Don't toss away your hard-earned cash on wedding bouquets! With food and beverages, music and that gorgeous little white gown all threatening to gobble up your wedding budget, cutting costs on decorative items like flowers can really save you and your honey's pocketbooks. Planners say flowers should take up no more than 10 percent of your wedding expenses, so if florists' quotes are making you hyperventilate, here are five ideas for pretty alternatives on a dime.
1) Grocery Stores/Warehouse Clubs:
We know what you're thinking. Purchase your bridal bouquet at the same place where you buy your toilet paper? But you'll be surprised at the deals your neighborhood supermarket can offer you on everything from corsages and bridal bouquets to table centerpieces, archway flowers and even pew bouquets. Many supermarkets employ their own qualified, in-house florists, or partner with major professional floral companies like FTD. Whether roses, lilies or gerbera daisies are your chosen buds, they'll work with you to find blooms that are in season and order arrangements en masse or piece-meal. They'll even deliver them to your front door. Big-box discount warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club also offer wedding floral services. At Costco, you can either buy bunches of cut flowers to arrange yourself, or order pre-themed "wedding collections," which come in nine, 20 or 40-piece collections, and can cover everything from bridal bouquets and boutonnieres to centerpieces and corsages. (Tip: Orders must be placed at least 30 days before the big day!)
2) Online Floral Services:
If you have a specific vision for your flowers and a team of willing friends and family nearby, making your own bouquets and centerpieces is a great way to go. Many online florists are more than happy to overnight you cut bunches of flowers for you to arrange. Flowerbud.com, Americanfloraldistributors.com, Freshflowers.com, Freshroses.com, and theflowerexchange.com are just a few of those online. Generally, someone needs to be home to sign for the buds, which will arrive still partially closed a couple days before the big event. They'll also need to be stored in buckets in a cool room, about 65-72 degrees, so they'll look fresh and perfect for your walk down the aisle.
3) Farmers' Markets/Local Farms:
Your neighborhood farmers' market is also a great place to get fresh flowers in bulk and support your local farms. Visit localharvest.org to find farmers near you and see what they have to offer.
4) Wholesale Flower Marts:
Why not shop where your florist does? Often located in large cities or suburbs, flower marts are where they go, often as early as 3 a.m. on weekdays, to purchase blossoms straight from the growers. The marts cater to retail florists, but often have hours for the general public, where you can order both cut and arranged bouquets in bulk, along with ribbons, vases, greenery and other accents.
5) Gourds, Holiday Ornaments or Seashells:
If you're having a holiday wedding, there's no better excuse not to use fresh flowers for centerpieces at all, but rather opt for something seasonal like Christmas ornaments, pine cones, gourds, holly berries or pine leaves. Craft stores are great resources for these items. Some brides get creative with seashells, floating candles in water, or even long window-boxes filled with wheat grass, which look lush and green, and you can even grow yourself!