TIPS TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS

11 Tips and advice we recommend for saving money. Yes, there are ways to save money and no one will think your cheap.

1.Mix and match your centerpieces. Use a combo of small, medium, tall, garland and bud vases for your tables. If you want the extra large tall centerpieces but you don’t have the budget than mix and match. DON’T ask the florist to use the bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces. If they suggest it, go with it. But a good florist knows it's not gonna look as good. Trust me your guest know what your doing. See below for my 5 TIPS on what NOT TO DO.

2. Keep your guest count under 150. It’s so easy to bust a $1,500 budget when you have over 150 guest. Reality is you’re going to spend about $100 a table at the bare minimum plus your bridal party and what not.

Ash + Oak Floral

3. Use large blooms instead of filler flowers. Trust us we know ranunculus are the coolest flower ever but they don’t take up a lot of space in your bouquet or centerpiece, that’s why they are known as filler flower. Roses may seem boring to you but there are so many different types and man they are beautiful. What us floral designers will supply, are not those god awful grocery store super tight red roses. No, they are open and smell as they should.

4. FYI Garland is expensive. Want to know WHY.... It takes so much more time to make and it’s hard on our bodies. The average florist can make an arrangement within 30-45 minutes from start to finish. Your 6 ft of garland for one table can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. It’s not in water so it’s also time and weather sensitive. Add delivery and maybe a few flowers that's even more labor and more money. There goes your budget.

Ash + Oak Floral

5. Keep your bridal party small. The average bridal party Ash + Oak had in 2018 was 7 on each side. See below how much you can save.

Bridesmaids 7x $95 = $665

Groomsmen 7x$20= 140

Total=$805

OR

Bridesmaids 4x$95=$380

Groomsmen 4x$20=$80

Total=$460

Saving= $355

Save even more and just pick one MOH and one groomsman and save hundreds. Can’t cut your party down then ask for bridesmaids crowns, hair combs, arm band, corsages instead of bouquets. Try something new and exciting but cheaper. If your wedding is on the casual side have the groomsmen just wear pocket squares.

Spend that extra money on the bigger installation, nicer linens, better booze or your honey moon. 

Ash + Oak Floral

6. Get married on the off season. If you live in California like we do, we can get most flowers year around plus the weather is pretty perfect for most of the year. Trust me your flowers and guest would prefer a early spring outside wedding than sitting in the blistering sun in August. Also you can’t use delicate flowers if you have an outdoor wedding because the sun is melting everything including the guest and you in your makeup. The wedding below was on December 9th in Mendocino. The couple had a beautiful outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. Winter weddings can be just as beautiful.

December Wedding Ash + Oak

7. Trust your florist to pick the best of the best flowers for your budget. Don’t put limits or restrictions on anything. The more flexible you are, the more they can do. The event below had a very very limited budget but they let us do what we do best. It ended up looking like they spent a ton of money because I got to make ex large centerpiece but with greenery and cheap seasonal flowers. Take a guess on how much this cost me to make?

Mthr Event with Ash + Oak


8. Let the florist do what they can do best with ribbon. The current trend is extra long silk ribbons in two or three colors. If you don’t have to have it, ask for shorter ribbon for your bouquet and the bridesmaids. This may decrease a little cost, not always but it’s worth a try. Those long ribbons run us anywhere from $30-$45 for 2-3 ft which isn’t very long once you wrap it around the stems a few times. The couple below went with shorter ribbon to save a small amount of money.

Ash + Oak Floral

9. Don’t pay for strike or clean up. Florist charge more because it isn’t fun waiting around for 6 hours after they have worked a 12 hour day that started at 4am to clean up after you and your guest. Find that one family member or friend that is dying to help but you don’t really want them to, to be in charge of taking everything down or returning the vases back to your florist. Sometime coordinators will offer this too and it maybe cheaper to get them to do it.

10. Aisle Chair decor or pew decor. Is a waste of money for a low impact. We do recommend adding something but make it a big impact or can at repurpose. Ask for arrangement in a vase or foam that can transfer the reception. Again ask a family member to handle this so you don’t have to pay us to move anything.

11. Flower girl crowns and petals. Trust us almost 75% of the time the little girl wont be wearing the crown you just spent $35 or will only toss one petal ($25-$30). If they are 6 years or older buy it otherwise, these kids are wasting your money. Yes it’s super cute but a waste. If you want petals down the aisle spend the big bucks and have us arrange them for you. This extra money can go to cocktail arrangements for cake flowers for your naked cake.  

Ash + Oak Floral

Things to think about…..

