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Flowers

Advice please

We have to make a decision about flowers but we’re not sure what to do. We’re paying ourselves and trying to keep costs down and when I heard that people pay thousands of dollars for flowers, I was just like no, we’re not doing that (not knocking other people – if you can afford it, they’re certainly beautiful, so go for it). I figured we’ll get real flowers for bouquets, bouts, etc., and then make centerpieces with candles or something. 

Anyway, fast forward to now (aka time to start making these decisions), and we talked to a few florists and a whole foods. The whole foods would be cheaper. However, the florist we spoke to didn’t seem to know much about doing wedding flowers or even offer any guidance about what flowers to use. I asked for an estimate and she said she needs to know which flowers, and I told her that other than sunflowers and a general color scheme, I just want whatever is cheapest. She didn’t seem to really get this and also did not offer any suggestions for what flowers we could use. We finally got an estimate for bouquets, bouts, etc, and were told prices range from $350-$700 for those things. Centerpieces would start at $40 each and when I asked about a ceremony arch, she said she didn’t think she had them and that the estimate on the sheet was for decorating one, which can run about $300. So that means the cheapest estimate would be about $1,050 for everything. And that assumes we do everything as cheaply as possible. 

Then we went to a florist. This was an entirely different experience. I told him what we needed as far as number of bouquets, what we were looking for (again, sunflowers but otherwise just colors), and he immediately listed ideas, brought flowers over, etc. He gave us an estimate of $800 for bouquets, bouts, etc., which is obviously higher than whole foods. However, he said he could do an entire arch for $250 (like, including the arch itself and the decoration) and small table pieces for $40 each. This brings the total to about $1,500. 

So basically here’s what we’re deciding: do we save a lot of money and use whole foods for just bouquets and stuff and make our own centrepieces, do we just go with the florist because it really isn’t that bad compared to other florists/what people spend in our area on flowers, or do we go with the florist for bouquets and arch and do our own centerpieces? We would definitely love to save money in general, but the fact that the whole foods florist seemed sort of bewildered by my questions is not inspiring a great deal of confidence and perhaps the extra money is worth it to have the florist take care of the whole thing. 

Help?

Re: Advice please

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I would not go with Whole Foods primarily because the florist that you talked to there did not seem very knowledgeable of helpful.  I would not feel comfortable with a vendor like that.  I also wouldn't feel comfortable with such a broad price range.

    With the florist what do the centerpieces include?  Are they floral?  If you wanted to save a bit of money you could just do candles (like you had initially wanted) and buy them yourself and then have the venue set them up for you. But I would price things out to see just how much money that would save you. If it is only a difference of a hundred dollars I would be apt to just let the florist do everything.  If it is like $500 then go with the candles.

    Price is important, especially when you are on a budget, but sometimes spending a bit more for a good vendor where you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities and work is money well spent.



    ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdompinupbride6189
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    There's not a right or wrong answer to this. But from your post it sounds like you would be more comfortable going with the florist rather than whole foods. You can always skip floral centerpieces to save money (that's what we are doing). Our budget was originally $500 for flowers but we ended up going a little over $700 (that includes my bouquet, 3 BM bouquets, 3 bouts, and some ceremony decor) because it was just much more convenient for us to go with someone who really knew what they were doing. I don't know a lot about flowers so I didn't want to have to tell a florist what flowers I wanted, I just wanted someone who would take my colors and make something beautiful with minimal input from me.


    nerdwife
  • It sounds like you are going to have to weigh time vs. money -- I sympathize, I'm in the same boat. Personally, I'd probably go with the florist for the bouquets and arch (its a little more expensive, but I think it would give greater piece of mind and sounds like you can communicate what you want better with the florist), and do the centerpieces on your own if you feel you have the knack for it/ will have the time (I am thinking of making our centerpieces from flowers from the local farmer's market, where I can get a large collection of fresh flowers, including sunflowers, for a steal). You might also be able to see if there is any other places you can save a bit in the budget (favors/ vases/ invitations/ shoes?) to help siphon a bit more money towards the flowers. 
                        


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    OurWildKingdom
  • Try thinking about what you really need/want versus what would be really nice if you had unlimited funds. Do you need floral center pieces or would there be something cheaper that would look just as good? i agree with PP who said do bouquets, bouts, and arch (if you really need one) from the florist and either do centerpieces on your own or don't have table flowers.

