There are expensive wedding flowers and cheap wedding flowers — this, we all know. But what doesn't have to be obvious is which ones are which. Sure, most people planning a wedding know that peonies can cost a pretty penny (particularly when out of season), and carnations are always a cheap bet, but what about everything in between?
A few months back, I had the pleasure of visiting with Jon Houghton at Maplehurst Florist in Essex Junction, Vermont, and I picked his brain about flowers for DIY weddings and flowers for couples on a tight wedding budget. He very kindly shared his wealth of knowledge, walked me around his cute little flower shop, and showed me all the budget flowers available to his customers. Jon schooled me in the art of budget wedding flowers, and how to make the most of the flower budget for your wedding.
Needless to say, it was a wonderful way to spend a few hours, surrounded by gorgeous flowers and hanging out with two generous wedding vendors giving their time to help us all learn the ways of cheap wedding flowers. Here are a few of their tips:
Roses, somewhat surprisingly, can be a relatively inexpensive wedding flower. Some varieties even look like peonies, but come without the hefty price tag.
2. Gerbera Daisies
A budget wedding flower classic, gerbera daisies come in all sizes, and always pack a punch — of color, that is.
Hydrangeas have a huge flower head, so it just takes a few stems to fill up a vase. They can be very sensitive once they are cut, so Jon recommends cutting the stem at a steep angle — the steeper the better. If they start to wilt, they can also be submerged in water to bring them back to life.
4. Daisy Spray
In the mums family, daisy spray are hardy and have a long shelf life. They can easily be mixed in with other flowers to bring a wildflower feel to an arrangement.
A great filler for a wildflower-like arrangement is solidago, and that's because... well... it is a wildflower — and a lovely one at that.
Lilies are a stunning flower — truly, stunning. I didn't realize this until moving to Vermont and seeing tiger lilies line the roads, and visiting the local lily flower farm, Crossview Gardens in Morrisville, Vermont. Once you've seen the amazing variety of colors and sizes of lilies, you can never look at them the same way again.
Alstroemeria (aka the Peruvian lily) is smaller in size, and generally very colorful. It's the flower of prosperity, fortune, and friendship, so a great fit for a wedding day.
Carnations get a bad rap sometimes, but they are a perfect filler for many a wedding arrangement. When mixed in with more expensive flowers of a similar color, they piggy back on the awesomeness of their nearby neighbors, and for that reason, must be included on this list.
There's a reason Holland is covered in fields of tulips — they are beautiful, simple, and just a great all-around flower. For those reasons, they are an excellent flower for spring weddings.
10. Wax Flower
I've always known wax flowers are my most favorite small flower, but I just learned their name thanks to Jon. They come in white, pink, or purple, and have a very woodsy feel, like a hobbit picked them off the forest floor. They are perfect as an accent flower, and even look beautiful on their own in a small vase.
11. Baby's Breath
Love it or hate it, baby's breath has been the champion of budget flowers over the last few years, filling vases and wooden baskets everywhere from coast to coast. It's hardy and it's bulky, and therefore, it's a perfect flower for couples looking to stretch their flower budget.
12. Lemon Leaf
In a world where some greenery can be shockingly expensive, lemon leaf (or salal) is a cost-effective filler, and brings a romantic feel to either bouquets or centerpieces.
13. Variegated Or Green Pittosporum
Pittosporum is a bulky green that's a bit more textured and varied in color than lemon leaf. It's dense, but it's creamy edge looks wonderful mixed in a floral arrangement.
14. Blue Thistle
Blue thistle is all the rage these days, as it's popping up everywhere from bouquets to boutonnieres to flower crowns. Given that it makes an appearance in many high-end weddings, it's surprisingly wonderful to find out it's also an affordable flower.
Despite the fact that begonias look sweet and dainty, they are actually a rather hardy flower. What's incredibly neat about them is that they root, so if you wanted, you could take the begonias from your bouquet, and turn them into a house plant after the wedding day.
16. Rice Flower
Rice flower is the daintiest of the daintiest of budget wedding flowers, and it comes in a whole host of colors: orange, green, blue, yellow, pink, red, and classic white. You'll find these flowers most easily in spring or summer.
According to Jon, a few other flowers not pictured but worth checking out are purple statice, sunflower, and zinnia. So there you have it — the inside scoop on budget wedding flowers straight from the source.
This article was originally published on Nov. 8, 2015 and was updated on Sept. 10, 2019.