Friday, December 31, 2010

Real Flowers, On a Budget

 Our wedding flowers are one of those things that I am really picky about. I'm using silk flowers for the ceremony, candle centerpieces for the reception, but for my bouquet, I wanted real flowers. I also wanted roses. And I was not budging. Fortunately, Tom understood my desire for a real flower bouquet and without debate made sure that there was room in the budget for them.

Wow... maybe I should explain myself. 

I'll begin by stating that I have absolutely nothing against silk flowers or some other non-flower bouquet (brooches, butterflies, etc.) They just are not for me. I have seen some silk bouquets that look so real I've had to do a double take, and my mom will likely make a silk replica of my bouquet as a keepsake (she has for everyone else). My reasoning behind wanting real flowers is simple, I love roses. They are my favorite flower, which is something I share with my grandmother. Rose is also my middle name, so really, it's only fitting. I have yet to see a silk rose that truly captures the intricate beauty of a rose. I have also yet to see a silk rose that properly captures the scent of a real rose. Real it is. 

Real flowers have two major drawbacks. First and foremost, they die. There isn't much that can be done about that. My goal is to keep flowers in the fridge for as long as possible. Part of my reception decor will include vases put out on the head table full of water for bouquets. I'm also trying to figure out a way to keep the flowers in water on the way to and from the ceremony. I have time. 

The other major drawback is the price. Flowers are expensive. This is where I did my homework. First and foremost, I started limiting my total flower order. I opted to use silk flowers on my wedding arch and flower cones. This is definitely more economical, but it also makes more logistical sense. Tom and the boys will be setting up our ceremony site before the ceremony. Which means that the flowers will be sitting out in the September sun in a windy, ocean side environment for several hours before the ceremony begins. I was afraid the flowers would be wilted before the ceremony began. Not to mention, our ceremony is only going to be about half an hour long, I couldn't justify spending money on flowers that would only be used for such a brief period of time. As I hinted to above, our bouquets will be doing double-duty at the reception as decor.

In terms of reception flowers, I opted for candle centerpieces instead of the traditional floral ones. Most of my guests are travelling from out-of-state and would not be able to take the centerpieces anyway. I also love the look of candle light, and I really think it add a cozy, intimate feel to our reception. 

So, with reception decor and ceremony decor out, I was left with "personal flowers," which include my bouquet, my bridesmaid's bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. To save money here, I did my homework again. First of all, it was really important for me to have roses, but not so important for everyone else to have roses. So I have roses in my bouquet to set it apart from the bridesmaids bouquet. Tom has a rose in his boutonniere to set his apart from the groomsmen's bouts. Secondly, I researched what flowers would be locally available in September and came up with hydrangeas. It is difficult and expensive to ship flowers from across the country, or across the world for that matter. This cost is added to the price per stem. If you purchase locally, you will get a better price, AND as an added benefit, your flowers will be fresher and should last longer. My final strategy was to put faith in experts. When I visited the florist, I explained that I was on a budget, that my colors were Victorian lilac and celadon green, and that I was open to any recommendations she could give me. With that, the florist gave me the suggestion of limonium, which is like a purple baby's breath, and hypericum berries. I guess I should also add that I shopped around with different florists. I had five different consultations before I finally chose my florist and put my deposit down. 

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