Let's be honest: Despite what your father and fiancé believe, you're not a princess. That's no reason, however, not to be treated like royalty on your wedding day -- especially when it comes to your wedding flowers.
As long as you have an idea about what kind of blooms you want, it's easy to find and arrange your flowers so they look as good as anything ever sported by the House of Windsor. Best of all, you don't need a queen-sized pocketbook to pay for it all. If you're diligent and know where to look, it's possible to get princess-quality blooms on the cheap.
We know, you're planning a wedding, and you don't have time to drag your entourage all over town just to save a few bucks on a bouquet. Weddings are stressful (even for royalty), so we've cut out the guesswork and come up with five tips for the discerning bride. We'll use real-life royal examples to demonstrate how modest arrangements can make a big impact and why adding a professional florist to your imperial payroll might be a waste of money.
On the next page, learn how name-brand flowers can bankrupt your budget.
Forget Ultra-rare Flowers
Brand-name flowers do exist, but we promise they're out of your price range. Several about-to-become-your-highnesses used special, nearly one-of-a-kind blooms, but just because you don't have the money or connections to secure the golden Earl Mountbatten Roses used by Diana doesn't mean you can't have a gorgeous bridal bouquet.
Take inspiration from regal traditions instead of insisting on the actual rare flowers themselves. For example, virtually every royal bride in recent memory has included a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet. Yes, the royal myrtle is from a special bush that supposedly grew from Queen Victoria's 1840 wedding bouquet, but it's indistinguishable from the kind found at your local flower shop.
And rest assured that not every flower in a princess's bouquet is completely unique. In addition to a few ultra-rare blooms, every princess uses high-quality, but common flowers for her wedding. Focus on flowers that look good, and forget the figurative label on the petal, OK?
Forgo the Florist
Princesses typically require plenty of assistance, but you shouldn't have to pay extra for it.
Ask your royal bridesmaid, the queen mother-in-law or even the prince/groom for assistance selecting and creating your bouquet and flower arrangement. It'll be much cheaper than paying a professional florist or wedding planner, and nothing says royalty more than telling your loved ones what to do.
If hiring a florist is a must, create a budget and ask your pro to respect it. For help getting started with a professional florist, brush up on what qualities you should be looking for in 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Wedding Florist.
Choose In-season Blooms
One of the best tricks for procuring princess-worthy flowers for your wedding is to use in-season blooms. Your flowers of choice will be easier to find and much more affordable.
So, if you're planning for a spring wedding, opt for roses and gardenias like Sarah Ferguson and Diana Spencer, or follow the lead of Princesses Ann and Alexandra and include narcissus or heather in your arrangement if you're saying "I do" in the fall or winter months.
In addition to saving money and hassle with in-season blooms, you'll be doing Mother Earth a favor. Any flowers that have to be imported involve gas-guzzling jets and trucks. We think that eco-conscious brides are some of the classiest in the bunch. Be a real princess and consider these 10 Eco-friendly Floral Arrangements.
Go Modest, Not Big
Even if you're planning on holding on to an arrangement of roses, gardenias, stephanotis and Odontoglossum orchids, you can do without the long, flowing cascade bouquet Princess Diana so famously used.
Cascade bouquets and other large arrangements are pricey, and plenty of princesses have used smaller floral groupings on their big day. In 2005, Camilla carried a very modest and flattering bouquet of lilies of the valley and primroses when she married Prince Charles. Sarah Ferguson proudly strode down the aisle in 1986 wearing a headband made of gardenias. A nosegay, arm sheaf, flower bracelet or floral headband can be just as beautiful and striking as any large-scale bouquet, and you won't need access to a nation's treasury just to afford one.
Need a little help with bouquet terminology? We offer explanations and inspiration in How to Choose the Best Bridal Bouquet for Your Personality.
Get Double Use out of Flowers
Regardless how much money you try to save on flowers, your blooms will likely take up a significant amount of your budget, whether you're working with the king's checkbook or your own.
One of the best ways to cut down on floral costs is to use the same flowers for both your ceremony and reception, which essentially halves your total floral expense. This is easiest to do if you're getting hitched and holding the reception at the same location. However, some florists will transport ceremony arrangements to a reception site for an additional fee, and they'll have them set up before cocktail hour ends -- making your guests none the wiser.
You can slash costs even further by choosing an already lush setting that requires fewer flowers, like a garden. This will give you some flexibility with your budget and allow you to buy a few choice royal blooms instead of multiple commoner-quality flowers.
Americans don’t have a royal family, but are fascinated by royalty. HowStuffWorks looks at five Americans who married into royalty.
- Powell, Cornelia. "Queen Victoria's Wedding Bouquet and the Legend of the Royal Myrtles." Victoriana. 2010. (Jan. 21, 2011).http://www.victoriana.com/victorianwedding/weddingbouquet.html
- Ross, Tim and Gordon Rayner. "Royal Wedding: Queen and Charles 'to pay their share' of the bill." The Telegraph. Nov. 17, 2010. (Jan. 21, 2011).http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8141237/Royal-wedding-Queen-and-Charles-to-pay-their-share-of-the-bill.html
- Whelan, Carolyn. "Blooms Away: The Real Price of Flowers." Scientific American. Feb. 12, 2009. (Jan. 25, 2011).http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=environmental-price-of-flowers