A flower guide for the bride on a budget

When it comes to wedding flowers, there are more choices today than ever before. If you're counting simoleons, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Use Pinterest for inspiration, not duplication. Many of the wedding pictures on Pinterest are staged photo shoots, and while beautiful, may not be practical for the bride on a budget.
  • Keep the wedding party and guest list to a reasonable number. It's hard to keep costs down if there are 12 bridesmaids and groomsmen and if the guest list tops 200. That many guests equals 20 to 30 tables to decorate.
  • Beware of holidays. Major floral holidays include Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Roses, for example, are available year-round because of their consistent popularity but will cost much more in February because of Valentine's Day.
  • Use seasonal flowers. World trade has somewhat turned the idea of seasonality on its head, but generally flowers cost less when they are "in season" or most available. Peonies are a popular wedding flower. Kentucky peonies are available for the month of May. Peonies for weddings later in the year often come from Alaska and shipping adds to their cost. An experienced floral designer will be able to help you with seasonal
    selections.
  • Buy local. Flower farms are springing up across the country. If you are lucky enough to live near one, you have access to the freshest flowers available anywhere. It's a little known fact that today most flowers sold in the U.S. are flown in from South America and distributed throughout the country. Shipping adds to their cost, and the journey can take a toll on their looks and vase life as well. Dahlias are a popular late summer and fall wedding flower. Unfortunately they are poor shippers and may be hard to get; your best bet is a local grower.
  • Be flexible. If the cost of your favorite flower is not in your budget, consider identifying a color scheme only. This extends the floral possibilities considerably. A combination of different sizes and shapes will make a beautiful bouquet. And if you are simply looking for lots of beautiful colors, rather than a specific color scheme, even more is possible and often less expensive.
    With all the flowers available today, the world really is your garden. But whether your flowers come from abroad or your own backyard, they don't have to be trendy to be beautiful.

By Martha White and David Martin

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