Everyone knows that orchids cost more than roses and that selecting seasonal blooms will lower your bill. But there are a few other flower facts you may not be aware of. For example, did you know that all flowers cost more around major holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas? “It’s not a case of the florist taking advantage of the bride,” says Meredith Waga Perez, an owner of Belle Fleur in New York City. “Flowers are sold on an auction basis, and the higher the demand, the higher the price. Growers inflate their prices by twenty to thirty percent during holidays.” Keep this in mind if you’re considering a holiday wedding date. Among the other things Perez encourages brides to consider:
• Low centerpieces are half the price of high ones, so think about doing your reception tables with half high and half low arrangements. And if you want to use votive candles for a soft glow, take advantage of those offered by your reception venue, if they’re available, instead of renting them from the florist, who’ll charge up to $2 per candle.
• Add luscious foliage to centerpieces to cut back on the number of flowers you’ll need.
• The arrangements you order for the church. “You’re there for less than an hour, and often the church is beautiful enough on its own,” says Perez. She also points out that typically there’s not enough time to bring the church flowers to the reception, so forget getting double duty out of them. “I’d rather see the bride put her money into the table centerpieces, since guests will be at the reception site for four or five hours.”
• Make up your own table overlays instead of renting them from the florist. Hire a seamstress or have a sewing relative create them from fabric such as sheer silk or organza.
• Be creative with your bridesmaids’ bouquets. Choose flowers with large blooms, such as peonies in the spring or hydrangeas in the summer. That way you’ll only need two or three stems instead of a lot of smaller flowers.
Of course, there are some things on which you should not economize—namely, the bridal bouquet. “To me, it’s the most important piece,” says Perez. “The bride should have the flowers she’s always wanted. Skimp somewhere else.” Remember, too, that your bouquet will be in many of the wedding photos, so you’ll want one that pleases you each time you glance at your framed pictures or leaf through your album.