Elegant and Affordable Wedding Flower Ideas We Love
If you're new to wedding planning, you're likely discovering that big-day staples—like venues, menus, and entertainment—can be pretty expensive. Even if you're still reeling from the sticker shock of these must-have items, it probably won't come as a surprise that your many décor elements—including your wedding flowers—can also eat up a good chunk of your budget, depending on the size and style of your event. If you're adamant about sticking to the budget (which we always encourage!), you might already be thinking about what you can do to keep the numbers in check.
What if we told you that bringing your dream celebration to life didn't have to come with any sacrfices at all, especially in the floral décor department? It's true—next-level florals isn't something you have to give up. The solution? Being strategic about the types, amounts, and seasonality of your blooms will help you and your florist create big-day florals that won't break the bank. Ultimately, elegant and inexpensive wedding flowers aren't mutually exclusive concepts.
To help you bring your elevated, but affordable big-day blooms to life, we tapped three industry experts for their best advice. According to Le Fleuriste's Elena Seegers, opt for local, high-quality blooms that stand out on their own. "Think about the individual bloom and how beautiful that is, as opposed to a large squashed floral moment. Let them breathe and let each bloom have its moment! It will really show, and cost a fraction of the price," she says. Implement this idea by opting for single-stem, cluster centerpieces, like these bottled blooms by Betty Flowers Santorini, as opposed to classic iterations that require multiple types of flowers.
Another pro-tip? Be reasonable, and understand that epic-looking flowers often coming with extremely high price tags. "Anything involving us bringing in a ladder is going to be the most expensive—so anything hanging from the ceiling, floral walls, and arches. Floral moments that require being designed on-site always result in an increased installation or labor cost, in addition to the cost of the actual piece," adds Laurie Tran of Wild Green Yonder. Click through for the rest of their sage tips—and to discover all the ways to make a maximum impact with a smaller flower budget.
Orange Carnations Overhead
If you're looking for budget-friendly alternatives to high-cost buds like peonies and garden roses, consider "fluffy substitutes," says Lori Tran of Wild Green Yonder. Carnations are an unexpected and often overlooked alternative that can feel luxe ("They get such a bad rap but can be exceptionally beautiful in the hands of a great floral designer!" notes Tran), as evidenced by this dramatic orange carnation cascade by Siren Floral Co. We love how the saturated color faded to soft peach at the end of the torrent, which gave way to the neutral tabletop arrangement.
Get away with using less greenery and flower springs in your centerpiece garland by lining it with a gauzy runner (it'll hide any gaps!). Nina Ei Fiori did just that when bringing this beautiful tablescape to life.
Choosing small, minimalist arrangements—like this dainty spring, which was arranged by Sweet Emilia Jane using a flower frog—is an of-the-moment way to beat excess flower costs. If you're using less, you're ultimately paying less—but that doesn't mean you should skimp, notes Le Fleuriste's Elena Seegers. "I'd say to go for quality over quantity and find the florals you love and a designer that gets that more isn't necessarily better," she says.
You will, however, want to take a hard look at your venue before deciding on a minimal big-day style, notes Michelle Edgemont of Michelle Edgemont Design. "If your guest count is lower than what fits in your venue or it has really, really high ceilings, a minimal décor look could get lost in such a big space," she says.
Seasonality always impacts flower price ("Some flowers just aren't available certain times of the year," says Edgemont), but there are some stems that are accessible year-round. As for the least-expensive buds that are always on-hand? Carnations, traditional roses (buy in bulk!), mums, and larkspur are your best bet, continues Edgement. Tulips are another low cost, always-available option—consider a single-flower bouquet that consists solely of the variety, like this Spout Flowers arrangement.
If you don't want to pass on those pricier blooms (they're your dream flowers, after all), but can't find room in the budget to make them the stars of your floral palette, consider using them to enhance a special décor moment. Consider these crimson peony chair add-ons by Cody Floral Design, for example. Concentrated clusters adorned with greenery sprigs highlighted the bride and groom's place settings (and didn't break the bank).
Sometimes less really is more, as evidenced by this mostly-greens shelf display by STEMS Floral Design—note the single red rose, which added intrigue and a pop of color to the simple station.
