All brides need to decide what their wedding flower budget will be. Be sure to think “outside of all the little boxes” when it comes to the infamous “Wedding Flower Checklist” posted in most formal wedding magazines. In all my years of wedding, event & party planning, the comment most heard at the onset of the occasion planning was “Flowers make the party—I want my party to be memorable! But I don’t want it to cost a fortune”

It’s true! Remember that the first beautiful sight your family and guests will see, before you skip down the aisle, will be the ceremony flowers! Or, as we’ll discuss later, the glorious arrangement of fresh blooms you thoughtfully placed next to your guests pillow in their B & B! Fear not, while it is true that the cost of flowers can add up, you can stay on budget. The smallest little bloom can make a BIG difference in the feeling of your entire wedding experience. Make it memorable! Here are some tips:

1) Start with a list of Very Important People (VIP) who will be attending and assisting with your wedding details (not necessarily those in your formal party. Next to the VIP names, write down where they’ll be resting their heads during your event. Think creatively about tiny vessels you could use for a beautiful single bloom. Attach a small card (available through your wedding florist) thanking your VIP with special sentiments, and have the flower in their room(s) before their arrival. That will set the tone!

2) Bring pictures of bouquets and/or flowers that you love to your first-scheduled florist consultation. It’s best to give the florist the “flavor” of what you want your wedding flowers to be, right away. Once that “flavor” or “feeling” is established, allow your florist to give suggestions. Many times, brides will bring in a picture and say, “that’s exactly what I want.” Then, they may be disappointed when they hear the cost estimate. A good florist can look at a picture and give you the same “feeling” for less money if it is “The Look” you want rather than the exact flowers that are pictured. This is true for all of your handheld bouquets as well as your ceremony & reception flowers.

Not only is this method wise with respect to the “frugal cost approach” but it is smart to give your florist as much flexibility and creative license to shop in their fresh markets for the highest quality blooms for the best value. Quite often, brides “must have this or that,” and if there is no leeway for what flowers can be used, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and added stress (for you & your florist!) on your special day.

Remember you and your florist are dealing with live, perishable flowers that are being shipped in from around the world. For example, a bunch of sweetpeas grown in Holland in February could look fresh & fabulous when they’re cut from the greenhouse, however, once they arrive to their final destination halfway around the world, they may not look as fresh!

3) When it comes to multiple centerpieces at your reception, think creatively when considering, again, the “look & feel” of each table. Quite often, brides don’t consider how expensive vases or other chosen vessels may be, and they DO add up. You may want to ask your friends and family to “empty their vase cabinets” and simply choose the dozen or so pieces that you may need-depending on number of tables- from that collection. Even though containers may vary throughout the room, the same flowers and ribbons, if so desired, will “marry” the look. Also consider inexpensive vintage pieces; mason jars; wineglasses…the list is endless. Keep in mind that any kind of elaborate table wreaths or high-style arrangements will be more expensive due to the florist’s labor in creating the pieces.

In summary,

A) Remember to simply and inexpensively thank your VIP’s with a simple flower and note.

B) Give your florist the creative license to interpret the feeling you want your wedding flowers to convey. Try not to focus on one or two “particular must-have” flowers.

C) Trust your florist…tell them right off the bat what your estimated budget is, and decide early on whether they’ll be able to give you what you’re expecting.

In all of the weddings I’ve ever serviced, the most beautiful flowers, stress-free brides, and memorable days were those in which the bride allowed her service-providers to be flexible and permitted them to do the best that they could do--with a budget established early on in the relationship. Trust them all from day one, and try not to change your mind! Believe me…you’ll be happy—and so will your banker.

Article By: Pam Boutilier