Brides asked London-based florist Mathew Dickinson of Dickinson & Doris how to save money on wedding flowers. Read on to discover his Top 10 money-saving tips for couples. But, before we get to juice, you've got to read Mathew's Top 3 flower facts - important to know before you get to the wedding-flower-hacks!
David Austin and blushing bride spray rose, sweet pea, bouvardia, flowering eucalyptus and peonie bouquet, from £125, dickinsonanddoris.co.uk
"Many blooms are grown in British soil, but lots more travel to the UK from all over the world. The majority come here via Holland.
Flowers are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, so your florist may suggest you have spares for refreshing your wedding day arrangements.
When you buy flowers for your home, you want them to last as long as possible, so will likely purchase them closed. For your wedding, you'll want them all open and at their prime. This takes expertise, as well as staggered buying over 7 to 10 days, so they're all in perfect condition.
But let's get to the good bit... 10 ways to save money on your wedding flowers:
1. Be realistic
How much do wedding flowers cost? How long is a piece of string and how important is the floral aspect of your wedding to you? My starting guide for brides is that their floral budget should be roughly 10% of the overall budget. Tell your florist how much you can spend before discussing the most extravagant of arrangements (and feeling disappointed when they're out of range).
2. Buy seasonal
There are many species native to each season. These are always the best value and will be the strongest and longest-lasting throughout your big day. Any flower grown out of season is either grown under glass or has travelled a great distance to get here! For example, if you want peonies in winter, expect a heftier price tag.
3. Research AYR (all year round) options
Some flowers are AYR, such as roses and tulips, so can be a good starting place budget-wise if you don't know exactly what you want. But remember: even tulips are best in the spring - when they're the highest quality. And do also remember that the flower seasons for cut flowers are about 2 months ahead of those in your garden.
4. Buy British
Support British growers for flowers and foliage, and you'll likely see your costs come down. Not all florists supply them, as they only buy stock from a Dutch man with a lorry. Asking where florists source their blooms might help you decide who is more affordable.
5. Use a single British-grown species
A mass of one type of British-grown flower looks wonderfully dramatic and can often be the most cost-effective.
6. Keep foreign varieties to a minimum
Buying a large quantity of one particular foreign flower can be extremely expensive. For example, if you are after a particular rose in the Dutch auction, to guarantee you can get them, the auctioneer will have to bid early at a high price to secure them for you. Scattering just a few of your favourite roses across the day or having them solely in your bridal bouquet will save you bucketloads.
7. Focus on your bridal flowers
If you're cost-cutting, I suggest that your bridal party's blooms are the place you don'tscrimp. They'll be in all your photos for years to come. Just like your dress, hair and make-up, the flowers that you carry are important, too.
8. Don't forget the cost of labour
Cost will also be affected by the distance between where your florist is based, and whether freelancers have to be hired. Sometimes, when I work on weddings it's just me, which is obviously much cheaper than when I have to hire 17 freelance florists for 5 days' work! (That was certainly the biggest wedding I've ever worked on.)
For your table dressing, why not use vases and pots of flowers or herbs provided by family and friends? Or grow some of your blooms yourself? This can result in a gorgeously rustic look, as well as keeping prices down and adding a more personal element to your decor.
10. Consider using artificial
The unit price of flowers is very high. Your florist may stock artificial flowers that they can use instead, but be aware that you'll probably need to be flexible on colours. Artificial flowers are especially great for covering a ceiling or decorating hard-to-reach areas. They can also be set up well in advance of the day, as they don't need water. This can sometimes be stress-busting for couples ('that's one thing out the way!').
Most of all, don't be afraid to ask your florist for advice. They're the expert, after all. Showing them your colour palette, Instagram photos and Pinterest boards will enable them to suggest flowers and arrangements you may never have thought of. Especially if your favourite rose is mega-expensive... your florist might well know a much cheaper variety in a similar shade."
Words by Mathew Dickinson