THE BLOG
01/10/2015 11:59 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2015

5 Ways to Cut Costs on Your Wedding Flower Budget

Flowers seem to be one of the most frustrating items for brides and grooms to contemplate ordering and paying for during the wedding process. To be fair, unless you've been through a wedding flower order before, the cost can be surprising at first glance. But then you have to take a lot of different things into account.

Your flower selection, your wedding location, and the time of year will all come into play when you create your wedding décor budget. I recently laughed when I read another wedding planner's comment in an article where she said "yeah, sure, you can have hundreds of individual orchid blossoms (real or fake) hanging from your reception venue ceiling. But you have to pay somebody to string all of those, hang all the individual blooms, and then take it all down again the next day." Exactly. There's labor involved.0

Reality check, right? But it's true. Lots of the complicated decors featured in bridal magazines are staged sets - or they're from "platinum" weddings. I've had some brides with decent budgets, but I've never had the pleasure of planning on an unlimited budget. And that's what you have to have if you want to recreate some of the pictures brides and grooms are finding today on wedding websites and Pinterest and Instagram. Don't forget Lover-ly, as if Pinterest didn't offer enough torturous ideas for wedding planners.

Here are some ideas to help you choose bouquets and centerpieces that won't end up costing as much as a new car:

1) Consider flowers that do not require a lot of hand-wiring and special work in order to be used in a bouquet. Those cascading bouquets with Stephanotis blooms hanging off the ivy are lovely, but they didn't grow that way. Somebody has to wire or tape each individual bloom. And let's talk about orchids - if you know what they look like on the stem, you know each individual bloom only has a maximum of a two inch stem. In order to put them in bouquets, each bloom has to be put into a water tube and fixed onto a faux stem that can then be incorporated into the bouquet in a manner that you cannot tell those stems aren't real. Choosing flowers with legitimate stems - like roses, lilies, calla lilies, Gerbera daisies and many, many more - can seriously reduce your bouquet budget.

2) Simple and elegant trumps overdone any day of the week, and if you're getting married someplace that is already beautiful, you do not need large floral centerpieces.
True life: Your guests hate them. I can't tell you how many times I've cringed watching a wobbly groomsmen remove a centerpiece so he can see the people on the other side of the table. Candles, hurricane vases, lanterns and many other things can cost you a lot less than flowers. But you can also have some flowers on your table to give you pops of color without doing massive arrangements. Consider using three different heights of cylinder vase with three individual stems of gorgeous calla lilies or orchids.

3) You can have flowers on the table without using them in centerpieces. Consider tying one simple orchid blossom to each napkin, or stuffing the bottom of a hurricane vases with vibrant rose petals as a nest for a pillar candle. Sometimes just sprinkling petals can give a rich look to things with candlelight.

4) Remember that if you choose flowers that aren't happy in the climate you're getting married in (or it's totally the wrong time of year for them everywhere), you won't be able to re-use the bouquets in your décor because they will likely be dead. If you choose flowers that thrive in your area and in that climate, you can put those bouquets on the cake table or guest book table and they'll look gorgeous all night. They shouldn't even need to be in vases - they look much prettier displayed laying on their sides. If you use hydrangea, or tulips, or peonies, for example, or something else that is extremely heat sensitive, it's likely dying by the time your photos finish and won't look pretty on display at the reception.

5) Limiting the variety of flowers you use for your bridal party and décor will reduce the cost.
It's more extreme for a remote location that has to bring in your flowers in bulk - but really, any décor plan involving nine different kinds of flowers is simply going to cost more than sticking to several specific blooms. I'm not saying you shouldn't have variety, but be aware that variety may cause a little sticker shock as the supplier charges more for smaller quantities to the florist creating your bouquets and centerpieces.

Finally, keep in mind that your wedding ceremony itself isn't going to last 30 minutes. Whatever you're spending on décor for that short time period costs you a lot considering how long you won't be seeing it. The most beautiful thing at the wedding is supposed to be the bride. While I'm a fan of rose petal aisles and special chair décor, huge arches and canopies dripping in expensive flowers cost an arm and a leg - sometimes more than all the bridal bouquets combined. Think carefully about how many flowers you really need at your actual wedding ceremony. You and your bridesmaids are already holding armfuls.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!