For many brides, a dream wedding is awash in a sea of white roses and exotic centerpieces filled with delicate stephanotis, fragrant gardenias and wildly beautiful orchids. Upon the first meeting with a floral designer, though, the price of those lush bouquets and centerpieces can turn a dazzled bride into a disheartened one. Luckily, floral designers can help you create your dream floral vision on a budget, by using non-bridal flowers.
According to The Wedding Report -- the bridal industry's premier source of wedding statistics -- the average amount spent on flowers in 2010 adds up as follows: the bridal bouquet, $141; bridesmaids' bouquets, $137; boutonnieres and corsages, $112; ceremony flowers, $265; reception flower arrangements, $381. In 2012, those centerpieces are projected to cost $404, and the bouquet will cost $162. In this current economic climate, brides and grooms are looking for unique and wonderful ways to cut costs without sacrificing beauty.
Roses still are included in budget bridal floral arrangements -- except during peak pricing times, such as Mother's Day and Valentine's Day -- but it's the additional flowers that designers suggest that really catch the eye. "I'm always telling brides to think about different blooms instead of the usual ones," says Georgianne Vinicombe, owner of Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co. "First, it's more interesting, and second, it can be more economical. The flowers that come to mind as nontraditional and wonderful to use in wedding work are godetia, stock, mini sunflowers, football mums, alstroemeria, pincushion protea, safari sunset and craspedia." Carnations, not long ago, had a reputation for being too obvious as a budget choice, but Vinicombe says the fluffy, delicate carnation in such a wide range of colors is "back, big-time."
Another option is filling an arrangement or bouquet with inexpensive accent or filler flowers that create a lovely lushness and unique textures. Vinicombe suggests wax flowers, heather, goldenrods, ginestra flowers and lavender. "Baby's breath is making a big comeback right now," she says. "Even a bouquet or a table centerpiece of all baby's breath is sweet and simple." For the bride who wants color in her arrangements and bouquets, Vinicombe says, "thistle is wonderful as a deep blue. It's artsy and very natural and even makes for great boutonnieres."
Brides on a budget are often interested in using dramatic single-stem flowers or bunches of stand-alone flowers that make an impact without the need for additional filler flowers. "Flowers that work by themselves and are extremely economical are hydrangea, roses, alstroemeria, stock, marguerite daisies, sunflowers and just about any kind of mum. Also, line flowers, such as delphinium or green bells of Ireland, can be very striking held as arm bouquets." Vinicombe also suggests full-size calla lilies for an elegant and chic look that is far more economical than it looks when carried as a few stems in an arm bouquet. Bridesmaids can carry one calla lily with the stem tied with a bow for a fraction of the cost of the traditional bridesmaid bunch bouquet. "Add a few loops of grass and you bring them to the next level," Vinicombe says.
You don't have to plan a green wedding to use green elements to your budget advantage. Some trendy and inexpensive options are using grasses, herbs and leaves. "Loops of lily grass over a bouquet give an architectural feel. We use lots of seeded eucalyptus, mountain mint, scented geranium foliage, bupleurum and lady's mantle. These, if used correctly, really add volume and give a wonderful backdrop to the simple flowers that help carry the wedding theme."
Other natural elements -- such as curly willow, bark and stones -- added to centerpieces give a beautiful effect for a small investment, and guests marvel at the unique designs.
A big trend right now is to blend in non-flower elements, such as peacock and ostrich feathers, to bouquets and centerpieces, and of course, traditional brides who love their roses and gardenias still can use them. They're just designing smaller pieces composed of fewer flowers and adding a burst of sparkle by having their floral designers accent each with crystals and gems pinned into the arrangements.
With these unique flower options and non-floral additions, your bouquet and centerpieces and all other floral elements of your big day will stand out and stand apart from what other brides have designed for their weddings during the same season as yours. No one will be able to tell you saved a dime, and all will marvel at the creativity of your dream wedding flowers.