Getting Married? Who Pays for What?

Forget the rule that says certain people have to pay for certain things. Your parents do not need to take out a third mortgage to pay for the wedding. And, if you’re like most couples, the two of you might even be covering a good chunk of the expenses yourselves. The best way to work it out? Sit down with pencil, paper, and calculator and figure out what you really want and can afford. In regard to your wedding flowers,  below is the traditional breakdown (as in, bride’s versus groom’s family) of costs for everyone involved. (excerpt taken from the Knot)

  • Bride and family pay for all floral arrangements for church and reception, plus bouquets and corsages for bridesmaids and flower girls.
  • Groom and family pay for bride’s bouquet, toss bouquet, and going-away corsage if she has one. He also pays for the boutonnieres for any men in the wedding party as well as corsages for mothers and grandmothers.


How to Stay Within Your Floral Budget

Spring and summer tends to be a busy time of the year for floral designers. Between Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and weddings, business increases dramatically. If you are planning a wedding and are looking for ways to be cost effective when it comes to flowers, these tips may help you out. If you’re looking for a floral designer that will listen to your desires and work to stay within your budget without adding a lot of extras, give me a call. I’d love the chance to meet and talk with you.

Use Roses or Tulips

Roses and tulips are affordable. A monochromatic rose or tulip bouquet is stunning and cost effective. A same flower bouquet of any kind (just about) is cost effective. Why? Because flowers, generally, are purchased by the Floral Designer from wholesalers by the bundle. That bundle includes the same flower, same color. No variations. Roses come 25 stems to a bundle. If a bride chooses a blush pink rose bouquet for her bridal bouquet, the Floral Designer would purchase only blush pink roses for her bouquet – 25 stems, and one bundle would make an average sized bridal bouquet. That would be the cost. (If other items such as baby’s breath or greenery is added, that would be purchased by the bundle also and that cost added in.) If the bride chose a mixed bouquet of several different flowers, such as roses, spray roses, mums, tulips, freesia, stock, baby’s breath, plus the greenery, in order for the Floral Designer to arrange that bouquet, he/she would have to purchase a bundle of each of those flowers from her Wholesaler, then pull out what he/she needed for the bridal bouquet. The bride would be charged for the cost of all of those flowers simply because the Floral Designer has no need for them. He/she is ordering them specifically for the Bride. If the flowers that are left from those bundles are used in other bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, etc., that cost could be spread among the other floral arrangements needed for the wedding. Always make an effort to use as few different types of flowers as is necessary and use them in all of your floral designs.

Ask about Less Expensive Alternatives to Popular Flowers

Oftentimes, brides will look in bridal magazines, on Pinterest, or wedding websites and find gorgeous, photographed bouquets. Once they see these, their hearts are set. Currently, because of the vintage look that many brides are going for, flowers such as peonies, garden roses, and dahlias are used in those bouquets. Although they are beautiful, those flowers in particular can cost from $8-$13 per stem, retail, with only one bloom per stem. A small bridal bouquet will have about 18 stems, with an average bridal bouquet having about 24 stems. Average bridesmaid’s bouquets will have approximately 12-18 stems with small ones averaging 8-10 stems. The math is easy. An average peony bridal bouquet of 24 stems will generally cost about $320. Brides are often shocked when they receive the price quote from their floral designer not really knowing the cost that their floral designer has to pay for the specific flower that they have fallen in love with. Let your floral designer recommend some ways to get the look you are going for with less expensive flowers.

Instead of using a single flower for bouquets, flowers can be mixed within the same color pallet and the overall look will still be beautiful. “Carnations are one of the most cost-effective flowers available. When they’re used in dense monochromatic designs, they have a lot of impact. Although they aren’t as lush as roses or peonies, these hardy little flowers can be used to create a similar look for half the cost,” says Pennylyn Kaine, owner and floral designer, Blossom and Bee, Oak Ridge, NJ. Or possibly, the bride could use half the peonies and achieve the look of the other half with the carnations. Some other flowers that could also be chosen that are less expensive and are always in bloom are flowers such as Tulips, Lavender, Daffodil, Daisies, Mums, and Hydrangea. These flowers when perfectly arranged will just bring class and sophistication plus that added drama and impact most brides want to create.

Watch Out for Expensive Fillers

Fillers such as bear grass give an architectural look to centerpieces. Baby’s breath, which is often used as a filler may cost a mere $5, for a small bunch like you would find at a grocery store. Baby’s breath bouquets are popular right now for bridesmaid’s bouquets but for the look that most brides are going for, you’ll need a lot…which could add up to $80 where a small rose bouquet with sprigs of baby’s breath could cost approximately $50.00. Just be aware of that.

Use Shorter Centerpieces

Tall centerpieces on average start at approximately $150. You can easily save 50 to 60 percent by eliminating height and opting for low centerpieces. Add an intimate feel with more candlelight.

Beware Temperamental Flowers

Some flowers tend to be on the temperamental side. They can brown more easily. White flowers have to be handled very carefully, as they show bruises much more quickly. An example of this is Stephanotis, a traditional wedding flower. It is a petite, star shaped flower. It can be used as a filler flower but doesn’t photograph well and does seem to brown easily. Using an dendrobium orchid, which is one-third the price in place of the stephanotis would be a great alternative.

Use Foliage

Greenery allows you to use fewer flowers and can be really beautiful when used correctly. Foliage is much less expensive than flowers.

Use Branches

Some other ways to extend the budget would be to use branches such as dogwood, forsythia, pussy willow or curly willow for vertical elements. They’re a gorgeous look for weddings if the bride wants to go up in the air, but doesn’t have the budget for tall vessel rentals. But some items such as manzanita branches are very expensive, so you have to be cautious.

