Where to Buy Bulk Flowers for Your Wedding

Finding the flowers you want, at a reasonable price and in the quantity you need for you wedding may seem like a daunting task if you've never done it before. Fortunately, there are many options, and from local farmers to online suppliers, flower businesses are increasingly recognizing the DIY bride, making purchasing options more abundant than before.

This article is about where to look to buy affordable bulk flowers, and some tips about how to purchase them.

I. Retail Stores

Perhaps the most obvious option, many national overt store changing, such as Kroger, Trader Joe's and Costco sell flowers. While this may not be the cheapest or most unique option, it can sometimes be the simplest. As the bride, or designated helper, you can walk in and talk to an actual salesperson with floral experience.

Often the selection you can order from is much larger than what is in stock on a given day. If you go in a couple of months before your wedding day, you can learn how to best order from a specific store.

Tip: if you find yourself short of plant material while arranging, don't panic! Send someone to the grocery store to find more plant material. Just don't be too picky about what they bring back.

Another retail option to look for in your area is a flower warehouse or market. Typically found I sizable cities, these stores cater to organizations such as churches, schools, and other businesses, including florists. Usually they offer tax-free sales for their account holders with an EIN or business tax number. However, they will sell to people without an account or tax number. You simply have to pay the sales tax.

If there is a flower market in your area, it is a great way to have access to a wide variety of flowers and greenery for last minute purchases. Also, the pricing will be lower than other retailers.

One disadvantage of going to the warehouse is you are not able to order exactly what you want. While the selection is much larger, you are still limited by what they've ordered and still have in stock.

A second disadvantage, at least in the warehouses I've been in, is that the pricing is somewhat opaque. If there is a price list, it may not be up to date, and you still have to be certain of the flower names. The blooms themselves do not have a price tag on them. This can cause quite a shock when you are checking out!

II. Online

The two main disadvantages of buying flowers retail can be resolved by shopping online. The selection is much greater and there is less question about pricing. Online flower buying has the additional advantage in that the blooms can be shipped directly to you. In recent years, several flower sales websites have entered The market specifically catering to the DIY bride. Some of these include: Fifty flowers and Bloominous.

Any of these are great options and can be chosen based on your budget, scope of arranging you want to tackle and how creative you want to be. For example, the boxed kits are closer to retail prices,  but take out all of the estimating guesswork about how much to buy.

The bulk websites are usually much cheaper but require more risk and work on your part to make sure you have enough flowers. A positive of taking this route is that the sky's the limit for your creativity and the uniqueness of your arrangements.

There are a few things to keep in mind when ordering from sites like this:

  1. Read carefully: Not all flowers are available year round and many require special care. Make sure you read the detailed info during your estimating process to avoid issues when you go to order. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure you read the details before ordering.

  2. Order extra: When in doubt, order more. It is difficult to estimate without experience or being able to actually see what you're buying in person. Plus, most florists order at least 10% overage to allow for damage or breakage. (Estimator download)

  3. Start Early: There are hefty fees for rush flower orders, so make sure you order on time, according to your chosen supplier. I require at least one month. Keep in. Ind that this means you need to do your research and estimating even earlier. Don't procrastinate!

III. Flower Farmers

A third resource for buying flowers are local flower farmers. This option has greater limitations, but may be very appealing for other important reasons. It is a great opportunity to support a small business in your area, for one thing. Also, the farmers will likely give good advice on taking care of and arranging cut flowers from their farm. Lastly, in alignment with the “slow flower” movement, buying directly from local farmers significantly decreases the carbon footprint and waste caused by shipping fresh flowers across the globe.