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Choose Wedding Flowers That Make an Impact (Without Breaking the Bank)

If you’re a Long Island bride on a budget you’ve likely heard the line “go light on flowers, they just die.” It’s true that flowers don’t last forever, but they’re a way to add special details and an impact to your big day, perhaps by honoring a lost loved one. Those memories can last a lifetime as well as give you an extra reason to smile. On the other hand, some brides have been on The Knot and Pinterest and have Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas goals but a much smaller budget. The right designer can help you achieve maximum impact within your price range — but you’ll need to be flexible. Joy, owner of Elegant Designs by Joy, located in Long Island, New York, gives practical tips on how to make a statement with wedding flowers that are uniquely and especially you.

Create a Vision (or Five)

First things first, you’ll want to get an idea of what you like. Check out Instagram, Pinterest, wedding magazines and websites for inspiration. Don’t be afraid to show florists a few different looks. A good pro can help you mix, match and streamline.

Get the Timing Right

Often, timelines suggest booking a florist six months out, but in the Tri-State area, vendors get swooped up faster. “We always tell [people], ‘One year to nine months out you should be going around, getting feelers, so you know what vendor is feeling right for you. Then at that time go forward,’” Joy said. Pssst: The early bird may get the better deal. Sometimes, when booking 12 months or more out, vendors are still using the previous year’s pricing, so, for example, instead of paying 2022 rates, you can sign a contract for 2021 rates.

Be Realistic With Budget

Flowers can be pricy, but they can also be a place where brides try to cut corners.

“People say, ‘Oh, flowers die right away. Quality flowers do not die right away, and they do make a big impact in photographs and on the day of your wedding, just like the food, DJ, it all comes together,” Joy said. “It’s about being realistic and hearing what vendors can suggest and being realistic with a number.” In other words, if you plan on having 20 tables and 10 bridesmaids but only have $2,000 to spend on flowers, there’s a chance some florists cannot accommodate you. Don’t be scared to reach out, but don’t beat around the bush either. Be honest where you stand. Often, florists will do the same. Joy always asks for a couple’s budget and lets them how plausible it is for her. “Then, we proceed, that way we’re not wasting their time or taking time away from other customers,” she said. (Also, you may need to be willing to up the floral budget and decrease budget somewhere else, perhaps on favors, if you plan on having a larger wedding and bridal party.)

Get Personal

You’re going to notice similar and fun trends on social media and in The Knot, and if you love ‘em — go for it. But wedding flowers can be a way to stand out a bit, too. “Not everything has to be so staged and perfect,” Joy said. “It can be fun, so it starts the conversation, and it gets the whole evening really flowing.” If baseball is a passion the two of you share, have your florist create an arrangement out of a baseball mitt for your escort card table. For a more muted but still playful touch, put out some cute photos of the two of you at Citi Field with greenery and accents of flowers. “I had a bride who her father was major Mets fan, and he passed away before the wedding,” Joy recalled. “She gave me a cap, and I rolled it up and collared her bridal bouquet with the baseball cap. That was a big, heartfelt thing for her. She felt he was there.”

When the Centerpieces Go High...

High centerpieces have a reputation for being rather high-maintenance (no pun intended). They’re known to be pricier and conversation stoppers (because who can talk over them?). “The big thing with the raised arrangements is it really depends on budget and the size of the centerpiece as it is,” Joy said. For brides on a budget, she sometimes suggests anchoring key tables with the statement centerpieces. As for the whole “how-will-we-converse?” dilemma: A streamlined vase is key. Sometimes girls get caught up because they want this big, bold over-the-top look, but you’re trying to look around a five-inch piece of glass there is definitely no way you’re doing that and people will push it,” Joy said. Opt for something clear that isn’t too wide or bulky.

Create a Bouquet You Won’t Want to Toss

Your day, your way. “You don’t have to worry about matching everyone else,” Joy said. The question to ask yourself is: Do you want to stand out or blend in? Either is fine — some brides aren’t as fond of the spotlight and want to match their bridesmaids, albeit perhaps with a slightly larger bouquet. Other brides want all eyes on them and give their girls more muted and scaled-back bouquets (a budget-saver). “Then she can have her big, bold bouquet,” Joy said. “She can have all the color she wants. If you want every color in the rainbow because that’s what’s going to make you happy, that’s all that matters.”

Reign Yourself In...

Perhaps you’re discovering flowers are fun after all (or your suspicions were confirmed), but the add-ons are getting a bit extreme as is the price tag. It’s easy to start going overboard with any vendor, but for the sake of your budget, think about what you can pull back on (remember, you’re still responsible for tips, and last-minute costs will come up). “Candlelight is...extra labor, extra set up, extra cost,” Joy said. “Also, low arrangements are more budget-friendly.” Stick with blooms that are in-season and remember, greenery is your friend: “It’s a natural element and brings color. It makes everything else pop,” she said.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

Even if you’re a modest bride, consider some pop on your big day — you’ll thank yourself for years to come when you look back at your photos. “ A lot of girls like white-on-white or monochromatic which is fine but you need to add foliage or a little bit of filler because if someone is photographing it will blur together unless you have that separation of color,” Joy said. “That really gives you that big impact.”

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