Ambience! Every bride wants to create a specific look and feel for her wedding reception. There are a few questions to ask yourself when planning the decor of your wedding reception:
What can I afford? How much of my wedding budget is allotted for flowers and where do I want the flowers to be a focal point?
If you have a small floral budget and an average (4-6) number of attendants, chances are you will spend at least half if not more of your floral budget on ceremony flowers. The way to keep ceremony floral cost under control is to limit the number of attendants and the amount of flowers used to decorate the venue.
If your budget is small but your dreams are big, there are many tricks you can use to stretch your budget.
For example, if you are having a seated dinner for 50 to 250 people, you are looking at centerpieces that will be the focal point of the tables. On average you should expect to spend $75 to $150 per centerpiece. The price of these centerpieces is based on fullness of the arrangement, flowers used, and labor involved. A silver bowl filled with tight roses can cost as little at $75 per bowl. However, a tall full arrangement with multiple flowers and depth can easily cost $150 - $200 per piece. One way to keep costs down is to divide the number of tables into thirds. One third of the tables can have tall full arrangements, one third of the tables can have low tight arrangements, and the final third of the tables can have tall candles in colored glass bottles or a single pillar candle on a base surrounded by petals.
If you are having cocktail rounds and tall "highboys" at your reception in lieu of seating for everyone, creativity is definitely your friend. Use candles in colored mercury glass holders on the tables. Consider a six inch water filled vase with a single rose submerged under the water. You can drop a waterproof LED light into the water to give the table a romantic glow. For a small table, if you are using flowers, $25-$30 per arrangement is more than enough. Less flowers equals less money.
The other floral items you will need at your reception are:
1. A toss bouquet (usually free but can cost up to $25)
2. Any fresh flowers you need to decorate the cake (fresh flowers are the most cost effective way to decorate a cake - $75-$100)
3. Buffet centerpiece ($150-$200)
4. Small bathroom vase with flowers set next to hand towels ($15 x 2)
5. Going away corsage for the bride ($15)
An important thing to remember about flowers is that often times less is more. Even though opulence in the South is a tradition you don't have to break the bank to have a beautiful, elegant wedding. Establish a good working relationship with your florist. Bring photos of what you like when you go for your first meeting. Be prepared to compromise on certain types of flowers that may be out of season. If you are upfront about your ideas and what you can afford to spend, most florist will do their very best to accommodate your requests.