Before we start talking polymers and foams, let’s make the distinction between artificial flowers—individual stems designed to replicate real flowers—and non-floral wedding bouquets.
Non-floral bouquets are composed of different, unusual elements that aren’t supposed to look like flowers. Here are some examples of non-floral wedding bouquets:
If you’re going for an alternative approach to your wedding florals, a non-floral bouquet is a great way to add some personalization and creativity to your overall wedding style. Not to mention many non-floral bouquets are more practical for a lot of the same reasons that artificial flowers are: they can be more economical, can be prepared earlier, will last longer, won’t wilt or die in extreme temperatures, and are available regardless of blooming season.
If you think going with artificial wedding flowers cuts down on the number of choices you’ll have to make, guess again: just like non-floral bouquets, there are many types of artificial stems to choose from. This means that their quality and appearance can vary quite a bit—from the often plastic-looking ones you see at the dollar store to incredibly realistic versions that will cost you as much as real flowers. Below you’ll find a description of every type of artificial flower and the pros and cons of each.
The most familiar type of artificial flowers, these faux blooms are known as silk flowers—however these days they’re no longer made from silk, but most often a variety of polyester or nylon.
These faux blooms are composed of very thin foam petals that are dyed with a specific hue and glued around a styrofoam center. Foam flowers are most often seen as roses, and useful to fill in the center of bouquets and arrangements.
Wax-coated artificial flowers are high-quality silk flowers that have been coated with a special wax to make them feel (and look) like real flowers. The level of detail on the petals, such as veining or slight impressions, combined with the real-touch feel make these some of the most expensive artificial flowers available.
Similar to wax-coated flowers, latex artificial flowers are coated in a thin wax and have very lifelike details, making them both look and feel pretty close to the real deal. Latex flower petals are actually made from latex, rather than polyester fabric, so they don’t run the risk of fraying at the edges.
The most expensive type of artificial flowers, fresh touch or real touch flowers are designed to look, and feel, as close to the real thing as you can get. They’re made from a blend of foam and latex
Paper wedding flowers are exactly what they sound like: flowers that are constructed out of paper. Paper flowers can be extremely delicate and lifelike, to the point where you have to get very close to the flowers to tell they aren’t real—these varieties are sourced from specialty shops or online vendors. On the flip side, paper flowers can also be dramatic and theatrical through the use of bright colors, patterns, or oversized shapes. These less-realistic versions can more easily be DIYed if you have an artistic hand.
DIY paper wedding flowers can be used for great impact as a decorative focal point, since they are generally inexpensive to create and their uses are limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas for ways you can use paper flowers to replace (or augment) your wedding floral decor:
To check out real-life examples of these and other paper flower ideas, check out our blog post recounting 7 Times Paper Wedding Flowers Won Our Hearts.
Similar to paper, fabric wedding flowers are on the DIY-approved list if you’re on the artistic side. Fabric flowers are harder to make, however (fabric is less forgiving than paper), and therefore it’s wiser to use fabric flowers in small doses, such as bouquets, boutonnieres, and hair accessories. You can also find fabric wedding bouquets on online craft sites. Satin roses are a common type of fabric wedding flower, as are flowers made from tulle, burlap, felt, cotton, and lace.
As you may have already figured out, having artificial flowers at your wedding doesn’t necessarily equate to major savings. A lot of factors will determine your final floral costs, whether you opt for all real flowers, all artificial, or some combination. Make sure you sit down with your partner (and wedding planner, if you’ve hired one) to set your floral budget before heading too far down the path of deciding on flower types.
While it’s difficult to offer specific price points for artificial wedding flowers considering there are so many different types that fluctuate dramatically in cost, here are some general price estimates that should help you determine if artificial flowers are right for you:
Making a wedding bouquet with artificial flowers is pretty similar to making a bouquet with real flowers. Here are the main differences between making a real vs faux bouquet:
For tips on how to arrange a bouquet yourself, read our Step-by-Step Guide To Creating A Wedding Bouquet.
Sure, using artificial flowers might save you money, be better for the planet, and allow you to hold on to some of your wedding flowers for days (or years) beyond the day itself. But there are somethings you should consider before making the leap to the artificial flower camp.
Pro Tip: To get the best of both worlds, especially if you really crave a cascading bouquet, mix faux blossoms with real greenery. It will give you the look you want at a lower price point than you’d spend on real flowers.