20 Tips to Keep Your Wedding Flowers Within Budget

BronteApr 18, 202410 min read

Flowers are expensive. And though you want your dream wedding, you're not ready to go into debt over it. So how can you still have dreamy wedding flowers without paying an arm and a leg? As a professional wedding florist, we have some tips for you!

Why are flowers so expensive?

Flowers are a perishable good that is delicate and time and labor-intensive to produce. For example, by the time a rose reaches your hands, it could have taken 13 years to breed that particular variety, two years for the plant to come to maturity to be harvested, and up to 2 weeks to get it from the farm to your florist, and another few days to process and design. Many workers ensure it stays safe from pests, hydrated and alive before it reaches your hands. Many flowers are imported from other states or countries, so fuel increases can affect their prices. Once cut, they need to be kept refrigerated, which is another cost to produce them. Plus, there are florist and wholesaler fees that come from running a small business that contributes to the markup. The actual arranging is also an art form that takes a design eye and years of experience to master. And because they are delicate, 10-20% of them never make it to the customer, so that cost to the florist has to be taken into account as well.

Avery and Joe

Why are wedding flowers even more expensive?

When talking with my couples, I sometimes like to compare floral options to dinner options. You can go to the grocery store and pick up a pre-made meal for around $10. But if you were celebrating a special occasion, you might go to a nice restaurant and spend hundreds of dollars on a meal prepared by a chef. What’s the difference? You’re paying for quality ingredients, atmosphere, the team of servers, line cooks, dishwashers, and bartenders whose contributions bring it all together, and you’re paying for the expertise of the chef. The short answer to why wedding flowers are so expensive is this: you’re paying for quality product, time/labor, and expertise.

Weddings are labor intense, emotion-filled, and expectations are high.

The flowers you choose reflect your style and status, and will be seen by the most important people in your life and will be in photos you and your children will look at for years to come.

Wedding florists use top quality, premium blooms, spend a lot of time making sure the details are perfect and put a lot of labor into pulling off an event and keeping everything fresh. Since flowers are so delicate, things often need to be arranged as last minute as possible, and with years of experience to learn how to pull off mechanics in different situations. Set-up times are often short, even for large-scale weddings, so a large team has to be hired to pull it all off.

Your wedding florist has to handle high-stress situations and has enough experience and connections to problem-solve anything that comes up and ensure they deliver what was promised. Arches blowing over in the wind, orchids froze in transport, strikes in a 3rd world country mean white roses are no longer available, you name it. If a problem comes up, your wedding florist still has to deliver the same look and make sure all is well when you walk down that aisle. They care about you and have a more personal relationship with you than, say, picking up mums at a grocery store or a dozen roses from a brick and mortar.

Furthermore, in many grocery stores, flowers are used as a loss leader. Loss leader pricing is an aggressive strategy in which a store sells selected goods below cost in order to attract customers who will make up for those losses by making additional purchases of profitable goods. Your fiancé buys the roses…and the chocolates…and the card…and you get the picture.

We, the professional florists, are using far better blooms for your wedding. And we aren't using them as a loss leader.

Alise and Caleb

“Flowers eat up a larger part of your budget because of the many hours put into them. Unlike for more basic events, brides tend to be very focused on complex details of their bouquets, leading to more hours for florists spent making them flawless. Between speaking with the bride, planning the florals, and actually executing the floral plan, florists can spend a ton of time bringing the bride's floral vision to life. If you think about it, you're really ordering custom art—and in most cases, multiple pieces.”

How to get your wedding flowers to work in your budget

  1. Be honest and specific about your budget. Whether that budget is $2000 or $100,000, it's often the case that you do indeed have a dollar amount you need to stick to, and likely that the image of what you thought was possible isn't matching up with the quote you were sent. Instead of saying that you "want to keep things simple" or asking if they have anything 'affordable' or 'reasonably priced' (hint, florists get tired of being asked this as it means something different for each person), tell them what you are able to spend on flowers so they can work with you and make suggestions to help you stay on track. However, remember that they are not magicians, and sometimes the solution may be to eliminate things rather than magically making them cost less and less. At a certain point, a florist will not be able to lower the cost of an arrangement without cutting into their margins. Also, be aware that many wedding florists have a minimum order they cannot go below. If you aren't comfortable spending their minimum, you may need to research other florists.

  2. Ask your florist for advice on how to cut down on costs. They likely have a spreadsheet of all the costs and can quickly see what items are pushing the price up. They may suggest different options or bring your attention to higher-priced items that, if eliminated, will get you back within a comfortable price range.

  3. Repurpose. Some items that can typically be used in two places are: ground aisle arrangements moved in front of the bar or band, bridesmaids' bouquets in vases as centerpieces, and grounded arch or flower tower by sweetheart table. Not all arrangements can be repurposed, but some can. Make sure your florist is aware of the arrangements you plan on using in two places so they can build them accordingly. And know that some arrangements built onto immobile structures may not work in other places. See if you can choose arrangements that can be moved from the ceremony to the reception. Also, know whether you have a team of friends that can move them or if you need the floral team to stick around to do it for you (transition is an extra cost).

  4. Avoid asking for highly-priced flowers. Most florists have a particular set of flowers they plan on using for your designs, but if you mention that peonies or stephanotis are your absolute favorite and you have to have them, they will increase the price per arrangement to be able to include your favorite flower. When mentioning have-to-have flower choices, let them know if you are willing not to have those choices if it will help you keep within budget. However, asking your florist to use "cheaper flower choices" to make the price drop can be considered rude and may not always work. They may feel their brand/style is not a good fit for your vision. For example, when booking a luxury florist for your wedding, asking them to make all the arrangements out of mums and carnations simply to cut costs may make them feel you do not want their services, just cheap flowers- which you could get elsewhere.

