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The vendor I was most excited about working with AND also the most nervous about working with for my own wedding? My florist. Like most people, I adore flowers and wanted beautiful ones on my wedding day, but I was also very aware that flowers are expensive (and that my budget was not so large).

A lot of what I learned as a bride about making the most of a floral budget went into the vendor section of the Joyful Wedding Planner, so today, we’re sharing a few tips along with the floral inspiration board from my own wedding! :)

1. Set your budget first. Even though it’s difficult to guess how much the flowers you want will cost, you can still set a floral budget that makes sense within your overall wedding budget (most sources recommend 5-10% of your overall budget). Knowing your budget will help your florist recommend flowers and styles within your price range. It’s also helpful to have a general idea of numbers, like how many reception tables and how many bridesmaids you’re having, before your first meeting, as most proposals are priced per piece.

2. Be flexible about specifics. So many factors go into beautiful blooms–season, weather, location–making it hard for a florist to make any guarantees about what will be available and in good condition on your wedding day. As well as communicating your favorite flowers to your florist, discuss the colors and feel you’re going for. They will make their best effort to get you the blooms you want, but if anything goes wrong, they can use their expertise to find substitutes that will fit the overall look you’re going for and look great, instead of using a sad-looking flower because it’s one you HAD to have. To improve your chances of getting your must-have flower, find out when it’s in season in your area and set your wedding date accordingly. The flower chart in the Joyful Wedding Planner is a great reference!

3. Organize your inspiration. Florists are visual people, so lots of picture inspiration is helpful IF it’s well organized. Instead of general captions like “love this” on your Pinterest board, identify WHAT you love about different arrangements and bouquets. Is it the shape? The texture? The colors? The specific flowers? Making a note of what specifically draws you to each picture will help you communicate your vision and style more effectively.

4. Be realistic. One of the biggest pet peeves we’ve heard from florists is when brides bring in pictures of grand arrangements or pricey blooms, and ask for something similar on a minimal budget. Keep in mind that floral arrangements in magazines and on Pinterest are often the most unique and expensive in a florist’s portfolio. Instead of asking for an exact replica of an arrangement you love, bring your inspiration photos to your florist and have a conversation about what you like about them. Love the large scale of an arrangement? Use lower-cost greenery to get the same big impact. Love the fullness of a big peony bouquet? Create the same lush effect with different flowers that fit into your budget.

5. BYOA: Bring your own accents. Supplementing your florist with vessels and bouquet wraps is a great way to save money, because you won’t be paying for the time they spend searching for something perfect for you. Just be sure you’re willing to do the work and have the resources to do so before adding this task to your to-do list, and be aware that wide and intricate ribbons come with their own price tag – often upwards of $15/yard.

6. Don’t try to change them. Just like you wouldn’t hope to fundamentally change your mate, don’t expect a wedding vendor to stray far from her preferred style. If you don’t like the style of the arrangements or bouquets in their portfolio, you probably won’t like what they produce for your wedding. If you’re unsure, ask them to send over some examples of past work that they think fits with your style, like my florist did for us (make sure you have an initial conversation first, of course!).

7. The easiest way to cut is to cut. By that I mean, you may be able to wiggle the price of a bouquet from $200 down to $150 by changing the size or composition, but you’re not going to get it down to $25. If the proposal your florist delivers is outside of your budget, instead of whittling down every item, look instead at cutting out several items entirely, like ceremony altar flowers or boutonnieres. That way, you’ll meet your budget AND the pieces you leave in your order will be showstoppers that are exactly want you want!

Are you nodding your head along with this advice? You’ll love the Joyful Wedding Planner! Pick yours up in our shop.

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Karen reply

    Emily, thank you for sharing great tips that both help brides and are respectful of designers! Tips 6 & 7 have me smiling and joyfully clapping inside! To give a realistic expectation to brides, I did want to share one shift from what is stated in #1: Within the past few years (due to drought as well as economic factors) the average floral budget takes up 12-15% of a budget. Floral Design is often on par or more than what is spent on photography.

