Updated: Sep 29
Selecting flowers for your wedding is one of the most important – and most fun – parts of wedding planning. Everybody loves a dramatic bouquet of roses or a trendy arrangement of soft greenery. But even flowers that are in-season can be quite expensive and floral budgets go quickly. To get the most for their budget, many couples are turning to faux wedding flowers and other fresh flower alternatives. Faux flower displays can look as good as the real thing and the blooms will never wither. Today’s faux flowers and greenery come in so many varieties, and have such fantastic attention to detail, that many are indistinguishable from fresh.
From bridal bouquets to floral arches, to a single stem boutonniere, artificial flowers have so many uses when it comes to weddings and events. Here’s our guide to choosing the best faux flowers for your big day.
TYPES OF FAUX WEDDING FLOWERS
Faux flowers are designed and manufactured to replicate the look of real flowers. Other non-floral alternatives are also popular (like feathers, gemstones, or seashells) but for this guide we will focus on faux flowers which are a good option for couples looking for a more traditional fresh flower alternative.
The most popular types of faux wedding flowers are:
Fabric (silk) flowers
Sola wood flowers
Latex or Polymer flowers
“Silk” or fabric wedding flowers are the most popular faux flower option. The lower end fabric flowers are what you’d typically see at your local craft store. Although rarely made from actual silk anymore, high quality fabric flowers can be extremely realistic and come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles. One of the main challenges with fabric flowers is the extensive difference in quality. Some fabric flowers will fray easily or look “fake” while others are truly beautiful. This can make ordering online a difficult task.
Sola Wood Flowers
Sola Wood flowers are an affordable and sustainable alternative to fresh flowers. They are made from thin, lightweight pieces of wood similar to balsa wood (think of the material used to build a model airplane). The thin pieces of wood are cut into petals and fashioned into flowers. The main benefit of choosing sola wood flowers is cost savings. Even purchasing an already dyed and assembled sola wood flower bouquet will offer at least 50% in savings over a fresh bouquet. Sola wood flowers are also a great option for couples with a very specific color palate. Because the flowers can be dyed by hand, the color possibilities are endless. Unlike polymer and quality silk flowers, sola wood flowers do not look exactly like fresh flowers. Although, for many couples, the rustic texture is a benefit rather than a drawback.
Although not nearly as popular, paper flowers are a beautiful option for those with some DIY skills. Paper flowers are exactly what they sound like: flowers made from paper. Depending on the style of your wedding, paper flowers can be colorful and whimsical or more delicate and understated. Like with any DIY, the options are unlimited for anyone with a touch of artistic ability and a few free weekends to spend.
Latex and Polymer Flowers
Latex and Polymer Flowers are the show-stoppers when it comes to fresh flower alternatives. Although much more expensive than other faux flower options, Latex and polymer flowers are so realistic they are virtually identical to fresh flowers. Also called “real touch flowers”, these faux flowers are designed with a blend of foam and plastic that mimics the texture of fresh flowers so even touching them will not give them away as faux. The downside of these flowers is they are harder to find and far more expensive – sometimes even more expensive than fresh.
PROS AND CONS OF ARTIFICIAL WEDDING FLOWERS
Choosing faux wedding flowers has many benefits over fresh, most notably the potential for cost savings. But some of the benefits are less often discussed. For one, many couples will choose faux flowers if they have allergies… Nobody wants a runny nose or itchy eyes in the middle of the wedding ceremony.
Here are a few other factors to consider before deciding on faux flowers:
Affordable (depending on type)
Will not wilt in the heat
No care required
Easy to transport
Reusable - reselling is an option
All flowers available in all seasons
Excellent wedding keepsake
Varying levels of realism and quality
WHERE TO GET FAUX WEDDING FLOWERS
Sourcing high quality faux flowers can be a bit of a challenge and the best place to buy faux flowers will depend on how much you want to DIY. You can buy anything from the raw materials of wood and fabric all the way up to completed bouquets. Unless you are a talented artist or floral arranger, we recommend skipping the stress and finding something ready to go. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without another item on the To-do list.
For sola wood flowers, we recommend expert Etsy retailers like EvergreenBride or GlaminItUpBoutique that sell fully dyed and assembled sola wood flower bouquets. For brave couples looking to assemble and dye their own flowers, we recommend SolaWoodFlowers.com which is a reliable retailer of wood flowers in their natural wood color.
Like sola wood flowers, the best fabric, latex, and polymer flowers can also be found online. Although local craft stores will have some options, the high-quality options will be mixed in with the less realistic flowers and can be difficult to find. We recommend Afloral for the most realistic floral options although some retail for as much as $20 per stem. Luckily, almost every town has a florist willing to rent some high-quality faux bouquets. You can also rent wedding flowers from boutiques that ship nationwide. Renting does limit selection but it is much more affordable and you can be sure you are getting the best quality.
For paper flowers, Etsy has the biggest selection of loose flowers and assembled bouquets. Shops like TreeTownPaper offer expertly crafted faux flowers with your choice of paper. Some couples even choose to use sentimental paper like sheet music or song lyrics.
FAUX WEDDING FLOWER COSTS
The cost savings associated with faux flowers varies greatly depending on the type and on the retailer. Below is a helpful chart that shows average costs for each option.
Guest blog: www.silkstemcollective.com