With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve got décor on the brain! Though right now we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m not letting that stop me from feeling festive. I absolutely love the holiday season – everything from the crisp temps, delicious food, great wine & cocktails, roaring fires and just the coziness around being with friends and family enjoying the simple things. I fully plan on hosting a small Friendsgiving at my house and have been thinking all week about how I want to set my table. I’ve been envisioning the napkin style, whether to do cute place cards and what I want as a table centerpiece. I figured this is as good a time as any to write a post on how to get the most out of your wedding flowers.
As a wedding planner (and having been a bride myself), I fully understand that expenses add up quickly. Almost everyone is working with a budget – whether that’s large or small, there is almost always a number that clients do not want to go above. When designing, I am always respectful of this number and find ways to maximize your investments. Ready to know a few of my secrets for maximizing your floral budget? Let’s dive in!
Tip 1: Select ceremony florals that can be re-purposed elsewhere
I’ve heard it time and time again, clients wanting to cut back on the ceremony flowers because “it’s only 15 minutes, can we eliminate those aisle flowers?” The ceremony is ultimately why you are here. It is the first space your guests see and one of the most photographed spaces of your wedding. It should be beautiful! And if we design it right, most pieces here can be used again.
Think about those large arrangements either set up at your altar or at the end of the aisle. Those pieces are perfect to move when the ceremony concludes to use at your tent entry, in front of the stage where the band will play to dress up the stage (because let’s be real, most staging is ugly!), set by your sweetheart table or as a feature piece on your escort card table.
The aisle flowers? Let’s do those in vessels that can easily transition into cocktail hour or as bar décor! Or better yet, ask your floral designer about using pillar candles in hurricane vases or lantern rentals with minimal greenery around each base for an inexpensive aisle décor option. You could even look into purchasing your own lanterns or buying these from another bride that no longer needs them. After the ceremony, these candles and/or lanterns are great items for reception décor!
Wanting an arbor instead of separate arrangements? Talk to your florist about creating pieces that can easily be removed from the arbor and set elsewhere. This is an easy way to maximize your investment without compromising on style. Anytime we can use something more than once is a win!
These ceremony pieces were transitioned into the reception to flank either end of the head table!
This aisle decor was an inexpensive way to dress up the space! The bride purchased these candles in bulk and the florist added a few stems of greenery!
Tip 2: Re-use bouquets
This one is a no-brainer! Bouquets are essentially floral arrangements just waiting to be set into a vase. Typically after the ceremony ends, you and your girls are ready to drop the bouquets on a table to free your hands up for a cocktail and all the passed apps. Rather than let those beauties just sit on a table for the next 6 hours, let’s make a plan to use them again! Your bridal bouquet is usually larger and more lush than the bridesmaids (I mean, obviously!) Setting your bouquet in a stunning vase as a centerpiece for your sweetheart table is an excellent cost saver. Another idea is to set this in the center of a round table with your escort cards or on the gift table. All of the bridesmaids bouquets can be used as cocktail hour table centerpieces. Once cocktail hour ends, they can even transition into the reception as bar décor, cake table flowers or food station enhancements. That then gives us THREE uses for a bridesmaid bouquet!
Look at how cute these bridesmaids bouquets are on the dessert station?!
Here we added the bride's bouquet to compliment the garland on the sweetheart table.
For this sweetheart table, the bride's bouquet was the only flowers! And it looks great!
Here we decorated the escort card table with the bridal bouquet and two bridesmaids bouquets
Tip 3: Transition your centerpieces to your post-wedding brunch
Planning to host a farewell brunch the next day? This is a great way to get another use from your centerpieces. If the brunch is at the same venue as the wedding, we can easily set these aside and have the venue manager set out the next morning. Two separate locations? No worries! Whoever is responsible for taking home your cards and gifts can also take some of the centerpieces to deliver to brunch. As your planner, I will make sure these go home with the correct person. If you’ve also hired me to coordinate brunch, I’ll take these with me at the end of the night and set out the next day!
Tip 4: Keep table size in mind when deciding on your flowers
I know the long tables are really trendy right now and don’t get me wrong, I love the look of these as much as the next girl BUT they typically require more décor than a round table. Round tables lend themselves really well to one central arrangement surrounded by candles, votives, etc. Plus, with round tables, we can mix and match centerpiece styles to create interest. Combining a mix of elevated arrangements with lower arrangements is a great way to offer a couple different styles at different price points. The long 8’ tables often require either multiple arrangements set in the center (think one large and two small on either end), loads of bud vases of varying heights to fill the space, or a lush greenery garland which is not economical! In my experience, centerpieces for long tables are almost always more expensive than round tables. If you have your heart set on incorporating long tables, perhaps design your floor plan to have one long head table and the rest of guests at rounds. Or look at the overall layout and incorporate a handful of long tables in areas with maximum impact and make the majority rounds.
Here is an example of a reception designed to include all round tables with a mix of elevated and low centerpieces
The same wedding with a mix of long and round table floral designs
Tip 5: Ask your floral designer about in-season stems
Another easy way to maximize your floral budget is to use in-season, local blooms. I recently had a bride who had her heart set on incorporating lily of the valley into her bouquet. I naively assumed this would be an affordable option because lily of the valley grow like weeds in my backyard! I mean, I felt like I could have made her a bouquet for free! Then I learned that lily of the valley are really only in-season for a few weeks in early spring and she had a wedding at the end of June. In order to get this particular stem, we’d be looking at a cost almost 10x higher than it would be when the stems were in-season. Our floral designer showed us several alternative options that looked so similar but were a fraction of the cost. Keep an open mind about what stems to use. If you have to have a particular flower, try to plan your wedding date around when those flowers are in-season. If not, be prepared to pay a premium to get it!
Seasonal late summer stems for an August wedding!
I hope you found these tips to be helpful! For any clients working with me, I help you start to finish on matching you with a floral designer that fits your budget and style preferences. I help you choose pieces at the beginning of the design process that fit into your budget and set realistic expectations from the get go. We discuss all of the ways we can maximize your investments and of course, I am on-site with you moving things around behind-the-scenes to ensure everything is being used and seen as many times as possible!
Comment below with additional tips on ways to get the most out of your wedding flowers!
As always, Happy Planning!