements. Instead of pew ends, go for a beautiful pedestal arrangement at the end of the aisle that guests will see throughout the ceremony and that you can move to the reception later (see letter R for more tips on re-using arrangements).
I – In season
You can pretty much fly in any flowers you fancy – but it’ll cost you big time. Better to go with seasonal, locally available varieties that will be fresher, hardier and more budget-friendly.
J- Jam jars, tins and hessian sacks
If you’re having a traditional country wedding, fashion your own rustic vessels out of everyday supplies. Remove the labels from jars and tins and line the sacks with cellophane, then fill each container with pretty hyacinth. Use some lovely ribbon or any material left over from your bridesmaids’ dresses to tie the look together.
K – Keep it simple
For a chic, minimalist look, give bridesmaids single stems to carry instead of a traditional posy and save big on bouquet costs.
L – Less is more
Obviously, the easiest way to cut costs is to have fewer flowers, but there are ways to do this without compromising on style. Rather than placing centrepieces on every reception table, go for a few awe-inspiring pieces, like a special arrangement for your cake table and another for the bridal table. Or, give bridesmaids vibrant petals to scatter as they walk down the aisle instead of ordering formal bouquets.. Another simple idea: have centrepieces on every other table and you’ll instantly cut your spending in half.
M – Make it modern
When you choose more modern designs you find that they will come up cheaper because they tend to have a more minimalist look with fewer stems.
Think back to your childhood and the flowers you loved then. Most likely they’ll be affordable, because it’s all the simple favourites that were growing in the garden. Classic round vases filled with bunches of tulips, daffodils, or daisies will look fabulous.
O – Offer to share
Ask your church if there are any other weddings scheduled for the same day as yours (or the day after), then contact the bride and see if she’d be willing to share flower arrangements and split the bill..
P – Pick your own
Enlist friends and family with gardens and gather up fresh seasonal posies for a rustic look.
Q – Quality over quantity
Flowers in the loos are lovely but not absolutely necessary. In other words, since you can’t afford to cover every surface with blooms, you need to be strategic about where and how you do use flowers. When you’re on a budget, put all your money where people will be looking the longest, such as the front of the ceremony room and the bridal table.
R – Reduce, re-use, recycle
Get more for your money by making your flowers multitask across different parts of the day. Grand ceremony arrangements can double as reception decorations, table centres can be given as gifts of thanks to parents and other special guests, and bridesmaid bouquets can be placed in vases and repurposed as centrepieces.
Create a fresh atmosphere (and the illusion of more flowers) by filling the room with fragrance. Small doses of scented varieties such as lilies, hyacinths, frangipani, mimosa, jasmine and sweet peas will go a long way. Check to see which flowers are in season and go with your nose! There is nothing more romantic than walking into a room when the smell picks you up and lets you drift in like you’re on a wave.
Using seasonal flowers will obviously bring costs down (see letter I), but holding your wedding during Christmas or Easter can also help you save on ceremony decorations in a church. The Saturday after Easter, for instance, the church will still be in bloom, as will Christmas.
U – Use pricey blooms sparingly
If you’ve got your heart set on expensive flowers, like trailing orchids or lily of the valley, save them for your bouquet and use more modestly priced varieties in complementary colours in your bridesmaids’ bouquets. As an added bonus, this will also make your bouquet stand out as the most special.
V – Vary heights and placement
By cleverly positioning arrangements throughout the venue and playing with display heights, you can create the feeling of lots of flowers, even when there aren’t.
Personalise your bouquet without adding extra expense by incorporating symbolic personal touches. Try a swatch of fabric from your mum’s wedding dress to tie up your bouquet, or an heirloom piece of jewellery to adorn the stems.
Y – You, the florist
Sign up for a floral design workshop where you’ll learn how to choose the best fresh flowers and do your own arrangements.
Z – Zeal
Now stay committed! Of course it’s easy to wow your guests when money is no object, but with a bit of creativity and careful planning, you’ll blow them away – and not blow your budget in the process.