  5. Save more expensive blooms for the most important arrangements. Save the peonies for your bouquet, but don't put them in every bridesmaid and table arrangement. Put them only in the ones that will be photographed the most and that you can afford to put them in.

  6. Use local and in-season flowers. Let your florist know you are happy with them using whatever is in season and local. For example, if you request tropical flowers in Utah or peonies in July, you may be paying more than other varieties.

  7. Plan your wedding day around seasonal elements you cannot live without. If lilacs are your must-have flower, plan a spring wedding. If you can't live without sunflowers, try august. Matching your wedding must-haves to the season they are most available in can help with the cost.

  8. Know your priorities. If it comes to eliminating arrangements to stay within budget, know what your flower priorities are and eliminate things less important to you. Can you not live without a stunning backdrop? Or is it more important that mom and grandma get their corsages?

  9. Choose smaller centerpieces. Centerpieces are often the item that adds up the quickest. Sure you love that lush vase arrangement, but when you multiply the cost of that arrangement by the amount of tables you have, you may no longer be able to afford it. If you can't reduce your table count, try asking what a lower priced centerpiece option is.

  10. Choose multiple centerpiece options. Need to cut back on the centerpiece price but want to keep those lush arrangements? Try only doing them on half the tables and a smaller or less expensive centerpiece option on the other half of the tables.

  11. Choose a smaller installation. This is another item that can cost a lot. If your backdrop or floral installation is the item pushing you out of your price zone, ask your florist what other backdrop options they suggest.

  12. Incorporate potted plants. If you can't afford the floral arrangements down the aisle or on the table, opt for buying potted plants or floral pots instead- then you can plant them in your garden, add them to your house plants, or give them to your guests afterward.

  13. See if your venue has decor. Often a venue will rent candles, faux flowers, and other decor for events, which can cost less than ordering flowers for each table. If you go this route, please tell your florist so they can coordinate any flowers going around the other decor or in case they have an exclusivity clause in their contract that doesn't allow the use of faux flowers or flowers from other sources. Exclusivity is very typical in the wedding world and protects the brand image and helps florists avoid awkward situations.

  14. Use other decor elements. Try other decor elements besides flowers that show your personality. Some examples are fabric, candles, picture frames, dried grasses, books, rocks, fall foliage, pinecones, games, deserts, fruit, lanterns, bird cages, and antiques. Keep in mind that providing your own decor will create more work for you and will still come with a cost.

  15. Opt for more greenery. Making arrangements more greenery-filled and less bloom-focused can reduce their cost by up to 25%. However, remember that honesty is essential here. Tell your florist your actual preferences, not just your budget preferences. If you don't actually love greenery more than blooms, don't pretend like you do; rather tell them that you're willing to lean heavier on greenery in order to make something work with your budget. This will be helpful, especially if they have set prices for certain items- then they can include what you actually want rather than filling it with greenery because you told them that was what you wanted.

  16. Have only a few varieties. Having arrangements all in one variety can cut down on the cost as it simplifies the ordering process as well as cutting out loss due to bulk ordering for your florist.

  17. Get married somewhere that doesn't need to be decorated. A ceremony with a stunning mountain view or in a garden may be pretty enough that you don't need to pay for a big floral installation to be the backdrop.

    If you’re looking for a space that needs minimal decorations to make it look beautiful, outdoor spaces can be great cheap (or sometimes even free) wedding venues. Outdoor settings offer a naturally beautiful backdrop and plenty of space for guests to gather.

  18. Cut out transport costs or takedown fees. If your wedding doesn't involve an extensive set-up or installation, you can send a trusted friend to pick up the flowers on their way to cut delivery fees. Or if your family is willing to step in and help with the takedown, that is another cost that could be taken off.

  19. Buy wholesale and do DIY wedding flowers. If you genuinely cannot afford a florist, it is an option to buy the flowers in bulk and arrange them yourself. Just be aware of the amount of time and labor that will go into making your own wedding flowers. See my article here for everything you need to know if you choose to do DIY wedding flowers.

  20. Trust your florist and be nice to them. This may surprise you, but the more trust you place in a florist and the less' penny-pinched they feel, the more generous they tend to be with your flowers. Think of this scenario from a florist's point of view. The trust placed in a florist (as opposed to haggling over the cost) creates a sense that the design look is more important than the exact dollar amount, and the flowers will reflect that. I promise you will get more bang for your buck by trusting and loving your florist as they are.

Florists work with a natural product, which means they often need to stay flexible. If the flowers you ordered haven't quite bloomed or aren't as large as the florist would like, they may need to make substitutions to keep your florals looking perfect. Trust that your vendor has your best interests at heart and try not to be bridezilla over your bouquet.

At the end of the day, your florist wants to work with you to make your wedding the day you've been dreaming of.

20 tips to lower your wedding floral cost

Don't leave your special day to chance.

Let us guide you to a flawless celebration adorned with captivating flowers. Book your free consultation today and step into a world where your wedding dreams bloom into reality.



Bronte is a seasoned floral designer with over 13 years of experience and a degree in horticulture and floral design. She has been featured in prestigious bridal magazines and has worked with hundreds of couples. Bronte is dedicated to simplifying the wedding process for her clients and promoting the use of locally sourced flowers, combining her passion for blooms with sustainability efforts in the industry.