Flower Power

WEDDING flowers date back to Roman times when brides and grooms wore garlands of flowers to symbolise new life and fertility… and who’d want to chance doing without the luck they might bring?

WEDDING flowers date back to Roman times when brides and grooms wore garlands of flowers to symbolise new life and fertility… and who’d want to chance doing without the luck they might bring?

But how on earth do you choose exactly what flowers and how many you need for your bouquet, bridesmaids, hair decorations, pew trimmings, altar displays, let alone whether you should have real or silk flowers and how to find a florist?

Traditionally, the groom pays for the bride’s bouquet, and the bride’s parents foot the rest of the flower bill. However, like many wedding traditions, when you get engaged, one of the first things you’ll do is plan your general wedding budget and work out who is paying for what. Flowers are a lovely part of your wedding day, so it may be that even if you’re paying for your wedding, your parents might like to pay towards the flowers.

When it comes to paying for flowers, the sky’s the limit and you generally get what you pay for - so you can set a budget for €500 or €5,000..

Generally speaking, set aside around five to 10 per cent of your wedding budget to pay for flowers. Prices obviously depend on the time of year of your wedding, your venue, your chosen flowers and your florist, but this is a good basic guide to work from.

Flowers are an area where your basic decisions can make a huge impact on cost. Follow these tips to cut your expenses:

* Always choose seasonal flowers. Flowers out of season will be imported or specially grown and, hence, more expensive.

* Bear in mind that you’re also paying for the florist’s time. Arrangements that require wiring are more time consuming and more costly. Stick to designs that are simple to put together.

* Bridesmaids don’t need to carry elaborate posies - they can even carry an individual flower.

* Re-use your ceremony flowers. Pedestals can be taken to your reception venue, and bouquets and posies can be put in vases on the top table.

* Don’t get married at a time of year when flowers are particularly expensive. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are perfect examples!

* If you have your heart set on a particularly expensive type of flower, either look for a less expensive alternative, or use it sparingly. Lily of the Valley, for example, could just be used in your bouquet.

* Keep table centrepieces simple. A tall vase with an individual lily can be elegantly dramatic for a contemporary wedding, while a pot plant tied with pretty ribbon makes a great country wedding centerpiece.