    The pricing from your florist sounds very similar to what I paid so for what it's worth I think it's a pretty reasonable estimate (of course depending on where you are).
  • I would not go with Whole Foods primarily because the florist that you talked to there did not seem very knowledgeable of helpful.  I would not feel comfortable with a vendor like that.  I also wouldn't feel comfortable with such a broad price range.

    With the florist what do the centerpieces include?  Are they floral?  If you wanted to save a bit of money you could just do candles (like you had initially wanted) and buy them yourself and then have the venue set them up for you. But I would price things out to see just how much money that would save you. If it is only a difference of a hundred dollars I would be apt to just let the florist do everything.  If it is like $500 then go with the candles.

    Price is important, especially when you are on a budget, but sometimes spending a bit more for a good vendor where you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities and work is money well spent.


    Estimating that we have ten tables of eight, the floral centerpieces would be $400. I guess we could do some candles instead for I'm sure cheaper than that. It's an afternoon wedding, so do candles even make sense? Do people light candles in centerpieces? Clearly, I need a lot of help lol

    It sounds like you are going to have to weigh time vs. money -- I sympathize, I'm in the same boat. Personally, I'd probably go with the florist for the bouquets and arch (its a little more expensive, but I think it would give greater piece of mind and sounds like you can communicate what you want better with the florist), and do the centerpieces on your own if you feel you have the knack for it/ will have the time (I am thinking of making our centerpieces from flowers from the local farmer's market, where I can get a large collection of fresh flowers, including sunflowers, for a steal). You might also be able to see if there is any other places you can save a bit in the budget (favors/ vases/ invitations/ shoes?) to help siphon a bit more money towards the flowers. 

    We've fortunately been able to save elsewhere and we can afford to do it, it's just that we're not thrilled by it. I mean, I know people who spend $4,000, $10,000, and more on flowers, so $1,500 for everything seems reasonable (this is in the north Jersey/NYC area). We got a less expensive photographer and videographer and over-budgeted for an officiant, so right there that's over $1,000 in savings. We were just initially glad to be saving money and hoping not to simply redistribute, but it may be worth it for the peace of mind of having the florist handle everything.

    The farmer's market does sound like a good idea. Besides my worry that I'm not artistic enough to put together a nice looking centerpiece, what are your plans with actually doing something like that right before your wedding, as well as storing the plants and such? I'm nervous about all those details.

    Thanks everyone for your input!
  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    @nerdwife, I know it may be overly ambitious, but I think I may try to get the flowers the morning before (my wedding is not until the afternoon). The farmer's market starts at 6am, and I have a feeling I won't be able to sleep much anyway. I live in a small town, though, where the drive will be quick, and I am going for a few batches of small whimsical wildflowers to fit in small vases as centerpieces -- so set up should not take much time. On the other hand, I may decide further down the line that this is completely impractical. My fall-back is silk-flower bouquets, since I have found them to be fairly less expensive, and can still be quite pretty if done tastefully. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby, etc. have some really nice quality flowers that look very realistic. And online I've found some very gorgeous pre-arranged bouquets for the bridesmaids made from silk flowers for only $20 each. I know some people prefer real flowers, though, and I do understand that. But if you are wanting to add a bit of statement, maybe go small centerpieces with only one or two flowers (either real or silk)? Something like this but with your flowers/ colors?


                        


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    nerdwife
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    @tigerlily6 - I wouldn't try to do your flowers the day of the wedding
    Here's an excellent article I found very helpful when I was considering doing my own flowers: http://apracticalwedding.com/2009/10/our-diy-well-dit-wedding-flowers/


    tigerlily6
  • Thanks, @bethsmiles! This is a very helpful site!
                        


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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    nerdwife said:
    I would not go with Whole Foods primarily because the florist that you talked to there did not seem very knowledgeable of helpful.  I would not feel comfortable with a vendor like that.  I also wouldn't feel comfortable with such a broad price range.

    With the florist what do the centerpieces include?  Are they floral?  If you wanted to save a bit of money you could just do candles (like you had initially wanted) and buy them yourself and then have the venue set them up for you. But I would price things out to see just how much money that would save you. If it is only a difference of a hundred dollars I would be apt to just let the florist do everything.  If it is like $500 then go with the candles.