Flowers cost money. Just like a caterer who has to buy food or your bartender who buys booze, your florist has to buy the flowers and they cost a pretty penny. Sometimes we have to ship them, and then we always have to clean them, treat them, and keep them cool over the 4-5 times they could be handled before they go into an arrangement before your wedding so there's a lot of heavy lifting and labor included in the cost. Plus the water to keep them fresh, the supplies like buckets, shears, tape, wire, vases and so much more. We aren’t coordinators that just need a computer for admin or photographers that pay for equipment for the year, we have to buy all our materials and supplies for each wedding. Are actually profit is much lower than most people think.

Delivery, handling and labor is expensive for us too. Minimum wage is $15 an hour in the Bay Area and the cost of living in the Bay is out of control. A small business like a floral designer can’t execute a 200 person wedding by oneself in the two hour window. Especially not if you want a ceremony backdrop, garland, and the world. We have to pay for our employees too and it take two to three people to make your day look flawless. Plus gas, I try to fit 20 pieces in my mini Mazda but it doesn’t work. We have to drive vans and the gas for those babies are high. Since we are in the bay we have tolls to get to and from the city that add up quickly.

Ash + Oak Floral

We start building your wedding the Wednesday before a Saturday and work 12 hour days for 4 days on our feet. We have to get up as early as 4am to pick up flowers. This job is labor intensive, time sensitive, cold and wet. We aren’t reusing the same playlist like your DJ, we are just like your just like your caters. We only have a few days before things go bad and we can’t reuse your leftovers.

If one florist was way cheaper than the rest your are going to get what you paid for. Yes, everyone starts at the bottom and will give it all away for free to get experience. Do you want to risk that on your wedding day, the day you have been dreaming about for years or at least planning and taking up all your time this past year. NO . You want a florist that will spend the extra time, has great attention detail and will deliver best quality and service possible. You get what you pay for.  So…. here’s an example of what you should expect.

Below is an example of our average wedding with 150 guest wedding in 2018:

Simple Backdrop $750

Bridal Bouquet $275

Bridesmaids (3) $255

Groom bout $25

Groomsmen bout (3) $60

Centerpieces (15) $1875

Cocktail (4) $100

Welcome Table $175

Cake Flowers $25

Plus tax, delivery, handling, labor

=$4540

Ash + Oak Floral

5 Tips we DON’T recommend for saving money. You think no one will notice but your guest will.

  1. Using your bouquet and the bridesmaids for centerpieces. There are two main reasons. First your bridesmaids have been carrying them around for the photos and laying down whenever they can. They are not handling them with the correct care to keep them looking fresh. If you’re getting married in the hot summer the bouquet has been sitting out in the hot sun, out of water for at least an hour. The petals will start to wilt or look broken from getting placed on tables, chairs and the ground. Second there is no way the bouquets will match the look of the centerpieces. The guests sitting at the table with the bridesmaids bouquet will clearly know you didn’t pay for a centerpiece. Do use them in the bathrooms or dessert table where guest aren’t really looking and think it’s a nice additional touch.


  2. DIY. No matter how much time you think you will have you don’t want to be stressing over flowers. These babies are time and weather sensitive. Your friends and family want to spend the morning with you, relaxing not building arrangements. Trust me, when I get married I will not be doing my own flowers. I will be hiring another company to work for me. I wouldn’t even put my assistant, who would be attending my wedding through that. It’s not fair to assume your friends don’t want to have time to get ready for your wedding. The last 5 weddings I was invited to attend after I designed their flower was not how I wanted to feel. I did not get the time to shower after running around all day in the hot sun. Had no time for makeup, hair or even brush the dirt of my nails. Don’t do that to your friends or family.


  3. Don’t use fake or silk flowers. Yes, they last forever but they are more expensive than real flowers and what are you going to do with them? Also they are UGLY.


  4. BUY your flowers from Whole foods. Yes, they offer weddings and if you want basic ugly flowers than be my guest but your not going to get your Instagram or Pinterest bouquet. No one working at Whole foods has training like a real florist. I know I started in a grocery store and I wouldn’t want the bouquets I would have made for you.


  5. Don’t be sneaking and say you’re eloping to try and get a better deal on a bridal bouquet. It’s the same price. Plus we follow and are friends with photographers. We will find out you had your mom or another florist make the centerpieces, when it’s clearly stated in our contracts you can’t book another company. This is just rude.

That’s me on the right. You can’t tell but I have blood running down my legs because I broke a vase. That’s why I’m not wearing shoes, I had glass stuck in my heels and no time to get it out. My hands look like I have been gardening for days. I was too afraid to hug my best friend because I didn’t want to ruin her dress with my hands or my awful smell. Don’t do this to your friends and family. Hire a professional. BTW this is my last wedding I”ll ever do for a friend. I want to be a guest just like everyone else.