Believe it or not, a greenery (not flower!) focused arrangement doesn't necessarily cost less than a display bursting with blooms, says Edgemont. "This is a common myth! Garlands have a lot more labor involved and often require a lot more product," she says. In small doses, though—note how this Eliana Nunes Floral Design seating chart's greenery component highlights just the top half off the window pane display—you will cut costs and "cover more ground," adds Seegers.
"Fresh flowers for your cake are not expensive if you just need a few accent pieces," adds Tran, but "cascading blooms will definitely drive up the cost. Compared to high price of beautifully designed sugar flowers, fresh flowers tend to be more affordable."
You already know that seasonality impacts flower prices—but regionality also plays into the floral price picture, as well. "Dahlias, which are typically expensive when brought in from a wholesaler, are very affordable for us in Virginia when they're in season with our local growers starting in late-summer through the fall," says Tran. Depending on where you live (and when your wedding takes place), something similar to this Compass Florals dahlia-centric backdrop, complete with dangling carnations and ranunculus, may be in reach.
Reaching out to your local farmers—who's blooms will be less expensive, simply because they're naturally in stock—is integral when sourcing buds that are both seasonal and native, notes Seegers: "Locally-sourced florals will always be better value for quality and money. Try the local farmers market and ask what they'll have in season—and see if you can design around what they'll have."
To avoid overspending on greenery garland costs ("Usually priced by the foot, a $20 per foot greenery garland will cost you a total of $160 for 8 feet," reveals Edgemont), don't go lush. This simple, barely-there mantel display by Studio Mondine feels substantial and fresh without costly extra yardage.
A quick way to cut out flower costs? Remove the flowers and integrate affordable edible components, instead. The Flori.Culture created these ceremony chair arrangements with three garden roses and three ripe peaches, which were fixed to long olive branches.
"Being open to a mix of centerpiece styles" will ultimately result in a lower bill, notes Tran. "Some of your tables might have a candle-centric design while others have a floral-based centerpiece." We love how these cluster centerpieces, by Wild Blossom Flowers, marry the two—low, single-stem vases were juxtaposed against extra-long taper candles for a multi-level, but cost-effective table display.
Seegers agrees. "Clusters of bud vases alternating with a couple of centerpieces make for a more interesting rhythm on the tables," she says.
Uniform Floral Color Palette
If you're looking to save money on your wedding bouquet, be sure to choose blooms and colorways that exist throughout the rest of your floral palette, says Tran. "Introducing a unique color not featured anywhere else in the wedding requires your florist to buy material specifically for your bouquet—which ultimately drives up the price." If your big-day's florals consist mainly of blue hydrangeas, you'll want to stick to those (or any of the accompanying, on-palette blooms) when curating your bouquet, like this one by Fisher's Flowers.
Place Setting Sprig
You're spending good money on your wedding flowers—ensure that each and every clipping makes an impact on your big day. We love how City Blossoms took leftover lilac sprigs, which originally appeared in the table's larger centerpieces, and placed them on top of menu cards for a cohesive, no-waste accent.
Flower Market Favors
Hit up the local flower market—or contact a nearby farm—to stock up on plenty of fresh-cut stems: They'll make for the ultimate DIY bouquet favor station, which guests will undoubtedly love. Alternatively, make like planner So Happi Together, who tied calligraphed name tags onto each bud (which were sourced by Adornments Flowers & Finery), transforming them into live escort cards.
Andromeda Hair Piece
Wearing a few sprigs of your go-to wedding flower—this bride chose andromeda—won't cost extra. Better yet, it ties you into the event's overarching flower scheme, which will make your big day that much more cohesive.
One Big Moment
Edgemont's best piece of advice for couples who want incredible floral décor, but can't fund a flower-covered celebration? " Put your money in one big, beautiful floral element and do smaller moments for everything else," she says. Since "backdrops are very costly," adds Seegers, you might want to choose an arch or ceremony structure—like this epic grapevine, pampas grass, and wildflower display by Still Life Flowers— as your big-splurge (and then move it into the reception space, where it can be repurposed as a photobooth backdrop!).
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