Wedding florals are usually one of, if not the most, expensive parts of a wedding. You will need flowers for the bridal party, for extended family members (such as mother/grandmother of the bride for the mother of the bride and groom), florals on arbors or in churches and for the reception. There are several sites that list the full array of florals that you might consider, but the bottom line is that it can add up to a lot of money.

I must say that I am not trying to put florists out of a job and if you want professional looking bouquets and arrangements then a professional florist is who you need. There is not a lot of profit margin in the floral industry. You are generally looking at highly professional, well-trained people who need to be renumerated accordingly, but flowers are expensive and labour, being a key component of all floral arrangements and installations, can quickly add up, resulting in a bottom line that can be a bit scary.

What I have done here is gathered together some ideas, from my experience, on how to reduce the cost of your wedding flowers.

How to obtain cheaper wedding flowers.

• Be a little flexible with flower colour and type so that you, or your florist, can access what is cheapest at the time of your wedding.

• Go with seasonal flowers, these will always be cheaper.

Love these seasonal bouquets. Flowers from The Secret Garden Floral design by Two Wild Hands

• Swap out costly flowers—did you know peonies can be five times more expensive than roses?

• If peonies (or any particular flower) are your thing, think about when they are at their cheapest – usually when they are in bloom locally and readily available – and get married then. This reduces the need to pay top dollar for import flowers.

• Stick to one or two types of flowers, go with what is in season and cheapest at the time.

• Pick flowers from the backyards of friends and family – even enlist the green thumbs in the family to grow flowers specifically for the day. A winter wedding with beautiful bunches of daffodils or spring ranunculus or roses all summer can be spectacular, and all can be sourced from your favourite gardener.

• Think about people you know with gardens and see if they can all drop off a bunch of foliage for table garlands or ceiling installations.

• Use more greenery than flowers or go with all foliage – different foliage tones and textures can be quite beautiful. Bunches of foliage are typically cheaper than flowers and it adds a fresh and abundant touch to bouquets and receptions.

• Forage for greenery or wildflowers.

Fabulous foraged foliage ceiling installations. Wreath dressed in foraged gum and ivy. Floral design Two Wild Hands.

Caution- never remove flowers and foliage from National Parks, always make sure it is safe to stop on the side of the road, and if taking from parks or streets get permission from council or owners.

• Source flowers from local growers- there are bound to be locally grown flower growers nearby, their products are usually cheaper and much more sustainable than imported or interstate products.

• If you are close enough, go directly to the flowers market and buy what you need.

• Look at alternatives to having bouquets – carry a parasol or a fan, or if it is a winter wedding perhaps a fur muff. All these are things that you can reuse after the day.

• Consider silk flower for some parts of the day i.e. on the ceremony arbour or in ceiling installations where it is difficult to tell fresh from false (especially in photos).

• Look at alternatives for table centerpieces, such as potted plants that guest can then take home as gifts.

• Think about doing your own floral design or enlist someone in the family who is confident with floral arrangements.

Or any combination of the above.

Here are some examples.

• Keep it simple – a lovely mixed posy picked the morning of the wedding, simple installations of foliage and flower from a neighbor’s garden or garlands of foraged foliage trailing across tables.

• For tossing, gather rose or camellia petals, or eucalyptus leaves from a family or friends yard rather than buy.

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Handmade cones and blue gum picked from The Secret Garden.

• Family and friends can do table centerpieces whilst you get a florist to do bouquets.

Such a sweet combination of garden gathered flowers. Floral design Two Wild Hands, Flowers gathered from The Secret Garden.

• You can forage foliage for reception installations and table pieces and then add flowers purchased from the markets.

• For reception table pieces and installations, go to the flower markets buy your own flowers and enlist friends and family to put them together. A simple mixed bunch in a vase does not  take a lot of skill or maybe go for something simple and elegant such a single stem of orchids in a tall vase.

• For arbours or church installations again buy your own flowers and have friends and family install them.

• Bouquets – the days of the formal wired masterpiece is over. What is trending is simple bunches of the same flower or free-flowing natural arrangements. These are much easier to create, so again enlist family and friends or make an event out of it by having the bride and her attendants make their own bouquets the day before. Just keep them in water in a cool place before the event.

• Boutonniere for the guys- again anything goes, and these can be made very easily by someone with a little flare and some simple ingredients.

• Think about how you want to decorate your table and perhaps combine this with gifts/favours for your guests. Perhaps a potted plant that the guest could take home and plant or perhaps a food producing plant- imaging each of your reception tables decorated with little-potted chili plants or pots of herbs which the guests take with them at the end of the night.

• Find someone in your family or friends that are green thumbs have them pot up succulents as a gift, again these can double as  table decorations and favours.

This is just a small sample of ideas that can help reduce the cost of your wedding flowers. To find more ideas talk to friends, get on the internet and look at what is possible and dare to do something different. With a little research and effort, it is possible to have the wedding florals you want without breaking the budget.