That’s me on the right. You can’t tell but I have blood running down my legs because I broke a vase. That’s why I’m not wearing shoes, I had glass stuck in my heels and no time to get it out. My hands look like I have been gardening for days. I was too afraid to hug my best friend because I didn’t want to ruin her dress with my hands or my awful smell. Don’t do this to your friends and family. Hire a professional. BTW this is my last wedding I”ll ever do for a friend. I want to be a guest just like everyone else.

BRI + GREG

Bri and Greg are from LA and when they came into town they asked to meet me at my studio and instantly I loved them. I was so honored to work with such laid back, rad people. When they mentioned their wedding was in Yosemite, I was trilled. Bri did ask for a color palette that took me out of my comfort zone. She wanted bright orange, red and burgundy to go with her brown, taupe and sky blue theme. This through me in for a ringer but I pulled it together and I am very pleased. Three other amazing things about this beautiful wedding was the coordinator Emily from Tasteful Tatters, Isaiah and Taylor photography and Evergreen Lodge. This venue and their sister venue are so fabulous, I would hands down work any wedding there no matter the budget or the clients. They are so friendly, on top of everything and accommodating to vendors I almost died.

ASH + OAK FLORAL

ANNA + JORDAN

Anna and Jordan got married at Piedmont Community Hall. Once I found out the Jordan was a chef and I knew I had to incorporate a small food element. I added a few pomegranates along with each centerpiece. It’s the small touches that I love most about what I can do.

“I think my lack of concern about the end result was most surprising to me. Normally, I'm somewhat of a control freak and worry about everything I haven't seen. But you made me feel so comfortable and I was so confident in your work that I never once worried about the florals.” Anna, the bride

“We could not have been happier with our florals. Letting Ashley just go with it and going in to the wedding sight unseen was totally worth it. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose Ash+Oak, 100%. THANK YOU!! <3” Anna, the bride

Coordinated by Fern Foot Events

Photography by Sun and Life Photography

Videography by Scala Pictures

FLORAL PRICES

Ash + Oak Floral

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while but wasn’t sure if this would help couples understand the cost or confuse them more. The hardest part of my job is pricing. We want to give every couple everything but unfortunately, we can’t. Unlike photographer we have to buy product just like your caterer. The world of Pinerest and wedding blogs allows you to dream big but if your on a tight budget you need to me more realistic. If only each pin had the price below. Well that’s what I am going to do for you.

Above Wedding $4,500 -$5,000 (120 people including delivery, tax, flip and installation 2018)

Even when blogs mention the cost it’s not totally accurate. First, the level of florist determines the price as well as the location. A novice floral designer verse someone that’s been around for 5 or more years is greatly different. The novice florist hasn’t figured out how to price correctly, wants to book everything they can for the experience, needs photos of their work and they need to get the word out. I know this from personal experience. Trust me the things I did the first years was crazy. I gave everyone everything for free. A floral designer like us, who has done close to 100 weddings or more has the experience, understands cost, has more employees and takes only weddings they want to do, prices correctly. Than there are the floral designers that I dream to be, who only take 10 weddings a year at $30,000 flower budget weddings. Sadly for the normal couple these imagines are the ones getting pinned the most.

Above wedding $8,00 -$8,500 (200 people including delivery, tax, flip and installation 2017)

To top it off floral designer are creating these amazing one of kind styled shoots that come directly out of our pocket at cost but would be quit different at a real wedding. I am ashamed to say I have spent over $500 in cost on ONE installation for a style shoot. Plus the time I had to create this install wasn’t a two hour wedding window, so I didn’t need to pay two or three employees. The over styled shoot cost me close to $1,000 and it was just a ceremony back drop, bridal bouquet, boutonniere and a centerpiece. Now times that by how many items you need. It’s not particle the things we design to get blogged about for real weddings. Another reason installations cost as much as we need to rent larger vans, taller ladders and sometimes a lift ($400 to rent).

Bridal Bouquet $250

Bridal Bouquet $250

So, I decided to share with you some of our weddings and how much they really cost give or take a few hundred (I don’t know if the couples really want anyone to know). Just because you love one of the weddings and it’s out of your budget doesn’t mean we can’t work around things. All I ask is to think about what you’re pinning to what you can actually afford. Most all centerpieces from any florist who knows what they are doing, cost at least $100. If you have 20 tables it’s gonna be close to $2,000 plus tax and delivery. I have said this before, you can’t get an arrangement from 1-800-flowers with delivery for under $80 so why would you think your wedding would be much different. At weddings we use high end flowers, vases and to make 15 arrangements in one day is much harder than a paint by numbers boring basic 1-800 bouquet.

