The Wedding Aesthetic

No-Nonsense Guide on How to Plan Your Wedding Flowers and Decor

A wedding is a celebration, so don’t let the planning cause more stress than excitement. Your starting point? Choose a general aesthetic or theme for your big day. If words like “alternative,” “romantic” and “rustic” sound more like music genres than wedding-planning tools to you, here’s a no-nonsense guide to cohesiveness on a day that showcases your love story. From style to budget, use our tips to select the perfect flowers and decor for your wedding.

How much do wedding flowers and decor typically cost?  

Floral expenses for NC weddings average $3,000-$5,000, though many florists work with smaller or much larger budgets. Party rentals range greatly based on your needs, with entire tent build outs sometimes costing $20,000, and line item rentals being based on need.


Plans for reception decor should be done six-ten months in advance, beginning with party rentals, moving into floral design, and finishing up with accents such as lighting a few months out. The timing of all this can be easily juggled by your wedding planner or designer. Finalize and order your arrangements six weeks prior to your wedding date.


Typical items to include on the party rental list are linens, chairs, china, flatware, chandeliers, drapery, lounge furniture, ambient lighting, and when necessary, the tent and dance floor for the entire affair. Keep in mind that lighting and flowers can completely change a space. If the venue is right for you in terms of location, budget, and availability, but is somewhat lacking in design, the right lighting elements have the ability to transform the space into your dream venue.


Flowers to discuss and budget for include bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony arrangements, elaborate centerpieces, and displays for escort tables, entry doors, and mantles. A low end budget may include simple, small vases and smaller, simpler bouquets, or pick-up orders.

As with everything, the flower costs depend on where you are hosting your wedding, your guest count, and the number of people in your wedding party. (More tables = more centerpieces, linen, chairs, and flatware. More bridesmaids = more bouquets).

Decor costs vary greatly depending on the location and venue, length of event, date, travel distance, types of lighting fixtures, and the time it takes to set up and take down.

Reflect on What’s Meaningful to You and Your Partner

Is there an important aspect of your story as a couple that you want to highlight in your wedding theme or decor? For example, if location is a key element to the development of your love story, consider planning your theme or decor around the city you fell in love in or the kind of lifestyle you share. Similar elements to include in your wedding could be cultural or religious themes that you and your partner cherish.

Seasons of Love

Weather can be unpredictable, but choosing the general season in which to schedule your wedding can contribute to the event’s overall theme. If you’re interested in marrying in the spring, choose bright colors or pastels that coincide with warmer weather. Jewel tones like burgundy and emerald sync with the brisk weather of fall or winter.

Follow the Wedding Flowers and Decor Hierarchy

Decor is an elusive word that can be intimidating. Decor can be used as an umbrella term for anything that makes your wedding environment look beautiful, which means options are plentiful. Begin with the essentials – furniture for the dining area as well as tableware and lighting – and tailor them to your theme. Then add the fun stuff, like flowers, candles and signage. Consider interactive elements for guests, like a theme-coherent backdrop for a photobooth or personalized place cards that guests can pick up from a board when they walk in. Many of our recommended wedding planners and florists offer full-service floral design, including Folie á Deux Events,  and The French Bee Events.

Embrace Pandemic Tweaks While Planning Flowers and Decor

Unfortunately, the pandemic has canceled and postponed many weddings. If you’ve had to push back your wedding to a different season, never fear: You won’t have to trash all your planning and start from scratch. A wedding theme can transcend the season with a couple of tweaks. For instance, consider darker shades of the same color palette in order to transition from spring to fall. You might find that you like these slight changes more!

Food and Drink Presentation

Some catering and beverage options are evergreen year-round, but consider adding fun bites to coincide with your theme! Cherish your first date restaurant or other local favorite? Consider mimicking the dish you shared or enlisting their catering services. Additionally, dress up your food stations, cake display and bar with floral garnishes and dynamic decor.

Many local rental companies offer safety products for your event service staff. To prohibit the spread of COVID-19, some rental companies, such as Get Lit Event Lighting, offer bar rentals with plastic or acrylic bar shields. This recent innovation is definitely one worth investing in to ensure you and wedding guests are safe!

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