Wedding flowers on a shoestring budget

March 08, 2001

Wedding flowers on a shoestring budget


If you go...

7th annual Flower and Garden Show

Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18

Athletic, Recreation and Community Center

Hagerstown Community College

11400 Robinwood Drive


Tickets: $4 for adults, free for ages 11 and younger. Proceeds will benefit HCC Alumni Ampitheater

For information: Call Lisa Stewart, HCC Alumni Association coordinator, at 301-790-2800, ext. 346.

DJ: $700. Photographer: $2,500. Limousine: $350.


Floral arrangements that don't break what's left of the bank: Priceless.


A wedding can be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and prospective brides and grooms want it to look good. Operating within a budget, traditional, high-end flowers such as roses, orchids, lilies and tulips might not make the cut for arrangements without dipping into the honeymoon fund.

Not to worry, says Marilyn Bakner, a floral designer with Eichholz Flowers in Waynesboro, Pa.

"There are ways of cutting corners if you try to scale things down," Bakner says. "You can still create the same effect without going overboard. It does take a little time and thought to keep it within the price range."

Every year Denny Warrenfeltz - co-owner with wife Shawen of Rooster Vane Gardens in Funkstown - puts together a presentation for the Flower and Garden show at Hagerstown Community College. Past years had him talking about arrangements using twigs, or posies and produce.

This year, he will draw on his experience providing flowers and floral arrangements for weddings when he presents "Holy Matrimony, Wedding Flowers on a Shoe String." He speaks Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m.

Having provided wedding flowers that cost up to $10,000 - the average, he says, is between $1,000 and $2,000 - Warrenfeltz says prospective brides and grooms need to know that spending a lot is not the only way to create an attractive ceremony.

"We do a lot of weddings, a lot of formal weddings, but we also do a lot of small weddings," he says, adding that his flower show presentation will focus on the little things. "It's something people can sit there, listen to and it's not something that will be about a lot of design and showmanship."

Roses and gardenias can be pricey; carnations and daisies can be used. They are versatile, and can be found in various colors that can match many wedding color schemes.

"We go with the flow," says Lynn Brown, a floral designer with Cynthia's Flower and Gift in Ranson, W.Va. "You can just lessen it, go airier and still look nice. ... It's not jam-packed with flowers, but you still see flowers and colors."

Many times, Warrenfeltz sees people hire a florist, but create accent pieces, such as attendant bouquets or table arrangements for the reception, on their own.

"These are things that can be done in advance or earlier in the day so they can have a part in it without feeling overburdened," he says.

Another tip the florist has is to prioritize.

When people think back on a wedding, Warrenfeltz says they will remember flowers from three places: The bridal bouquet, altar arrangements and accents on and around the cake.

Instead of spreading money around to take care of those, plus arrangements for church windows and aisles, focusing on a few larger pieces for the altar can still leave an impression on guests.

"There are ways of wisely using the funds you have in one or two areas rather than scattering it around," he says. "Those are the things that get the most attention and should look the nicest."

The hard part is pricing. What qualifies as a shoe string? Just as no two weddings are alike, no two budgets are either, and cost will vary from ceremony to ceremony.

"There are a lot of factors that come into play. You can easily do a decent wedding for under $1,000, and that's with a fair amount of attendants and table decorations," he says. "But it's hard to determine because there are so many variables."

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