Feast Your Eyes... Flowers and other Finery For Your Wedding Day [Part 1]

Ceremony Flowers and Decor

Deciding on the amount, style and type of flowers you will use at your wedding can be a challenge.  When it comes to the floral budget, there is much to consider.  Where does a girl begin? Lists! Lost of lists!!

The average floral budget for a wedding is between $2,500 and $3,000.  The average price of a bridesmaids bouquet is $125, boutonnière price is $10, corsages $30 and flower girl baskets $75. Of course these numbers can fluctuate depending on your personal style. In order to calculate a realistic floral budget, it comes down to knowing what you have to buy.

Start by making a list of all the women and men in your wedding party including flower girls, ring bearers, and ushers. These will be the people who receive bouquets and boutonnières. It's always wise to choose flowers that are in season for your bridesmaids bouquets.  Not only does it guarantee the freshness of the flowers but it also keeps the cost down.

The bride’s bouquet is always paid for by the groom and should be invoiced separately. The bride can choose whatever she likes for her bouquet.  It is truly a matter of personal style. It is uncommon for a bride to carry less flowers than her bridesmaids. The only exception is when a bride chooses to carry a bible and a single flower in lieu of a bouquet.

Next make a list of all the relatives that will receive flowers for the day of the wedding. This should include the mothers and fathers of the bride and groom, step-mothers and step-fathers (if any), grandmothers and grandfathers, and any other "special" person.  Who are the special people? A good example would be the readers and gift bearers in a Catholic wedding or a Godmother you may be close to. While boutonnières are appropriate for the fathers of the bride and groom, corsages or nosegays for the mothers (often placed inside of silver keepsake called a Tussy Mussy) are the most common choice. Readers, gift bearers and other "special" guests are usually given corsages or boutonnières that are different and smaller than those of the family.

List three would consist of the ceremony flowers and decor. There are a few things to think about when choosing ceremony decor. First, are you getting married in a church or synagogue? If the answer is yes, it is essential to know where are you allowed to place flowers and decorations inside your venue. Can you put arrangements or ribbon on the pews?  Are aisle runners allowed? Does the synagogue provide the Chuppah or do you rent it from the florist? Will you be expected to leave flowers at the statue of the Blessed Mother?Will you be giving roses to your mothers during the ceremony? Each church or synagogue will have their own rules for where flowers can be placed and what type of decorations can be used. OBEY the rules! Hell hath no fury like a church lady scorned!

Once you know what the rules for your ceremony location are, the next thing to consider is the season. Churches and synagogues are decorated elaborately during certain seasons of the year. For Christian churches the two most decorated holidays are Christmas and Easter. Synagogues are colorfully decorated for Sukkot, the celebration of the harvest which takes place usually in September. It stands to reason that if your ceremony venue is already boasting seasonal decor, you will not have to add much if anything to it. Bear in mind that certain seasons have certain colors associated with them. December will bring lots of green, gold, silver, and red while Easter will have lots of white. If you're Jewish than you know that a Sukkah and a Chuppah are both representative of the home. So if the Sukkah is up, there is no need for a Chuppah. Gold, orange, green, yellow, and blue flowers along with fruits, and vegetables are all colors and items you would find on and around a Sukkah. Knowing what parts of a church or synagogue will be decorated at the time of your wedding not only helps with choosing colors for your flowers and decor but also for your attendants. When you visualize your ceremony it is always smart to ask yourself "How will this look in my photographs?".

If your ceremony is outdoors or in a ballroom or other non-religious location ask yourself these questions: Do I want to make a "special" ceremony site? Is there pre-existing ambiance, for example a fountain, a statue, are you in a garden? Are you in a space that will need to have the ambiance created, for example a banquet room, a backyard, a living room? Once you have the answer to these questions, then you can decide how you will mark the spot. Perhaps you like arbors.  Maybe standing arrangements work for you.  You may want to use paper lanterns and/or candles to create the mood.  The point is you have to think about the space you are using from a visual perspective.  Once you have your vision, then you can decide how best to bring it to life.

As a general rule of thumb, it is never a good idea to transport flowers from a ceremony site to a reception site. The flowers and the guests are often arriving at the same time and it looks as though your venue is ill prepared. You may be able to move some larger baskets from ceremony to reception provided there is a way to have the flowers arrive and be placed prior to the guests entering the room.

Next week we will talk about reception centerpieces, using candles in lieu of flowers and creative ways to save money on flowers and decor.