Dear Preston: How Much Should Brides Spend on Flowers?

Preston Bailey Wedding Flower Arrangement Red and Pink flowers

This week, I’m answering one of my fabulous Twitter followers, @SistersFlowers, who tweeted this question to me: “What do you say to a bride who asks what percentage of her wedding budget she should spend on flowers?”

Dear @SistersFlowers,

Yesterday I wrote here that I would be blogging about wedding jobs all week, so your question couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. However, I might not be the right person to answer your question, because, as a lover of flowers, I think brides should be spending 50 percent of their budgets on flowers! And why not? After all, when you think of weddings, what’s one of the first things that come to mind? The flowers, of course!

Nonetheless, I know that’s not exactly practical. So, when a bride asks you this question, ask her about her priorities. What’s most important to her? The food? The music? The wedding dress? Whatever her answer, that’s where she should invest the most of her budget.

A lot of brides love flowers but know that flowers aren’t their top wedding priority. So, here are three of my favorite wedding floral tips for small budgets:

1. Invest most of the floral budget in one great statement arrangement. This could be flowers for the escort card table, which is one of my favorite spots to do something grand, because it’s the first thing guests see when they arrive.

2. If you don’t have a big budget for centerpieces, use lots of candles. A single votive can cost as little as 50 cents; put 20 votive candles on each table, and you’ll have a beautiful glowing room for very little money. Instead of big centerpieces on each table, place smaller arrangements at each place setting that can double as favors. 4 roses should only cost you about $2, more or less. And small vases, which guests can take home, should only cost about $1.50 each.

So for a table of 10, you’ll spend $10 on 20 votive candles, $20 on 10 bunches of roses, and $15 on 10 small vases. That’s $45 at cost plus $30 for labor (remember you don’t work for free!!) Double this, and charge your client $150 per table.

3. My last tip can be tricky, especially depending on location, but always try to reuse ceremony flowers at the reception. Just make sure you set aside some time to add more flowers or new accents like crystals so guests don’t realize the arrangements are the same.

Dear Readers, what are some of your floral tips for small budgets? And what do you tell brides when they ask you about their flower budget?

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