Steer clear of exotic blooms and your bouquet budget will go a lot further – all the way to the top of the aisle, in fact!
Words by Ann Russell
Whether framing the aisle or decorating the top table, nothing enhances a wedding theme quite like a bumper helping of seasonal flowers. But, let’s face it: you’ve never bought a bumper helping of seasonal flowers before! To help you in your search, we’ve asked three florists to share their secrets, so you can source show-stopping in-season flowers that give maximum impact for minimum spend.
Your all-important wedding date will determine which blooms will be in season. Your florist will have a clear idea of what sort of flowers are available during that period. “We will recommend the flowers that we know are available during the month of their wedding. Looking ahead to next season, for example, we think that hydrangeas, peonies and dahlias will be popular,” says Cora Craig of Ginger & Lime Events.
“Spring and summer brides typically have the widest choice,” advises Amy McMurray of The Black Orchid. “From tulips and peonies to hydrangeas and classic roses. Sunflowers and coloured foliage are beautiful in autumn, while in the colder months brides often choose amaryllis or winter berries.”
It’s easy to overspend on flowers and inadvertently blow your décor budget on costly arrangements, but excessive spending can be curbed with some timely research. Discussing your flower fund at the early stages of planning should shape provisional costs, but don’t forget to factor in the florist’s time to the equation.
“If the bride has seen photographs of lavish flower arrangements but hasn’t done her homework, she might have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved with her budget,” says Amy. “It’s not just the cost of the flowers themselves that you have to pay for but the time it takes to assemble grand arrangements both before the wedding and at the venue. We also have to work out when the flower blooms and ensure it’s on display within the optimum time frame.”
Utilise your florist’s expertise to stretch your budget further, recommends Amy: “Any professional florist will know how to keep to a strict budget and should be able to offer the couple several bouquet and centrepiece options within their price range. To keep costs down, try to choose flowers that don’t need to be shipped internationally.”
Resisting imported flowers certainly keeps the air miles to a minimum but what are the other options to reduce the end cost of your flowers? “You don’t have to pay the price of flying flowers in from a foreign country,” says Rowena McEwan of Showers of Flowers “In fact, when these expenses are removed, the price of wedding flowers can be halved.”
“The trick is to use more expensive flowers for bridal bouquets and cheaper flowers for table and ceremony arrangements – for example, large-headed sunflowers that have impact on their own without needing too many stems,” she adds.
Even green-fingered brides can struggle to find flowers to suit their theme, especially when popular varieties are only available within a limited time frame. “One flower that can’t be purchased all year round is the peony,” shares Cora. “These are strictly summer flowers. Due to their very short-lived availability, they tend to be cut early in the season and chilled in controlled temperatures in Holland. Fortunately, the likes of roses, hydrangeas and orchids – all popular wedding flowers – tend to be available all year round when flown in.”
If your heart is set on a particular type of flower that’s not available, don’t panic. “There’s always an alternative option that gives a very similar look,” says Rowena. “For example, every bride loves peonies but the David Austin rose is British-grown and mimics the look of a peony rose with its feathered, flat head.”