Wedding

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.

LISHA + RAYMOND

Ash + Oak Yosemite Wedding

This year I had the honor to design floral for one of my dear friends, who I met on a styled shoot over two years ago. Lisha Wong, who is an amazing wedding photographer hired us to do her wedding in Yosemite. When another vendor ask you to create the florals for their wedding you know your getting good.

Lisha and Raymond, are cutest and got married at the Rush Lodge in Yosemite. This was the perfect venue, I mean perfect venue for these to tie the knot. They are into hiking and rock climbing, for their honeymoon they are hiking Kilimanjaro.

Lisha wanted lush greenery but something wild and different. I knew I could nail that but I wanted to make sure I only used foliage local to their favorite place to hike, Yosemite. We used an abundant amount of manzanita and foraged dried goods along the way from SF to the wedding. Her color palette was on point. She wanted gray, blues, whites, sage green and brown. No one ever wants brown but with dried elements you can achieve the most elegant brown tones.

For their sweetheart table we hung a suspended lush installations made of manzanita and branches. The best part of the installation, is it is now hanging above their bed.

To top it off Katch Silva was their photographer. I have admired this artist since I have been in the business. She is wonderful and capture every moment perfectly!

Ash + Oak
Ash + Oak

Photo: @katchsilva

Video: Josh from @the_arroyos

Floral: @ashandoakfloral 

Hair: @heather_rose_hair_design

Makeup: @mua.samanthak

Cake: @delish.simply

DJ: @djdanniboisf 

Dress: @willowbywatters

Suit: @knotstandard 

Heels: @toms

Boots: @redwingshoes 

DIANA + BRAIN

Ash + Oak Flowers

It’s always a honor when another wedding vendor ask you to create the floral for their wedding. Diana and I have worked together for over a year and I just love her. When we first meant I swear it felt like we had been best friends for years.

When she asked me to do her flowers I was so excited. I knew I could do something different. She wanted a Mexican inspired wedding but not over the top. I found these amazing Mexican tile vessels and knew it was meant to be. Her mother grew over 100 succulents to pare with my flowers and potted them is terra cotta pots. She wanted moody but a pop of color. I knew I would use a mix of red tones. We used bright red pom poms to a red burgundy mum and everything in between.

Her second and third color was sage green and a dusty blue. I found these amazing dried (of course) palm that were the perfect sage green. The blue accent was in the macramé runners she bought and the blue ribbon on her bouquet. It may sounds crazy but it all came together, oh so well.


Ash + Oak Wedding Florist

Photography kandace Photography

Floral Ash + Oak

AUTUMN MOOD

Fall autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love watching the colors change from green to orange to red. If I ever decide to get married I would defiantly elope in the fall. Something about an Indian Summer and the dead leaves really wins me over. These mood board are inspiration for my dream elopement. 

SARAH + SAM

This maybe my favorite couple of the year or maybe forever. I know we say this a lot but this couple is extra special to me. The bride Sarah Reddish (aka arrowartstudio) is one of my best friends. I have known Sarah for 10 years. We lived together, we moved to Mexico together and we started our businesses at the same time. I have to say Sam her now husband, is the perfect guy for her. The best part is how they met because of me of course! I dragged Sarah out to a Red Sox and A's baseball game 4 years ago. Sam was this young sweet fellow and a friend of a friend who was with our group that night. I got some intel and slowly pushed them together and now they are one happy family. I was honored to design the flowers for Sarah and Sam's wedding. Something Sarah and I talked about for many days while on the beach in Mexico. I didn't even let her tell me what she wanted because I already knew. 

Dress // @alek_sandra_d 
Florals // @ashandoakfloral 
Hand Letterer + Bride // @arrowartstudio 
Planner // @imoncada111

Cocktail Truck // @theduketruck

COLOR THEORY TIPS

Picking colors for you wedding can be hard. You love mauve and purple but your other half doesn't want a girlie wedding. Your favorite color is blue and he/she loves red but you don't want your wedding to read fourth of July. Our suggestion is stay far away from team sports and holiday colors by using muted tones or a scale of one or two colors. 

Just because you want to use blue as a focal color you don't need to use blue flowers. Use the color blue in the bridesmaids dresses, napkins or plates. Keep your flowers neutral so they add texture and flow with the room. 

Don't use white flowers because you can't decide. Pick all of you details first linens, plates, tables, tuxes, and invites than decide. Don't limit yourself to white because you think it's easy. Sometimes it's to stark against the beautiful off white table linen.

See our example color schemes that look expensive and amazing but could end up all wrong if you pick plain primary colors.

YELLOW AND GREEN (hint-green doesn't look great on anyone)

BLUE AND RED (hint-don't use white for anything, not even the bridal dress)

TANA + ERIC

During my first phone call with Tana back in October of 2017, I knew I was going to love her. Everything she mentioned were words I had been hoping to hear for years, moody, dark, a little witchy yet subtle. She has this amazing aura and you will be completely drawn to her as soon as you see her. Tana is one of the most beautiful women I know but funny and down to earth. When we met in person for the first time it felt as if we had been friends forever. I love when a couple is someone I continue to know well after the wedding. 

Venue: The Island Farm

Photographer: Bethany Carlson

Floral By Us!

Tents: Shelter Co. 

HANNAH + TOMMY

The sun was shinning on this beautiful day in Mendocino but it couldn't beat the BEAM that Hannah had on her wedding day. Hannah and Tommy have been together over 10 years and finally decided to tie the knot in front of there friends and family before they moved to Seattle to finish medical school. We couldn't be happier to be a part of this lovely couple's day. 

Photography | @dianarothery 
Coordination, design, signage, support in all things |@fernfootevents 
Florals | @ashandoakfloral 
Venue | @elliesfarmhouse 
Rentals | Matt Rowland Events
Hair and makeup | @rebeccawillowtaff 
DJ | Erica Schwanke with @heartofgolddjs
Catering | @blackdogfarmcatering 
Dessert | @frannyscupandsaucer 
Cocktail Design + Bartending | Haley Samas-Berry with @fogeatercafe
Dress(es) | via @janenesbridalboutique

Established 2014 in Oakland, California