The following excerpted from Mindy Weiss’ Wedding Book: An Expert’s Guide to Planning Your Perfect Day — Your Way. It’s illustrative of the frank, practical and down-to-earth wedding planning information and advice you’ll get throughout the entire book.
1. Be Flexible About Your Flowers
Heavy rains can wipe out crops, and an early heat wave can shift a season. Transportation problems, labor strikes and customs officials can delay them. Realize that you won’t always be able to get exactly the flowers you want. Instead of being overly specific with the florist, focus on the quality that’s most important to you– a particular hue, texture or style — and allow your florist to choose the best available flowers.
2. Choose In Season Blooms
You can get the most flowers at any time of year from somewhere in the world, but flowers that are in-season are heartier, more robust, more abundant, and far less expensive. Even better are locally grown flowers, which save you a bundle on transportation costs. Cosmos trucked in from a local farm can cost as much as 40% less than those flown in from Holland.
3. Think of Your High-Impact Zones
If your budget is limited, concentrate your flower dollars on where they’ll show the most: the alter or your ceremony area, the bridal bouquet and the centerpieces. No one will notice if you don’t have pew decorations.
4. See If You Can Share
If your wedding is in a house of worship, find out if you can share ceremony flowers with another couple. Or have your wedding near Christmas, when the church will be fully dressed for the season.
5. Ask About Bargains
Ask your florist whether he has seen any “bargain” flora. A florist can buy two bunches of gladiolus for 10 dollars. You’ll have a hundred blossoms mistaken for orchids when scattered on tables, floated in glass containers or hung on fishing line from chandeliers. In winter, flowering branches provide a lot of drama for much less than cut flowers. Sheaves of wheat, tall grasses, and bamboo can supplement arrangements or be used in large urns in place of pricier posies.
6. Make Inexpensive Flowers Look Lush
Make inexpensive flowers look lush by sticking to one color and massing them together. Carnations and baby’s Breath can be striking when handled creatively.
7. Use Tall Glass Cylinders for Long Stems
Submerge long stems of flowers (orchids, gladiolus, and amaryllis are gorgeous) in tall cylinders. The stems are a statement all their own.
8. Stick to Simple Arrangements
Hand tying bouquets for centerpieces is relatively simple, whereas pinning hundreds of carnation heads to foam board to create a wall of flowers takes hours of manpower. Floral installations that have to be assembled on-site require more staffers at the location and cost more than those that can be made ahead. If the flower estimate is coming in too high, talk to the florist about ways to simplify the arrangements to reduce labor costs.
9. Have Your Flowers Do Double Duty
If the ceremony and reception are in the same place, design large arrangements to perform double duty. Big urns or columns marking the aisle or alter can flank the entrance to the reception or the stage for the band. A floral arch or chuppah can shelter the wedding cake. Just make sure the arrangements are moved discretely.
10. Choose a Small Wedding Party
At the high end, eight bridesmaids can mean $800 in bouquets; if you only have two bridesmaids, you’ve saved $600.
11. Use potted plants
Create centerpieces out of potted plants, such as orchids or hyacinths. They are cost-effective and can double as gifts to close relatives or members of the bridal party.
12. Think Low
Low centerpieces cost less than tall ones, and your guests will get a better view.
13. Find a Beautiful Location.
Choose a location that you find beautiful. You’ll spend far less to decorate it or hide its flaws. Botanical gardens and conservatories can often be rented for weddings, negating the need for flowers. Some florists and nurseries also rent their studios for events.
14. Avoid Peak Dates and Holidays
Avoid having a wedding near dates where there is a peak demand for flowers, namely Valentines Day and Mother’s Day. Around Valentines Day, the price for roses can double.
The Wedding Book Mini Review
In her newest wedding planning book The Wedding Book: An Expert’s Guide to Planning Your Perfect Day — Your Way, Mindy Weiss wanted it all: a comprehensive wedding planner, honest planning advice and truly authentic inspiration for today’s couples. In the introduction, she writes:
“I wanted to create something so complete that it would save you from having to worry about the right way of doing things… There are already tons of beautiful books one getting the look of your wedding just right. There are informative tomes on etiquette essentials. But I didn’t see one book that had it all.
I’ve tried to encapsulate everything I that I do for my brides and grooms. I take you through every aspect of your wedding, from the guest list to the seating charts and the emotional highs and lows–you’ll even learn how to deal with those challenging in-law situations.”
She did what she set out to do. It has the comprehensive details and to-dos of The Know, the down-to-earth, supportive advice of a Practical Wedding and the inspirational ideas of Style Me Pretty. Divided into 27 chapters and an appendix filled with check lists, Weiss covers everything from how to tell everyone you’re engaged to after-wedding to-dos such as changing your name, merging finances and writing thank you notes.
The beautiful hand-drawn illustrations cover everything from wedding gown silhouettes to lace patters to tent types. If there is one thing I would have liked to have seen in this book, it would have been full-color inspiration of real weddings. However, I can see the wisdom of omitting such things as they can quickly become dated, and, as it stands, this book is most certainly a classic in wedding planning.
She is also ahead of the curve, and this timely update incorporates everything that’s fresh and exciting in weddings and wedding planning, no matter how big or small your budget, including,
- How to get the most out of Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram and other social apps and websites in your wedding planning
- How to use hashtags during your wedding and all wedding-related events, such as bachelorette parties
- How to use services like Uber for guest transportation
- New etiquette, including managing food sensitivities and keeping costs down for bridesmaids
- The latest digital photos, wedding albums, and videos
- New destination wedding ideas
- Non-traditional wedding cake options
- Insight into details unique to same-sex marriages
Get the Book on Amazon