As anyone who has tied the knot can attest, the terms "wedding" and "budget" hardly go hand-in-hand. As soon as you mention the occasion, normally affordable entertaining costs seem to immediately spike. One such expense that can unexpectedly add up is floral arrangments. Between the bridal bouquet, centerpieces, and decorations, the average couple spends over $2000 on fresh blooms.
Celebrity florist Eric Buterbaugh says you don't have to spend a fortune on flowers for an elegant event. The floral designer—who's crafted stunning floral creations for actress Demi Moore, stylist Rachel Zoe, and brands like Chanel and Valentino—recommends five different types of affordable flowers, along with chic arrangement ideas to make the maximum impact. These are his top picks for affordable, trending flowers that will elevate any event—and won't break the bank.
"I know what you're thinking, but masses of white carnations can be chic—and you can't beat the price," says Buterbaugh. Once traditionally associated with Mother's Day, carnations are becoming increasingly popular at weddings, strung on clear thread to create a floral curtain or clustered in small vases scattered across a table setting.
Styling tip: "If you go to the flower market, or shop online, locate Oasis floral foam spheres, then soak them in water and cover tightly with carnation heads," he recommends. "Once covered with carnations, the spheres can be hung at the venue, or placed on top of a glass cylinder, or the top of any vase to provide a 'floating' contemporary look."
"An assortment of varied sizes (shapes and height), vessels with a single stem, or just a few stems of white dahlias work really well and add to the wedding feel," says Buterbaugh. The lush flowers have dense, pointed petals and pair well with peonies or small pastel blooms.
Styling tip: "To make a random assortment of dahlias look sophisticated, map each of the vases out first. Place the tallest shapes in the center, and work your way to the outer edges with medium-size pieces, and fill them in with small containers. When you're done, add a stem or two to each."
Gardens have been a favorite wedding flower for decades, and for good reason. The delicate blooms can be particularly fragrant and offer a stylish and affordable way to add scent to each table setting.
Styling tip: "To make a few white roses go a long way, arrange them in low, dramatic glass bowls filled with water," he recommends. "I love the way that rose heads float in a fishbowl or low bowls. Gardenias also float well and provide a lovely scent. You only need a few to make an impact, and can mix in floating candles for an even more dramatic look."
"Hydrangeas are elegant and beautiful as accents in weddings, or I've used them as the theme for the entire ceremony and reception," he says. Inexpensive and abundant, they're an ideal way to add dense flowers to an arrangement.
Styling tip: "They can be used in arrangements, bouquets, or even to decorate the cake," says Butterbaugh. "The great thing about hydrangea is that you can use them as a single ingredient for a wedding, or you can combine other flowers to a hydrangea base, such as roses, peonies, or orchids to enhance the look."
White roses in bouquets and centerpieces are hardly a new trend, but Buterbaugh says there's a way to make the classic blooms like a little more unique and refined: reflexing. "This happens when you clean the greens around the base of the rose and then individually peel back each of the petals, blowing the rose right open," he explains. "This technique will provide a much larger rose and makes for a more romantic arrangement."
Styling tip: Reflexed roses are large and ornate, so keep styling to a minimum. "One of my favorite looks for a single bud vase or a small grouping at a wedding is a reflexed rose," he recommends. Opt for multiple short vases and scatter them down the center of the table for small bursts of statement roses.
Inspired to add one of these blooms to your big day? Finish it off with a statement vase:
Style white flowers in these short vases for a modern yet refined look.
A blush-colored bud vase perfect for single stem blooms.
Create a statement centerpiece by layering textured vases in different heights.
Add a touch of color with this understated glass vase.
Simple and inexpensive, these tiny bud vases are ideal to style en masse.