Making Every Bloom Count: Tips for Repurposing Wedding Flowers

The most common question couples ask me is ‘how can I save money on my wedding flowers?’  I love to offer guidance on how to make every bloom count.  There are so many creative tips for repurposing wedding flowers to save money.  However, there are also  important considerations when couples decide to repurpose their wedding flowers. It is helpful to understand what WILL work, as well as what might NOT work when they want to make the most of every bloom.

Repurposing the Bridal Bouquet

The bridal bouquet is the biggest bouquet in the wedding.   This bouquet will have the most beautiful and expensive flowers and sets the floral theme for the wedding.  There are many options for displaying the bridal bouquet at the wedding reception.

Every bride should consider the best way to display this beautiful bouquet long after she walks down the wedding aisle.

However, before the bride heads to the reception, the wedding photographer often wants to take lots of photos after the ceremony.  Between photos the bridal bouquet (and other bouquets) should be placed in a vase of water so they don’t wilt and can be proudly displayed following the ceremony.

After the ceremony, many couples choose to display the bridal bouquet in the center of the sweetheart table or head table at the reception. Rather than paying for a large sweetheart table arrangement, couples often choose to have some light greenery along the sweetheart table as a base for the bridal bouquet.  

Placed in the center of the sweeet heart or head table, the bridal bouquet will be in a perfect position for photos taken of the bride and groom throughout the reception. 

example of bridal bouquet on sweetheart table

If the bride and groom arrive at the reception venue at the same time as the guests, the bouquet can be prominently displayed on the

  • welcome table
  • gift table
  • memory table
  • escort card table

Example of repurposing a bridal bouquet on a guest book tableBridal bouquet displayed on a guest book table
Photo credit: Gabriele Stonyte Photographer (

Repurposing Bridesmaid’s Bouquets

Because the Bridesmaid’s bouquets are generally smaller than the bridal bouquet they look best on:

  • bars or refreshment tables
  • cocktail tables
  • coffee tables in a lounge area
  • grouped together around the wedding cake or dessert table
  • spaced along a head table

While couples sometimes request to reuse the bridesmaid bouquet as a reception table centerpiece, I advise against it.  The bridesmaid’s bouquets may look a bit small and out of scale for a 5 foot or 6 foot round reception table. The stems on a bridesmaid’s bouquet are generally longer and the bouquet will be standing tall in the vase in the center of the table.  

The bridesmaid’s bouquet placed in the center of a round reception table may make it difficult for guests to see one another and converse across the table easily.

Example of large bridal bouquet compared to bridesmaids bouquet

Sometimes the wedding couple request that the floral designer collect the bridesmaid’s bouquets immediately following the ceremony to rearrange for reception centerpieces.  While this is certainly an option, an honest discussion is necessary about the additional labor charge for the designer(s) to stay following the wedding ceremony.  A floral designer will need lots of  time and space to dismantle and redesign bridesmaids bouquets as reception table arrangements.  

In addition, photographers often want to capture the entire bridal party photos after the ceremony.  Consequently, the bouquets won’t be available for rearranging until after many of the guests are already seated at the reception. Placing reception centerpieces on reception tables after the guests are seated looks both unprofessional and unwelcoming.

Repurposing Ceremony Arrangements

Large ceremony arrangements are often created in a large designer dish (heavy duty plastic plate).  The designer dish is not visible when placed on top of a large decorative urn or a pillar, but it makes the arrangement easier to move into place. These very large arrangements are expensive as they require many flowers and greenery to be seen by guests seated in the farthest ceremony rows.

Large arrangements as the backdrop for a wedding ceremonyLarge floral arrangements for a wedding ceremony backdrop
Photo credit: Du Soleil Photographie (

When the ceremony arrangement is created in a designer dish, it can be easily moved following the wedding ceremony and displayed in a number of places, such as:

  • at the reception beside the head table
  • on a welcome table
  • a buffet table
  • next to the stage with the band or DJ
Large ceremony arrangements beside a head table

Large arrangements frame each side of the head tablePhoto credit: Du Soleil Photographie (

Reception floral arrangements

If the ceremony arrangement can be reused for an elevated floral arrangement on top of a tall vase on a reception table, it can also be a huge cost savings.  The arrangement pictured below was placed on a pillar for the ceremony backdrop, and then moved to the top of the trumpet vase for the reception table centerpiece. 

elevated reception arrangementElevated reception floral arrangement reused after the ceremony

Repurposing Arch Arrangements

Floral arrangements for a wedding arch, gazebo, or chuppah are often created in a large floral cage or structure to hold the flowers and greenery and can be very large, heavy and wet with water. After they are securely attached to an arch, the floral designer often arranges additional greenery and flowers to finish off and frame the arch while onsite.  

If the arch structure is light enough to move to the reception area, it can be a beautiful backdrop for the sweetheart or head table.  If the wedding space is being switched out after the ceremony for the reception, and the large arch and design that is too large to move, it could remain in place and the sweetheart table could be placed in front of it. Another option is to reuse the arbor as a beautiful ready-made photo booth backdrop.  That’s  a smart way repurposing wedding flowers. Copper ceremony arbor with floral arrangements

Repurposing a ceremony arbor behind the sweetheart table

Brass ceremony arbor reused behind sweetheart table

When ceremony floral arrangements are removed from the structure and placed on top of the sweetheart table or other location in the reception, there will be an additional labor charge.  The floral designer will need to remove, recreate, and rearrange the arrangement for display at the reception. Another important consideration: floral arrangements taken from an arch may be too large, bulky, and wet to be placed on fancy linens on a small sweetheart table.

Rearranging the floral arrangement from the ceremony to the reception may be equal to the costs of having a different arrangement made specifically for the space. 

One other thing…photographers and guests often love to take photos of the wedding couple, wedding party, family and friends in front of these large arrangements or the arbor.  If the floral arrangements are removed  immediately after the ceremony, it may negatively impact fabulous photo ops. 

Repurposing Ceremony Aisle Décor

Small floral, greenery and/or ribbon bows that are hung on the chairs or the pews of the ceremony aisle with ribbon can be reused for the backs of chairs on the sweetheart table or the head/bridal party table. They can also be laid beside photos on a memory table. 

Floral decor for ceremony aisleCeremony aisle decor
Photo credit: Du Soleil Photographie (

Aisle arrangements may be wet in oasis or sprayed with water (to be keep the flowers alive) and may need to be carefully wrapped in plastic, dried, or placed on a towel before they can be placed on fancy table linens.Floral decor for a memory table

Ceremony aisle decor reused on a memory table

Final thoughts….

During the design consultation process, you should have a candid conversation with their floral designer to better understand the options for repurposing wedding bouquets and arrangements.  You should  carefully weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately, you have selected your floral designer as you trust his/her experience and recommendations. Working together will make it possible to implement your wedding vision, as well as stay within your target wedding floral budget.  

To get more tips for saving on your wedding flowers, feel free to contact The Garden Studio. 

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Serving Talbot County, Maryland, including Easton, St. Michaels, and Oxford.