The Budget Bride: Save on Flowers

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The green movement extends well beyond energy efficient light bulbs and cloth grocery bags. It’s seeping into weddings, too. “We’re definitely seeing it in weddings,” says Denise Fields, author of the 9th edition of Bridal Budgets: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget. And that includes decisions on what flowers will accent the day. “Instead of importing flowers from Holland or Hawaii, more couples are consulting local florists or simply selecting local blooms.”

Most Americans don’t have the financial means to import palm trees, or align 30,000 white flowers to recreate a winter garden from “Dr. Zhivago,” the way Joan Rivers did for her daughter Melissa’s wedding at the Plaza 10 years ago. The cost of flowers and trees used to decorate that reception was allegedly $350,000.

Even if you aren't trying to recreate a rainforest at your nuptials, for most, flowers remain a must. Americans typically spend more than $2,000 on boutonnieres, bride and bridesmaid bouquets and ceremony and reception flowers, according to 2008 statistics available on The Wedding Report, a database on wedding spending.

That’s close to 10% of the total wedding cost. The Wedding Report estimates the average wedding cost $28,704 in 2008 .

So how can you cut corners, or rather costs, on corsages and calla lilies?

MainStreet contacted a few wedding experts to get their suggestions.

Become Your Own Florist
Not every flower needs to be outsourced. “Flowers are becoming a big do it yourself project right now,” says Khris Cochran, author of The DIY Bride: 40 Fun Projects for Your Ultimate One-of-a-kind Wedding. “Brides tend to hire for larger arrangements and the bridal bouquet, but it’s usually not difficult for first time crafters to put together boutonnieres.”

The Fluffy Side of Do-It-Yourself
Also, Cochran adds, a ring pillow makes a great DIY (Do-It-Yourself) project. “It takes about an hour, but it’s something any bride or groom can do,” she says. The ring pillow she writes about features stephanotis flowers. To construct your own, first, get hold of a piece of floral foam. Then, use floral pins to attach the flower buds from the stephanotis, a small white flower.

Share the Joy, Share the Flowers
If a couple intends to wed in a busy month, like June, it’s more than likely the ceremony location is hosting more than one affair that day. This, says Fields, is an opportunity to negotiate and save. “Speak with the other couple, and talk about splitting the cost of alter arrangements.”

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