  2. avatar M. Goblet reply

    Do you often copy/paste your previous articles into new articles, only adding a few small bits of information, and then publishing it as new? See what Lisa wrote in Expert Advice on May 15, 2014, as it’s pretty much word for word what this article is.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi M.! This may or may not surprise you, but actually, yes! We know that our readership largely turns over every 1-2 years as brides get engaged and married and new brides come to our site, so we regularly re-post similar content buried in our archives that we think is helpful for every engaged bride to read. I hope that helps to clarify, and thank you so much for reading!

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SW Holiday Sale + Ornament Swap

by in Main, News on

Good morning, belles! Hope you had the happiest Thanksgiving and are enjoying a slice of leftover pecan pie with your coffee this morning! We’re ready to welcome the Christmas season with open arms, and we know many of you are out shopping the holiday sales to check off the names on your shopping lists. We wanted to remind you can can stay cozy in your pajamas and visit the Southern Weddings Shop and snag deals up to 50% off!

Hurry on over to pick your favorites, especially if you are shopping for a bride, newlywed, or bridesmaid this holiday season! If I could marry KPW all over again, I would snag that amazing Bride Bundle faster than butter melts on a biscuit. It’s everything a bride-to-be needs to plan for her big day and beyond!

And for readers near and far, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be hosting the annual Southern Weddings Ornament Swap for the eighth year in a row! As someone who loves getting “real” mail, I can personally vouch for how much fun it is to participate. We had an amazing swap last year and would love for y’all to participate this time around.

Here’s how it will work (please read carefully!):

1. By Monday, December 5: Email kristin@southernweddings.com with “2016 Ornament Swap” in the subject line. Include your name, mailing address, email address, website/blog address, and Instagram handle.
2. By Wednesday, December 7: I will have emailed you the names and addresses of up to five people to send ornaments to. Yep, that means you’ll be sending up to five ornaments, and you’ll be receiving up to five in return!
3. By Wednesday, December 14: Be sure to send out your ornaments no later than this date! Then, all that’s left to do is wait for the holiday goodness to roll in.

Your ornaments can be homemade or store-bought, and we suggest that you make them as Southern as possible :)

If you have any questions, leave a comment on this post or email me at kristin@southernweddings.com–we can’t wait to see the ornaments y’all share this year!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
4 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Hooray!! Love doing this swap! :)

  2. avatar Carol reply

    How much should we $ spend per ornament , or is is there a min./max. price range?

  3. avatar Carol reply

    How much should we spend $ for each ornament? Is ther a minimum or maximum?

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Carol, there is no minimum or maximum but I would say nothing too expensive. A lot of people get crafty and make ornaments! Feel free to email me: Kristin@SouthernWeddings.com if you have any further questions.

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In the Southern Weddings office, we all have different approaches to the holidays.

Emily prefers to give Thanksgiving its due, not decking the halls for Christmas a day sooner than Black Friday. Lisa prefers to get all of her holiday shopping done in November, so she can focus on spending time with loved ones in December. I prefer to celebrate the holidays as soon as possible—they only come once a year, and don’t last that long!

No matter how we approach our yuletide celebrations, we all agree on two things:

1. We love a good deal, but Black Friday sales are much too stressful for us, and we’d prefer to spend that day with our families.
2. When it comes to gift giving, the more meaningful, useful, and beautiful, the better.

I’m guessing y’all would agree on those two points, too! This year, we’re taking them to heart and running our annual holiday sale for an entire WEEK! Today through Monday, November 28, you can take up to 50% off select products in the Southern Weddings Shop.

We even went ahead and combined our most popular items into one AMAZING gift bundle! The bundle is the ultimate gift for any Southern bride, and includes the Southern Weddings Planner, the new Welcome Home Guestbook in natural linen, a Marriage Certificate in gold foil, Southern Weddings Volume 9, The Wedding Day Journal, and a Vows Booklet Set in blue. The whole bundle is valued at over $150, but is on sale for $99 for this week only! Find the Ultimate Southern Bride Bundle here.

Whether you’re searching for a sweet gift for your bridesmaids, the bride in your life, or your favorite newlywed couple, you can find prints, journals, and even our Project Life collection up to 50% off for the next week.

Head to the Southern Weddings Shop to explore all of the deals. No coupon code needed, and no Black Friday rush required :)

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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