Frugal Friday: Wedding Flowers from Sams Club
Howdy howdy! I bit different of a post this Friday- I got married a couple weeks ago and did some pretty non-traditional things to save money on the still-very-expensive affair. I had the idea to buy bulk flowers and do my own floral arranging (backslash make everyone help me do it). That's not the most novel concept, but getting my flowers from Sams Club seems to be. I couldn't find any detailed reviews about the process of doing your own florals via bulk ordering at Sams Club or Costco. SO I am here to fill that hole in the internet!
First, why Sams Club instead of an actual flower wholesale market? Because, at least in Colorado, flower wholesale markets are crazy expensive and seem anything but wholesale. My friend and I ventured into such an establishment to procure some stems for practice bouquets. Just to make a practice bouquet, if we had actually purchased the flowers we wanted that bouquet would have run us OVER $300. MADNESS. One bunch of eucalyptus (am talking maybe 10 stems) was $35. Five stems of peonies were $40. FIVE STEMS = FIVE FLOWERS. Almost $10 per flower. HOW???? Actually supplying the entire events flowers how I wanted to do them from this establishment would have been over to 3k in my estimation (and I think that is low). Sams Club and Costco, on the other hand, offer what seem to be actual wholesale prices. Huge amounts of greenery for $100. 100 Stems of filler flowers for $60. These are the kind of prices I can deal with. I went with Sams Club instead of Costco because the selection was way way better. This can vary based on season so if you are having a winter wedding, the selection will likely be different. You will need a membership to buy your flowers, but that only costs $45 and you can actually cancel it and get your money back if you end up not using the membership very much. Great news! Sams Club gives you Ebates cash back so you can get a percent of you floral purchase back in cold hard cash.
My budget for flowers was $1,000. That might seem like a lot if you haven't planned a wedding. If you have and you know that I wanted greenery runners on every table, huge bouquets for everyone, big pink flowers and lots of greenery, greenery garland all over, etc. you are laughing at me. Now I don't want to knock the great work florists do, they make really pretty creations and if you are not a DIYer a good florist can be money well spent. BUT, they are crazy expensive. You are paying for their labor and artistry. If you are okay with doing that labor yourself and making your bridesmaids make their own bouquets and not being super picky with how they turn out, save yourself THOUSANDS of dollars and have greenery and flowers galore. Pro-tip: marry someone with artsy sisters and they will do all the work for you.
So, did it work out?? YES. I think my flowers looked bomb and the greenery on the table killed the game. Did it take about 7 hours of work all together. Yes, yes it did. When you get the flowers in the boxes, you need to take them out and carefully trim them and put them in buckets. This took about 2 hours for all the flowers. Making the greenery runners on the table also took about 2 hours.
PRO TIP: you don't have to buy pre-made runner if you are just laying it on a table, just cutting stems to manageable sizes and placing them on the table works great. If you are hanging the greenery runner like I did on our ceremony gazebo thing, it will need to be an actual runner. We did the tables the day before and I just spritzed them with water the morning of the wedding. Now, I will say, if you only have your venue the day of, you obviously can't set your tables up the day before so things will be more complicated. You will need to make your arrangements the day before so they are ready to go day of the wedding. homemade greenery runners may not be an option but normal centerpieces would work just fine in that scenario.
We spent a little less than 2 hours morning of the wedding making our bouquets. Honestly, it was so fun! Something creative to focus on helped me feel less stressed because I could be productive. I also invited some of my out of town friends over to help out so I got to spend more time with them! If you are someone who is going to have a tight schedule on her wedding day due to hair/makeup/pony rides, make sure you handle all of this the day before so you aren't rushing day off. We had plenty of time and I think my bridesmaids really liked making their own bouquets! At least they acted like they did... I guess they kind of had to.
All the shout outs to my sisters-in-law for the incredible alter decorating they did- this was way more elaborate than I imagined but we had extra flowers and they went to town. So beautiful. PS I bought .99/yard tulle 50% off for this as well. PRO TIP: if you are worried about tulle looking cheap, buy more of an eggshell color rather than stark white. It looks more expensive and won't come across tacky.
I was going to make Brent and my Dad's boutonnieres but the sisters volunteered and I wasn't going to say no! They turned out so well. Obviously I was super lucky to have them and they made it look super profesh. If I had done it all myself, it wouldn't have looked as good but it still would have been just fine. Whitney was very concerned about her crafting abilities and she self proclaimed her bouquet as the best! Don't be too concerned, flowers look good.
I definitely recommend ordering from Sams Club. I would have changed a few things, detailed below, like ordering some of the flowers to be delivered a little earlier. The ranunculus flowers didn't really peak until two days after the wedding and the rose lilies could have opened up more. On the website they tell you how far in advance to order your buds so they have time to open and I followed those instructions, but they needed just a bit more time.
After the ceremony we put a few of the bridesmaids bouquets in vases and scattered them about the reception area. If you were doing traditional centerpieces - BAM centerpieces. I laid my bouquet on the table in front of me and Brent and BAM profesh flower arrangement.
Basically, if you are willing to do some leg work and not take it all too seriously, you can save yourself some serious moollah and exercise your creativity by doing your own flowers. Ordering from Sams Club was amazing because I didn't even have to go to a store and get them, they were delivered to the venue. BOOM. So pick a color, order some flowers that color and some greenery, and watch a YouTube video. I liked this one.
As an update to this post I am including my exact order from Sams Club and a few notes about the order due to a few requests :)
Just a few things I would have changed about my order.
1) Dusty miller (the gray/green fuzzy leaves) look great in bouquets as an accent, but are not versatile otherwise. 100 stems of this is WAY too many, a lot of this went to waste. In a perfect world I would have ordered an extra box of the assorted CA greens (which is an incredible value- you get a ton of greens) and gone to my local wholesale spot for dusty miller and only gotten one bunch. That one bunch would have been super over priced, but not $160, I could have save $130 here on the dusty miller and gotten more of the really versatile greens. Bummer.
2) Ordered the Ranunculus 1 day earlier than recommended. They really needed some time to perk up and open up.
3) I accidentally ordered a 75 ft garland when I only needed 50 feet. I tried to change my order after the fact but they weren't able to. Bummer- could have saved $100.
p.s. when your flowers ship (the day before they are supposed to arrive) you will get this tracking notification email that says your flowers will arrive NEXT WEEK as in dayyyysss after your event. Don't worry. UPS sends out a standard shipping notification when your plants are actually being shipped overnight. Your welcome for saving you an absolutely panicked call to the Sams Club flower lady who explains things very nicely and calmly but apparently gets called terrible names all the time due to those emails (not by me!).
You now have all the info! Go forth and be a merry person who saved even more money than me on the flowers for your wedding.