Beautiful floral arrangements are a hallmark of any great wedding. They transform the space, adding an element of natural beauty to indoor venues and enhancing outdoor ones. They help to forge the aesthetic identity of your ceremony. They are sensory and evocative — reminding us of the best moments in our relationships, the birthdays and anniversaries that have all led up to the big day.
They’re also expensive. Studies suggest that American couples, on average, spend over $2,000 on flowers for their ceremony, though some couples spend drastically more; some celebrity couples have reportedly spent hundreds of thousands on flowers for the big day.
Part of the reason this seems so exorbitant is precisely because these cut flowers are disposable: used once, and then often chucked into a landfill. It can all start to feel like a bit of a waste.
While flowers are near essential to bring together that stunning wedding day look, there’s no reason to spend more than is absolutely necessary. With your budget in mind, we’ve pulled together a number of our favorite tips for how to save money on wedding flowers, all of which have worked for couples as they look to trim costs without sacrificing any of the beauty or style unique to their ceremony.
And after all the toasts and dancing, the cake and champagne, we recommend you consider these options to re-use or responsibly dispose of your wedding day flowers — because anything that beautiful should bring only joy more than once.
Communicate Needs With Your Florist or Vendor
First things first, you should be entirely clear and upfront about your floral needs when speaking to a wedding florist or vendor. Keep the venue in mind: how much help does it need to transform to your dreamscape? What style are you going for, what comps can you show for the decorations? What do you want the bridal bouquet to look like? Do you want bridesmaid bouquets?
But also be realistic about budget. One successful tactic we’ve seen is entering the discussion with two figures in mind: what’s your conservative wedding flower budget; what would you comfortably and ideally spend on flowers? And, what is the absolute maximum you’re willing to spend?
Communicating both can help curtail the possibility of going over-budget and creating unfortunate last minute surprises. Remember to be thoughtful about how wedding flower costs fit into the larger wedding budget.
If you are planning to go with a professional florist, rather than purchasing and arranging your own wedding flowers, it’s worth asking in your first meeting what strategies they typically use to shave costs, whether through relationships and negotiations with vendors, strategic arrangements, etc.
Find the right flower shop! Talk to a wedding planner if you have one, as they might have a broad selection of wedding florists to choose from.
You should provide as much guidance and aesthetic inspiration as you feel equipped to, but know that they will likely have crafty ways to stick to your bottom line without sacrificing style. A good florist will be able to arrange gorgeous flowers while sticking to your reasonable budget.
Shop Local, Shop Seasonal
Speaking to your florist or researching the flowers that will be in-season on your wedding date is a great next step, as in-season flowers will always be freshest, most lush and least expensive. Bonus points if you can select blooms that are grown locally and within a short drive’s distance to your venue, as this will not only reduce transportation costs but will help to tie your event, whether inside or outside, to the natural landscape around it.
Alternatively, picking year-round blossoms and perennials, like roses, begonias, orchids, calla lilies, and many more, can help shave off unnecessary costs. Whether you choose in-season flowers or perennials, make sure that they can stand up to the venue, as certain flowers will wilt in less ideal conditions.
Pare Down, but Buy in Bulk
Another handy tip is to select only 1 - 2, at most 3, types of flowers, and then purchase them from a wholesale flower company or distributor — trimming off the sometimes exorbitant mark-up tacked on by flower shops. The benefit of buying flowers wholesale, also, is that the simplicity will make the flowers easier to arrange, potentially a job that a friend or family member could handle, which removes the need for a florist on-site.
Another common strategy is to be financially and aesthetically strategic in your arrangement. For instance, consider balancing costly “statement bulbs” and smaller “filler flowers.” Investing in often higher-cost statement flowers as the centerpiece of an arrangement can still be a smart financial strategy, as long as you fill out the arrangement with less expensive filler flowers — like baby’s breath, wildflowers, and heather.
If you’re reusing flowers between the ceremony and reception, one quick way to “rearrange” these arrangements in the often brief interim is to have friends or family strip away the filler flowers, leaving sparser, bolder arrangements of those statement bulbs as table centerpieces. Get creative with less flowers and more greenery and you can still achieve a beautiful effect.
Another way to be strategic in your arrangement is to substitute expensive breeds for cheaper “lookalikes” — flowers that evoke a similar look and feel at a fraction of the cost. A classic wedding flower like Peonies, for instance, can be substituted with carnations or garden roses, while stunning and colorful Dahlias can be “duped” convincingly by certain breeds of chrysanthemum.
If you’re working with a florist, be sure to ask if there are cheaper alternatives to the flowers you have in mind that could achieve what you're looking for and fit into the color palette.
And if arranging the flowers solo, Google is your friend. Type in the breed you’re looking to purchase, along with “cheaper lookalike” and see if you can tell the difference.
Re-Use Them for the Reception
To save a bit of cash and cut back on waste, many couples are reusing the flowers from their ceremony at their reception. This works particularly well if there is a time gap in between, allowing a couple friends (ideally ones handy with arrangements) to deliver the flowers to the second location —where they can be rearranged into new bouquets or centerpieces that create an aesthetic cohesion between the two events, while allowing you to get to get the most out of your investment.
Opt for Floral Alternatives
And, if all else fails, you can opt for alternatives that mimic or resemble flowers to achieve distinct and stunning tableaus.
Arrangements that incorporate leafy greenery, succulents, or natural materials like wheat can often achieve the desired effect of expensive cut flowers — creating photogenic centerpieces and tablescapes. Think about how to add texture to large blooms with something other than flowers to create a creative bouquet.
Some modern couples are getting even more creative, creating floral arrangements out of cloth, felt, colored paper, etc. You name it, someone’s probably found a way to make it look absolutely stunning! While the craftiness is a bit of an extra effort, it can be a way to save serious cash on floral bouquets for your wedding party, and to create a keepsake that won’t wilt in a week.
Another great option is high quality silk flowers, which are indistinguishable to the naked-eye. Companies like Something Borrowed Blooms will even allow you to rent beautiful silken blooms that mimic pricey flowers like Peonies. Bonus: silk is always in season.