Large Centerpiece $175

Large Centerpiece $175

More example below……

$5,500- $6,000 (125 people including delivery, tax and installation 2018)

$125 Centerpiece

$125 Centerpiece

$125 Centerpiece

$125 Centerpiece

$45 Corsages

$45 Corsages

Ceremony Decor $450

Ceremony Decor $450

COLORS

In 2018 we had the opportunity to work with so many color palettes, which made our job much more exciting. We wanted to share with you the colors we are inspired to work with in 2019. Though, most of these color don’t translate to flowers they make great linens, dresses and small details that tie in perfectly with our flowers. If you see something you like reach out and book us now!

LOOKING BACK ON 2018

Wow what a year! This year we took on less weddings because we wanted to focus on weddings that were truly our style and who we are and I think we nailed it. There isn’t one wedding this year I wouldn’t post or rave about.

If you are a wild, moody, alternative, modern, crazy, one of kind, daredevil, adventurous COUPLE, we are your florist. We don't copy the trends on Pinterest, we are create the new trends. Our brides this year have given us more power to do want we want and trust me it was worth it. Take a look for yourself.... 

WEDDING DO AND DON'TS BY ASH + OAK

WEDDING DO’S AND DON’TS

BY ASHLEY MUELLER

We are going on our 5th wedding season and we have learned so much over the last few years. When you send an inquiry we include our media kit and our FAQ. Within the FAQ we have a ton of do and don’ts for your day. While we were creating our FAQ we thought that it would be great to share this with everyone.

We picked our top 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to share with you.

D0

  1. FIRST LOOK- This 30 minute window is the prefect time to get a few moments alone with your other half. This day will fly by and trust us you will want a few minutes to soak it up together. Plus you get to ugly cry as much as you like because it’s just the two of you and a photographer. Hint bring your bridal bouquet to hold onto if you’re nervous.

  2. GO ALL IN OR NOTHING- If your going to spend money on your big day then go all in and make the impact on decor, drinks, music and lounge furniture. If you are trying to save money don’t do things half ass. Just do a backyard wedding with DIY flowers and decor. Don’t spend the money on a Napa vineyard and fall flat on decor. It makes you look cheap.

  3. TRUST YOUR VENDORS- Believe me they know what they are doing better than you. They should know about new trends over what’s still trending on Pinterest.

  4. BREAK TRADITION- If you are not traditional than don’t follow the rules. Who needs a first dance if you don’t like dancing. Make your wedding yours!

  5. GET A SECOND DRESS- It’s the one day you can wear whatever you want and wont be judged for it. So why not change into two or three dresses if you like. Have an end of the evening dress for the after party. Don’t ruin that beautiful thing you may want to resell later.

  6. SEARCH ON FB MARKETPLACE- There are so many ways to save money that wont make you look cheap. First is to buy used table number, votives or reserved signs. These items were only used once and for a hot minute. No need to waste money and you can resell them too. You’re also saving the environment.

  7. HIRE A COORDINATOR- This is super important and will make your and your vendors life easier.

  8. USE COLOR- If I have to see another white or white and blush wedding again I may kill myself. I am not saying go for bright and bold school mascot colors but used muted tones or earth tones. Add one color with white and blush.

  9. ONE LONG FARM TABLE- We love the idea of everyone sitting at one table and the bride and groom are in the middle. It looks super classy, plus you have to use farm tables which are our favorites.

  10. ADD BUD VASES TO CENTERPIECES- For farm tables especially add a mix of bud, small and medium arrangements down the rows to add a fun flow.

DON’T

  1. OVER USE PINTEREST- Once you have an idea stick with it and get off wedding Pinterest. It’s very hard for your vendors if you keep changing ideas and colors. Go with your first gut instinct or let your vendors pick for you, again we know what the new trends are.

  2. MICROMANAGE- Let go and let your coordinator do all the work for you. You paid them

  3. DIY- Unless you are an actual creative and artist don’t DIY anything. Your guest can tell you did over hiring a professional. If your other is handy, than making your arch is probably a no brainer but if your making a ton of trips to Home Depot just buy it and resell. The time you have before your wedding should be spent together having fun not stressing about wedding details.

  4. USE GARLAND ON ROUND TABLES- It just doesn’t work. You basically say one side of the table “can’t sit with us”

  5. FORGET IT’S HOT OUTSIDE- If a few flowers are melted don’t get upset with the florist when the tables are outside in 90 degree weather. We only have two hours to set up and need to use our time wisely if we have installations. Sometimes these babies have to sit in 90' degree sunlight for 3-4 hours before your guest sit down. No cut flower likes the heat and the sun.

