Your Most Pressing Wedding Flower Questions—Answered

From who gets to wear a bloom to how much it should cost, our etiquette experts are here to help

Updated 01/06/18

Eliza Morrill Photography

What’s a wedding without flowers? Even if you’re more of a greenery gal or prefer more of an interior design approach, blooms will pop up a few times on your wedding day (most commonly in your bouquet and boutonnieres, as well as in centerpieces or as altar decor). But just because they’re a popular choice doesn’t mean wedding flowers don’t come with their own set of questions! We’ve got four big ones, and the expert answers to go with them.

Who needs personal flowers?

If you’re using flowers, the list of who gets them might be longer than you’d expect. In addition to the bride, bridesmaids, groom, and groomsmen, you’ll need personal flowers for your mothers and fathers, your officiant, ushers, and the flower girl and ring bearer. Some couples also choose to honor other family members (think grandparents) with fresh blooms, too. For the women, you can provide a small nosegay, a wrist corsage, or even a floral clip that attaches to their clutch. For the men, boutonnieres are traditional, though those for the officiant, ushers, and ring bearer might be smaller than those for the men in the wedding party.

For your flower girl, you could provide a basket of petals, a floral crown, or even a floral wand tied with flowing ribbons.

How much should we spend on flowers?

When it comes to flowers, the sky is the limit. You could opt for huge, lush arrangements that fill the space with fragrance and color ($$$) or go more simple with select clusters of blooms that are simple and refined ($). And of course, your choice of flowers is key, as well. If you have your heart set on peonies but are getting married in January, you’ll pay a premium to have them imported (most likely from South America). Tying the knot in July? If you love dahlias, you’re in luck—they’re in season, so they’ll be more affordable than other times of year.

Most couples spend between eight and 10 percent of their overall budget on flowers (covering personal flowers, ceremony décor, and reception arrangements), so if you have a big vision but a smaller budget, talk to your florist about flowers that can give you the look you want without breaking the bank.

Can we use artificial flowers instead of real ones?

You can definitely use faux flowers instead of fresh ones (especially if you’re highly allergic to the real deal!), but don’t go this route if you’re looking to save some money. In fact, good artificial flowers (the kind that look real) are usually made of silk and can be more expensive than their natural counterparts. Of course, if you’re a craft queen and love the look of crepe paper flowers (and are willing to put in the DIY time!), you might be able to save some money by going faux.

How can we save money on our wedding flowers?

The best way to save money on your flowers is to make every arrangement multi-use. Flanking the altar with big arrangements? Put one on the escort card table, and use the other to dress up the bar. Have a dozen bridesmaids? Ask your florist to set out empty vases as part of the centerpieces, then stick a bouquet in each to dress up your tables. Scattering bud vases throughout cocktail hour? They can dress up a mantle or decorate the cake table, or you can cluster a few together for a composed alternative to a single large centerpiece.

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