Flowers were one of those wedding planning necessities that I felt almost too overwhelmed to tackle. I didn’t know hyacinths from hydrangeas so the lingo of mussy tussies and boutonnieres were a bit over my head. But I did know one thing- I was on a budget and wanted the best bet for my money. Thankfully, I found a wonderful way to get quality flowers I wanted below what I had budgeted. I decided to investigate the options of both real and silk flowers to understand the pros and cons each had to offer. I wanted to share my findings in order to save other brides like me the time and money.
When comparing the cost of flowers, I was amazed at how expensive real flowers are compared to their silk counterparts. I priced a local flower shop how much it would cost to do our flowers in all carnations. I was quoted about $400. I was curious because carnations are notoriously cheap flowers and the bridal party flowers are often considered the essentials. Then I chose to dream big- I looked for an inspirational pictures that were exotic and far outside my budget and simply not practical as a real bouquet. Then I priced it out for the entire bridal bouquet. I managed to do that for just over $200 including all the materials it would take me to put it together such as the floral tape, silk flower cleaner, etc.
Obviously there is no perfect substitute for real flowers, but it’s important to remember that the quality of real flowers is unpredictable, varying with the time of year, location, weather patterns, availability of sun and water, freshness, etc. This makes the stability of silk flowers more desirable, especially if you prefer exotic flowers that are nearly impossible to acquire in your area. The quality of silk flowers often varies with the vendor you purchase from and the materials it was made from. For example, purchasing silk flowers from a craft store where people have been able to pick through for who knows how long will often result in worn, frayed edges. However, purchasing from an alternative vendor that limits exposure to the public picking through such as an online vendor often protects the flowers from the wear and tear a brick and mortar store encourages. Also, some more recent technological developments have enabled some varieties of flowers to be available in what is often called Real Touch, which feels much more realistic than the silk flowers as we would expect. For the most part, this technology has only been utilized with a select group of flowers including certain varieties of lilies, orchids and roses.
The availability of real flowers is limited by a number of factors but silk flowers have virtually unlimited variety. You can not only find just about every flower available in nature in a silk form, but you can find some that are not natural such as silk flower petals that have been dyed various unusual colors. However, just like in nature, the rarest tend to be more expensive, but they are certainly available.
Given what I discovered, I ended up choosing silk flowers. I purchased them from Afloral.com and learned from their video library how to put the flowers together myself. It took my mother and me about 8 hours to assemble 4 bouquets, 8 boutonnieres, and 4 corsages. They turned out wonderfully and they were finished months ahead of the wedding, which saves you a headache waiting for the florist on your wedding day! I would certainly recommend them to any bride who needs to save money and stress. They were certainly the perfect choice for me!