How to Save Money on Your Wedding Flowers

Learn the secrets to saving on stems

If cut flowers threaten to consume too much of your decorating budget, try these clever ideas from Meredith Waga Perez, owner of NYC’s Belle Fleur—they’ll save you a bundle.

1. Float flowers in water: Filling an entire vase with blooms is pricey, but floating, say, three lovely dahlia heads in a crystal bowl makes a big impact with minimal expense, and looks very modern.

2. Use rose petals instead of the entire blossom: Fifteen roses will yield approximately 200 petals—perfect for scattering on a table among gleaming crystal candlesticks. (Note: Purchase rose petals by the pound and you’ll save even more;

3. Try a bud light: Single blooms in bud vases clustered around flickering votive candles provide a significant—and stunning—look on a limited budget and can double as favors.

4. Add textural filler: Grouping grasses, kale, and other interesting, inexpensive foliage can make a lean arrangement appear substantial.

5. Cluster potted plants or herbs: Galvanized tin urns, distressed wood boxes, silver pails, or terra cotta pots filled with fragrant herbs such as mint, lavender, or chamomile, or annuals like zinnias and cosmos, bring a fresh, outdoorsy touch to a garden wedding.

6. Stay seasonal: "If you have to order peonies from New Zealand in December, the cost will be prohibitive," says Meredith Waga Perez.

7. Go with simple, low centerpieces: They require fewer flowers and less labor—and are therefore less costly—than tall, elaborate arrangements.

8. Spend wisely: Splurge on the reception, where people will see the flowers for four to five hours. Ceremony flowers will be seen for an hour, tops.

9. Where it counts: Indulge in your bouquet, and save on less photographed items. Your bouquet will be in every picture, but the chuppah and bridesmaids’ posies will not.

10. Natural alternative: Use flowering branches, such as bundles of cherry, dogwood, and apple blossoms in urns. "A big altar arrangement of flowering branches costs around $250; the same size of mixed flowers could cost upwards of $600," says Waga Perez.

11. Avoid the do-it-yourself route: Flower- arranging amateurs almost always overbuy.

12. Choose simple arrangements: There’s less expertise and time involved in creating a loose arrangement in a vase rather than a design that sits in green floral foam (where stems are inserted individually).

13. Steer clear of the holidays: Consumers pay a premium for blooms around the big flower-giving days (Valentine’s Day and Christmas).

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