Flower Power

Everyone has to have flowers at their wedding. I’m pretty sure it’s a rule or something – flowers are supposed to make the day. Although I can see where the flower enthusiasts are coming from, I could never really wrap my head around the concept of paying thousands of dollars on something that’s not going to last for more than a week after the wedding. (And then when you try to make them last by drying or preserving them, you just have a bunch of dry, crinkly flower leftovers to figure out what to do with. No thank you!)

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Time of Year Best Bets: In season flowers tend to be less expensive and longer lasting. Ask your florist to advise you on what will be in season on your wedding date.]

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, last week was florist week. I should have gone about two weeks ago, but a nasty sinus infection followed immediately by, believe it or not, the flu prevented that from happening. As I lay half asleep on my parents’ couch with tissues stuffed up my nose and a bottle of Advil within arms’ reach, I got all sorts of ideas for floral centerpieces while watching wedding shows on TV – large bouquets of white Asiatic lilies and red orchids, sprays of tulips, and cascades of red roses. Of course when my body temperature veered to the lower side of 103, I realized that these ideas were going to be impossible. Flowers are, well, expensive.

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Anyone who doesn’t know this has obviously never spoken to someone who’s planned a wedding. In the past six months, I’ve heard wedding flower prices that have ranged from $500 to $5,500 – no joke! Obviously the more expensive ones were very lavish, but it’s still a pretty intimidating figure when you’ve already spent so much on your wedding.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Cutting Back: You can save a bundle by using all the flowers from before the meal, during the reception. Double duty the attendants’ and bride’s bouquets, as well as the altar floral arrangements.]

We debated between a few different ideas for flowers. Someone suggested that we look into getting our flowers done by a grocery store like Stop and Shop, as many other Hudson Valley brides have opted to do. It’s a little less expensive than going to a florist but you’ll most likely end up going with the FTD standard arrangements instead of getting something a little more unique (if that’s what you’re into..) I’ve heard of a lot of local brides who were very impressed with the work that the local grocery stores did, though, so I had to look into it a bit.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: “Flower budget tip” Tighten your flower budget by using large wrist corsages, rather than bouquets, for the bride’s attendants. Daisies and carnations are inexpensive and go with everything, if you get them in white.]

Although it seems like the grocery stores would be a lot cheaper than going to a florist, there was a very small difference between the grocery store and florist prices (about 10% less – which actually makes quite a difference if you’re planning on spending a lot!) For me, though, I thought the extra services of the florist bringing and arranging the flowers at the ceremony and reception sites as well as just being a little bit more personal would be worth it.

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[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Aroma and Elegance Fresh, cut flowers will make any table look lovely. Choose a single bud or a copious arrangement, cut flowers add elegance and stye when used as a centerpiece.]

My mom and I stopped by Rood’s Florist, a family-owned florist on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie (they also have a shop in the Fishkill-Wappingers Falls area.) We had heard a lot of really good things about their work, so we figured we’d give it a try. Let me tell you, if service was the only thing I needed to go by to choose flowers, Rood’s would be it right on the spot. The gentleman we spoke to listened to my ideas, was knowledgeable, solution-oriented, and paid attention to details. He offered ideas and ways to lower prices on the spot, without having to think twice. This guy was a wedding pro.

He came up with some really interesting money-saving tips (like using bridesmaids’ bouquets as centerpieces after the ceremony) and was really friendly – his personality alone made me want to work with him!

As it turns out, flowers aren’t cheap. We got an estimate and my jaw didn’t exactly drop, but it was kind of hanging there in fear. What if we couldn’t afford flowers?

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Alternative Centerpieces: If you decide to opt out of flower centerpieces, consider these as alternatives: seasonal fruits, small, potted, blooming plants, edibles like cookies, muffins, honey cake, or zucchini bread, fresh or dried fruit. Bunching many candles, of different colors and heights, arranged in unusual candlestick or other holders make a “glowing” centerpiece.]

I mulled the issue over with my parents and Tim, and we came to somewhat of a decision: We’re going to try to reduce the cost by seeing if we can substitute cheaper flowers as fillers, and if we can’t then we’ll go with the florist for the bouquets and church arrangements – but we’ll figure out simpler solutions for the centerpieces. We’re still working over ideas. I’ll let you know what happens!

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~Laura =)

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