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Flower Alternatives
Gazing balls and glass buoys are lovely works of art that can do double duty as pomanders for the party and gifts for garden decor after the wedding!

No area of budget savvy-ness has brought me more strife than that of flowers. You see, I love flowers. I’m a huge fan of bright colors, so I was really stoked about learning more about this whole flora and fauna thing for our wedding extravaganza. Early on in our planning process, a recently married coworker of mine directed me toward a florist who does fantastic work—I loved everything I saw from her. The problem? She requires a $1,000 minimum order. My co-worker assured me that it was not difficult to spend that much on wedding flowers.

But meeting a minimum was not the problem. The problem was that I was not comfortable spending that much money on something that was going to die in a day or two (not to mention the fact that if we jet-setted out on our honeymoon right away, we wouldn’t get even that much enjoyment out of them!).

So I asked myself—as I always try to do in these types of situations—“If there are no flowers at my wedding, will I enjoy myself less? Will my interactions with my friends be less fulfilling, or the commitment to my husband be less significant?”

The answer was no.

Sure, I went through a bit of a mourning period. As I said, I think flowers are beautiful. I love pouring over the bursts of color and texture you see in bridal magazines. But I learned quickly that my bouquet alone could easily cost $200, and I just wasn’t prepared to spend that for something so short-lived.

The fact of the matter is that your wedding will not suck because you did not spend a lot of money on flowers.

For me, the goal was color. Color brightens my day and makes me feel just a little bit more alive. Wearing colorful clothes gets me through the endless gray of the winter months. I needed color in my wedding. I just needed to find it from some other source.

So I began considering the options for flower alternatives. Here's what I came up with:


  • Artificial flowers: True Touch/Real Touch flowers from Hobby Lobby are a nice alternative to the flowers you might purchase from a florist. They have a wide variety of options, and these two brands (as well as others) are made of a rubbery material that actually looks and feels a lot like their real-life counterparts. Plus, you get to keep your bouquets afterward!


  • Gazing balls or glass buoys: You know how in the summer, you walk by beautiful gardens and see these brightly-colored glass or metal spheres on elegant pedestals? I love them, and they often come in shades of blue and green—matches our wedding colors AND the whole garden theme! I thought about having one of these encased in a lace or ribbon holder (to hang down like a pomander) and then having each bridesmaid place theirs on a pedestal when they get to the front–additional decor and everyone wouldn't have to worry about awkwardly holding bouquets the whole ceremony!


  • Tissue-paper pomanders or paper lanterns: These are a wonderful and inexpensive option that mercifully comes in/can be made in any color.


  • Feather Fans: I love the color options you can find when using feather fans, and they have an elegant look. Plus the peacock feathers (one of my original palette inspirations) are lovely!


  • Balloons: Also available in every color, and inexpensive as well! You have probably seen these used in engagement sessions, though not often in wedding pictures. I love balloons because they are fun and child-like, which would make for some fun pictures!


  • Pinwheels! Fun, colorful, and they bring the element of motion to an outdoor ceremony! These can be handmade as a DIY project or purchased from a garden store.



So for every budget-savvy bride who has been told that you have to have flowers or is mourning the loss of expensive and short-lived wedding-magazine-quality bouquets, do not despair! There are all kinds of options available out there,  and I promise that you will have an amazing wedding, no matter what you choose!


What creative options have you found for wedding flower alternatives?





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About Heather

Heather is a 20-something lifelong learner who works in higher education and overanalyzes everything. Now engaged to her boyfriend of 6 years, she spends way too much time in coffee shops fueling up on espresso drinks and creatively massaging marital traditions. Follow along as she makes meaning out of the chaos and (hopefully) pulls it all together for her May 2012 Chicagoland wedding.

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  • Erica

    Id be careful with the balloon option though! Theyre bound to pop at the worst moment.

    We have a journalism theme with our wedding, so were using newspaper for some of the flowers. This has cut down our costs significantly. Were also using buttons in the boutonnieres instead of flowers. Easy to make and super cheap.

  • Marie Anderson

    We used Sam’s Club for our flowers. We ended up spending $350 on flowers and supplies. *200 white roses, 150 hot pink roses, gypsophila (babies breath) and 4 different types of assorted greenery (shipping was included in the price!). My Husband’s Mother and I did the boutonnieres and corsages, my bridesmaids did their own bouquets (I did one first to show them what I would like them to look like), they also helped with the flower girls pomanders and back up small bouquets, and I did my own bouquet. We had enough flowers for all 20 tables at the reception and flower for the alter. Best part…everything look tied together. My only regret was not ordering more Gypsophila for the reception tables to get the perfect look I was after.

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  • Ann

    Love the photos! Super post!

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