    Price is important, especially when you are on a budget, but sometimes spending a bit more for a good vendor where you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities and work is money well spent.


    Estimating that we have ten tables of eight, the floral centerpieces would be $400. I guess we could do some candles instead for I'm sure cheaper than that. It's an afternoon wedding, so do candles even make sense? Do people light candles in centerpieces? Clearly, I need a lot of help lol


    I think candles are great at any time of day.  The only time I would say no is if you are having an outdoor wedding without a tent.  At that point the candles wouldn't make much of an impact.  But under a tent or inside where the lighting can be somewhat controlled, candles would work just fine.

    You could also do fruit filled vases, or stacked books, or some other type of non-floral centerpiece that coordinates with your wedding.

    nerdwife
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    There are some flowers that are less expensive.  I chose daisies and carnations with a scattering of roses in my bouquet, and daisy's and carnations for my two bridesmaids.  Church weddings make lots of decorations unnecessary.
    Daughter's centerpieces were simple clear glass vases (half price sale at Hobby Lobby) with minimal flowers stuck in them.  Beautiful!  Her florist bill was about $400.
    I've seen pretty arches done with satin ribbons,also from Hobby Lobby,but arches are completely optional.
    Come over to the budget board for more ideas.  Vistaprint can be your best friend.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CMGragain said:
    There are some flowers that are less expensive.  I chose daisies and carnations with a scattering of roses in my bouquet, and daisy's and carnations for my two bridesmaids.  Church weddings make lots of decorations unnecessary.
    Daughter's centerpieces were simple clear glass vases (half price sale at Hobby Lobby) with minimal flowers stuck in them.  Beautiful!  Her florist bill was about $400.
    I've seen pretty arches done with satin ribbons,also from Hobby Lobby,but arches are completely optional.
    Come over to the budget board for more ideas.  Vistaprint can be your best friend.
    I'm not having a church wedding, so that doesn't apply. The florist asked me if I had a problem with carnations, which I assume means that some brides do, but I said no, literally whatever is cheapest. So at least I've got that down :)

    We want the arch as a sort of nod to the chuppah, since I'm Jewish and it's important to my family (and we love the look of the arch we've chosen).

    I've considered silk flowers and can definitely continue considering them. Unfortunately, I wouldn't shop at hobby lobby, so they would have to come from somewhere else. Are the ones at Michael's or AC Moore similar?

    I have been checking the budget board on other issues and have discovered etsy and vistaprint and other invitation sites, and will continue to check that board out. Thanks!
  • Michael's has some decent silk flowers, although in my opinion not quite as nice as Hobbly Lobby's (that might just be my local stores, though). The other place I am checking out is Afloral.com. The photos of some of their pre-arranged bouquets look really nice, but I can't vouch for how they are in person... yet. Ordered one for a test, and can let you know. 
                        


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  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    Aha! Just as I said that, my order arrived. I am quite pleased. The bouquet is small, but very nicely done (better than anything I could DIY) and looks quite realistic. And a good bargain, too ($25 with shipping). So I now officially endorse checking out pre-made silk bouquets online if you can't get to a store (either through the website above or Etsy -- I noticed they have a pretty nice selection of all kinds of flowers and colors also). 

    ETA to make my grammar comprehensible. 
                        


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    nerdwife
  • OK, that makes sense. 
    The reason the florist asked you if carnations were OK is that they are a very fragrant flower, and some people have allergies.  Lilies can also be a problem with people who are sensitive to fragrances.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwe
  • CMGragain said:
    OK, that makes sense. 
    The reason the florist asked you if carnations were OK is that they are a very fragrant flower, and some people have allergies.  Lilies can also be a problem with people who are sensitive to fragrances.
    Good to know, thanks!
    MesmrEwe
  • Amazing post, Packed with lots of great information !!!
  • nerdwifenerdwife member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    edited February 2016
    PGKS2014 said:
    ::deleted because vendor::
    Not sure who the mod is on this board, but this seems like a vendor post, no? @KnotRiley maybe?
  • KnotRileyKnotRiley New York, NY admin
    Moderator 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary
    Thanks @nerdwife ! Banned and content deleted! 
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