Question: Spend or Save?

When meeting with engaged couples there’s a question that comes up quite a lot – ‘Is it worth spending out on venue decoration?’ or ‘how can I dress the venue without spending a fortune?’

There are several factors that can affect the response to this question.

  • Your budget. It might seem obvious, but if you’ve got a large budget available, then yes, it is worth spending out on making your reception look amazing! But, if your budget is restricted, then let your florist know. There are lots of tricks and tips to make your money go further, to still have flowers on your tables without breaking the bank. For example, if you’ve got a number of bridesmaids, why not use their bouquets along your top table, or as your table centres? All you need is a vase for each bouquet – these budget-friendly vases from IKEA would be perfect. Or see if your venue hires out glasswear.
  • Your wedding theme. Whether you’re aiming for a modern, contemporary event, or a rustic, county-garden inspired day, this may affect your estimated spend. But remember, there are always ways to accommodate a budget, and with a few compromises, get the look you’re after.
  • Style of design. This follows on from the previous point. A tall lily vase with a couple of stems of oriental lilies and palms can look just as modern as a large cylinder vase filled with hydrangeas and roses. Similarly, a collection of country style jars and bottles can look extravagant when bursting with roses, or they can be just the simple decoration needed filled with a few choice blooms in the wedding colours.
  • Seasonal flowers. Another apparently obvious point, but one that catches many brides out! Using flowers and foliages that are in season is a great way of stretching the funds. If you want Lily of the Valley but are getting married in October, you’ve got to be prepared to pay absolutely silly money for it! If your heart is set on having these delicate scented flowers, then plan for your wedding to take place between late March and early May. If you’d like peonies, aim for early Summer, or think about substituting with equally-beautiful, similar shaped garden roses. Have you just got to have hyacinths? Then have your big day between November and March. Take a look at this article from to get more of an idea of what’s available when (or think about what’s flowering in the garden in what month!)
  • Your venue. It may be that your venue is a blank canvas and needs some ‘prettying up’. It may be that your reception is being held in a stately home grand hall, which has quite detailed decor, and therefore doesn’t need much additional decoration. When you visit the venue, imagine the space with the tables, chairs etc in it, and try to get a feel for what is needed. There might be a particularly unsightly stairwell that needs disguising, or a mantle piece to dress and add colour. Take photos of the room to show your florist, or even better, see if they can visit the space with you to advise.

Here’s a few examples of similar table centres for each end of the budget to give you an idea of what can be achieved with various sized budgets.

Extravagant collections in dressed jam jars and bottles, following a country style…or more understated, small gatherings of flowers

Cylinder vases – exotic stems of cymbidium orchids inside the vase creates impact whilst not breaking the bank, or go all out with a compact summery arrangement of flowers on top of the vase, creating a classy statement.

Looking for a low table centre? Using plants can be kinder on the budget but need not look cheap, such as these lavender plants in brushed mirror containers. In contrast, go for a collection of different sized mirror cubes with one type of compact flower in each. Great use of your wedding colours, and really shows off the textures of the blooms.


A few choice blooms in stem vases among scattered confetti, or a ‘long and low’ arrangements to sit in front of the happy couple – both finish the top table off perfectly, and give the finishing touch to the table. Remember, your top table is an obvious focal area, especially for your photographer (and guests!) during the speeches, so it’s important to have some decoration here.

Another idea is to mix tall and short arrangements over the tables – a shorter arrangement will often be less expensive, but you may really want or need some height across the room. This design trick is perfect for looking after the pennies and getting the look you’re after.

Finally, think about using your flowers as much as possible. If you’re dressing the church, think about bringing the flowers on to your venue. For example, an alter arrangement will work perfectly on your top table. Table centres could be used as your thank you gifts, or spread the love by donating them to the local nursing home to enjoy. Your bouquet could be used to decorate your cake table. Your bridesmaid bouquets could be used on the tables as mentioned, or to dress the bar, next to the guest book, or even to jazz up the toilets!

If you’re curious about what you can achieve for your budget, take a look at my wedding packages. And the best advise is to find a florist who you trust and enjoy their style, book a consultation and talk through your ideas!



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