  6. FORGET TO TIP or WRITE A REVIEW- It’s always a pleasure when we get tipped, though it’s very rare these days and we don’t expect it. However, we would love a thank you card/email, a tag or two on social media, referral or a review in exchange. If you don’t see us the day of you can always mail a thank you card. We work really hard to make your wedding look AMAZING so it’s nice to feel appreciated. I know you don’t see us as much as your photographer or coordinator but we do just as much work but behind the scenes.

  7. TOSS YOUR BRIDAL BOUQUET- If you don’t purchase a tossing bouquet, don’t toss yours $200 investment toss your bridesmaids. At this point of the night they have already abandon theirs bouquets.

  8. EMAIL EVERY VENDOR YOU FIND- Pick your top 3 in each category when your reaching out. It’s unfair and a time waster for these vendor to respond to your inquires when your not truly invested in their work. If all 3 of your top chooses are booked or out of your budget try 3 more.

  9. NICKEL AND DIME- Your vendors. We live in California and the cost of living and running a business is very expensive. Take a few minutes to google what we make and you will see we aren’t nickel and diming you so we can fly around the world. The cost of flowers, cake ingredients, film, prints, calligraphy boards, plates for catering companies are not cheap for us to buy plus bay area studio space are crazy. Just because it’s your wedding we are not exploiting you.

  10. LET YOUR FAMILY PRESSURE YOU TO HAVE A BIG WEDDING IF YOU DON’T WONT ONE-period

CALIFORNIA FIRES

I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t use my blog to for anything but flowers, tips, inspo and real weddings but I feel I need to write about this because it’s weighing on my shoulders.

The California fires are out of control and the devastation is heartbreaking. Last year, I volunteered with a organization to help feed shelters and firefighters during the Napa Valley fire. I put my business on hold and drove back and forth to Napa every day for three weeks. I found numerous businesses in the Bay Area to donate food and goods. I personally went out and bought two families all new clothes, blankets and much more. I touched the lives of individuals that had lost everything and had no idea what to do next. Hearing their stories of how they survived broke my heart into pieces. I feed the National Guard and got to walk around the base and see hundreds of men and women sleeping on cots for days to help get the fires under control.

To see a community come together and support each other was the most amazing thing I have EVER been apart of. A high school basketball coach brought in his team of boys to help us make 340 sandwiches for one shelter. We had a volunteer who lost his house but felt the he need to help others. He drove our delivery van all through the fires from Santa Rosa to Napa to delivery meals to the National Guard, Police officers and firefighters. He was there day and night every day for almost four weeks. One of our volunteers was a twenty something kid from England traveling down the West Coast on holiday. Once he heard about the fires he extended his trip and worked in our kitchen for weeks. He had no place to stay or money but volunteered his time. He slept in his car and cooked meals during the day. There were so many more amazing people and stories to tell from that 3 weeks that I could write a book.

This year when the Redding fires started I was in the middle of wedding season and could not help. I felt awful I could not do my part. Once the camp fire started I also felt the same way. A member of my family is very ill and dying so I needed to be home in Seattle. I all could do when it started was donate a few dollars that I could spare.

The foundation I worked last year was started by a husband and wife who just had a second baby and had their handful. BUT that didn’t stop them from starting our foundation back up. They are a week behind but have pulled it together and are on their way to help. I am thrilled I will be assisting them and doing my part again this year and every year or fire to come.

Now that I have moved to an area at high risk of fires I am extremely scare that this will happen to my family as well. But I know that if it does I will have support because the Napa Valley BBQ Foundation Fund will be there to support another fire. Thank you team and I can’t wait to get out there and help again.

Please help support the victims in any way you can. Visit Napa Valley Foundation Funds on Facebook. EVERY penny you donate goes directly to the cause.

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Napa Valley Fire Ash + oak
Napa Valley Fire Ash + Oak
National Guard Ash + Oak

GIFT WRAPPING BY A FLORAL DESIGNER

I could careless about getting gifts but I love buying and wrapping presents. Even as a child, I love gift wrapping.  I would wrap all the gifts for the family besides my own. I was always a little disappointed when I would receive my gifts because they weren't wrapped to my standards.

Every year I pick a different theme. One year in high school, I wrapped everything white kraft paper and collaged over the top. Each person had a different theme. Another year I used vintage maps I found at the thrift store. A few years ago I drew funny cartoons and wrote stories. I am always thinking of something new and fun.

This year I am toying with a few ideas and I thought I would share what I am inspired by.


 

 

Established 2014 in Oakland, California