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; 2dozenroses.com.)
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).