When Nathalie Guedes and her husband, Christopher Zardoya, were planning their wedding at 501 Union in Brooklyn, N.Y., they knew they wanted flowers — and lots of them. “We’re both from Miami, so we’re used to tropical plants and flowers everywhere,” she said. Still, they didn’t want to spend too much money. Centerpieces and bouquets are often thrown away after the night ends, and as architects, they believe strongly in sustainability.
“Weddings can be so wasteful, so we tried to reuse as much as we could,” said Ms. Guedes, who budgeted $2,000 for florals. She and her husband used discarded squares of marble from finished architectural projects to make decorative table number plaques and seating number assignments. Then Ms. Guedes discovered Bloomerent, a company that finds ways for brides and grooms to share wedding flowers. “We loved that our flowers would have a second life,” she said. And, of course, they saved cash.
My Flowers Are Now Your Flowers
Here’s how it works: If you sign up with one of 60 participating Bloomerent florists, brides and grooms can rent back their wedding flowers to another couple locally, with florists picking up the designs at the completion of one wedding and delivering it to another wedding for use the following day. (Currently, the company works with florists in 26 states and the District of Columbia.) The reward: big savings on flowers for both brides. The first bride receives a 10 percent refund on the total cost of her flowers, while the second bride pays 40 to 60 percent of the original cost. (So if the flowers originally cost $10,000, the second bride is paying only $4,000 to $6,000, and the first bride gets $1,000 back.)
When Ms. Guedes’s industrial modern affair wrapped one Friday night in November, the long strands of greenery that lined the extra long communal tables at her wedding were set up at Patty Lee’s wedding — a complete stranger to Ms. Guedes — the next day at the Brooklyn Winery. Here, the same strands of floral garland were also used to decorate long communal tables. “You couldn’t tell — our florist did such a good job refreshing them,” said Ms. Lee, a freelance food writer.
Everyone wants their wedding to be beautiful, and florals are often considered crucial when completing the look and feel of a ceremony and reception space. But couples get sticker shock when they realize just how much those overflowing centerpieces they saw on Pinterest actually cost. They begin to wonder if there is any way to get the costs down, and the good news is, even beyond Bloomerent, there are.
Picky, Picky, Picky. Don’t Be.
Erica Jones, the creative director of O Luxe Designs, a Boston-based wedding design company that caters to high-end clients around the world, says that floral budgets climb when couples meet with a florist with very specific ideas, often gleaned from a glossy social media post or swoon-worthy magazine spread. “You’ll save money by going in with an open mind,” she said. You should still bring the photo, but ask how you can realistically achieve the look within your budget. Maybe the floral designer can suggest a similar color scheme using less expensive flowers, or maybe the flowers in the photo are particularly expensive at that time of year, but a similar flower is less at the same time.
Sometimes a simple adjustment can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. Ranunculus flowers, which are often considered timeless and ephemeral, are readily available most of the year, but one popular variety, the Clooney, is available only for a few weeks, making them extra expensive. South American hydrangeas, which are white, light blue and pale green, are significantly less expensive than hydrangeas from Holland, which come in more vibrant shades of blue, pink and purple.