Monday, February 22, 2010

And then there were flowers

When I first got engaged, I imagined my perfect wedding dripping in flowers.  I love flower-filled weddings.  I think they make the atmosphere beautifully serene while combining sophistication with the natural world which is definitely something I want for my wedding.

Then I started looking at how much flowers cost, and my dreams of flowers decorating the aisles and bouquets on every table evaporated.  Daniel and I are on a very tight budget.  Neither of us has any money and three of our parents aren't much better off at the moment.  Throw in my brother starting college next year, and we're basically counting on his dad and ourselves for funding which is a major part of why our engagement is so long.  Anyway, we're going to have to cut costs wherever we can, and the flowers were the first things to go.  Not only are they by far the most expensive decoration, but there are so many cute alternatives out there that it seems like a waste to pay heaps of money for flowers.

The major things that I wanted flowers for were (are?) my bouquet (which of course I will still be using real flowers for), a flower arch under which we could get married, and centerpieces.  I'll get to the arch in later discussions, but the centerpieces are very easy to replace with DIY (for the non-wedding blog educated reading this, DIY = Do It Yourself) options.  I have seriously considered the floating candles in a fishbowl idea which is nice because I have pyro tendencies and because we could buy oceany floating candles to tie in with our by the beach wedding.  Daniel and I also really liked the cupcake plate centerpieces we saw at a friend's wedding which would really minimize costs since we intend to serve cupcakes anyway.

However, I have been reading How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget by Diane Warner (book review will follow, but for now, I recommend it for anyone doing a budget wedding), and I'm starting to dream of flowers again.  Warner has an entire chapter on how to greatly minimize your flower costs, and I'm starting to think we might have some flower options after all.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up because we're going to have to take a good look at our budget before we figure out how many flowers we can realistically have, but there is one suggestion I definitely want to take.  Warner's first suggestion is to get people you know to donate flowers.  Now, I don't know very many people with gardens, and as I live in an apartment and move constantly, I can't grow flowers myself.  Nevertheless, my future mother-in-law has a green thumb, and I'm thinking of asking her to grow a bush or two for us as a way to cut costs and maybe increase the number of flowers we can have at our wedding.

So now I have a mission:  I need to research what kinds of bouquets and arrangements will work for us, find out what kinds of flowers can realistically be expected to bloom during the summer, figure out what kinds of flowers we need most, and see whether my mother-in-law-to-be and/or other family members/friends might help us grow our flowers.  Roses are a given for me since I love them and they're expensive, but having multiple kinds of flowers would probably be helpful.  With a bit of help from wholesale flower markets (another Warner suggestion), we just might be able to have the "flowing with flowers" wedding that I envisioned.


  1. Hey, I remember that book! :) I don't have much flower advice since I haven't yet spoken to a florist and hope to avoid doing so all together, but I have been learning a lot about contract negotiation. Have a clear vision of what you want before you go in to talk to a florist - do research. Find out what flowers are in season when you're getting married and which ones are local to the area or can be easily accessed (when people want flowers shipped from afar, it gets PRICY). With that vision, go in telling the florist exactly what you want. Be in charge and knowledgeable. Don't go in and say "I have a tiny budget, what can you do?" because that gives them the ability to do the bare minimum and say it's all that can fit your budget. Instead, go in and say, "This and this and this is what I want. I understand such and such is available at this time and that your company can do such and such. Can you help me fit this vision into a budget of $XXX?"

  2. Another thing that can cut down on the flowers is doing it last minute. For our wedding, a friend scouted out the S.F. wholesale flower market weeks in advance to get an idea of what was available, prices, etc, and then the day of she went down early and bought as many flowers as fit into our budget (which was a measly $300). The downside is, of course, that you won't know til the last minute what types of flowers you're having and it might be difficult timing-wise, but it's an idea if you're not *too* picky on what you have. btw, what month are you planning on getting married in 2011?

  3. Still working on the when. I won't know until we've found a venue. Stay tuned ;).


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