A money (and sanity!)-saving tip about flowers.

As my wedding plans were coming along and vendors were getting booked left and right, the one place where I kept hitting a brick wall was the flowers.

Here’s my take on flowers: yes, they’re lovely and yes, they are an important part of the day, but they don’t make or break the wedding. At least for me they don’t.

I’ve long understood the importance of investing in a photographer. That is the person who is solely responsible for recording your wedding day. I understand investing in a venue. That is the place where you will promise to spend the rest of your life with your love. But flowers? Really? I mean, they die the NEXT DAY.

Given my attitude and the way the budget was shaping up, we really weren’t looking to spend a whole lot on flowers. But every florist I talked to wanted lots and lots of money to do our wedding flowers. I heard $2,000 minimums. I even heard $5,000 minimums. All of this was inconceivable to me. You want me to pay that much for something that DIES THE NEXT DAY!?

That said, I do want flowers in my wedding. I like the color and energy and earthy-aliveness they bring with them. And I did have some pretty specific ideas of what I want. I want an interesting, varied looking bouquet with different types of flowers and even some twigs and feathers thrown in. Kind of like the gorgeous bouquet this lovely bride is holding:

{Meghan Aileen via Green Wedding Shoes}

I knew I wanted flowers like dahlias and ranunculus and adorable little crespedia (or “billy balls”) that seem to be popping up everywhere and happen to fit right into our color scheme of plum, mustard, and charcoal gray. I knew we needed to have fairly simple and clean centerpieces since the Wang is so ornate already, but ones that would be large enough to fill the space. We decided to just do a tall, glass vase filled with curly willow with just a few flowers here and there. I also wanted interesting (read: non-flower) boutonnieres for the guys, kind of like these, except with feathers and crespedia:

{Erica Cavanaugh’s etsy}

But where to find a hip wedding florist who could understand my less than traditional floral vision and execute it for less than $2,000? Is it even possible?

Well I’m here to tell you that it IS possible and has been under your nose the whole time. Are you ready?

The magical place where I found affordable flowers done by experienced florists is none other than your local, neighborhood Whole Foods!

Yes, Whole Foods, as in, your favorite place to drop unnecessary amounts of money on gorgeous cuts of meat and exotic spices and colorful fruits and vegetables.

And I’ll freely admit, I was skeptical at first. I had a hard time believing that they’d be able to understand my vision and what’s more, execute it. I mean, we’re not talking birthday bouquets and Mother’s Day corsages here, we’re talking wedding flowers.

But to my surprise, the florist ay my local Whole Foods understood my ideas perfectly and has a ton of industry experience (she even worked at Winston’s Flowers for a long time). AND, when she showed me the prices, well, I was just blown away. They are actually going to be able to bring in all of our wedding flowers, including my bouquet, five bridesmaids, bouts for all the boys, corsages for the moms, ceremony pieces, and high and low centerpieces all for under $1,000!

How can they do it? Well, when you think about it, all the wedding florists rely on wedding income to keep their businesses afloat. They have major expenses like renting their shop, labor, materials, etc., whereas Whole Foods already has most of these things in place as a grocery store. Since selling flowers is not their bread and butter, they don’t need to charge exorbitant prices to make ends meet. And, since they buy so many flowers at once, they are able to offer discounted prices.

Of course, Cinderella, there are conditions. First of all, since they don’t really need the business (but it’s just a nice thing to do), they aren’t going to be jumping to return your call. You kind of have to stay on top of them, so be ready for that. Second, they don’t deliver. So we have an added task on the wedding day of figuring out how to get all the flowers to the venue. No biggie. Third, they sometimes have trouble obtaining all the containers you may need and that is where the real expense with them comes in but here’s another tip: get the containers yourself. I know that seems like a lot of running around but if you can get into one of those flower wholesale places or even just look up some stuff online, I guarantee you will find containers for much, much less.

Happy flowering!