Taking the plunge often means your bank account plunges too, but out of all the expenses of planning a wedding, nothing shocked me more than the high cost of flowers! And it seemed that there was no getting around it until now. You can take ideas from the best of the best, like Oprah’s favorite event planner, Colin Cowie, and see what’s in, what’s not and where to cut corners. We’ll show you how:
First, the church. A big space often takes a lot of flowers, but most likely you aren’t the only bride that day. Contact your church to see if the other brides are willing to decorate together and split that bill. Consider going with the larger arrangements in all white and then each of you can pop the colors of your wedding with 2 smaller arrangements you can swap out. If that’s not an option and it’s all on you, focus on the front of the church. This is where most of the pictures will take place and where all your guests will be looking. Greens such as ferns and palms go a long way and consider renting plants. Shop around for the best price and make sure to visit the plant rental company beforehand. Select which plants you’d like and make sure all of the plants are well cared for and healthy. Arrange for someone from your wedding party to coordinate the delivery, set up of the plants and returns.
I also love the idea of using topiary for the church, whether it be flowers or trees or a combination of both. This modern take on flowers against a very ornate church packs a wow punch and can be done reasonably. Two topiaries adorn each side of the altar, and then placed around them and on the floor are floral form balls covered in white flowers and moss. Hot, hot, hot!
If you are getting married outside you could again rent, or it might be cheaper to actually purchase plants and decorate the containers, then plant after the wedding in your yard as a reminder of your special day. Rose trees would be a gorgeous addition to any outside wedding around the altar area. Night blooming jasmine or honeysuckle will fill the air with an intoxicating fragrance that will add to the mood. As for the aisle that you walk down…no one says it has to be straight. I love the serpentine path that Colin Cowie set in this beach picture. It seems to give it all a better flow and doesn’t the path of romance meander anyway?
There’s also a simple and sweet way to decorate the aisles that will fit any budget…mason jars (a HOT item this season) with a white hydrangea tied to the chairs with a satin ribbon. You can’t get much cheaper than that especially if you buy the hydrangia plant and cut the flowers yourself.
Now the reception. How big or how little can you/do you want to go? How big are the tables? Can you do 3 little vases with a flower in each or do you need some monstrous towering cascade of flowers? Flowers for 2010 are more streamlined with a choice of 1 or 2 varieties of flowers and often staying within the same color as well.
Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua Flowers suggests in New York Magazine, “If you’re on a tight budget, skip the table flowers in favor of two big, beautiful, dramatic arrangements—one for the place-card table, the first thing guests will see, and one for the bar.” I would suggest an arrangement or two for the wedding party table if your budget can afford it. Again, much of the focus will be here.
If you’re going for every table, roses, calla lilies, lilies of the valley and gardenias never go out of style…but also keep in mind that vibrant is in for 2010 and here’s an area where you can add your own flair. Daisies, orchids and tulips can always be a fun way to go, but the hottest flowers by far right now — anemones and ranunculus, flowering branches of lilac and dogwood. Green hued flowers are big as well.
Lavender roses are also amazing. Search out Ecuadorian roses that are humongous and look like beautiful crepe silk. Depending on the time of year, magnolias are a stunning choice for a bride. A giant magnolia can be a wow statement if the bride carries just one. Do your bridesmaids really need bouquets? They are a nuisance. Why not just tuck a few blossoms into each bride’s hair instead that match the groomsmen’s boutonniere (note: I love the idea of adding feathers to both the groomsmen and the bridesmaids flowers if they are tasteful like below.)
Tossing the bouquet…are you really going to save that dried old thing? No need to buy two, just THROW it…but do pull out one flower from your bouquet to press in your Bible or wedding album as a keepsake.
Matchy matchy – out in bridesmaid dresses – is out in flowers as well. More brides are going with a variety of containers and flowers in hues that organically go together. Another way to go is to consider the vessel you’re putting you’re flowers in. What if you went with antiqued silver vases or mercury glass? Any candles hitting that will make them glow. Again mason jars are cropping up as vases too.
Or do you want modern? I love the boxes covered in raw silk and then opened-up roses adorning them. Or two Gerber daisies in this Jonathan Adler boy/girl vase could be beautiful and simple and something for one lucky guest at each table to take home as a remembrance.
Another trend is going completely natural…river rock or sea glass with moss or tree branches artfully arranged. I love the idea of using cotton bolls. They are beautiful and fluffy white and INEXPENSIVE. Pair them with some roses or daisies and you could have something gorgeous never done before. Take a look at this bride’s bouquet as seen in The New York Times wedding section.
It just goes to show you that floral arrangement are not just flowers anymore. Fruit is used a lot…lemons or limes in with flowers, strawberries with roses, or baby artichokes with viburnum. How easy and fun for a summer wedding are these fruit and yellow calla lily flower arrangments…totally DIY! Succulents have been around for years in arrangements and can really create an interesting look when juxtaposed with unusual flower varieties.
Beach themes don’t have to be confined to the beach. This arrangement with sand, flowers and sea urchins really caught my eye and totally DIYable (lose the tacky boxes with sea shells though.)
Here’s another thing you can do yourself which is both simple and elegant – a fabric runner down the table with hanging lamps with the shade covered in the same fabric, and floral arrangements to match (another Colin Cowie design.) I would totally do this look but in lime green with the square glass containers of fruit and calla lilies above for a refreshing outdoor backyard wedding!
DIY is tempting, but maybe you’re worried that you and your helpers would be taking on too much. Do a labor swap with another bride-to-be…find her via GiveGetNation.net or Indiebride.com. You show up to pitch in at her celebration, doing her floral arrangements or whatever you agree upon and she helps with yours! That could be a huge budget saver.
And sometimes all you need are candles everywhere and twinkle lights and you let yourself and the guests be the real adornment when love is in the air.