There are so many details that go into planning a wedding. The venue, the gown, the florals, the food and the music are just a few of the dozens of products and services couples need to design and execute their wedding ceremony and reception. Add them all up and you may go over budget before you say ‘I do.’ To help you stay within your wedding budget, you may have to make some compromises, but there’s no need to sacrifice beautiful centerpieces based on budget. Here are 6 money-saving tips to help you have a gorgeous wedding reception without breaking the bank.
Pick In-Season, Locally-Grown Blooms
Did you know not every flower costs the same amount? And staying in-season with your flower choices can save you big time. That means picking flowers that grow locally (nix the tulips flown in from Holland) and are easily available during the month of your wedding. Nicolette Lynch of Festive Designs in San Luis Obispo, California explains, “Sourcing flowers locally is always something I prefer to do. The cost is lower for me, and then I can transfer that savings to the couple as well. I also find that because the flowers don’t have to travel as far, they are fresher and in better shape.”
If you’re set on a certain type of flower at your wedding consider the bloom when choosing your wedding date.
Keep An Open Mind
Bridget Reale of Violet & Verde in Brooklyn, New York cautions that couples should consider their florist’s suggestions, because they might surprise you. “I’m always hearing, ‘I don’t want carnations or regular roses’ but garden roses are much more expensive to a standard rose and there are lots of really beautiful standard roses most people aren’t aware of,” she explains. “Carnations also have some really great options like antique colors at a fraction of the cost. It’s all about how the arrangement is designed and the flower selection as a whole.”
Other flowers that are affordable and surprisingly, quite lovely at a reception include: daisies, baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s Lace, sunflowers and chrysanthemums.
Photo: Sarah Kathleen Photography
Consider Atypical Containers
Not every floral container has to be the same. In fact, centerpieces can be more interesting if they are all variants on a theme, which can bring costs down too. Scouring flea markets for antique treasures or getting mason jars and filling them with sophisticated flowers keeps a vintage-vibe chic, while also replacing the hefty rental fees of large crystal containers. For an outdoor wedding, consider non-traditional vessels like milk jugs or baskets that when used creatively can be beautiful and not exorbitant.
Festive Designs’ Nicolette Lynch also recommends providing your own containers. One trend she shared is the use of wine bottles. “We are seeing a lot of wine bottles being used as vases. Their clean lines and simple shape make them very versatile. They can be spray painted, tied with twine, bejeweled, and so much more.” Couples, and their friends, can “collect” the bottles over the course of their engagement, saving them from family dinners, a night out with the girls and romantic evenings together.
Photo: Tina Loveridge Photography
Candlelight Can Be Quite Romantic
Candles, either tiny votives or large pillars, can help set the tone for your wedding, while also being a useful and inexpensive wedding centerpiece. “A few big pillar candles with some floral accents can make a great centerpiece,” says Nicolette of Festive Designs. “We have a lot of brides who want a combination of candles and flowers to create some variety throughout the room. It’s always such an elegant effect.”
You can use candles exclusively or in conjunction with flowers for romantic-inspired décor in a variety of styles, shapes, colors, heights and widths. They can be used everywhere one would use florals at a wedding, from the ceremony to the reception, as long as they adhere to local fire safety rules. And to help keep costs down you can search the Internet and buy them in bulk yourself.
Use Non-Floral Elements
Another way to keep centerpiece costs down is to add non-florals to the mix. Fruit can be a colorful, affordable and attractive alternative to flowers. For example, a springtime affair with shades of yellows and greens can easily incorporate limes and lemons either on the table surrounding the arrangement or in tall vessels filled with fruit slices. Citrus props are pretty and take up more room than using florals alone. Also, by using fruit you add another texture, which adds dimension to the centerpiece, upping the sophistication-factor instantly. Other fruit ideas include blood oranges, apples, pomegranates and figs.
With the farm-to-table trend staying strong, another inexpensive (yet totally sensible) addition to centerpieces are herbs. Fragrant and pretty, the addition of rosemary, thyme or other herbs ensures a few things: texture, fragrance and keeps centerpieces from looking cookie-cutter.
And believe it or not, balloons are becoming a staple at many wedding ceremonies and receptions. And we’re not talking about the primary-colored balloons you’d see at a kid’s birthday party, but small, medium, large and oversized styles that coordinate with your wedding palette. They’re modern, quite chic, and keep the décor and party atmosphere fun and unexpected. You can also opt to use giant lettered balloons in the monogram of the couple, either their married last name or their first names and mark their seats or sweetheart table, or large numbers to number each table.
Photo: Credit: Gemma Clarke
You can also skip the flowers altogether and opt for favor or food centerpieces. Stack small, beautifully wrapped packages in the center of each table with a note letting guests know they should take one with them before they leave at the end of the night, fill the table with family style baskets of breads and small bowls of olives for them to enjoy with their meal, or use small potted plants and ask guests to take one with them when they leave For dessert-themed receptions, place trays or cake stands with some of your favorite sweets such as mini cakes, pies or donuts for guests to enjoy.
And if you’re set on using floral centerpieces, another way to keep costs lower is to use the ceremony décor at the reception. With a little creativity, guests won’t even realize the succulents they saw on the border of the aisle are now decorating the reception tables.