Thursday, January 15, 2009

Budgeting for flowers

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

I dreaded even talking to a florist, because I assumed that anything and everything that I might want to do would be well outside of my budget. I'm not a huge floral person, but the weddings that have a floral element throughout are much more lush than those that barely have a petal in site.

Since I'm getting married in Oak Park, IL (a small suburb/village boarding Chicago) I've wanted to use as many local vendors as possible. I absolutely love the florist I've found. Working with Carolynn of fleurLily Chic has been a great experience so far. She completely understands where my budget is and what my limitations are, but that I still want some "wowable" flowers that will be remembered.

The most important thing I've learned is that it's important when it comes to flowers to put your money where it counts. Having amazing floral centerpieces is great, but years down the road are you going to be starting at pictures of your centerpieces, or pictures of you holding your bouquet? As long as you integrate personal details into the reception, the lack of flowers won't create a big gaping hole.

I think my biggest reservation about flowers stemmed (no pun intended!) from not even knowing what to budget for flowers. I couldn't really find a good guide online, and since pricing ultimately depends on the stems you choose, how's a girl supposed to plan for this?

Fortunately I had a really good conversation with my florist, and I thought it would be helpful to share what I learned. Please keep in mind that these prices reflect the Chicago-area, so they're probably higher than what you'd find in a less metropolitan location.

Bridal Bouquet
Depending on the flowers, a full, lush bouquet can range from $160 - $200. If you love a certain orchid, for example, that is pricey but you must have it, compromise and have only a couple of stems within your bouquet.

Bridesmaids Bouquets
I have five bridesmaids, so to keep costs down I wasn't even going to have real floral bouquets for them - I was looking at any way I could possibly make something for them to carry. When my florist quoted $65 - $100 per bridesmaids bouquets, I nearly fell off my chair. I told her I was looking at spending $25 or $30 each. This is a great compromise - the girls will be carrying something that's more than a single stem, but not a full, overabundant bouquet. Then we can take these later and put them in vases by the guest book and escort cards.

Don't forget about having these for the groomsmen, the dads, grandfathers, and ushers. When I did my initial count of what I'd need I actually left out the groom! Figure that the groom's will be the most expensive (because he'll have the primary flower from your bouquet) and the bouttenieres overall could range anywhere from $9 - $14. To be on the lower end of that number I've found different berries (like green hypericum berries) that look very chic and also won't end up wilted by the end of the day.

The mothers and grandmothers should not be forgotten! And, of course, there are options. Wrist corsage? Pin-on? Small bouquet? My mom stated she had no opinion, but then immediately checked the wrist corsage and bouquet off the list. Pin-on corsage it is! These can range anywhere from $15-$30, with the bouquet being at the high end.

Floating Flowers/Single Stems
To keep costs down, I'm going with a single bloom per table. This can vary greatly depending on the bloom, but I'm looking at everything from cimbidium orchids to gardenias to water lilies, and it's looking like $9 - $15 per bloom. Simple and chic...yet affordable.

Toss Bouquet
This is something that we almost forgot to discuss (I was secretly hoping that it would just magically be included, ha!). For something nice and simple we're talking around $35.

Extra Costs
Don't forget to ask what else you'll be paying for. Think about sales tax, delivery fees, set up costs, special materials (like certain ribbons) that you'd like. Factoring all of these in will be important to your bottom line.

Again, everything here is subjective. But it would have been so much easier for me to sleep at night if I'd been able to put a few dollar amounts here and there on my budget. I had initially been budgeting $150 for my bouquet, which was a number a had completely chosen out of thin air. Hearing that this was actually close to reasonable to what I'll be spending, I was greatly relieved.

It's sometimes hard having these conversations because you don't want to feel "not good enough" for having to stick with you budget. Who wouldn't want to go all out?! But being very upfront about what you were expecting to pay for certain things can help you prioritize with you florist what you will and will not be able to do, and other alternatives you can consider to get "the look" for your day.


wed in the white city January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

im a new reader to your blog! This was a great post, especially for newly engaged!
thanks for sharing.

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