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