It is finally Spring in NYC. I am so excited to feel warm again. There is nothing like that first weekend of warm weather to make you (almost) forget the harsh winter that just finished.
One of my weekend chores was to go pick up some groceries for dinner. Although my stop was supposed to be for food, I couldn't resist the tulips! They were crying out "Spring is here!" and I succumbed, happily to their cry. I know what you are thinking...supermarket flowers, really? I know. But they're tulips. I had to have them. And although my floral design skills are nothing to write home about (see image above), I am happy to have them in my dining room. The sun shining in the room is a bit brighter because of them.
Flowers are an important part of most wedding celebrations. Most brides grace the aisle with flowers in hand. The ceremony and reception usually are draped with them. But they are quite costly. The flowers will take up 7 to 10 percent of your overall budget.
Here a few tips to make the most of what you have.
1) Do your homework before meeting with your florist. Know what flowers you will need by counting the members of the bridal party, the family, the officiant, everyone who needs to be decorated. Arrange your flower budget. Keep the numbers clear in your mind so that you stick to the bottom line. The first thing a florist will ask you during your consultation is your budget. Which, by the way, I really don't like! When I walk into Macy's, they don't ask me how much I want to spend when I tell them I am shopping for a coat. They just show me the options. But, in the flower world, that seems to be the first question asked. I know....I understand, they don't want to show you roses imported from Ecuador when you can only afford carnations, but still....annoying. So, tell them you don't know. Tell them what you need and be realistic with your options.
2) Ask to know what flowers are in season. These will be less expensive options. If you have a color scheme in mind, ask what flowers come in a particular color. And ask their price. The more options you have the better. Greens are less expensive then flowers so if you don't mind the fillers, ask for more green. Which, by the way, looks amazing, especially in a spring wedding. We can't wait to see green on the trees and in the meadows of Central Park!
3) Often floral arrangements can be used during the ceremony and the reception. This will save you money decorating the spaces. The florist may be willing to relocate your flowers for you. If not, the wedding planner can. The awning or canape set up during the ceremony can be re used at your head table in your reception. Or the flowers that graced the aisle can be set up at a dessert table. Be creative or ask the florist to give you some ideas.
4) The larger your bridal party, the more flowers you will need. So, keep that in mind when choosing your maids. Bridal party bouquets usually are only used for pictures and the ceremony. Think of creative ways to use them later on in your reception, like decorating food stations or the escort table.
And speaking of bridal bouquets....they are usually quite heavy. Have someone take them from you once you walk down the aisle. This can be a bridal attendant, if you have one, or a family member. If your ceremony is long, and you are standing, 10-15 pounds worth of flowers will quickly feel like a ton of bricks. So, please pass the flowers! But get them back during your recess down the aisle. You will want them for those lovely exit pictures.
5) Many florists will also provide additional decorative services. But shop around. There may be a cheaper option.
6) If your budget won't allow for 7-10 percent to go to flowers, you could take advantage of the amazing flower district that we have in NYC. But, don't think that your aunt or mom or best friend will be able to do your flowers and then be in your pictures and attend the wedding. Hire someone else to take care of the pick up the flowers (which usually has to be done the day of, unless you have a refrigerator to store them in) and find someone to put them together for you. Many wedding planners will also do this service.
Recently I attended a floral consultation. The bride wanted to have long tables at her reception instead of the typical round. The florist was trying to talk her out of it stating that the guests would have a difficult time speaking to one another. I found this completely ridiculous. My dining room table is a rectangle and I manage to have a conversation with 8 people. Restaurant tables are usually rectangular to allow the most guests in at one time, again no problems communicating with my dining party. So why the fuss? Well, the very large lovely arrangements that are typically used for the round tables will need more flowers and therefore cost more. The low, smaller arrangements in a rectangular table setting will usually require less flowers. So....mystery solved. If you have an image in your head, please don't let a florist talk you out of it for the sake of their bottom line. Stick to your guns when it matters to you.
And enjoy spring! It will be summer before we know it.
For the Love of Weddings...
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