Choose the Right Containers…Rent DON’T buy

Containers for your centerpieces can be a big saver if you choose wisely. They can vary from silver plastic to silver plated.  Plastic vessels can look terrific when filled with flowers and you’re much better off putting the extra $ into your flowers than paying for a silver-plated container.

Also, unless you have multiple weddings and are planning on using the same containers several times, it just isn’t cost effective to purchase them.  Always check with your floral designer to see if she has what you are looking for and can rent them to you.  She will usually rent them to you at a fraction of the cost to purchase them and typically has a large inventory in stock just for that purpose.

Re-use Blooms

Put your blooms on double duty. Ceremony flowers can be used at your reception as well. Your Bridal bouquet as well as Bridesmaid’s bouquets can also be used in the reception area.

Choose by Color, Not by Flower

Give your florist a color scheme, not particular flowers: Allow your floral designer flexibility so that they can pick out the most affordable flowers for your color scheme. If there are certain flowers that you absolutely must have or flowers that you want to avoid, remember to provide a list of those flowers to your floral designer.

If Possible, Avoid Marrying Around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Getting married during February especially near Valentine’s Day and close to Mother’s Day can dramatically raise the cost your Floral Designer has to pay for flowers. They are the busiest times of the year for most Floral Designers and when it comes to the cost of flowers during those times, t’s simply the rule of supply and demand. The demand for flowers is high so wholesalers can increase their cost to the retailer. The retailer has to pass it along to you, the client. If you are able to find a florist that will take on a wedding at either of these times, be prepared to pay a premium for your flowers.

Use Flowering Plants as Centerpieces

 Choose Flowering Plants as Centerpieces – If you are really considering doing your own arrangements, one way to do it, is to create centerpieces that can be prepared even weeks or months in advance. Flowering plants can be prepared in pretty pots months before your big day. Such plants can get plenty of attention plus can be taken home and planted in your yard after the big day.

Cheaper Is Not Always Better

Remember that the cheapest route is not necessarily the best route to take especially when it comes to your flowers. Yes, your Floral Designer does understand that most brides are on a budget when it comes to the costs of their wedding but there is a point where it’s not possible for your Floral Designer to “give the bride a lower price point”. The bride has opted to go with a Floral Designer for some very specific reasons. Some of those are the knowledge and expertise that he/she can bring to the table as well as their ability to save the bride and her family the stress and time that’s involved in a DIY. Those are things that the Floral Designer as well as the bride have to take into consideration when determining whether they believe the floral price quote given is a fair one.

Be Careful if DIYing

Finally, a word about DIY. Some brides choose to do their own flowers with the goal of saving money. When you choose to DIY your wedding flowers, there are some important bits of information that you must know ahead of time. If you order your flowers online with the goal of cutting expenses, please be aware that all site…s are not created equally. Talk with your wedding planner (or me) about reputable online sites from which to order flowers. Once the flowers are delivered to you, usually 2 days before the wedding date, you or whomever you have delegated that responsibility to must process the flowers. If you have a lot of flowers, you will need several people working together to accomplish this. That means if you have a Saturday wedding, your flowers will typically come to you on Thursday. Most flowers are dry-shipped and usually have been in transit from another country (for many roses, it’s South America, for tulips it may be Holland) for 5 days. They are not packed in coolers or in water. They are delivered to you dry with closed buds. It can take several hours to process the flowers once they arrive. That includes cleaning and trimming, and hydrating in bacteria-free water that a floral preservative has been added to for a minimum of 4-5 hours, preferably overnight. At some point, you may need to stop the opening process of the blooms so they will be at the right stage for bouquet as well as corsages and bouts. In order to do this, the flowers will need to be refrigerated. This has to be done in a unit that does not have fruits and vegetables. (The ethylene gas given off by some fruits and vegetables can damage flowers.) You also must be aware that all flowers are not processed the same way. Some flowers require specific methods of processing to rehydrate them. For example, hydrangeas can be very temperamental and not want to hydrate if not processed correctly. The result can be a wilted, shriveled bloom and not the lush, full bloom that we’ve come to love. Lilies can require up to 4 days of processing before the event. Because of their knowledge base and experience, a floral designer is aware of this and processes the various flowers accordingly. In addition the day before as well as the morning of the event must be left open to arrange the flowers. Once arranged, the flowers will need to be kept in water, in a cool location until at least three hours before the wedding. Once they are taken out of the refrigerated area, they will need to remain in water continually and up until the actual time of use…and even in between photo taking and ceremony.

Yes, it will save you some money if your budget is less than desirable, but flowers are one of the most sensitive items to handle and can take a lot of time preparing. Before committing to this, seriously consider if you are willing to spend your last hours before the wedding takes place arranging flowers for your bouquet or even creating table centerpieces. If at all possible, use fewer flowers, fewer arrangements, etc., instead of going the DIY route in order to save some money. The savings that you achieve if you choose to DIY may be overshadowed by the added stress that you’ve taken on.

Just an FYI from experience. My daughter was recently married, June, 2013, and I did not purchase, process or arrange her flowers. As mother of the bride, I knew that there would be so many things that required my time and energy. That was one area that I didn’t want to be required to think or work on during the weeks leading up to as well as the week of her wedding. I wanted to be able to enjoy her time with her. Her wedding was not local so we went with the florist that the owner of the wedding venue recommended. We didn’t get a discounted rate but do I regret that? Not at all. Knowing what I know about the work that goes into pulling the floral designs of a wedding together, it was well worth every penny we paid.